Ravi Shankar Chand
I have memories of my childhood in India, where I somehow learnt and got impression that Dr Ambedkar was leader for Dalits (the untouchables). I also learnt that he was the Chairman of Constitution Drafting committee.
The fact remains that Dr Ambedkar was much beyond what has been highlighted. It is really belittling one of the tallest leaders to tag as a Dalit leader. This is unfortunate that it took couple of decades before Dr Ambedkar was Awarded Bharat Ratna. The need of the hour is to look into the contribution of BabaSaheb with respect to broader society, politics, law and economics.
There is no doubt the untouchability and discrimination existed broadly in India society during the Lifetime of Baba Saheb and he witnessed and lived it. Despite mastering economics, politics, law and social justice, Dr Ambedkar did not get support from contemporary Indian leaders and government. This reduced the pace of positive change in life of downtrodden in India. To correct the past mistakes, it is crucial that the ideas of Dr Ambedkar gets due respect and space today not only in India but worldwide.
His teachings has huge potential to make social changed worldwide because he championed the cause equality, in terms of race, color, caste, class, gender and what not. When there was debate on the voting right while the constitution of India was being drafted, there were various ideas on who should be a voter. Contemporary leaders were on verge of making blunders by limiting the voting right to only some citizens on the basis of education, work, income tax payment status, etc. It was Dr Ambedkar who ensured that each and every valid citizen of India should have the equal voting rights. While most of the rest of Indian leaders were concerned about freedom of India from British, it was Dr Ambedkar who had a vision for beyond that , he wanted to ensure that after Britishers free India , that’s not the end.. Ambedkar’s nationalism was not merely confined to the transfer of political power to the Indians from the British rule. It was focused on a much broader notion of sustainable national re-construction that is, building a democratic Republic through creation of social equality and cultural integration in the age-old caste-ridden, inherently unjust and discriminating society
As an alumni of prestigious Columbia University, USA and London School of Economics, UK ,Ambedkar was the first Indian to pursue a doctorate in economics abroad. He argued that industrialization and agricultural growth could enhance the Indian economy. He stressed investment in agriculture as the primary industry of India. Ambedkar established the Finance Commission of India. He opposed income tax for low-income groups. He contributed in Land Revenue Tax and excise duty policies to stabilise the economy.He played an important role in land reform and the state economic development. Ambedkar’s vision helped the government to achieve its food security goal. Ambedkar advocated national economic and social development, stressing education, public hygiene, community health, residential facilities as the basic amenities. He emphasised a free economy with a stable Rupee which India has adopted recently. He advocated birth control to develop the Indian economy, and this has been adopted by Indian government as national policy for family planning. He emphasised equal rights for women for economic development.
During the debates in the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar demonstrated his will to reform Indian society by recommending the adoption of a Uniform Civil Code.Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet in 1951, when parliament stalled his draft of the Hindu Code Bill, which sought to enshrine gender equality in the laws of inheritance and marriage. Ambedkar also criticized Islamic practice in South Asia. He condemned child marriage and the mistreatment of women in Muslim society.
It took 34 years and in 1990, a portrait of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is put in the Central Hall of Parliament House.
Outside India, during the late 1990s, some Hungarian Romani people drew parallels between their own situation and that of the downtrodden people in India were Inspired by Ambedkar. At the global level , while Mahatma Gandhi has been widely read and recognized, there is a need to work towards spreading the thoughts of Dr Ambedkar. There are group of organizations led by Non Resident Indian abroad who are working towards it and collaborating with various stakeholders. One such organization is AmbedkarGlobal.com, led by Ravi Chand based in Dubai. This group is already working with many top universities worldwide to include Dr Ambedkar in their syllabus as well as to establish Ambedkar Chair in department of political science, economics, or sociology. This group is also working with various governments such as in UAE, USA and in South Africa to name one of its streets after Dr Ambedkar.
Dr. Ambedkar International Centre at, New Delhi was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi in 2017. this Centre is be a Centre of Excellence for study, research, analysis and Policy making in the field of Socio-Economic Transformation and we hope this would help the world community to be associated with Dr Ambedkar thoughts.
This is our collective responsivity to pass on the legacy of Dr Ambedkar to our next generation.
(Ravi Chand is a Dubai based community leader, a JNU Alumni, a corporate leader and Director of AmbedkarGlobal.com)