Ambedkar Jayanthi - Are we missing on something about Babasaheb?
Are we doing injustice to the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar by confining his identity to mere Dalit activism? Calling him a 'Dalit Activist' is just like asserting that the sun is the only star in the Universe. He was not just the Chairman of Constitution Drafting Committee but quite a lot more. While we remember him today, on the 14th of April, on the occasion of his Jayanthi, let's be informed of his accomplishments in multiple domains.
Indian Banking and Finance:
Dr. Ambedkar wrote a book "The Problem of the Rupee- Its Problems and Its Solution". The points highlighted in the book were yoked into the RBI act of 1935. Much earlier to this, in 1925, Ambedkar was also instrumental in helping the Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance. In 1923, Ambedkar presented a thesis on "The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India (1923)". Interestingly, this paper formed the academic basis for the Finance Commission of India.
Ambedkar - For Labour Welfare:
Ambedkar served as a labour minister in the Viceroy’s council. During his tenure, he reduced the factory working hours from 12 to 8. He laid focus on diluting the harsh working conditions and brought considerable reforms in labour laws. The idea to set up the Employment Exchange was also put forth by him.
Dr. Ambedkar's Hand-out to Energy Sector:
Ambedkar's role in the Indian Energy sector is undeniable. He helped set up Central Technical Power Board which later came to be known as the National Power Grid System.
Ambedkar and the Fight for Gender Equality:
Babasahib wrote many books like "Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India and Riddles of Hinduism", "The Rise and Fall of Hindu Woman" that depict his feminist perspective. That way, he has been the voice of not just the Dalits but also for the voiceless woman community. His work towards promoting women's education and empowerment is commendable. "I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved" he said. With respect to the Hindu Code Bill, the work of Ambedkar is hailed to be superior. There was a discrimination towards females in the family with regards to property. Ambedkar's Hindu Code Bill proposed to eliminate this discrimination. By placing the widow of a man, the daughter and the widow of the deceased son on the same plane, Ambedkar attempted to establish the equality of sexes in the family's property. He proposed that a daughter is eligible to share both her father's property as well as her husband's, just like the son.
Ambedkar and His Role in Improving Irrigation:
Dr. Ambedkar contributed to a greater extent to develop India's irrigation. The role he played in setting up the Central Water Irrigation and Navigation Commission cannot be ignored. He has to his credit, several irrigation projects like Damodar Valley project, Hirakud project and Sone river project.
Ambedkar - a Man of Letters and Vision:
The first law minister of independent India, Dr. Ambedkar wrote several journals like Mooknayak, Bahishkrit Bharat, Prabuddha Bharat and books like Annihilation of Caste (1936), Thoughts on Pakistan, Mr. Gandhi and emancipation of untouchables. He set up organisations like Bahishkrit Hitkarni sabha in 1924 and People’s Education Society in 1945. He was also the founder of Independent labour party (1936) and Republican Party (1956).
Be it the lack of knowledge about the history of India or selective illiteracy and ignorance or electoral politics - reasons can be varied but the result is the ruthless compression of Ambedkar's legacy to a mere Dalit hero. It's sad that the history textbooks in the school don't mention anything else about him apart from his dalit activism. Can we restructure things and stop killing their soul?