Friday, July 12, 2013
“Master of arts and doctorate in economics, Columbia University; master of science and doctorate of science in economics, London School of Economics and Political Science; barrister-at-law, Grey’s Inn, London. For anyone to attain so many degrees is impressive, but for an untouchable, born in a small rural town in a colonial country at the end of the nineteenth century, it is even more so. The superior education helped propel _______ _____ ________ (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956) to the leadership of a growing movement of India’s downtrodden.”
Upon Indian independence in 1947, he was invited to serve as India’s first law minister, which he accepted. He was then appointed chairman of the committee drafting India’s new Constitution, charged by the Assembly to write the document. Among the Constitution’s progressive provisions are protections for a wide range of individual civil liberties, including freedom of religion, as well as the abolition of “untouchability” and the prohibition of all forms of discrimination. He fought for gender equality in the laws of inheritance and marriage. He came to have a nuanced appreciation of Marxian ideas and late in his life converted to Buddhism, writing a book on Buddhist Dhamma that was posthumously published.
Who was this remarkable individual?
Image (above): The individual in question is shown in this photograph somewhere to the left of Gandhi at India’s Second Round Table Conference in 1931.