Friday, July 12, 2013

Can you identify this remarkable individual?

“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. 

3 Comments:

Blogger cm said...

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Sadly, I suppose, I only know this because C.Vann Woodward mentioned that Ambedkar opened up a window on caste and discrimination that influenced his work on the "untouchables" in America history and Jim Crow.

8/01/2013 11:23 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

You are correct. I hope to post a few more substantive things on his life and work before the end of the year. Unfortunately, unlike his compatriots: Gandhi, Tagore, or Nehru, for example, Ambedkar is, undeservedly, not well known in this country.

8/01/2013 2:25 PM  
Blogger .Santosh Kumar said...

"A tree is known by its fruit." His work is still bearing fruit in India and abroad. Dr Amartya Sen calls him "my father in Economics." President Obama calls him; "Martin Luther king in India." TIME magazine called him: "Untouchable Lincoln." He is more than king-size, my Dr B.R. Ambedkar! - M.Santosh Kumar, English Lecturer & Research Scholar, Padappai, Chennai, India 601 301

5/31/2014 5:58 AM  

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