Ambedkar was a beckoning leader of the Untouchables, but he was also much more- patriot, scholar, thinker and Founding Father of the Indian Constitution. Babasaheb’s contribution to the advancement of education in the country is multifarious. Educate, Organize and Agitate was his burning message. His empowerment refers to an increase in the spiritual, political, social, racial, educational, gender or economic strength of individuals and communities. Ambedkar wanted the people to cultivate the values of freedom and equality among themselves. He believed that it was only possible through education. He regarded education as a means to reach the doors of light and perception to remove the regions of darkness and ignorance. Ambedkar emphasized secular education for social emancipation. The basic theme of his philosophy of education is: inculcating the values of liberty, equality, fraternity, justice and moral character among the boys and girls of all shades.
With his emphasis on equality and education for all, Ambedkar, a Dalit himself, came forward and contributed towards the upliftment and empowerment of Dalits and untouchables. Along with forming many organizations for the empowerment of the Dalit Ambedkar also put emphasis on-
EDUCATION AND EQUALITY FOR ALL:
He said that “It is the education which is the right weapon to cut the social slavery and it is the education which will enlighten the downtrodden masses to come up and gain social status, economic betterment and political freedom” In 1923 Baba Saheb founded ‘Bahishkrit Hitkarni Sabha to spread education among marginalized and to improve their economic conditions. He gave the slogan: “Educate-Agitate-Organize”.
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Dr Ambedkar devoted his whole life to fight against the evils of the caste system. Being himself a Dalit, he made all his efforts to change the hierarchical structures of Indian society and spoke for equal rights of the marginalized and abolition of Untouchability. He stood for a complete reorganization of the Hindu society on the principle of equality and abolishing casteism. He opted for peaceful and constitutional methods for his agenda.
LIBERTY, EQUALITY, AND FRATERNITY:
Dr Ambedkar was a liberal who realized the Dalit Movement would be incomplete without a proper plan and provided the necessary ideology to it. He created awareness among the suppressed classes to have a graceful life.
He formed three political parties- the Independent Labour Party, the Republican Party of India and the All India Scheduled Caste Federation. These were the major instruments in speaking for and organizing the Dalit community.
He represented the untouchables in the Round Table Conference in 1930. The Harijans were granted a reservation of seat in the elections due to all his efforts. He supported economic and social rights for women while preparing the Constitution of India. He introduced a system of reservations for members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and Other Backward Class in the civil services, schools, and colleges.
MAINSTREAMING THE UNTOUCHABLES:
His programs were focused on bringing out untouchables from the shackles of casteism and into Indian society. Babasaheb fought not only for the equal status of Varna but for social, economic and political equality for all. His ideas & programs set forth concrete proposals for the removal of untouchability. Dr Ambedkar demanded justice for them and other weaker sections of the society via making provisions in the Indian Constitution.
FORMING THE CONSTITUTION-
- He played a leading role as the Chairman of the constitution drafting committee in 1947.
- Ambedkar was a wise constitutional expert. He had studied the constitutions of about 60 countries.
- The text prepared by Ambedkar provided constitutional guarantees and protections to individual citizens for a wide range of civil liberties. These include freedom of religion, the abolition of untouchability, and the outlawing of all forms of discrimination.
- He laid emphasis on religious, gender and caste equality. Even Ambedkar recommended the adoption of the Uniform Civil code to bring reform in the Indian society.