Rising from the depths of inequality and breaking free people of India from the shackles of discrimination & disparity is an achievement that is solely attributed to Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. A scholar, reformer, leader, and famously known for being the chief architect of the Constitution of India, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar dedicated his life to fighting injustice and inequality prevalent in modern India. His role in establishing a new social order that guaranteed transparency, accountability, and most importantly equality in the system was and is still lauded by scholars and politicians alike.
While his family hailed from the Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra, Dr Ambedkar was born in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh on 14 April 1891. During his childhood, he attended a school that segregated students on the basis of caste and those who belonged to a lower caste were not allowed to sit in the class. Being a Dalit, Dr Ambedkar was subjected to mal-treatment from a very young age which later came to reflect in his writings. He made a solemn vow to fight for social equality and years later wrote the most sacrosanct document of India, its constitution.
Education of Dr B.R. Ambedkar
Dr Ambedkar showed his inquisitiveness from a very young age and despite getting married at age of 15 in 1906, he did not wander from his academic pursuits. He passed his matriculation examination in 1907 and received admission at Elphinstone College, Bombay, the following year. He became the first person from his community to achieve this feat.
In 1912, he received a degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Bombay. But he didn’t stop there, his thirst for knowledge and his determination to learn more only grew and led him to get admission to Columbia University in the United States in 1913. This journey to the West was possible due to the Baroda State Scholarship, which provided him with a monthly allowance and enabled him to his MA in Economics.
Journey to LSE
In 1920, economist Edwin R. Seligman from Columbia University recommended Dr Ambedkar to the London School of Economics, asking them to help a young Ambedkar complete his research. However, Dr Ambedkar’s tryst with the prestigious institute began in 1916, when he had applied for a Master’s programme.
In 1916, he registered for a master’s degree at LSE where he took courses in Geography, Political Ideas, and Social Evolution & Social Theory. At the time, LSE was only 21 years old but it gained a reputation for imparting high-quality education in the field of Social Sciences. Ambedkar’s studies were halted by the First World War when he was recalled to India to serve in the military. During this period, he was on a leave of four years granted to him by the University of London.
In 1920, Dr Ambedkar returned to LSE to complete his master’s degree and his thesis on “The Provincial Decentralisation of Imperial Finance in India.” After falling to many upheavals in resuming his studies at LSE, he finally submitted his doctoral thesis titled “The Problem of the Rupee”, in March 1923. Initially rejected for being ‘anti-British’, his thesis was later accepted. And even though his professor disagreed with certain parts of his thesis, he still wrote a foreword for it.
After completing a long drawn educational journey, Dr Ambedkar returned to India and over the years became a prominent figure in India’s freedom struggle and a staunch campaigner against the discrimination of the Dalit community. In 1947, he was appointed as the first Law Minister of independent India and the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution.
Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s life serves as an example of how education, steadfastness and hard work liberates a person belonging to a marginalized community and thereby works to liberate the community itself.
Today, The London School of Economics and Political Sciences pridefully hosts Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s statue on its campus to commemorate his contribution to India & its politics.
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