B. R. Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (Hindi भीमराव रामजी आंबेडकर; born April 14, 1891 in Mhow, † December 6, 1956 in Delhi ), also known by his honorific name Babasaheb, was an Indian lawyer, politician and social reformer. As a member of Mahar, a living mainly in Maharashtra and neighboring states population group that is traditionally counted among the Dalits, Ambedkar fought against social discrimination, the system of categorization of Hindu society into four varnas and the caste system. In 1956, he converted to Buddhism and triggering a mass conversion of hundreds of thousands of Dalits to Theravada Buddhism. In a study conducted on behalf of History TV18 and CNN IBN poll, who was the greatest Indian after Gandhi, BR Ambedkar received the most votes in July 2012.

Childhood and school days

Ambedkar was born in Mhow, a company founded by the British in Madhya Pradesh military base, as fourteenth and last child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal and Bhimabai. His family belonged to the Mahar caste, which ranks among the untouchable box. The family came from the village Ambavade in Maharashtra. The father left the army with the rank of Subedars, one introduced in the Indian Army in British India rank between NCOs and officers. 1894, after leaving the army, the father in Dapoli in Maharashtra settled. Recalling his military rank of the father reached that his sons were allowed to visit the support of the government school. About his experience in school as a member of a caste of untouchables, Ambedkar reported in notes he wrote in the 1930s. In the classroom he had in a corner for himself sitting alone on a cloth that he had to bring and wash yourself, as service personnel who had the task to clean the school, nothing cleaned what he had touched. Classmates from the higher castes were allowed if they were thirsty, drink water from the tap. He was allowed as Untouchable not touch the faucet and could drink only when a worker was present, which could bring him water. The path to a higher education stood him only open when a Brahmin teacher who recognized the talent of the young man, him the use of the Brahmin surname Ambedkar instead of his original family name Ambavadekar, the herleitete from the place of origin of his family, offered.

Education and qualifications

In 1912 he was able, thanks to a grant from the Maharaja of Baroda ( Sayajirao Gaikwad ) in Bombay ( now Mumbai ) to study at the prestigious Elphinstone College. His studies there, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.

More scholarships enabled him to pursue his academic training. He first studied at Columbia University in New York economics and law. His master's thesis wrote about the caste system. The Ph.D. he earned with a thesis on the financial system in the provinces of British India. Great influence on him was the American philosopher and educator John Dewey, who taught at the same time at Columbia University.

He then went to London a enrolled at Gray 's Inn, one of the English Bar Associations, as a lawyer and started another doctoral thesis at the London School of Economics.

The Ministry of Science, Art and Education Berlin in honor of Ambedkar on April 25, 1921 enrollment application for the University of Bonn, studying never stepped in Bonn but.

Work in India

1923 returned Ambedkar because his scholarship was leaked, as a lawyer back to India. Professional Initially he held the post of finance minister in the state of Baroda and was Professor of Economics. Finally, after two years he took care of all the needs of the Dalits as untouchables of Hindu society are called. Another name for the Dalits is on Mahatma Gandhi declining term Harijan (inaccurate as " children of God " translated in the West, actually: " Vishnu - born" ). Ambedkar preferred the term " Dalit ", of a self- designation of the untouchable box is in contrast to " Harijan " and contains a combative element. Since the same access to public facilities was given to Dalits in practice not led Dr. Ambedkar thousands of them in a protest march in March 1927 Chowdar water reservoir in order to drink water. Caste Hindus subsequently conducted from extensive cleansing rituals. Dr. Ambedkar was now trying to take legal action, which, however, only after ten years led to success, which led him to the conclusion that you could not restrict it, they wanted to improve the miserable situation of the Dalits. In May 1936, he described the move away from Hinduism as an essential element of liberation. By 1956, he led research on the liberation potential of religions, especially Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, by.

In 1947, the now -recognized political and spiritual leader of the Dalits justice ministers in the first government of independent India. He held the chair of the Constitution Committee and was instrumental in the drafting of the Indian Constitution, as the real "father" he is seen. In 1951 he resigned as Prime Minister, after he had to realize that the Hindu leadership was not willing to comply with its demands for social, economic and political equality of the Dalits in full.

On October 14, 1956 Ambedkar joined in Nagpur during a major ceremony together with about 388,000 untouchables converted to Buddhism by taking the threefold refuge as historical accounts after a little more than 2200 years ago in the same place on the same day of the great Ashoka had done. At this point the Deekshabhoomi was built. In the Buddha's teaching, he saw a the caste system rejecting and reason led, yes socially revolutionary religion whose ethics are based on the principles of equality, freedom and goodness.

In the following years, the number of converts increased to about 6 million. The movement Ambedkar thus caused a revival of Buddhism in India, from the 4th century BC to the 8/9 Century AD, the leading intellectual force had been on the Indian subcontinent, but then in the course of a Brahmin countermission (from the 8th century ) and the Islamic conquest of India ( 12./14. Century) was largely displaced from its area of ​​origin.

Although India is a predominantly Hindu country, was launched on Ambedkar's the symbol of Buddhism, the " Wheel of Dharma " ( dharmacakra ) was added to the national flag of India, seeing the famous " Löwenkapitell " of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka (ca. 268-232 v. AD) was chosen as the national emblem of the Indian Republic.

Ambedkar died only a few months after his conversion to Buddhism on December 6, 1956. In April 1990, he posthumously with the Order of Merit " Bharat Ratna " ( Jewel of India dt ) of the Indian Republic 's highest honor was bestowed.

Launched by Ambedkar »Society for Popular Education ," with numerous educational institutions and the " Buddhist Society of India " continue his work. In India today live again about 10 million Buddhists.