The nation on Sunday paid homage to Bharat Ratna Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar on his 122nd birth anniversary.
A number of functions have been organized throughout the country to mark this occasion.
Dr. Ambedkar, popularly also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, philosopher, anthropologist, historian, orator, economist, and editor. He was also the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution.
Born into a poor Mahar (considered an untouchable caste) family, Ambedkar campaigned against social discrimination, the system of Chaturvarna – the categorization of Hindu society into four varnas – and the Hindu caste system.
He returned to Buddhism and is also credited with providing a spark for the transformation of hundreds of thousands of untouchables to Theravada Buddhism. Dr. Ambedkar was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1990.
Overcoming numerous social and financial obstacles, Dr Ambedkar became one of the first outcastes to obtain a college education in India.
Eventually earning law degrees and multiple doctorates for his study and research in law, economics and political science from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, Dr. Ambedkar gained a reputation as a scholar and practiced law for a few years, later campaigning by publishing journals advocating political rights and social freedom for India’s untouchables.
He is regarded as a Bodhisattva by some Indian Buddhists, though he never claimed himself to be a Bodhisattva.