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In the past, what seems like eons ago, I wrote an essay. As I
was racking my brains today, I came across this tidbit. I remember
wanting to embrace Cloud Technology, so I actually typed out this
In the past, what seems like eons ago, I wrote an essay. As I was racking my brains today, I came across this tidbit. I remember wanting to embrace Cloud Technology, so I actually typed out this essay on Google Docs! The experience was, unfortunately, quite underwhelming.
The essay is reproduced in full below.
Dr. Ambedkar- A Social Reformer
A humble essay
Class XII D
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Hebbal
Life should be great, rather than long.
- Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
How is ones life measured? Is it by the amount of money one makes? The number of awards one has stocked up? Or perhaps, by the number of lives one has touched, the number of lives one has had an impact on, even changing them for the better?
If one were to use the latter as the criteria for judging a person, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar would undoubtedly, unquestioningly, take a prominent, nearly angelic position in judges mind. Why shouldnt he? The man, often regarded a Bodhisattva by those who followed him, though in his infinite humility, he never claimed to be one. The man, whose life involved quite a variety of firsts, he was a torchbearer, who knowingly or unknowingly, practiced what he preached, giving his words the power to inspire. He was the first so-called untouchable to enter a dignified college (Elphinstone College, which not even most of the upper-classes could do), the first one from his community to receive postgraduate education, as well as one of the firsts to properly address the concern of the Chaturvarna, the four castes which existed predominantly in Hinduism.
Perhaps this caste-based division helped society function better during early times, when civilization was only beginning to take shape, where ones duties did not seem as apparent as they do today, justifying the need for the Varna. The progress of society should have also seen the abolishment of such a system when it was no longer necessary. It did not, which in itself, is magna quidem injuria, a great injustice. It is also a fact that only those who possess power in addition to the will to create change, can bring it about.
Dr. Ambedkar, or Ambavadekar as he was known then, (before his beloved Brahmin teacher, Mahadev Ambedkar, who was fond of him, changed his surname from 'Ambavadekar' to his own surname 'Ambedkar' in school records) , probably understood this instinctively, which is why he continually strived to better himself, so that he could better the lives of others. Although critics might accuse him of propagating caste based divisions, where he thought only of improving the Depressed Classes, one might also point out that he would not have been required to do so if they were given equality and not deprived of their rights. Dr Ambedkar fought so that others would not have to fight. This signifies the epitome of his selflessness, his Bodhisattvic qualities, which is no surprise why he converted to Buddhism and is also credited with providing a spark for the transformation of hundreds of thousands of Dalits or untouchables to Theravada Buddhism.
Such was the impact he had, he , for all practical purposes, single handedly brought the Harijan to the path of upliftment. He was a man of intense perseverance, determination, and devotion towards work , a karmabhakt, and one of the many who helped India claim her birthright of Independence.
Such insight and hidden optimism also enabled him to work his way towards those who were fighting for Indias independence from the British. He also played a very vital role in the early years of Independent India. He was instrumental in ensuring that those who had been downtrodden and suppressed for so long, were given a voice in the new fledgling, soon-to-be Republic, in the most efficient way by becoming their voice and source for change. The only person, who could understand the pain and suffering of the Harijan, was one of them. So he went on to represent them and proposed many radical ideologues and saw their implementation to the best of his ability.
The conception of secular state is derived from the liberal democratic tradition of west. No institution which is maintained wholly out of state funds shall be used for the purpose of religious instruction irrespective of the question whether the religious instruction is given by the state or any other body.
In his views about religion, particularly about Hinduism, he indicated that he supported the regulation of priests and that they ought to be governed by special rules so that they did not misuse their influence within society to create further divisions. It would not be farfetched to conclude that most of this bitterness was born out of his own personal experiences, of the many incidents he might have seen helplessly. Although this may be the case, Dr. Ambedkar does not allow pure sentimentality and prejudice to deviate him from his pursuit for justice. In classic Ambedkar-ian style, he backed up his arguments with sound reasoning. He explained that there was no difference between the role of a Hindu priest and any other "profession". Like a doctor or a lawyer, a priest performed necessary functions in the community and is called upon when needed. The state regulates other professions with examinations and certification awarded solely on merit; why should religion be any different?
From this alone, we can see that Dr. Ambedkar does not perceive religion as a manner of tradition, and that he would be unimpressed by arguments that Hinduism has been practiced a certain way for 3000 years, so the tradition must be continued in the same form. On the contrary, Dr. Ambedkar sees religion as a profession like medicine and law that is constantly improving and fits itself to the needs of the people. This attitude is summarized by his famous statement to a Mahar conference: "Religion is for man, and not man for religion." In this belief he was not alone, nor was he the first: Ludwig Feuerbach had cast Christianity in a similar light a century earlier in Das Wesen des Christentums when he called its "true" essence "anthropological".
Learn to live in this world with self-respect. You should always cherish some ambition of doing something in this world. But remember that the age of selflessness has ended. A new epoch is set in. All things are now possible because of your being able to participate in the politics and legislature of your country.
So said the Father of the Indian Constitution. So said the man, who was repeatedly thought to be a god-send, an incarnate of the Almighty himself. So said Dr Ambedkar, who understood that in order to create change, you must be heard above the din and furore of those who sought deny you of your voice.
Dr Ambedkar also made prophetic observations about the nature of the Constitution which he played a major role in drafting. He believed that however the good a Constitution was, it was sure to turn out bad because those who were called to work it, happened to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may was, it may turn out to be good if those who were called to work it, happened to be a good lot. The working of the Constitution did not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution could provide only the organs of state such as legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The factors on which the workings of these organs of state depended were the people and the political parties they would set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and policies. It was, therefore, futile to pass any judgment upon the Constitution without reference to the part which the people and their parties were likely to play.
Dr. Ambedkar has various other deeds to his credit, including the early encouragement of the Depressed Classes(formerly, Dalits) through the many periodicals he began like Mook Nayak, Bahishkrit Bharat, and Equality Janta. He was also involved in the Poona Pact, the Kalaram Temple movement and his invitation to the Second Round Table Conference in London, due to his sheer merit and devotion to the cause which gave him popularity, prominence and support. Many of these revolutions were successful in their own right, for they made people recognize the individuality of those in the Depressed Classes. They were capable of proudly proclaiming We exist. You are no longer capable of denying us.
His legacy continued to live on long after his mortal journey ended. His actions have allowed for the betterment of the downtrodden, the reviving of their ability to compete on par with everybody, if not ahead of them.