Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar: A Matchless Nation-Builder
The Nation celebrates the 130th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar, a nationalist figure whose ideas have an indomitable spirit and inspiration for every citizen for diving into the nation-building exercise. However, his role as a social reformer, chairman of the draft committee of the Indian Constitution, and as first law minister of the Nation is primarily known. Still, he wore many hats as a distinguished economist, active politician, eminent lawyer, labour leader, great parliamentarian, fine scholar,anthropologist, learned professor&orator, etc., among others. Now, as the Nation has marked the beginning of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to honour the 75 years of Indian Independence, it becomes imperative to reflect on the multifaceted Dr. Ambedkar in entirety to grasp the gravity of his ideas, his role as a nation builder and actions taken thereupon, to strengthen the social fabric, building a just society and stronger Nation.
Dr. Ambedkar greatly pioneered as Institution Builder but didn’t get deserved attention in pages of history. The central bank of the country, i.e., the Reserve Bank of India, conceptualised from the Hilton Young Commission’s recommendation, which considered Dr. Ambedkars proposed guidelines in his book ’The Problem of Rupee- Its origin and its solution.’ As a labour member in Viceroy’s Executive Council from 1942 to 1946, he evolved numerous policies in the water, power, and labor welfare sector in the Nation’s best interest. His farsightedness helped in establishing Central Water Commission in the form of The Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission (CWINC), Central Technical Power Board, Integrated water resources Management through establishing river valley authority which actively considered projects like the Damodar River Valley Project, the Sone River Valley Project the Mahanadi (Hirakud Project), the Kosi and others on river Chambal and rivers of the Deccan region. The Inter-State water dispute Act, 1956, and the River Board Act, 1956 are his well thought out vision.
Dr. Ambedkar was the reasoned voice of depressed class on every platform. As their representative in the round table conference, hechampioned the cause of labours & improving the condition of peasants through their freedom from the clutches of cruel landlords. During the Bombay Assembly’s Poona session in 1937, he introduced a bill to abolish the Khoti system of land tenure in Konkan. In Bombay, the historic peasant march to the Council Hall in 1938 made him a popular leader of the peasants, workers, and the landless. He was the first legislator of the country to introduce a Bill for abolishing the serfdom of agricultural tenants. His essay titled ‘Small Holding in India and their remedies’ (1918) proposed industrialisation as the answer to India’s agricultural problem, which is still relevant in the contemporary economical debates.
As a member of the Bombay Assembly, The laborer’s echo Dr. Ambedkar opposed the introduction ofthe Industrial Disputes Bill, 1937, from tooth to nail as it removed the workers’ right to strike. As a labour member, he advocated for ‘fair condition of life of labour’ instead of securing’ fair condition of work’ and laid the government’s labor policy’s basic structure. His efforts resulted in bringing out progressive labour welfare measures & brought them under the ambit of social security. He significantly contributed toreducing of working hours to 48 hours per week, lifting the ban employment of women on underground work in coal mines, introducing the provisions of overtime & paid leave, fixation & protection of Minimum wage, establishing the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ irrespective of the sex, ensuring maternity benefit, constituting the labour welfare fund acknowledgment of trade unions. Taking on all these endeavours, Dr. Ambedkar outrightly opposed the communist labour movements, their extraterritorial loyalties’ and their Marxian approach to control all means of production.
As a chairman of the constitutions draft committee, he profoundly took meticulous measures for building India a just society through the principles of liberty, equality & fraternity. His advocacy for universal adult franchise ensured women’s voting right immediately after Independence. His Advocacy for Hindu Code Bill was a revolutionary measure towards ameliorating the women’s conditionby conferring the adoption & inheritance of property rights. He majorly contributed to developing a federal finance system among the centre & states for progressively raising their economic level & without jeopardising their interest. As a strong supporter of strengthening national integrity & sovereignty, he opposed the idea of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status at the planning stage itself & didn’t even include it in the draft of the constitution. He clearly expressed the dissatisfaction over Nehru’s foreign policy for taking the J&K matter to UNO suddenly, during his statement to mark his resignation from the union cabinet on 10th October 1951. The larger-than-life persona of Dr. Ambedkar has guided the Nation in all spheres through his radiating wisdom on all matters pertaining to human existence. Through a different worship system, he embraced the Indian cultural values of kindness, generosity & compassion through Buddhism.
Dr. Ambedkar’s line of thinking is reflected in the pro-people, pro-poor & public welfare policies and programs of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The central government is leaving no stone unturned to improving and easing life citizens through their social, economic & political empowerment. The development of Panchteerth, i.e.,Janam Bhumi (Mhow), Shiksha Bhumi (London), Chaity Bhumi (Mumbai), Diksha Bhumi (Nagpur), MahaParinirwan Bhumi (Delhi), steps to bestow appropriate legacy & honour to the nationalist reformer. The successful implementation of the Mudra Scheme for availing loans, Stand-up India for promoting entrepreneurship in SC & ST community, Startup India, Venture Capital Fund, Expansion of the Merit cum means Scholarship, Ayushman Bharat scheme for Healthcare, PM AwasYojana, Ujjwala Scheme, DeenDayalUpadhyay Gram JyotiYojna, Saubhagya Yojana, further extending the Maternity leaves to 26 weeks, simplification of Labour laws in Codes among others are several measures depicting the government’s unwavering commitment to fulfill the dreams of Dr. Ambedkar which he had for the great Nation.
On his birth anniversary today, let’s pay our fitting tribute by visualising the broader canvass of Dr.BR Ambedkar’s ideas & take a pledge to take committed action for immersing ourselves in the nation-building exercise.
Arjun Ram Meghwal
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary
Affairs and Heavy Industries & Public Entreprises and Member of Parliament, Bikaner
Issued by PIB Kohima