BabaSaheb Ambedkar – An Intellectual Colossus

One of the greatest leaders of the independence movement not only in terms of his contributions as a revolutionary political activist but also in terms of an intellectual academic. 

Doyen of Modern India:

  • Ramachandra Guha in one of his books, ‘Makers of Modern India’ has acknowledged Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as one of the doyens of modern India whose life is a reflection of an excellent mix of exceptional intelligence and political leadership in an equal proportion. 

A multi-dimensional man:

  • Babasaheb was a multi-dimensional man. His multidisciplinary scholarship in economics, sociology, anthropology and politics created an envious body of work and was second to none. The much discussed policy move on demonetization of high currency denomination was conceived by Babasaheb in his days as a student of economics.  Restricting his eternal legacy to a particular community, politics, idea or ideology is indeed a grave disservice to his soul.

Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution of India:

  • Babasaheb chaired the drafting committee that produced the lengthiest Constitution for the world’s most diverse nation. The constitution was set to impact the present and future of over 1/6th of the humanity.

A Reformer of Education:

  • Emphasis on education by Babasaheb is reflective of the lifelong impression that his teacher at Columbia University, Prof. John Dewey had on him. Babasaheb has often credited Prof. John Dewey as someone to whom he owes his intellectual life. Prof. John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist, and perhaps best known as a reformer of education. Dewey was also one of the central figures associated with functional psychology, philosophy and progressive education.
  • Babasaheb was a strong votary of attaining formal education abroad. At the time when heading to the UK for legal education was considered rewarding in lucrative terms, Babasaheb moved to Columbia University owing to his eternal affection for humanities. He pursued diverse courses ranging from economics of American railways to American history.

Contribution to foreign policy:

  • His contribution in shaping India’s foreign policy is often ignored by the strategic community. 11 years before the Chinese attacked India, Babasaheb forewarned India to choose the West over the Chinese and urged the then leadership to shape India’s future on the pillar of constitutional democracy. 
  • Speaking at a gathering of students of Lucknow University in 1951, Ambedkar forewarned: “The government’s foreign policy failed to make India stronger. Why should not India get a permanent seat in the UN Security Council? Why has the prime minister not tried for it? India must choose between parliamentary democracy and the Communist way of dictatorship and come to a final conclusion”.