Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar or Baba Saheb, as he is fondly remembered, is said to be one of the founding fathers of India. Born on this day, April 14, in 1891, he grew up to become a highly educated man and a great jurist, economist and politician. But what truly made him gain the admiration and respect of his fellow nationals was his contribution to India’s social reform movements. As one of the topmost social leaders in the country then, he had a big role to play in changing our society for the better.
In celebration of Ambedkar Jayanti, let’s take a look at some of his inspirational quotes on life and society, which are more relevant today than ever.
1. On Nationalism
Baba Saheb was a profound nationalist and believed in the spirit of the nation as a whole–not as a particular religion or region. His idea of nationalism is quite evident in the following quote.
“We are Indians, firstly and lastly.”
2. On Caste System
Dr Ambedkar was against the caste system being followed in Hinduism in the 19th and 20th centuries. He himself faced the cruelty of untouchability coming in from his colleagues at work. As a leader defending equality in all forms, he opposed all sorts of discrimination based on caste and said,
“Caste may be bad. Caste may lead to conduct so gross as to be called man’s inhumanity to man. All the same, it must be recognised that the Hindus observe Caste not because they are inhuman or wrong-headed. They observe Caste because they are deeply religious.”
3. On Law & Order
From 1947 to 1951, he served as the first Law and Justice Minister of India. Law was the foundation over which he seeked to build a new independent India with equal rights for everyone. He said,
“Law and order are the medicine of the body politic and when the body politic gets sick, medicine must be administered.”
4. On Democracy
Dr Ambedkar was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution of India. He wrote the Constitution of a free India which is supposedly a step towards social revolution. The idea of a developing democracy is rooted in the Constitution in a way that it is relevant even after decades of constituting the first draft.
“Democracy is not merely a form of government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men.”
5. On Women’s Empowerment
Women’s empowerment was of utmost importance to Baba Saheb. He made sure that with the rebirth of a new and independent India, the original dignified position of the women in the society was re-established. This is why he gave much focus on equality based on gender in the constitution as well. He quoted,
“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”
6. On Man & Society
The things he said 60 years ago find their relevance in the modern world. The following quote is a proof that Ambedkar’s philosophy and ideas related to life, were way ahead of his time.
“Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.”
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