Dr. Ambedkar has been acknowledged as a great thinker and activist of the modern age. His interest was varied and widespread. There is hardly any substantive issue on which he did not express his views in a cogent manner. With the passage of time, many of his observations and ideas, as he foresaw them in matters of social, economic and political issues, are now proving a true. Almost right from the beginning, Dr. Ambedkar's ideas attracted public attention. His protest movement for justice to the downtrodden masses of this country attracted world-wide attention, and that culminated in a variety of ways in composition of the Indian Constitution of which he was the chief architect. The present book is a study of the thoughts and observations of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who has played the part of destiny in the liberation of the suppressed masses of India, particularly the Untouchables. It depicts his heroic struggles for raising the downtrodden to human dignity which will shine as a golden chapter in the history of this nation and in the history of human freedom as well. This is an attempt to give in short the myriad sides of his life in its proper historic perspective and intended to provide a representative Cross-section of the Credo of a great thinker of the twentieth century. If it helps the general public know the real Ambedkar, the object of writing this book will be amply rewarded.
This book is a study of the thoughts and observations of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who established an ideology of protest for the liberation of the underprivileged, downtrodden masses of India, especially the Untouchables. Dr. Ambedkar has played the part of destiny in the liberation of suppressed humanity in India. From the depths of despair, Dr. Ambedkar emerged as a colossus in the Indian political arena to champion the causes of the Depressed Classes and uphold human dignity. Though provoking and provocative, his life is highly instructive to everyone who yearns for human dignity and equality in human relations in society. His eternal search for knowledge, his incredible industry and his unflinching aim with which he raised himself from dust to doyen, from the life of a social leper to the position of a Constitution-maker, and-his heroic struggles for raising the downtrodden to human dignity will shine as a golden chapter in the history of this nation and in the history of human freedom as well. Volumes could be written about Dr. Ambedkar's yeoman services in the cause of Indian renaissance. This is, however, too small a volume to describe that spirit and those services adequately. This is a humble attempt to give in short the myriad sides of his life in its proper historic perspective. To quote Sir Edmund Gosse, I have attempted in this book "to give a faithful portrait of a soul in adventures through life". Dr. Ambedkar's life is romantic, epic and volcanic and so is it full of flashes and flames. A revolutionary realist as he
was, he based his movement on clear-cut ideological propositions and strategy. If this book helps the general public know the real Ambedkar, I shall feel happy that the object of writing this book is fulfilled. My debt of gratitude is acknowledged to all those who constantly encouraged me in this endeavour. I also gladly acknowledge my debt to various authors, journals and publications from whom/ which I have drawn excerpts. Lastly my special thanks are due to National Publishing House, New Delhi, for readily agreeing to publish this work.
The life of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is a saga of great struggles and achievements. Gandhiji described him as "a man who has carved out for himself a unique position in society". Adding further, he said : "Dr. Ambedkar is not the man to allow himself to be forgotten." Dr. Ambedkar has been acknowledged as a great thinker and activist of the modern age. He started writing and speaking out his mind since the year 1916 and continued to do so till his death in 1956. His interest was varied and widespread. There is hardly any substantive issue on which he did not express his views in a cogent manner. With the passage of time, many of his observations and ideas as he foresaw them in matters of social, economic and political issues are now proving a true. If his solutions and remedies on various socio-economic problems are properly understood and followed, it may help us to steer through the present turmoil and guide us for the future.
According to Dr. Ambedkar's own definition, "A great man must be motivated by the dynamics of a social purpose and must act as the scourge and the scavenger of the society. These are the elements which distinguish an eminent individual from a great man and constitute his title-deeds to respect and reverence." Indeed, he himself fulfilled all the conditions of being a Great Man. His title to this dignity rests upon the social purposes he served and the way he served them. Almost right from the beginning, Dr. Ambedkar's ideas attracted public attention, particularly because of his open challenge to Gandhi on many vital issues. His protest movement for justice to the downtrodden masses of this country attracted world-wide attention, and that culminated in a variety of ways in composition of the Indian Constitution of which he was the chief architect.
The Maharashtra Government has rendered a unique service in publishing Dr. Ambedkar's writings and speeches in sixteen volumes so far since 1979, and are yet to publish his correspondence, miscellaneous writings and also his writings and speeches, etc., in original Marathi. The first fifteen volumes contain about 11,500 pages, and Vol. 16 consists of his 'Pali Dictionary'. For general readers, it is, however, very difficult to get at the basic ideas of Dr. Ambedkar spread over his voluminous writings and speeches. There has been a long-felt need for a short compilation of a pithy but purposeful selections from his writings and speeches as well as his biography to serve not only as an introduction to the ideas of one who profoundly influenced the making of modern India but also for rapid, easy reading by the general public. An attempt has been made in this book to serve that purpose. The selected material for this volume has been culled out of the Writings and Speeches of Dr. Ambedkar as contained in the aforesaid fifteen volumes as well as from his biography by Dhananjay Keer (3rd edition 1971). The classification of the material that has been made here may appear to be a bit elaborate, but that has been done rather intentionally to give adequate coverage to the vast canvas of Dr. Ambedkar's thoughts and ideas on various burning issues of the day. For convenience of ready reference to the source material, indication has been given at the end of each section or item, wherein .the Roman numericals stand for the volumes (with page numbers) of the Writings and Speeches almost in all cases. Other sources like the biography are also mentioned.
For those who fully grasped the significance of his life and mission, Dr. Ambedkar was not only the noblest voice of the oppressed and depressed masses of this country, but also the conscience of the whole nation. This publication, which consists of a compilation of select extracts from the Writings and Speeches of Dr. Ambedkar, is intended to provide a representative cross-section of the credo of a great thinker of the twentieth century.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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