It is undisputed fact that Babasaheb Ambedkar’s contribution to the making of modern India is immense.Coming from a poor Dalit family,Ambedkar had to fight many odds.He suffered great humiliation because of his caste which is determined by birth and not one’s action.
He was determined to challenge caste system in India and his efforts in this direction is one of the most important contribution of his to modern India.He showed through his life’s example that education is empowerment.He also studied caste system through ancient Hindu texts and writings of Indologists and other scholars and came to the conclusion that caste has endured so long because of a prohibition of inter-caste marriage i.e; “purity of blood and lineage” is sustaining it.
He was a wise democrat who helped to create a constitution which was founded on fundamental principles of equality,justice and fraternity.Various enabling provisions like Prevention of Untouchability,Reservation,Hindu Code has helped to uplift the most marginalised section of the society.
But it would be unfair to restrict his contribution only to Dalit society.His contribution in constitution making has helped every citizen of India.People were not so aware of their rights as in today.At that time elites like Ambedkar and others thought ahead of their time and created a constitution which is among the best in the world.
Ambedkar dared to be different when he opposed Congress and Gandhi.In fact,probably no man,other than Ambedkar,belittled Gandhi so much with his arguments and opinions.
Ambedkar didn’t believe in hero worship and asked his followers not to deify him.Even I don’t believe in hero worship and would like to see Ambedkar with his faults.I don’t like his vitriolic criticism of Hinduism.Though caste became an important part of Hinduism,there is much more to it.It has a rich tradition since Vedic time which preaches humanity,love,peace and respect for all beings (and not just humans).Today many converted Dalits have turned Buddhism into “anti-Hinduism”.If I convert to Buddhism,my motivation should be the attraction towards Buddhism and not hate towards Hinduism (personally I find the idea of conversion irrelevant since all religions preach same core values).Had Buddha been alive,he would have taught the masses mindfulness (through the technique of Vipassana) rather than convert them.
Further Ambedkar’s contribution to the constitution was important but he was not the sole architect.Giving overwhelming importance to Ambedkar in a way disrespects the contribution of other great leaders like Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, K.T. Shah,Vallabh Bhai Patel,Nehru among others.
So, in conclusion, we can say that Ambedkar spearheaded an alternative discourse in the making of modern India which is still relevant today,not only in India but anywhere in the world where inequality and injustice are deep-rooted and often legitimised by social norms .Like any great leader, he had his share of flaws but probably his good qualities far outweighed them.