B. R Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891, in Mhow, a town and military cantonment in the Central Provinces (now officially known as Dr Ambedkar Nagar) (now in Madhya Pradesh). He was the 14th and final child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal, a Subedar in the army, and Bhimabai Sakpal, the daughter of Laxman Murbadkar. His ancestors came from the Marathi town of Ambadawe (Mandangad taluka) in the Ratnagiri district of modern-day Maharashtra. Ambedkar was born into the Mahar (Dalit) caste, which was considered untouchable and faced socioeconomic discrimination. His forefathers had long served in the British East India Company’s army, and his father had served in the British Indian Army’s Mhow cantonment.
He passed his matriculation examination in 1907, and the following year he enrolled in Elphinstone College, which was associated with the University of Bombay, becoming the first from his Mahar caste to do so, according to him. People in his village wanted to rejoice after he completed his English fourth-grade exams because they thought he had achieved “high heights,” which he says was “hardly an occasion compared to the state of education in other areas.” The community held a public event to commemorate his achievement, and it was at this time that he was presented with a biography of the Buddha by Dada Keluskar, the author and a family friend.
Drafting of the Constitution
On August 15, 1947, India’s new Congress-led government invited Ambedkar to serve as the country’s first Law Minister, which he accepted. On August 29, he was named Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee by the Assembly, and tasked with writing India’s new Constitution. Ambedkar’s Indian Constitution was termed by Granville Austin as “first and primarily a social document.”
‘The majority of India’s constitutional provisions are either directly aimed at achieving the goal of social revolution or attempt to promote it by building conditions necessary for its realisation.’ Ambedkar’s text guaranteed and protected a wide variety of civil liberties for individuals, including freedom of religion, the removal of untouchability, and the prohibition of all types of discrimination.