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Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), also known as Babasaheb was an Indian jurist, politician, philosopher, anthropologist, historian and economist. As independent India’s first law minister, he was the principal architect of the Constitution of India.

Born into a poor Mahar family, he campaigned against social discrimination and the Indian caste system. Ambedkar was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1990.

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He earned a law degree and doctorates for his study and research in law, economics and political science from Columbia University and the London School of Economics. Ambedkar gained a reputation as a scholar and practised law for a few years. Later, he campaigned by publishing journals advocating political rights and social freedom for India’s untouchables. He is regarded as a Bodhisattva by some Indian Buddhists, though he never claimed it himself.

Upon India’s independence on 15 August 1947, the new government invited Ambedkar to serve as the nation’s first Law Minister, which he accepted. On 29 August, he was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, charged by the Assembly to write India’s new Constitution. Not just the constitution, he played a major role in formation of Reserve Bank of India and its policies, economic planning and various other things.

Ambedkar’s legacy as a socio-political reformer had a deep effect on modern India. In post-independence India, his socio-political thought has acquired respect across the political spectrum. His initiatives have influenced various spheres of life and transformed the way India today looks at socio-economic policies, education and takes affirmative action through socio-economic and legal incentives.

He passionately believed in the freedom of the individual and I have learnt a lot from the teachings of this great man.

‘We are Indians, first and lastly’

– B.R Ambedkar