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Ignoring Ambedkar’s economic thoughts unjust: Book

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New Delhi: Indian society has done great injustice to itself by ignoring the economic thoughts of national icon B.R. Ambedkar, a new book says.

“After all, his economic thoughts were not parochial,” says scholar Narendra Jadhav in his latest book, “Ambedkar: An Economist Extraordinaire” (Konark).

“What Ambedkar always had in mind was in the best interest of the nation as a whole,” the author says. “To brand him only as a leader of the downtrodden in India is an insult to this great patriot.”

The 270-page book adds: “What is equally disheartening is depriving the Indian society of the benefit of his (Ambedkar’s) economic thoughts, an act which is self-defeating for India as a nation.”

Ambedkar’s basic training was as an economist, Jadhav points out.

Ambedkar (1891-1956) was awarded the degrees of M.A. and PhD in economics by Columbia University in the US in 1915 and 1917 respectively.

The degree of doctor of science (DSc), which the London of School of Economics conferred on him in 1923, was also for research in economics.

Ambedkar’s PhD dissertation, “The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India”, is considered a seminal contribution to the field of public finance. It analysed the evolution of the centre-state financial relations in British India.

His DSc dissertation, “The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution”, is a magnum opus and seen as a major contribution to the field of monetary economics.

“Ambedkar’s professional career bears a distinct imprint of an economist,” the book says.

“Various memoranda and statements that he submitted to the government (under British rule as well as in independent India) are indicative of his deep insights into India’s economic problems.

“His speeches are replete with stimulating economic thoughts. He is probably the first thinker to analyse economic dimensions of social maladies in India, such as the caste system and untouchability.”

Jadhav says that not many economists are even aware that on the currency question, Ambedkar crossed swords with influential economic thinkers such as John Maynard Keynes.

The book says that Ambedkar — who later embraced Buddhism — presented a perceptive critique of Marxism in his essay, “Buddha or Karl Marx”.

He also spelt out his views on the ideal strategy for India’s economic development in his Memorandum, “States and Minorities” (1947).

The book says that the widespread ignorance regarding Ambedkar’s contribution as an economist was “shocking and unfortunate”.

Jadhav says that due honour had been given to the contributions of Dadabhai Nauroji and Mahadev Govind Ranade both as freedom fighters and as economists.

“But the same, unfortunately, has not happened in the case of Ambedkar although his contribution to economics was no less important, to say the least.”

Jadhav, an economist, educationist and administrator, has been a member of the Planning Commission and chief economist of the Reserve Bank of India.

(IANS)

 

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Interesting Life Facts About Dr BR Ambedkar

Dr BR Ambedkar came from a middle-class Dalit family and barely had money to make ends meet but still, he didn’t budge on his efforts against social injustices.

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Dr BR Ambedkar efforts to eradicate untouchability and the caste system were phenomenal. Wikimedia Commons
Dr BR Ambedkar efforts to eradicate untouchability and the caste system were phenomenal. Wikimedia Commons
  • Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar
  • Dr BR Ambedkar inspired the Modern Buddhist Movement in India
  • In 1924, Dr BR Ambedkar formed a community for removing difficulties of the untouchables and placing their grievances before government

“I do not want that our loyalty as Indians should be in the slightest way affected by any competitive loyalty whether that loyalty arises out of our religion, out of our culture or out of our language. I want all people to be Indians first, Indian last, and nothing else but Indians.”

These were the words from one of the greatest social reformers of our nation and the most influential name who worked against social discrimination. Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was an exceptional leader that modern India has ever seen. Dr BR Ambedkar had multi feathers like that of a jurist, politician and an economist in his hat.

Also Read: Savitribai Phule: The Pioneer Of The Women Education In India

Dr BR Ambedkar was independent India’s first Law Minister and known to be the author of India’s constitution. He used education as a means to rise above all odds and envisioned India to stand on the ladder of prosperity and development. He inspired the Modern Buddhist Movement in India and pioneered campaigns against social discrimination against Dalits, women and labour. He wanted India’s to be a real democratic country and even quoted:

“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 our fellow men.”

Dr BR Ambedkar was elected as the first Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly.
Dr BR Ambedkar was elected as the first Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly.

Dr BR Ambedkar was born in 1891 in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh and died due to severe diabetic neurosis on 6 December 1956 at his home in Delhi. After his demise, his political party was renamed as Republican Party of India in 1957 by his followers. This visionary’s birthday is celebrated as Ambedkar Jayanti in India, every year. He came from a middle-class Dalit family and barely had money to make ends meet but still, he didn’t budge on his efforts against social injustices.

Also Read: Swami Vivekananda’s Quotes That Will Inspire You To The Fullest

The legacy of one of India’s brilliant leader should be noted down well and hence; we have taken up few of the facts about his life and struggle, take a look:

  1. Dr BR Ambedkar ‘s real name was Ambavadekar but his teacher, Mahadev Ambedkar, who was very fond of him, changed his surname from ‘Ambavadekar’ to his own surname ‘Ambedkar’.
  2. Ambedkar was very much against the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gives a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He even offered his resignation for his condition of removing Article 370 from the constitution.
  3. In 1924, Dr BR Ambedkar formed a community for removing difficulties of the untouchables and placing their grievances before government. He named it ‘Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha’.
  4. In First Round Table Conference which was held in London on November 12, 1930, Dr BR Ambedkar and Rao Bahadur Srinivasan represented the depressed classes in the assembly.
  5. In 1936, Dr BR Ambedkar formed the Independent Labour Party and participated in the provincial elections of Bombay. In that election, he won 13 seats out of 15 seats reserved for scheduled castes. The Party was transformed by Ambedkar as the All India Scheduled Castes Federation in 1942.
  6. Dr BR Ambedkar was against the strikes and protest by civil servants. In his views, the strike was nothing more than a breach of contract of service.

    Dr BR Ambedkar strongly campaigned against Caste System in India. Wikipedia Commons
    Dr BR Ambedkar strongly campaigned against Caste System in India. Wikipedia Commons
  7. Dr BR Ambedkar was appointed the member of Executive Council of Viceroy as a Labour member in July 1942 and he resigned from this post in May 1946.
  8. In January 1920, Dr BR Ambedkar started a weekly paper called ‘Mooknayak‘(Leader of the Dumb). Through this, he wanted to spread the cause of depressed classes in India.
  9. Due to differences with Jawahar Lal Nehru on the Hindu Code Bill, Dr BR Ambedkar resigned from the Cabinet on September 1951.
  10. Dr BR Ambedkar was elected as the first Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly. He is also referred as the father of the Indian Constitution. However, K.V. Rao portrayed Ambedkar as the mother of the Indian Constitution because according to him, the vital decisions about the Constitution were taken by Nehru and Patel, and Ambedkar followed the same.
  11. In 1952, Dr BR Ambedkar was defeated in the election mainly due to his advocacy of partition of Kashmir. But later in March, he was elected as a member of Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.
  12. It was Dr BR Ambedkar, who changed the working hours in India from 14 to 8 hours.

Also Read: Jamini Roy: A True Rebel Artist

Dr BR Ambedkar efforts to eradicate untouchability and the caste system were phenomenal. Also Being a writer, he wrote many famous books including-The Untouchable: Who are They and Why They Have Become Untouchables, Buddha and His Dhamma, The Rise and Fall of Hindu Women and many more.