UN celebrates Ambedkar’s 125 birth anniversary

14 Apr 2016 | By Ramya

In a first, the United Nations celebrated Dr. Ambedkar's birth anniversary to fight inequalities and achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN heard a plea to declare Ambedkar's birthday, 14 April as 'International Equality Day.'

While delivering the keynote address, Helen Clarke-UNDP Head said that Ambedkar knew how inequalities posed a threat to the well-being, and thus, UN had adopted inequality elimination as its goal.

In context: Remembering the father of Indian Constitution

Introduction Who was Dr. Ambedkar?

Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born on 14 April 1891. He was an Indian social reformer, economist, politician and a legal scholar.

He was best known for his social reforms opposing social discrimination against Dalits (untouchables) and also social movements fighting for the rights of women and labour.

In 1990, Ambedkar was honored posthumously with India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

1891-1956 India's first Law and Justice Minister

As a Dalit, Ambedkar faced discrimination since his childhood. He earned a law degree and several doctorates from Columbia University and London School of Economics.

After completing his education, he returned to India and involved himself in India's freedom struggle.

He became independent India's first Law and Justice Minister.

Indian Constitution was drafted by Ambedkar, who is known as the 'Father of Indian Constitution'.

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Ambedkar drafted the Indian Constitution

After India’s independence on 15 August 1947, Ambedkar was appointed Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution that came into force on 26 January 1950, which is celebrated as the ‘Republic Day of India’ every year.

14 Apr 2016PM Modi pays tributes to Ambedkar

On the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes and praised Ambedkar calling his economic vision 'unique'.

Modi added that Ambedkar believed in the power of education and worked for the welfare of farmers and workers.

Modi was expected to participate in the celebrations at Ambedkar's birthplace Mhow, Madhya Pradesh and later launch 'Gram Uday se Bharat Uday' campaign.

14 Apr 2016Demand to end manual scavenging on Ambedkar Jayanti

Hundreds of Ambedkar followers and scavengers reached Jantar Mantar to conclude their 125-day-long 'Bhim Yatra', and demand to stop manual scavenging immediately.

Families of scavengers, who died in sewers and septic tanks due to lack of protective gear from lethal gases, were also present there.

They also demanded immediate implementation of Supreme Court's order to pay Rs.10 lakh compensation to victims of manual scavenging.

Ambedkar formally converted to Buddhism

Since 1950, Ambedkar devoted himself to Buddhism and travelled to Sri Lanka and Burma to attend World Buddhist Fellowships. Later, on 14 October 1956, he, along with half a million followers, formally converted to Buddhism in Nagpur.
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14 Apr 2016Rohith Vemula’s mother, brother embrace Buddhism

The family of Rohith Vemula-the Dalit scholar, who allegedly committed suicide due to caste discrimination, has formally converted to Buddhism on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti.

His mother, Radhika, and brother, Raja adopted Buddhism, which was a symbolic condemnation of the Hindu caste system, at Mumbai.

His brother, Raja, stated that though Rohith couldn't formally convert to Buddhism, he was a Buddhist at heart.

14 Apr 2016UN celebrates Ambedkar’s 125 birth anniversary