Life and Mission of Dr Ambedkar

Land, Labor & Education

1. Education or Political rights - Although circumstances demanded that BRA spend most of this for securing the constitutional & legislative rights for his people he was aware of the backwardness of his people in education. So he started two hostels in 1928, established the DC Education Society to organize the school education of his community on a sound basis. After an appeal by BRA the Governor declared that he would sanction a scheme for five hotels for the special benefit of secondary school students belonging to the DC. Short of funds BRA approached public, broad mind people, local bodies, etc for help, the caste Hindus were however indifferent to the problem. So he approached the Muslims & Parsis. Inspite of various problems there was something in BRA that motivated him to astonish & electrify his great contemporaries and to show that he was equal of those who ranked the highest on earth. To such an ambitious nature politics is more congenial filed than a social one.

BRA realized that jobs in lower categories of service & military as demanded by were not adequate to raise the scale of life which is why the emphasizes on education. But since he thought that investing people with political equality & power the problem of their education would be automatically resolved he devoted his time & talent to securing political rights than to educational uplift. Inspite of a govt directive children of the DC were refused admission to schools. Karamveer Shinde & Veer Savarkar were successful to a great extent in securing right of DC children of Maharashtra to study with caste Hindu ones.

2. Textile Strike - BRA taught his classes constitutional law in a thought provoking manner; his term expired in March 1929. For the next four years BRA was drawn into the vortex of politics & was occupied with the discussions on constitutional reforms – Round Table Conference & the Joint Committee.

During the 2nd & 3rd quarter of 1929 he was invited to speak at various conferences. At a Chiplun conference he said excerpts ‘You must abolish your slavery yourselves. Self-respect is most vital factor in life’. He then referred to the land revenue system of Konkan called Khoti, which sucked their blood & promised to work towards its abolition. He said excerpts ‘Every one is to die one day or another. But one must resolve to lay down one’s life in enriching the noble ideals of self-respect & in bettering human life’. At the conclusion of the Conference, sacred threads were distributed among the delegates.

On his return to Bombay he set made his opposition known to the textile strike sponsored by the Girni Kamgar Union. Inspite of the first strike failing the left wing of the communists compelled the mill workers of Bombay to start a strike again. BRA believed in the worker’s right to strike, but believed that it must be used sparingly & not to promote the political objectives of the communist leaders. BRA’s opposition to the strike was for two reasons, one the communists had never taken up the cause of the DC, two the previous strike had worsened the economic condition of the DC. Thus BRA along with two other labor leaders carried extensive propaganda to counter the Girni Kamgar Union.

At a Jalgaon conference convened by the DC of Central Provinces/Bidar on 29/5/1929, presided over by BRA, was a resolution passed stressing the need for embracing another religion in the event of continued disregard of the caste Hindus of their condition. BRA said they must convert to another religion if their disabilities were not removed by a prescribed date. The feeler was not taken seriously by the Jalgaon Hindus. But the time limit expired, and about 12 Mahars embraced Islam in the first week of June 1929. Stunned caste Hindus opened two wells to the DC’s. BRA said it was not good enough, thanks to the pressure of Muslim & Christian groups, the DC were deriving some benefits. These conferences gave a fillip to BRA’s movement.

Next he won a battle against the Dadar Sarvajanik Ganesh Festival who initially would not allow the DC’s near the room where the image was installed. About 1,000 untouchables had gathered. Discussions by BRA failed but when the orthodox leaders saw that the crowd was getting restive they gave in.

3. BRA was now busy with the proceedings of the Starte Committee appointed by the Bombay govt to inquire into the education, economic & social condition of the DC. The Committee submitted its report in 1930 where it said that although the DC’s observed Hindu rights, laws & festivals, they were obliged to live in a state of isolation. The Committee recommended an increase in scholarships & hostels for the DC’s, scholarship for Industrial Training & studying abroad in Engineering works etc. They must be recruited in the Police & Military services; deforested lands must be made over to the DC’s.

Inspite of an accident BRA wrote an excellent article on the abolition of priesthood. About this time the Poona DC leaders Shivaraj Kamble, Rajbhoj, V V Sathe & N V Gadgil amongst others launched a movement for the DC’s right to worship the deity in the famous temple of Parvati in Poona. The Poona Satyagraha, was however not the first of its kind. Savarkar had launched a similar movement in Ratnagiri amongst others.

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