Every year, April 14 is celebrated as Dr Bhimrao Sahab Ambedkar’s birthday. popularly known as Baba Saheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist Movement, and campaigned against social discrimination against untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour. He was Independent India’s first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution of India
While he worked extensively on issues of Dalit rights and giving equal status to ‘untouchables’, he also focused on women empowerment in his movement. One of his famous quotes was “We shall see better days soon and our progress will be greatly accelerated if male education is persuaded side by side with female education.” Dr. Babasaheb spent his life for the betterment of women, which is why when the constitution was being drafted, he ensured women’s rights were taken into account.
He strongly advocated for family planning measures for women in Bombay Legislative Assembly and provided several provisions in the constitution for protecting the welfare and civil rights of women. One of his key contributions was that he introduced the Hindu Code Bill in the Parliament and highlighted the issues regarding property rights of women. Considering the deep rooted patriarchy of its times, the bill received strong opposition from many political leaders. In turn, Dr. Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet expressing his discontent over non acceptance of woman’s right by the parliament- such was his belief in the concept of gender equality.
Through his work, he also highlighted issues of Muslim women. His secular perspective is known through his thoughts on religious conversions, purdah system, and legal rights for Muslim women.
This year, Twitter has launched a special emoji to commemorate Dr Ambedkar’s birthday, and we urge all our readers and Twitter fans to use this to spread the message of gender equality!