Monday, September 18, 2017
Was Dr. Ambedkar really a genius ?
I was reading The President’s speech delivered on the occasion of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Memorial Lecture 2014. and I was quite impressed by its content. It is very well written and I believe that if you are interested in knowing more about Baba Saheb Ambedkar then you should goand read it in full. On a side note, I do also feel that there is an urgent need to reclaim Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy as more than the messiah for the schedule castes only. He was a lot lot more. A messiah, if at all, for the whole of India. The ‘if at all’ is because I have certain concerns on the term ‘messiah’ which makes demigods out of humans putting them in some sort of an unachievable pedestal but I am clearly digressing here and we need to go back to what I am writing this for.
To quote The President,
Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy and contribution to India can be seen in many fields. His PhD thesis of 1923 titled “The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India” provided academic basis for the Finance Commission of India which was subsequently established through Article 280 of the Constitution to address problems of vertical and horizontal imbalances in finances. Similarly, the Reserve Bank of India was conceptualized based on the guidelines presented by Dr. Ambedkar to the “Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance” in 1925. Commission members found Dr. Ambedkar’s book “The Problem of the Rupee- Its Problems and Its Solution” an invaluable reference tool and the Central Legislative Assembly eventually passed these guidelines as the RBI Act 1934.
As Labour Minister in the Viceroy’s Council, Dr Ambedkar successfully led the struggle for reduction of work from 12 hours a day to 8 hours in 1942. He contributed the idea of setting up of Employment Exchanges in India. He was almost single handedly responsible for establishing the Central Technical Power Board, the National Power Grid System and the Central Water Irrigation and Navigation Commission. Dr. Ambedkar played an important role in the establishment of the Damodar Valley project, Hirakud project and Sone river project.
Here’s the thing: a PhD thesis leads to the creation of the Finance Commission of India. A set of guidelines conceptualize the Reserve Bank. A subsequent book then becomes its Act. The Employment Exchange, the National Power Grid System, the Central Water Irrigation and Navigation Commission, the Damodar Valley Project and so on: if this man wasn’t brilliant I don’t know who else will qualify.
All of this before he even began his most important contribution to the Indian nation: that of the Constitution itself. I have been reading some excerpts of the Constituent Assembly debates and he is legendary. You have to respect genius when you see it. Thus:
Baba Saheb, I bow, in respect, to thy genius!
Here, I believe I need to make this clear: this respect is not hero worshiping. If one was to read of him, he himself cautioned against this. This is just admiration. Think of it as the Japanese or the Korean form of greeting. Standing and bowing in respect. Not laying down and doing a dandvat. It’s important not to.
BY ASHISH PATIL