He came from humble means, but went on to become a giant of a man, inspiring millions, especially those at the bottom of the social and economic ladder. He studied abroad earning several advanced degrees. He was a lawyer and the main author of the Indian constitution. Think you know who he is?
His name, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. While Mohandas Gandhi (a contemporary of Ambedkar)is the Indian most non-Indians admire, it is Ambedkar the 100+ millions of Dalits, or untouchables, of India recognize as India’s greatest hero, towering far above Gandhi.
In recognition of his greatness I’d like to share with you some of Ambedkar’s quotes.
- Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.
- I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.
- I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.
- Equality may be a fiction but nonetheless one must accept it as a governing principle.
- In India, ‘Bhakti’ or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship plays a part in politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other of the world. ‘Bhakti’ in religion may be a road to salvation of the soul. But in politics, ‘Bhakti’ or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.
- Cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence.
- Religion must mainly be a matter of principles only. It cannot be a matter of rules. The moment it degenerates into rules, it ceases to be a religion, as it kills responsibility which is an essence of the true religious act.
- A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society.
- Life should be great rather than long.
- Political tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician who defies Government.
- For a successful revolution it is not enough that there is discontent. What is required is a profound and thorough conviction of the justice, necessity and importance of political and social rights.
- The relationship between husband and wife should be one of closest friends.