B. R. Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour. He was independent India’s first law and justice minister, the architect of the Constitution of India, and a founding father of the Republic of India. In India and elsewhere, he was often called Babasaheb, meaning “respected father” in Marathi.
Ambedkar was a prolific student earning doctorates in economics from both Columbia University and the London School of Economics and gained a reputation as a scholar for his research in law, economics, and political science. In his early career, he was an economist, professor, and lawyer. His later life was marked by his political activities; he became involved in campaigning and negotiations for India’s independence, publishing journals, advocating political rights and social freedom for Dalits, and contributing significantly to the establishment of the state of India. In 1956, he converted to Buddhism, initiating mass conversions of Dalits. He died six months shortly after conversion.
In 1990, the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, was posthumously conferred upon Ambedkar. Ambedkar’s legacy includes numerous memorials and depictions in popular culture.