Jai Bhim All,
My sincere salutes, respects and tributes to Parampujya Dr. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar on the occasion of 126th birth anniversary of Babasaheb! As you are aware, there are several things that Babasaheb has done for us and our country in spite of great challenges he faced in his life.
Today, I want to cover the part on how much people revered Babasaheb in his lifetime and later. I will quote few instances to make my point!
Babasaheb & his wife Mai Ramai lived most of their life in poverty. For his studies in the USA and UK, Babasaheb was awarded scholarship by Maharaja Sayajirao of Baroda. Mai Ramai understood Babasaheb's commitment towards society and used to support him in all ways possible. When Babasaheb was studying in USA, Babasaheb told his wife to not take money from anyone or do not make personal use of money that people collect for social work!
Mai Ramai never borrowed money from anyone nor did she ever use any money Babasaheb's followers collected for social work. Mai Ramai lost four of her children during their young age as she could not afford medicines but never begged or borrowed from anyone respecting Babasaheb's words till her last breath. During the times when Babasaheb was still completing his studies, Mai Ramai lived on two old sarees which were torn. As she did not want neighbors or others to see her torn sarees, when possible, she used to go out early in the morning when no one was around and return late in the evening when no one was around to see her torn sarees. She managed most of her life like that taking care of the whole family during tough times. Mai Ramai lived a life of a destitute but without any regret. It was a rare historical example of courage & conviction. She used to take care of the family by selling cow dung cakes and carry the same on her head, to use them as cheap household fuel! She died on 26th May 1935! This is how and how much Mai Ramai revered Babasaheb.
When members were being elected to the Indian Constituent Assembly, Dr. Ambedkar lost elections to the Congress party from Bombay. However, Jogendra Nath Mandal, who had been nominated from Jaisur and Kulna from undivided Bengal, made sure "Dr. Ambedkar" contested & won from Bengal, so that Babasaheb could become part of the 296 member constituent Assembly. In doing so, Mr. Mandal ensured Babasaheb was present in the drafting committee of the Indian constitution. Later on, Babasaheb was appointed the chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution of India. This is how and how much people revered Babasaheb.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar became first law minister of India in 1947. When he resigned from the cabinet in 1951, Mr. Nanak Chand Rattu joined him as his private secretary. Mr. Nanak Chand performed the responsibility of private secretary from 27th September 1951 (the day Babasaheb resigned from Law Ministry) till Babasaheb's last breath. Day in and day out, Mr. Nanak Chand covered a distance of 25 kms pedaling his bicycle, at times even on foot to serve Babasaheb. That was the reverence of his people for Babasaheb. Later in life, Mr. Nanak Chand wrote several books on Babasaheb quoting the times he shared with Babasaheb.
After the mahaparinirvaan of Babasaheb on 6th December 1956, lots of material hand written by Babasaheb was not published for almost 20 years due to legal custodial issues! After a long legal battle, 22 volumes of Babasaheb's writings and speeches were published by the Government of Maharashtra. The editor for most of these volumes was Mr. Vasant Moon. Due to the fact that the papers were locked in boxes for several years, it was not only difficult to read those hand written papers but also very dangerous for eyes and health in general due to poisonous fumes etc! You had to handle papers with care to make sure that precious material is not destroyed or lost. Mr. Vasant Moon dedicated his whole life to make sure Babasaheb's message/books reaches to people it is meant for, even at his own personal health risk. That was the reverence of his people for Babasaheb!
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar established Samata Sainik Dal (SSD) on 13th March 1927. Most of the retired soldiers along with many other young men and women of that time joined SAMATA SAINIK DAL as volunteers. Babasaheb was never afraid for his life but these volunteers knew what Babasaheb's life meant for the future of India. SSD volunteers used to guard Babasaheb like shadows. Some of them used to disguise themselves as British soldiers when needed or as gardeners, coolies and even beggars etc. as per the demand of the situation. Each and every volunteer was ever ready to lay down their lives for their beloved Babasaheb! That was the reverence of his people for Babasaheb!
Thank you and Jai bhim! Jai Bharat!
Sandeep Chavan is an Ambedkarite activist based in the USA.He is a member of Ambedkar International Center (AIC), USA and well-wisher of Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA), USA & BAMCEF International.