Internet giant Google on Tuesday paid tribute to Dr B R Ambedkar, one of India’s greatest and frequently neglected heroes, with an international Google Doodle.
The Doodle celebrates the 124th anniversary of the man world-renowned for his efforts to dismantle India’s age old caste system – one which continues to blight one of the world’s great economic powers.
Popularly known as ‘Babasaheb’, Dr Ambedkar was a politician, author and jurist of renown – a remarkable achievement given that he was a member of the so-called ‘Dalit’ or ‘Untouchable’ community of low-caste Hindus.
He was subjected to discrimination by the “higher castes” throughout his life regardless of everything he achieved professionally and politically.
Born in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh in 1891, Dr Ambedkar overcame crippling caste discrimination to gain scholarships to study economics in the United States.
He called London home for a time, studying at the London School of Economics. Whilst teaching in Mumbai, he was even subject to discrimination by his own students.
Dr Ambedkar worked with Mahatma Gandhi – another tireless campaigner against India’s caste system – to ensure that Dalits would be included in the political process in an independent India.
He later became the country’s first Law Minister and was responsible in part for drawing up India’s new constitution which outlawed discrimination of all forms.
That commitment to equality, whilst vastly improved from the early days of India’s birth, remains largely unfulfilled.