Bhim Rao Ambedkar
Bhim Rao Ambedkar was born in Mhow in Central Provinces to the backward Mahar caste who were considered untouchables. He after his education was one the greatest emancipator of the oppressed dalits in modern India. He along with other leaders imbued measures such as Article 16 which outlawed untouchability and also other measures which gave these classes guaranteed constitutional reservations in education, profession etc.
- While practising law in the Bombay High Court, he tried to uplift the untouchables in order to educate them.
- In 1920, he began the publication of the weekly Mooknayak(Leader of the Silent) in Mumbai with the help of Shahu II (1874–1922), Maharaja of Kolhapur and in it vehemently opposing the untouchability.
- He also convened and attended conferences to voiced his opinion against untouchability especially in Bombay and Pune.
- His first organised attempt to achieve this was the Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha, which was intended to promote education and socio-economic improvement, as well as the welfare of “outcastes”, at the time referred to as depressed class
- By 1927 Ambedkar decided to launch active movements against untouchability. He began with public movements and marches to open up and share public drinking water resources, also he began a struggle for the right to enter Hindu temples. He led a satyagraha in Mahad to fight for the right of the untouchable community to draw water from the main water tank of the town.
- Perhaps his most important satyagraha march was that to the Kalaram temple to open up the temple for untouchables.
- Ambedkar through the Poona pact successfully negotiated a permanent political solution for the depressed classes which ensured them political representation.
- He also formed political movements such as the Independent Labour Party and also Schedule Caste Federation which contested the polls on their behalf.
- Perhaps a much less talked about contribution was his revitalization of Buddhism which gained prominence under him.
The Ambedkarites as the Mahars in Maharashtra is called still remains the most emancipated and progressive of the Schedule Castes due to the efforts of this great man they lovingly referred to as “Babasaheb”.