Babasaheb Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji was born in the Mahar untouchable community at Mhow
in Madhya Pradesh. His father, a subedar in the army, hailed from Ambad
in Ratnagiri district of the then Bombay presidency. He took his surname
‘Ambavadekar’ from the name of his native village; it was, however,
changed to Ambedkar in the school records.
    In 1913 he joined Columbia University in New York, where two years
later he took his M A in Economics. In 1926, he obtained a doctorate from
the same university. Meanwhile, in 1916 he had moved to the London
School of Economics and prepared for the Bar. A year later, however, he
had to discontinue his studies owing to financial exigencies. In 1921 he
resumed his studies in London and obtained an M.Sc. (1921) and D.Sc.
    1924 saw Ambedkar returning home to start legal practice at the
Bombay High Court. In the same year he established the Depressed
Classes Institute (‘Bahishkrit Hitkarnini Sabha’) in Bombay for the moral
and material progress of untouchables. In 1927, he started a Marathi
fortnightly, Bahishkrit Bharat and in November 1930, a weekly, the
Janata. Another institution that Ambedkar founded, in 1927, was the
Samaj Samata Sangh, its objective being to propagate the gospel of social
equality among untouchables and caste Hindus.
    In 1927 Ambedkar launched a satyagraha to assert the right of
untouchables to draw water from a public tank at Malad, in Kolaba
district. In 1930 he led another satyagraha to claim his community’s right
to enter the famous temple of Kalaram at Nasik.
    Meanwhile he was emerging as a leader of the depressed classes, in
which capacity he continued to be a nominated member (1926-34) of the
Bombay Legislative Council.       He was also an official nominee to the