History Watch affiliate Dr. Chinnaiah Jangam, recently co-organized and presented at an event that commemorated the influence of the Dalit scholar Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956) on the making of modern India. The event was held to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ambedkar’s birth and featured prominent scholars including Dr. Anupama Rao (Columbia University), Dr. Arun Mukherjee (York University), and Dr. Noel Salmond (Carleton University).
The event, which was held on April 26, 2016, was sponsored by the High Commission of India and Carleton University. Dr. Jangam co-organized the event with Harry Sharma of the Canada-India Centre (Carleton University).
About B.R. Ambedkar: Born a Dalit (untouchable), B.R. Ambedkar rose above his designated station in India to become an influential politician, Indian intellectual, and social reformer. He fought with unwavering commitment for the plight of untouchables in India, the rights of women, labour, and human rights in general. Ambedkar played an influential role in drafting the Constitution of India and served as India’s first law minister. In 1950, he resigned from this position when India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru refused to pass the Women’s Rights Bill. Ambedkar was non-partisan and committted to keeping his independence. Many of the issues that Ambedkar addressed in his complex relationship with Gandhi remain relevant in contemporary Indian debates.