The tale of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s parents, Bhimabai Sakpal and Ramji Maloji Sakpal, unfurls the roots of a man who would become a significant figure in Indian history. Known as B.R. Ambedkar, he grew to be a formidable jurist, economist, politician, and social reformer, dedicating his life to advocating for the oppressed and marginalised segments of society.
Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions to India’s legal and social fabric are monumental. As the primary author of the Indian Constitution, he laid the groundwork for democracy and social justice in India. His influence was further solidified through his role as the first law minister of independent India, contributing to shaping the nation’s legal framework.
Dr Ambedkar was born in the military cantonment town of Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, on April 14, 1891, as the 14th and last child of Ramji and Bhimabai Sakpal. His father was a Subedar in the army, while his mother was the daughter of Laxman Murbadkar.
Bhimabai Sakpal, also known as Bhimabai Ambedkar, was born on February 14, 1854, and married Ramji Sakpal at a young age. She had 14 children, but only four survived, and she dedicated her life to their education and welfare. Bhimabai passed away on December 20, 1896, and her death had a profound effect on five-year-old Dr Ambedkar, who later described it as “the greatest tragedy” of his life.
The story of Dr Ambedkar’s family is rooted in the Mahar caste, one of the most oppressed and untouchable castes in the Hindu social order. Despite being subjected to widespread discrimination, the family managed to rise above their circumstances. Dr Ambedkar himself became one of the most educated Indians of his time, holding degrees in law, economics, and political science.
Dr Ambedkar’s family originally hailed from Ambadawe, a village in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. His grandfather, Maloji Sakpal, was a retired army officer who received a plot of land from the British government for his services. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s family changed its surname several times for various reasons, finally settling on Ambedkar, a name borrowed from his Brahmin teacher, Krishnaji Arjun Keluskar.
The enduring legacy of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, shaped significantly by his parents, continues to inspire millions in their struggle for social equality and justice. His life’s work serves as a beacon of resilience, advocating for a more inclusive and egalitarian India.