Ambedkar, Bhīmrāo Rām

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Ambedkar, Bhīmrāo Rām (1891–1956). Indian lawyer and politician, also known as Babasaheb. Born the fourteenth child of untouchable (Mahar) parents in Indore State he succeeded, against all the odds, in graduating from Elphinstone College in 1912. His career developed on two fronts: he was called to the bar in 1923, and became Principal of the Government Law College, Bombay. Politically, he became active fighting for the rights of untouchables. In 1924 he founded an organization for the ‘moral and material progress of untouchables’ and employed the technique of satyāgraha (passive resistance) in a successful attempt to allow untouchable access to Hindu temples and tanks. Shortly before his death he initiated the Bharatiya Buddha Mahasabha as an organization to promote the spread of Buddhism in India. Deprived of his strong leadership many untouchable converts to Buddhism have since reverted to Hinduism.