Dr B R Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (Marathi:डॊ.भीमराव रामजी आंबेडकर) (April 14, 1891- December 6, 1956), also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian Nationalist, Architect of Indian Constitution, Economist, Jurist, Journalist, Publisher, Historian, Prolific Writer, Orator, Politician and Religious Leader of millions of people in India as well as abroad. He was a veritable phenomenon of the 20th century. There may scarcely be a parallel indeed in the annals of the human history to the saga of struggle that his life represented. Born into a poor family deemed as ‘untouchables’ by the Hindu religion he spent his whole life fighting against social discrimination, divisive and exploitative caste based system of Charturvarna- The Hindu categorization of human society into four varnas). Despite numerous social and financial obstacles, Dr Ambedkar scaled remarkable heights in learning and education that no Indian could reach. Prestigious Columbia University in USA conducted a survey of 100 brightest students in the world in last 250 years which declared Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar as the Number 1 student in the list. This elite list contained the names of Ex-presidents of six different countries and some Nobel Prize winners as well! Earning Law degrees and multiple doctorates for his study research in law, economics and political science from Columbia University and London School of Economics, Dr Ambedkar returned home as a famous scholar. But, it was just the beginning of the great legacy of he left for his clan, country and humanity. With a great strength of will to refuse worldly pleasures and a depth of spirituality he initiated a task to free millions of people from the centuries old clutches of socio-economic and political slavery imposed by Hindu religion in India. In his 30 plus years of relentless struggle he not only successfully changed the fate of these people but also changed the entire future course of India by writing its constitution.
He firmly believes that religion is for man and not the man for religion. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted a religion that would recognize the spiritual brotherhood of mankind, the recognition of the dignity of the individual human being and his right to the opportunity for growth. He was searching for a religion which recognized the role of love and compassion, but not one that preached paternalistic charity which hurt individual dignity. He found these values and a promise of rational action in Buddhism that was guided by reason and a universalistic set of moral values.
Tests of Religion
In his treatise, “Buddha and future of His Religion”, after comparing Buddhism with Hinduism, while comparing Buddhism with other non-Hindu religions, Dr. Ambedkar concludes by enumerating the tests a religion must pass:
That society must have either the sanction of law or the sanction of morality to hold it together. Without either society is sure to go pieces. In all societies law plays a very small part. It is intended to keep the minority within the range of social discipline. The majority is left and has to be left to sustain its social life by the postulates and sanction of morality. Religion in the sense of morality, must therefore, remain the governing principle in every society.
That religion as defined in the first proposition must be in accord with science. Religion is bound to lose it respect and therefore become the subject of ridicule and thereby not merely lose its force as a governing principle of life but might in course of time disintegrated and lapse if it is not in accord with science. In other words, religion if it is to function must be in accord with reason which is merely another name for science.
That religion as a code of social morality must recognize the fundamental tenets of liberty, equality and fraternity. Unless a religion recognizes these three fundamental principles of social life religion will be doomed.
That religion must not sanctify or ennoble poverty. Renunciation of riches by those who have it may be a blessed state. But poverty can never be. To declare poverty to be a blessed state is to pervert religion, to perpetuate vice crime, to consent to make earth a living hell.”
Dr. Ambedkar asks which religion fulfills these requirements today, reminding that the days of the Mahatmas are gone and the world cannot have a new Religion. It will have to make its choice from existing religions. Some of the religions might satisfy one or two tests but Buddhism is the only religion satisfying all tests. He observes: “So far as I know the only religion which satisfies all these tests is Buddhism. In other words Buddhism is the only religion which the world can have. If the new world – which be it realized is very different from the old – must have a religion – and the new world needs religion for more than the old world did – then it can only be religion of the Buddha.”
Having discovered the only suitable religion for the modern world he embraced Buddhism. He led an unprecedented mass conversion and initiated bloodless social revolution not only for the people in India but also for the world.
Unparallel qualities and values he lived with, his work, his views on Dhamma and its social application to the complexities of modern world hails him the status of no less than a MODERN BUDDHA.
CONTENT FOR AIMS & OBJECTS
On 4th May 1954 he established The Buddhist Society of India with following 10 aims and objectives.
Aims and Objectives of The Buddhist Society of India
To promote the spread of Buddhism in India
To establish temples for Buddhist worship
To establish schools and colleges for religious and scientific subject
To establish orphanages, hospitals and relief centers
To start Buddhist seminaries for the preparation of workers for the spread of Buddhism
To promote comparative study of all religions
To undertake publication of Buddhist literature and to issue leaflets and pamphlets for giving a true understanding of the Buddhist religion to the common mass
To create new order of priests, if it becomes necessary to do so.
To establish a press or presses for the purpose of carrying on the work of publication.
To hold gathering and conferences of the Buddhists of India for common action and to establish fellowship
The powers of the Society
To receive donations and to collect funds for the society
To maintain Priests
To sell or mortgage the property of the society for the purpose of the society
To own and hold property
To purchase, take on lease or otherwise acquire property for the society and to invest and deal with the moneys of the society in such a manner as may from time to time be determined.
To construct, maintain, rebuild, repair, alter, replace or reinstate houses, buildings or works for the purpose of the society
To sell, dispose of, improve, manage, develop, exchange, lease, mortgage or otherwise alienate or deal with all or any property of the society.
To co-operate, amalgamate or affiliate the society or any institution or institutions run by or belonging to the society with any other institution or society with a view to securing further advancement of the aims and objects of the society.
To raise money with or without security for carrying out any of the purposes, aims and objects of the society.
To do all other lawful things and acts as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of any of the aforesaid aims and objects.
Members of the Soceity
There shall be following classes of members of the society
(1) Condition of the Membership:
Who can be a Member:-
Any person who is duly initiated into the Buddhist religion by his having undergone the ceremony of Dhammadiksha as prescribed by the society and has paid his annual subscription shall be eligible to be a member of the Society
(2) Associate Membership:-
Who can be a Associate Member?
Any person who is sympathetic to the aims and objects of the Society and is not hostile to the Buddhist religion may be admitted as an Associate Member of the Society on paying annual subscription.
(3) Restriction of the Membership
Provided that the President may in any particular case decide that any member notwithstanding his having undergone the ceremony of Dhammadiksha shall remain a probationer for such period as he may prescribe.
(4) A probationer and an Associate Member shall not be eligible to be a member of the Advisory council and the General council and shall have no right to vote.
(5) The president may allow Corporation, Institution and Association to be members of the Society.
(6) Membership Dues
Every Member shall be bound to pay at least Rs 10 as membership fee per year whether he is a member or an associate member. Failure to pay in due time shall incur loss of membership as also right to vote unless such penalty is waived by the president.