Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on behalf of the Bahishkrita Hitakarini Sabha (Depressed Classes Institute of Bombay) raised issues concerning the state of education of the Depressed Classes in the Bombay presidency in front of Simon Commission (Indian Statutory Commission) on 29th May 1928 at Damodar Hall Parel, Bombay.
Full text of the same is available here.
Caste Based Reservation in India started in 2nd Century BC. In Manusmriti – the law book of Brahmins all the laws were based on Caste and no Merit was ever considered. It divided people into High and Low Castes on the basis of their birth and not on the basis of Merit. Wealth, Political power, Spiritual leadership, Education, Ownership of Land, Trade and all lucrative aspects were reserved purely to the higher castes.
The History of Reservation
Dr. Ambedkar’s rare letter to Prof. Seligman
10 King Henry’s Rd
My dear Prof. Seligman,
Having lost my manuscript of the original thesis when the steamer was torpedoed on my way back to India in 1917 I have written out a new thesis entitled “The Stabilization of the Indian Exchange” which I hope with your permission to submit for the Ph.D. at Columbia.
I hope to be at Columbia for the Exam. sometime in December next. In the meanwhile may I know if you can arrange to have my manuscript read before publication by some member of the Economics Faculty of Columbia. I am also anxious to have it published in the Columbia University Studies and I can assure you that it will be a publication for which there will be a very large sale. It is a burning question of the day and I believe I have treated it in a thoroughgoing fashion.
Trusting you will be pleased to do the needful I am
B. R. Ambedkar
PROF. SELIGMAN’S REPLY (an unsigned carbon copy):
February 28, 1922Mr. B. R. Ambedkar,
10 King Henry’s Road,
London, N. W. 3, England
My dear Ambedkar:
I was very glad indeed to hear from you and to learn that you have started out afresh. The subject you choose is certainly an interesting one and if you will send on your MS, I shall be glad to have it read by one of my colleagues. We can discuss its possible publication in the STUDIES later on.
Source of both documents: Seligman papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University
– By Mangesh Dahiwale
Babasaheb loved India. His love is expressed in his service to India. Babasaheb quoted Leo Tolstoy to make the same point: those who love can only serve. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, people follow him and look at him as their source of inspiration. On his 124th birth anniversary, two major political parties are competing to co-opt him. The Indian National Congress declared an yearlong celebration. The RSS, which is the mother of BJP, is publishing “Collector’s issue” on Babasaheb. Ironically, Babasaheb was opposed to their brands of nationalism and their idea of India. The emergence of Babasaheb in the current situation is natural in the way polity of India is conceived in the constitution as democratic republic. In India, “We, the people” are supreme. Who are we in this “we, the people”? The answer to this question is all of us born in this country. We constitute the Indian republic. Well, at least, constitutionally, if not in practice. But this abstract idea that we constitute India is liberating for citizens of this country. The people of India elect their representatives by casting votes every five years. This is a big achievement for Indians to be able to chose who will govern them.
Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War in United State remarked that constitution will rule whatever is below it and destroy whatever is above it. The constitution gives that power to us. On to this question, Babasaheb directed his entire energy as to who is the ruler of India. He opposed the British Raj. His scathing remarks on exploitation of natives, his analytical criticism of Raj’s social policies, and his objective analysis of British policy are testimonies to his criticism of the British Raj. He didn’t want India to be ruled by the British. To him, it was exploitative and undermining natives of India. He was also opposed to Congress’s brand of India. Since 1937, Indian National Congress came to power in the Central Assembly and majority of the provinces of British India, their rule was similarly exploitative and it was not for “We, the people of India”. Indian National Congress was supported by the capitalists and media even during this period. They won the elections since 1937. The Indians that made Indian National Congress and larger population of Indians they ruled reflected the clear social fact of India. The Indian National Congress was elitist and led by the upper castes, mainly the Brahmans and Banias. This is the reason why Jotiba Phule was opposed to the Indian National Congress. Here lies the importance of Jotiba Phule, who created a platform for the politics of Bahujans. He was the progenitor of the idea of India ruled by the Non-Brahmans and by the current implications not by the axis of Brahmans and Banias.