Ambedkar has a universal relevance to fighting discrimination and injustice, he said

As India marked the 131st birth anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar affirmed that the best way to pay him tribute is to advance democracy and freedoms.

He stressed that the national leader’s views provide a “compass for clarity and action” at a time when not just in India but the world is once again debating the virtues of democracy.

EAM Jaishankar, who had participated in the 4th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Washington DC on Monday, attended the commemoration ceremony of the 131st Birth Anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar at the Consulate General of India in New York on Thursday.

He described Babasaheb Ambedkar as "a driving force for a modern India".

Dr. B R Ambedkar is recognised as the Father of the Constitution of India. He was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who campaigned against social discrimination and widely supported the rights of women and workers. He was awarded the prestigious Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1990.

"Join the nation in paying homage to Dr. BR Ambedkar. A driving force for a modern India, his relentless efforts in ensuring a just and equal society will continue to inspire," tweeted Jaishankar.

The event was organized by the Consulate General of India, New York, in partnership with Shri Guru Ravidass Temple of New York and Apna Punjab Media Group, New York.

"The legacy of Dr. BR Ambedkar, as the architect of the Indian Constitution, has actually become even more valuable with the passage of time. Today, Dr Ambedkar's vision & aspirations are the blueprints that guide us," said Jaishankar while attending the commemoration ceremony.

EAM Jaishankar also highlighted Babasaheb’s accomplishments as a brilliant student and said his years in New York, where he studied at Columbia University, had a very profound impact on him as a political thinker but most of all as a social reformer.

"Dr Ambedkar has universal relevance and must be recognised by all nations to build a fairer society, overcoming discrimination and injustice. His ideas and vision determine, influence, and guide what Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government does every day in service to people," he added.

Jaishankar said that while Ambedkar was better known for his political work and constitutional expertise, he was a very deep economic thinker, champion of self-employment and entrepreneurship.

The American work ethic and competitiveness that Ambedkar saw and imbibed while living in the US had an impact on shaping his ideas about growth, economic opportunities, income generation and job creation, he said.

“These are actually the very ideas that are the driving force of our Atma Nirbhar Bharat today,” Jaishankar said, adding that “it is a tribute” to Babasaheb that there are about 65,000 startups and 90 unicorns in India on one side and very major programmes about employment, sustenance, health access for the most vulnerable, speaking about how relevant his thoughts are even today.

Ambedkar’s life stands as a shining example of kindness and compassion, of social harmony and justice for all, EAM Jaishankar said.

“Lord Mahavira’s message of togetherness and peace continues to bless and guide us and the vibrancy of our harvest festivals make our lives ever joyful. These are all reflections of our heritage, history and aspirations. And Dr. Ambedkar in many ways is a very profound symbol of that,” Jaishankar said.