(Last Updated on : 16-07-2012)
Early life of B.R. Ambedkar
was spent in a small family. He was born in the town and military cantonment of Mhow in the Central Provinces (now in the Indian state
of Madhya Pradesh
). Ambedkar was the 14th and last child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal and Bhimabai. He belonged to a family of Marathi background, from a town of Ambavade (Mandangad taluka) in the Ratnagiri district of modern-day Maharashtra
. They also belonged to the Mahar Caste, who were basically treated as untouchables and subjected to socio-economic discrimination.
Ancestors of B.R. Amdedkar had, for a long time, been employed in the Army of the British East India Company
. And his father also served in the Indian army
at the Mhow cantonment. His parents had little formal education in English and Marathi. But they encouraged their children to learn and work hard at school. His parents encouraged him to read the classic of Hindu religion and know about the religion, from a very young age.
B.R. Ambedkar's father used his position in the army to lobby for his children to study at the government school, as they faced resistance owing to their caste. Even when Ambedkar reached his age to join school, he and other untouchable children were separated and given slight consideration or help by the teachers. They were forbidden to enter the classroom.
Even when they were thirsty or hungry, somebody from the higher caste would have to pour that water from a height as they were not allowed to touch either the water or vessel that contained it. This task was usually performed for the young Ambedkar by school peons and if that peon was not available then he had to go without water, Ambedkar states this situation as "No peon, No Water".
His father, Ramji Sakpal retired in the year 1894 and the family moved to Satara two years later. Shortly after this his mother died. The children were taken care of by their parental aunt and also lived in the hard situations. Three sons - Balaram, Anandrao and Bhimrao - and two daughters - Manjula and Tulasa - of the Ambedkars would go on to survive them. Of his siblings, only Ambedkar succeeded in passing his examinations and finally graduated to high school. Bhimrao Sakpal Ambavadekar the surname comes from his native village 'Ambavade' in Ratnagiri District
. His Brahmin teacher, Mahadev Ambedkar, who was fond of him, changed his surname from 'Ambavadekar' to his own surname 'Ambedkar' in school records