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Ambedkar’s Call for Individual Agency

Dr. Aniruddha Babar

From Blind Idolization to Active Engagement: Ambedkar’s Call for Individual Agency

In Democracy’s realm, Ambedkar’s voice resounds,

Hero-worship challenged, new paths it bounds.

Critical eyes unveil leaders’ true intent,

Empowering minds, societal dissent.

Injustice crumbles, equality takes flight,

Individual agency, shining bright.

Ambedkar’s teachings guide the way we tread,

A Hero within, a just world ahead.

This article delves into the profound thoughts of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on the concept of hero and hero-worship. Dr. Ambedkar emphasized the significance of recognizing the achievements of individuals who strive for justice and equality, challenging oppressive systems. However, he cautioned against blind idolization, which he believed stifled independent thinking and perpetuated social hierarchies. Dr. Ambedkar’s critique of hierarchical hero-worship in Indian society highlighted its role in reinforcing caste-based discrimination and limiting social mobility. Instead, he advocated for individual empowerment and self-reliance, emphasizing education and collective action as catalysts for social transformation. Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts underscored the need for critical evaluation of leaders and their actions, emphasizing accountability and the pursuit of societal betterment. His ideas continue to resonate today, inspiring individuals to challenge authority, question oppressive systems, and work towards a more just and equitable society. Dr. Ambedkar’s philosophy on hero and hero-worship offers a compelling framework for understanding the complexities of heroism, urging individuals to become heroes in their own right by championing social justice and equality.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a visionary social reformer and the architect of India’s Constitution, had profound thoughts on the concept of hero and hero-worship. He spoke extensively on this subject, offering insightful perspectives that challenged conventional notions of heroism and encouraged critical thinking. This article aims to delve into Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts on hero and hero-worship, exploring his views on the significance of heroism, the dangers of blind idolization, and the need for individual empowerment.

Dr. Ambedkar emphasized the importance of recognizing and acknowledging the achievements and contributions of individuals who have made significant contributions to society. He believed that heroes are not confined to traditional narratives of valor or grandeur but can emerge from various walks of life, including social reformers, thinkers, and activists. According to him, heroes are those who strive for justice, equality, and human dignity, challenging oppressive systems and working towards the upliftment of the marginalized.

However, Dr. Ambedkar also cautioned against blind hero-worship, which he believed was detrimental to societal progress. He argued that blindly following and idolizing individuals without critical analysis leads to intellectual stagnation and the erosion of individual agency. In his view, hero-worship stifles independent thinking and prevents the questioning of authority, which is essential for the advancement of society.

Dr. Ambedkar was particularly critical of the hierarchical nature of hero-worship prevalent in Indian society. He saw hero-worship as a perpetuation of caste-based discrimination and the subjugation of the lower castes. He believed that the practice of hero-worship reinforces social hierarchies and restricts the possibilities of social mobility and individual empowerment. Dr. Ambedkar advocated for the dismantling of caste-based hero-worship, urging people to question and challenge oppressive systems that perpetuate inequality.

Instead of blind hero-worship, Dr. Ambedkar emphasized the need for individual empowerment and self-reliance. He believed in the power of education and knowledge to empower individuals and transform society. Dr. Ambedkar’s own journey from being a marginalized individual to a towering, universally recognized intellectual and social reformer exemplifies his belief in the importance of personal agency and self-transformation.

Dr. Ambedkar also emphasized the need for collective action and solidarity among the oppressed. He believed that heroism is not the sole domain of individuals but can emerge from collective movements aimed at challenging oppressive structures. Dr. Ambedkar’s involvement in the oppressed people’s movement and his efforts to uplift the marginalized communities demonstrate his belief in the transformative power of collective action.

In his writings and speeches on various occasions, Dr. Ambedkar often highlighted the dangers of charismatic leaders who exploit hero-worship for their personal gain. He warned against blind allegiance to leaders and stressed the need for critical evaluation of their actions and policies. Dr. Ambedkar believed in holding leaders accountable and ensuring that they work towards the betterment of society rather than perpetuating existing power structures.

Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts on hero and hero-worship were deeply rooted in his commitment to social justice, equality, and individual empowerment. He rejected the idea of passive idolization and called for active engagement, critical thinking, and the pursuit of knowledge. Dr. Ambedkar’s emphasis on individual agency and collective action continues to resonate today, inspiring individuals to question authority, challenge oppressive systems, and strive for a more just and equitable society.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s thoughts on hero and hero-worship offer a fresh perspective on the concept of heroism. He recognized the significance of heroes who work towards justice and equality, but cautioned against blind idolization and the erosion of individual agency. Dr. Ambedkar’s emphasis on education, critical thinking, and collective action provides a powerful framework for challenging oppressive structures and working towards social transformation.

His ideas continue to be relevant and inspiring, urging individuals to become heroes in their own right by championing social justice and equality.

Ambedkar emphasized the need to critically assess the actions and principles of heroes rather than blindly worshiping them. His thoughts are powerful enough to inspire us to question and evaluate the actions and motives of our leaders, ensuring that their aspirations for a just and inclusive society are not compromised. Furthermore, Ambedkar’s thoughts on hero-worship can inspire every citizen of India to shape their own destinies. Ambedkar’s teachings offer every modern, progressive, right thinking citizen of the nation an opportunity to introspect and challenge traditional notions about leadership, forging a path towards a more inclusive, free and equitable society. By embracing these principles, modern India can ensure that its heroes and leaders are not deified but celebrated for their commitment to justice, equality, and the empowerment of all its people.

Hopefully, we are able to grasp the necessary fact that the Heroes and leaders are not meant to be worshiped/followed blindly, but to be emulated for their principles, courage, character, boldness and commitment to justice. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s words remind us that true heroism lies in challenging oppressive systems and striving for a society free from discrimination. It is not enough to idolize individuals; we must critically assess their actions and hold them accountable. The path to social transformation lies in empowering ourselves and working collectively to dismantle oppressive structures in the spirit of Constitutional Justice.

Let us not be mere followers, but let us become heroes in our own right, standing up against injustice and championing equality & justice for all. Dr. Ambedkar’s philosophy and the Constitution of India that he gave to the nation calls upon us to question, to challenge, and to strive for a world where heroism is not confined to a few, but is within the reach of every individual willing to fight for a just, inclusive and progressive society. As we embrace his teachings, let us remember that true heroism is not found in the worship of idols-mortal men and women, but in our own actions and commitment to creating a better world for future generations.


Dr Aniruddha Babar is a Philosopher, Academician, Published Writer, Poet and a Lawyer.




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