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The Unbreakable Resolve of Dr. Ambedkar: Lessons in Leadership

Dr Aniruddha Babar

A ‘Yes man’ is a dangerous man. He is a menace. He will go very far. He can become a minister, a secretary or a Field Marshal but he can never become a leader nor ever be respected.”

~. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, MC

In the annals of history, a vast gallery of figures has graced the stage of leadership, yet among them, there exists a select few who transcend the realms of mere mortality, leaving an indelible and resplendent mark upon the grand tapestry of time. Among these luminaries, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar undoubtedly occupies a place of unparalleled distinction—a visionary whose brilliance illuminated the path to justice, a crusader who tirelessly championed the cause of the oppressed, and a fearless advocate who lent his voice to the voiceless. It is in the profundity of his words, spoken with unwavering resolve on that momentous day of May 31, 1936, within the very heart of Dadar, Mumbai that we find an enduring resonance echoing through the corridors of history—a resonance that compels us to pause, to contemplate, and to reflect upon the transformative legacy he has bequeathed to our world.

“I consider one as a leader who without fear or favor, without worrying about popular acquisition, tells the people what is good and what is bad for them,” declared Dr. Ambedkar. In this resounding proclamation, he articulated a profound and unwavering commitment to the principles of truth and justice. For him, leadership was not a path to popularity, nor was it a quest for personal gain. It was a solemn duty—a calling to guide and to illuminate, regardless of the consequences.

Dr. Ambedkar’s words resonate with an unmistakable moral clarity that transcends the confines of time and place—a stark reminder that authentic leadership is an endeavor far removed from the art of pandering to popular sentiment or capitulating to the capricious desires of the masses. It is a profound testament to the enduring courage required to articulate the unvarnished truth, even when it stands at odds with prevailing conventions and entrenched resistance, even when shadowy conspiracies conspire to stifle it. Dr. Ambedkar’s vision of leadership is, at its core, a commitment to rise above the temptations of populism, to elevate the pursuit of justice and equity above the cacophony of superficial acclaim. It is a clarion call to champion not just the interests of the privileged few but the rights and dignity of every individual, irrespective of their status in life—a solemn mission that seeks to uplift society as a cohesive whole, fostering a more just and inclusive world for all to thrive in.

“It is my solemn duty,” Babasaheb Ambedkar unwaveringly declared, “to tell you what is good for you, even if you don’t like it.” Within this resolute proclamation lies the heart and soul of Dr. Ambedkar’s extraordinary leadership—a profound dedication to the collective welfare, undeterred by the formidable challenges that adversity could pose. He possessed a rare comprehension that the journey towards progress is frequently littered with formidable obstacles, that the relentless pursuit of justice often triggers vehement resistance from the status quo. Nevertheless, amid these turbulent currents, he remained an unwavering bastion of unwavering commitment to his cause. Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy is one defined not by convenience but by the resolute choice to embrace the arduous path, to champion the rights of the marginalized, and to relentlessly strive for a more equitable world. His assertion stands as a poignant reminder that true leadership transcends the boundaries of popularity and personal interests, finding its essence in the courage to speak unvarnished truths, the determination to serve the greater good, and an unyielding allegiance to duty.

“I must do my duty,” he declared, and in those four simple but profoundly resounding words, he encapsulated the unwavering commitment that defined his life’s work, weaving an intricate tapestry of purpose and responsibility. Dr. Ambedkar’s sense of duty transcended the boundaries of mere legal or political obligation; it was a sacred moral imperative—an unwavering calling echoing through the annals of time. He understood, with unwavering clarity, that true leadership carried with it a solemn and weighty responsibility. It was a responsibility to unfurl the banner of justice in the face of entrenched injustices that had festered within society for centuries. Driven by a fierce dedication to the cause, he realized that leadership was not a passive role but an active one, a role that demanded relentless advocacy for the marginalized, an unyielding determination to challenge the oppressive status quo, and an unbreakable resolve to forge a more equitable world for all. In those four words, he laid bare the essence of his lifelong mission—a mission that transcended self-interest, and instead, placed the betterment of society, particularly the downtrodden and oppressed, at its very core. His sense of duty became the guiding star that illuminated his path, inspiring generations to stand up for justice, challenge discrimination, and relentlessly strive for a world where equality and social justice reign supreme. Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy continues to remind us that duty, when embraced with unwavering commitment, has the power to transform not only individual lives but the destiny of nations and the course of history itself.

“And now I have done it,” he proclaimed, the resonance of those words echoing far beyond the immediate moment, marking the culmination of his unwavering dedication to the cause of social justice. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s legacy transcends the confines of mere rhetoric; it stands as a towering testament to the transformative power of leadership that soars beyond self-interest and embraces the nobler pursuit of the greater good. His tireless endeavors, etched into the annals of history, charted a course for transformative change that continues to ripple through the fabric of society. From his instrumental role in the drafting of the Indian Constitution, a monumental document that embodies the ideals of justice and equality, to his relentless advocacy for the rights of the marginalized, specifically the “Depressed classes” or Dalits, Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions form the very bedrock upon which the edifice of a more equitable and inclusive India has been constructed. His legacy is a call to action, a reminder that the pursuit of social justice is not the responsibility of the few, but the collective duty of a society aspiring towards a more egalitarian future.

As we solemnly reflect on these profound words spoken on that historic day in Dadar, Mumbai, the significance of true leadership becomes even more apparent. It is a stark reminder that the yardstick of leadership is not the fleeting allure of popularity or the pursuit of personal gain, but rather the enduring qualities that lie at its core. True leadership is an embodiment of unwavering moral courage—a willingness to stand unflinchingly in the face of adversity and speak the unadulterated truth. It is a dedication to the greater good, a commitment that transcends self-interest and self-preservation, embracing the noble duty of uplifting humanity.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s legacy, much like a lighthouse in the tempestuous sea of history, continues to shine its radiant beacon. It serves as an eternal source of inspiration, urging us to champion the rights of the marginalized, to fearlessly advocate for justice, and to align our actions with the timeless principles of righteousness, regardless of the personal sacrifices that may entail. In his words and in his tireless deeds, Dr. Ambedkar exemplified the very essence of leadership—a legacy that not only shapes our world today but also serves as a guiding light for generations to come.


Dr. Aniruddha Babar is an academician and lawyer

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