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'Vishwa Manav' BR Ambedkar was 'messiah' of labourers: PM Modi

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:00 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 21 March compared Dr BR Ambedkar to iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

"Baba Saheb Ambedkar was as iconic as Martin Luther King, who fought for the oppressed. Baba Saheb was the voice of the marginalised. He was a 'Vishwa Manav'. Only talking about him with respect to India is injustice to him. He was that great person who was always against any inhuman behavior or incident," Prime Minister Modi said while delivering the annual Ambedkar Memorial lecture.

The Prime Minister said that Baba Saheb was the 'messiah' of all labourers and the architect of foundation labour laws.

"Dr Ambedkar called for labour reform and at the same time thought of industrialisation for India's progress," he added.

Recalling the efforts made and role played by Dr Ambedkar, Prime Minister Modi said it is a big mistake to label Baba Saheb as only a messiah of Dalits while underscoring his work in fighting the caste system as that was one of his many contributions to independent India.

Prime Minister Modi stated that he now has an opportunity to fulfill Dr Ambedkar's dream.

"He left us in 1956. Today, after 60 years, a memorial is being set up. Sixty years have passed! I don't know how we can explain this, but we have had to wait for 60 years for this. Perhaps, this was written in my fate. Perhaps, I had the blessings of Baba Saheb," he added.

Prime Minister Modi also used the occasion to reach out to Dalits and tribals.

"Baba Saheb could never see anyone stay deprived or backward, not only Dalits but also the women of Tata-Birla families," said Prime Minister Modi.

"Why was it that Dr Ambedkar had to resign from the ministry? This part of history is either forgotten or diluted. When the issue of equal rights for women came up, Baba Saheb was clear that if women don't get equal rights then I cannot be a part of the ministry," the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Modi added that the ground situation would have been different today had Dr Ambedkar served in the government for a longer time.

"There is a bill on waterways in Parliament but let me tell you that this is Dr Ambedkar's vision. He believed in India's maritime strength. Dr Ambedkar told society to get educated. He showed the way," he said.


First published: 21 March 2016, 13:28 IST