Ambedkar Jayanti is a public festival that commemorates the birthday of B. R. Ambedkar on April 14th. B. R. Ambedkar was a civil rights activist and Indian polymath. He struggled for equality over the course of his entire life and worked hard to bring equality to everyone. That’s why his birthday is also known as Equality Day in India. On this day, it’s customary for national figures such as the Prime Minister and the president, as well as the leaders of the major political parties, to pay tribute to Ambedkar’s statue in the Parliament of India in New Delhi.
It’s also a public holiday in dozens of different states and union territories in India. On this day, most government offices are closed across India, especially in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, and West Bengal.
The History Of This Holiday
This holiday was started in its modern version in 1990 to celebrate the life of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, although there was another holiday that observed his birthday back in the 1920s. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was an economist, politician, and philosopher who worked diligently against the caste system of India.
He was born on April 14, 1891, into a poor family but worked very hard to pursue a college education. During the 1920s, Dr. Ambedkar organized a march that eventually helped those ostracized from the caste system achieve equal rights. In 1928, the city of Pune (now known as Poona) publicly celebrated Babasaheb Ambedkar’s first birthday on April 14.
It was started by Janardan Sadashiv Ranapisay who was a social activist and someone who would begin the tradition of observing Ambedkar’s birthday. The celebration has been observed every year since then, all the way to the modern celebrations of his birthday.
Ambedkar Jayanti Observances & Customs
It is customary that the President and Prime Minister of India pay homage to the statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar on this day. Politicians of all levels will often pay homage at the Ambedkar Statue in New Delhi. In 2015, not only did the Indian government issue 10 Rupees and 125 Rupees to mark the 125th anniversary of Ambedkar’s birth, but Google also issued a Google Doodle marking his 124th birthday.
This Google Doodle was prominently featured on Google in India, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Poland, Sweden, and the U.S. It is also customary for government offices to be closed on this day as well. Some people also choose to honor this holiday by attending lectures and conventions dedicated to finding solutions to the social ills of India. Other people merely choose to use Ambedkar Jayanti as a day of quiet reflection and meditation.
Many people all across India keep a statue of him in their residences. Ambedkar Jayanti has been observed not just in India but in other countries as well over the last few years. For example, in 2020, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Day of Equality was observed on April 14th by the Council of the City of Burnaby, Canada. In 2021, British Columbia also observed April 14th as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Equality Day in British Columbia, Canada.