Indian jurist, politician and social reformer. Born 1891 in Mhow, died 1956 in Delhi.
Born into the "untouchable" caste, the social dregs of Indian society, Ambedkar received a good education, through the benefit of a scholarship programme sponsored by non-Brahmin princes (in his particular case, his sponsor was the Maharajah of Baroda, in Bombay).
Educated in Britain and the U.S.A., he returned to India in 1923, and campaigned for the political rights, economic opportunities and education of the "untouchables".
From 1947 to 1951, he was Minister of Justice in the first Indian government after independence, and the architect of the Indian constitution.
Shortly before his death in 1956, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, along with several hundred thousand "untouchables". In the years following his death, this mass conversion trend gained impetus, and nearly 6 million "untouchables", all told, converted.
In 1990, Ambedkar was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest honour of the Indian Republic.