RAMABAI AMBEDKAR DEATH ANNIVERSARY: Ramabai Bhimrao Ambedkar, the wife of Dr BR Ambedkar, is fondly remembered as Ramai or Mother Rama. Ramabai was known for her humility, resilience and compassion. Not many know that Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life was influenced greatly by her. Ramabai assisted the Father of the Indian Constitution in seeking higher education abroad and supported his efforts for social justice.
On the occasion of Ramabai’s death anniversary, here are a few lesser-known facts about her:
- Ramabai was born in 1898, to a poor Dalit family. She was the second daughter of Bhiku Dhatre Valangkar, who was a labourer. From the harbour at Dabhol, her father used to carry baskets of fish to the market.
- Ramabai lost both her parents early in life. She and her three siblings were raised by her uncles in Mumbai.
- In 1906, she married Babasaheb Ambedkar in Byculla. Ramabai was nine years old when she married Babasaheb who was 15 then. While Ramabai used to call her husband ‘Saheb’, her husband called her ‘Ramu’.
- Ramabai supported BR Ambedkar’s ambitions and she even encouraged him to pursue higher education abroad.
- While Ambedkar was abroad for his studies, Ramabai endured hardships, but it did not stop her from encouraging him to pursue his goal. Ramabai used to make cow-dung cakes and carry them on her head, to use them as a cheap household fuel.
- Babasaheb Ambedkar and Ramabai had a daughter, Indu and four sons – Yashwant, Gangadhar, Ramesh and Rajratna. Yashwant was the only child to survive to adulthood.
- After a prolonged illness, Ramabai breathed her last on May 26, 1935.
- BR Ambedkar acknowledged her influence on his life through his book Thoughts on Pakistan. On his beloved wife, he recalled her “goodness of heart, her nobility of mind and her purity of character and also for the cool fortitude and readiness to suffer”.