NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday compared Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King and said that he fought for the oppressed and marginalised sections of the society.
“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 incidents,” Prime Minister Modi said while delivering the annual Ambedkar Memorial lecture here.
The Prime Minister said that Baba Saheb was the ‘messiah’ of all labourers and was the architect of foundation labour laws.
“Dr. Ambedkar called for labour reform and at the same time thought of industrialisation for the progress of India,” he added.
Recalling the efforts and role played by Dr. Ambedkar, Prime Minister Modi said it is a big mistake to label Baba Saheb only a messiah of the Dalits while underscoring that his work in fighting the caste system was one of his many huge contributions to independent India.
Prime Minister Modi further said that he has now got an opportunity to fulfill Dr. Ambedkar’s dream.
“He left us in 1956. Today, after 60 years, a memorial is being set up. 60 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 on me,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi also used the occasion to reach out to the Dalits and tribals.
“Baba Saheb could never see anyone remain 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 to women came up, Baba Saheb was clear that if women don't get equal rights then I cannot be a part of the ministry,” Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Modi further said 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 this vision is of Dr. Ambedkar. He believed in India's maritime strength. Dr. Ambedkar told society one thing that is to get educated. It is like the inner power and he showed the way in that regard,” he said.