Ramabai Bhimrao Ambedkar was the wife of Dr BR Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution. Also called Ramai or Mother Rama, she was born to a poor Dalit family on 7 February 1898.
She had a huge impact on Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life and was instrumental in helping him pursue higher education abroad. She was also supportive of his endeavours for social justice and reform. On her birth anniversary, here are some lesser known facts about Ramabai Bhimrao Ambedkar:
- She was born to Bhiku Dhatre and Rukmini in 1898. Her father earned money by carrying baskets of fish to the market from Dabhol harbour.
- Her parents passed away when she was very young, leaving her and her siblings to be raised by her uncles in Bombay.
- She married Babasaheb Ambedkar in 1906. At the time of their wedding, Ramabai Ambedkar was nine years of age, while Babasaheb was 15.
- She was extremely supportive of Ambedkar’s ambitions and even encouraged him to go abroad for higher studies.
- Ramabai Ambedkar used to call her husband ‘Saheb’ as a term of endearment. In turn, Ambedkar used to call her Ramu.
- She endured much poverty and hardship while Ambedkar was abroad for his studies, but this did not stop her from encouraging him to pursue his aims and bring about social reform.
- Out of the couple’s children, only one- Yashwant- survived to adulthood.
- Ramabai Ambedkar passed away after a prolonged illness on 26 May, 1935. She had been married to Ambedkar for a period of 29 years.
- In 1941, on the launch of his book Thoughts on Pakistan, Ambedkar acknowledged the impact she had on his life, dedicating the book to Ramabai Ambedkar. According to Free Press Journal, Ambedkar mentioned his wife in the preface of the book and credited her for transforming him into the man he was.
- Some television series and films have showcased the impact of Ramabai Ambedkar on her husband, including the show Ek Mahanayak Dr B.R. Ambedkar. Several places have also been named after her in the country.