Some of the finest minds in Indian politics paid tribute to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar at the Low Memorial Library,the same location he spent much of his time as a student at Columbia University in New York. The B.R. Ambedkar Centennial Conference marked 100 years of Columbia’s most notable Indian alumnus’ arrival at the institution.
Speaking at the event,Asoke Kumar Mukerji,the Permanent Representative of India at the United Nations,pointed out that Ambedkar – the architect of India’s Constitution – wrote his first paper on caste politics at Columbia. It was at Columbia that he began the political study of the effects and characters of the different kinds of political institutions including the Constitution, Mukerji added. Ambedkar received an M.A. in 1915 and a Ph.D. in 1927 from the Ivy League University.
In 2010,the government of India endowed the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Chair in Indian Constitutional Law and a fellowship program named after Jagdish Bhagwati,noted economist and university professor at the Columbia Law School.
Sudhir Krishnaswamy,who currently holds the Ambedkar Chair at Columbia,addressed criticism towards Ambedkar’s role in establishing the Indian Constitution. In the last two decades,there has been a heated debate in Indian intellectual circles as to whether Ambedkar made a serious contribution to Indian constitution making. No serious reader of the Constituent Assembly Debates will be left with any doubt that Ambedkar played a critical intellectual role in shaping the final Constitution of India 1950, Krishnaswamy said.