Mahaparinirvan Diwas - 6th December

Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, more dearly known to us, the citizens of India as Babasaheb or the Father of Indian Constitution, took his last breath while in his sleep on 6 December 1956. To commemorate Dr Ambedkar’s valuable contribution to society, this day is observed as Mahaparinirvan Diwas all across India. 

If you are preparing for UPSC Prelims, you must familiarise yourself with the important facts of this day. Not just the Mahaparinirvan Diwas, but other Days and Dates of National and International importance must be known by the aspirants. 

In this article, discussed is the importance of this day and the contributions made by Dr BR Ambedkar in the freedom struggle and the development of various sections of the Indian society. Candidates looking forward to appearing in the upcoming civil services exam must thoroughly go through the facts and history related to this day. 

Mahaparinirvan Diwas[UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

Mahaparinirvan: The Meaning

Parinirvan is one of the primary principles of Buddhism. It means ‘someone who has attained nirvana or freedom in his lifetime and after death.’ In Sanskrit, ‘parinirvan’ means attaining ‘nirvana after death’, i.e., freedom of the soul from the body after death. In Pali, it is written as ‘parinibbana,’ meaning the attainment of nirvana. 

According to the Buddhist literature Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Lord Buddha died at the age of 80; and the day- the most sacrosanct day in the Buddhist calendar, is considered the original Mahaparinirvan Diwas.

UPSC aspirants can also familiarise themselves with the Teachings of Lord Buddha by visiting the linked article. 

Significance of Dr Ambedkar Mahaparinirvan Diwas

Dr B.R. Ambedkar was working on a book named ‘The Buddha and His Dhamma.’ He breathed his last just a few days after completing the book. On 14 October 1956, Babasaheb converted to Buddhism after studying the religion for years in Nagpur. He even preached Buddhism later in his life, and was considered a Buddhist leader by his 5,00,000 strong followers. 

After his death on 6 December 1956, the mortal remains were cremated at Dadar Chowpatty in Mumbai, now known as Chaitya Bhoomi. Every year, thousands of people and his followers gather at the Chaitya Bhoomi on this day, to pay their homage to the great leader. 

Dr Ambedkar was considered a Buddhist guru because of his stature and contributions in eradicating untouchability in India. His followers believe that he was as influential, pure and blessed as Lord Buddha. It is for this reason that his death anniversary is considered as Mahaparinirvan Diwas.

Also, refer to the set of related links given below:

Ambedkar and His Contribution to the Indian Society

As an IAS aspirant, you must have gone through previous years’ IAS exam papers and observed questions related to this day and Dr Ambedkar. Hence, it is essential to dig a little deeper into his life and contributions.

Born on 14 April 1891, in Madhya Pradesh, in a Mahar (Dalit) family, Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar faced a lot of harassment as an ‘untouchable’ and was subjected to socio-economic discrimination. Although the Dalits were allowed to attend schools, Ambedkar and other untouchable children were segregated from other children, and were not given much attention by the teachers. They were neither allowed to sit inside the class nor touch or drink water from the vessel kept in the classroom. A person of a higher caste used to pour water from a height. Usually, the school peon provided water to young Ambedkar, but if he was unavailable, Ambedkar had to stay without water. He had to sit on a gunny sack that he had to carry with him back home every day. All these incidents and many more demeaning ones had left a strong impact on young Ambedkar’s mind. 

As a child, he was a bright student and the only one to pass examinations and continue higher studies. After matriculation, he enrolled himself at Elphinstone College under Mumbai University, did post-graduation from Columbia University, and then completed his Bar course from the London School of Economics.

Later in his life, Ambedkar joined India’s freedom movement and made a mark as a revolutionary freedom fighter, social reformer, economist, thinker, and politician, with multiple arrows in his quiver. It is to be noted for your UPSC exam preparation that Babasaheb, along with Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhi, played a pivotal role in uplifting society’s poor and backward classes. Moreover, he led the Dalit Buddhist campaign from the front and worked persistently for their equal rights and betterment.

BR Ambedkar: The Architect of the Indian Constitution

Post India’s independence, on 15 August 1947, the new Congress-led Government invited Ambedkar to serve as the nation’s first Law Minister, which he accepted. On 29 August, he was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee and the Assembly to write India’s new Constitution.

Mahaparinirvan Diwas[UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

Indian Political history is an important part of the UPSC syllabus

Therefore, the students preparing for UPSC 2022 must be well acquainted with the details of the Mahaparinirvan Diwas. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Mahaparinirvan Diwas

Q 1. Which day is observed as Mahaparinirvan Diwas?

Ans. 6 December, the day of the demise of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, is observed as Mahaparinirvan Diwas across India.

Q 2. Where is the word ‘Mahaparinirvan’ derived from? What does it mean?

Ans. The word ‘Mahaparinirvan’ is derived from the Buddhist Literature- Mahaparinibbana Sutta, which means ‘achieving nirvana in a lifetime or after death.’

Q 3. How is Dr Ambedkar Mahaparinirvan Diwas commemorated?

Ans. Every year, on Mahaparinirvan Diwas, people congregate in large numbers at the ‘Chaitya Bhumi’ in Dadar and pay tribute to him by chanting “Jai Bhim.” They pay homage to him by remembering his teachings as a Buddhist Guru and social reformer.

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