About Ambedkar Education

  • Ambedkar was a Barrister reinforced by a London Doctorate in Science, an American Doctorate in Philosophy. His thesis was on Commerce, Finance and Problem of the Rupee. Few talk about this!

I am a fan of some of Dr Ambedkar’s writings. He wrote on such a variety of topics that I wanted to know what subjects did he study and do Ph.D in what. (covered up to 1947) 


My reference book is ‘Dr Ambedkar Life and Mission’ by Padma Bhushan Dhannajy Keer. All credit to him. I have only compiled. In case of any errors please write back with source references.


1. In High School was a Brahmin teacher by the surname Ambedkar. He loved Bhim very much and would daily drop into the hands of Bhim a part of his meal – boiled rice, eggs, rice, bread and vegetables.


Bhim drew his surname Ambavadkar from his village Ambavade. The teacher loved Bhim so much that he changed his surname to Ambedkar in school records.


2. Elphinstone College Bombay (now Mumbai) – After he passed the Inter Arts exams Ambedkar father ran out of funds. Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaikwad agreed to help with a scholarship of Rs 25/ per mensem. Pg. 21


“Reading was the greatest joy of his life. It was directed to some purpose in life. It was his aim to arm himself with every possible missile, make himself master of repository of knowledge and develop the power to of his mind to prepare himself for higher attainments and the new life that was to open the portals and possibilities of a great career.” Pg. 22 


3. Ambedkar obtained his M.A. degree in 1915 for his thesis ‘Ancient Indian Commerce’. Pg. 29


4. Another thesis was ‘National Dividend of India-A Historical and Analytical Study. It was accepted by the University of Columbia in June 2016. 8 years after this M/s P.S. King and Son Ltd, London published an extension of this thesis under the title, The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India. Ambedkar submitted this to Columbia who officially awarded him the degree of Doctor of Philosophy for this dissertation. Pg. 29

Who do few people refer to the thesis, The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India? This seems to be a finance study. Why did Columbia award him a doctor of philosophy? Can someone enlighten?


“In this thesis Ambdedkar traces the growth of financial arrangements from the Act of 1833 under the imperial system. The chapters on Budget are very valuable in their educative and illustrative aspects with regard to the nature and enlargement of the Provincial Finances. Ambedkar bitterly exposes the British bureaucracy, denounces the designs and objectives of the imperial system and also lashes out at all the reactionary forces in the country.” Pg. 30 


After a very successful career in Columbia University, Ambedkar moved to London, the great international centre of learning, in June/July 1916.


5. Immediately Ambedkar got himself admitted in October 1916 to the Grays Inn for Law and for study of economics to the London School of Economics and Political science. Meanwhile the period of his scholarship was over and he was called back to India by the Dewan of Baroda. He got special permission from London University to resume his studies within a period not exceeding four years from October 1917. He reached Mumbai in August 1917.


He was appointed as professor of political economy in Sydenham College, Mumbai in November 1918. Pg. 39


The young professor saved some money, got help from the Maharaja of Kolhapur, took a loan of Rs 5,000 from friend Naval Bhathena and again left for London in July 1920 to pursue his studies in Law and Economics. Pg. 44


6. In London he resumed his studies at LST, kept terms for the Bar at Grays Inn and turned his attention to London Museum where the ruins of the antique world are displayed and where many including Savarkar had dug for knowledge and digested it. He was there whenever possible, often from 8 am to 5pm. Pg. 45


Ambedkar read and researched on a variety of topics. One thesis was completed. It was Provincial Decentralization of Imperial Finance in British India. For this he was awarded the degree of Master of Science in 1922. Pg. 49


First and second thesis had finance common to them.


In October 1922 he completed the third and famous thesis, The Problem of the Rupee. His other papers had caused a stir in London. Due to a financial crunch he returned to Mumbai in April 1923. He resubmitted his thesis, The Problem of the Rupee and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science. Pg. 49


In this thesis Ambedkar “reveals how in the final settlement of the currency problem the relationship of the rupee to the pound was manipulated to the greater profit of the Britishers, and how it inflicted crushing hardships on the Indian people as a whole.” Pg. 50


Ambedkar was now a Barrister reinforced by a London Doctorate in Science, an American Doctorate in Philosophy and studies at Bonn University. Pg. 50


To me Ambedkar’s book Thoughts on Pakistan was outstanding. Excellent analysis, used number tables when required. Do read Who Drafted and How Indian is the Indian Constitution


I express gratitude to Sayaji Rao Saheb Gaikwad, Naval Bhathena and Shahu Maharaj for supporting Ambedkar’s education.  


Also read

1. The misappropriated legacy of Dr B R Ambedkar 2015

2. The economics of Ambedkar 2016

3. Our un-Indian Constitution 2016

4. Why the Ambedkar legacy matters? 2015

5. When caste was not a bad word

6. Were backward classes always suppressed in India

7. Ambedkar’s Degree List

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