Babasaheb Ambedkar: Identity And Emergence Of The Blue Insignia

As one confronts the images of the leaders in social and political life, one can sense a process in which the images get formed. In this process there are many elements, which shape the image, the primary one is ‘factual appearance’ of the leader, philosophy and the contribution of the leader also form a ‘qualitative image’ in the mind of his/her followers.

Government also plays an active role in developing the ‘official image’ of the leader and insists the use of it. Leaders are human beings, their appearances change naturally due to the process of time, aging, illness, changes in the styling of their costume etc. official images do no consider these human aspects and aims to create an ‘timeless image’ which matches to the qualitative image developed in the minds of his/her followers.

In this process of image making, mediums and technology, like photography, printing quality etc. also play an important part. Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Hitler, John .F. Kennedy, there are many examples of the leaders whose images are being etched in the mind of the people, due to the vision of the photographers, who captured them.

In Indian society one can see, persona of the leaders creating a lasting influence. In this, ‘official images’ play their role but the followers of the leaders, many of whom literally worship them, create a qualitative image by emotionally, intellectually responding to the leaders appearance. These qualitative images have a unique aesthetic appeal. In Indian society beside Mahatma Gandhi, the people and their responses have created Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s image.

The needs, aspirations, desires, dreams of the people, develop the quality of the responses towards the leader and the repetitive nature of these responses crystalize the image of the leader.

‘Official images’ created by the governments are only displayed in the offices of the government, but the images created by the people are part of their life, they live with these images. Images are part of psychological, emotional, intellectual aspects of their life.

Followers of Babasaheb, create the images of him with their imagination, emotional responses as well as their aspirations. Pendants, wristwatches, wall clocks, posters and frames, statuettes, images on the T- shirts, there are so many objects through which image of Babasaheb has become a part of the lives.

Babasaheb adopted Buddhism, so images of Buddha, peepal leaf, window detail of the Chaitya and Vihara become an integral part of the images. He was one of the creators of Indian constitution so the images of parliament house as well appear in the background of many of the images. Like a DNA, blue colour is all over these images.

Followers of Babasaheb look at him as an ideal leader, teacher and as an inspirational figure. This perception does not value factual appearance; rather it has created an emblem from his attire- His coat, shoes, hairstyle, pen, books in the hand. This kind of formation of the meaning develop an aesthetic value of the images.

Here is a collection of photographs of Dr. Ambedkar which were showcased at a photo exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.

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Dr. Ambedkar with his family at their residence at Rajgrahar, Hindu Colony, Mumbai.

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This photograph was taken on 9th December 1943, when Dr.Ambedkar as the Minister of Labour, paid a visit to the colony of mineworkers at Dhanbad (Bihar). He visited several other settlements of mineworkers to acquaint himself with their grievances. As the minister of labour, he strived hard to formulate and implement plans, which would give workers minimum wages, medical facilities, regulate working hours, maternity leave for women workers, separate wash rooms for women at the workplace.

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Dr. Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi and other representatives from India at the Round Table Conference.The second round table conference was held in London from 7th September to 1st December 1931 to discuss the political reforms to be implemented in India.

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In June 1948, Sardar Patel hosted a dinner in the honour of Chakravarti Rajagopalchari, who had been appointed of the Governor- General of India, Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with Dr. Ambedkar and other cabinet ministers at the dinner.

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On 8th May 1950 Dr. Ambedkar was sworn in as the first law minister of Independent India. He was given the oath of office and secrecy by President Dr.Rajendra Prasad in the presence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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On 3rd august 1947 names of those appointed to the Central Cabinet of Ministers led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, were announced. Dr. Ambedkar was given the portfolio of the Ministry of Law.

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