In 1997, the election of an untouchable in the head of the Indian State, president Narayanan, suddenly testified of the increase in importance of the lowest castes on the Indian political stage.
Bhim Rao Ambedkar (1891-1956),
untouchable leader and father
of the Indian Constitution
The untouchable, approximately 180 million persons victims of a multi-secular segregation, begin to collect fruits of several decades of struggles, fights whose pioneer Ambedkar was. Bhim Rao Ambedkar was alone for a long time against all, in particular against Gandhi, for whom the untouchable had to live integral part of the Indian society. It will not prevent him from participating in the first government of Nehru and from being in charge of drafting the Constitution of India in 1947, because of its jurist's talents.
He will use these functions to contain the influence of the gandhisme and at best the interests of the untouchable. Statesman, Ambedkar was also a thinker. His political action based on a sociological analysis of the system of the castes from which he concluded that he was consubstantial with the Hinduism and that the divisions of the lower castes forbade the formation of a working class, the Indian Marxists of which still hoped for the advent.
Where from both strategies that he will implement from the 1920s. The first one(night) aimed at improving the position of the untouchable in the public place, by mobilizing them through a political party and by obtaining for them concessions with the British then with the Congress. The second was other one than the conversion in another religion, perceived as a collective migration vector of social emancipation since she allowed to escape the Indian world.
Minister of Nehru but was restrained in his projects of social reform, he resigned and distanced oneself from the political action at the beginning of 1950s to be finally converted to the Buddhism a few months before his death. He disappeared, bitter and solitary, without suspecting that he had put the bases of an untouchable movement arrived at maturity at the end of the 20th century.