Shashi Tharoor gives Ambedkar a title of India’s first male feminist

The father of India’s Constitution Dr BR Ambedkar was a forward thinker even for today’s times and could well claim the title of India’s first male feminist, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said.

At the Goa Heritage Festival, Tharoor discussed his most recent book, “Ambedkar: A Life,” and said that even now, society has not fully accepted Ambedkar’s feminist thinking.

“Way back in 1920s, 30s, 40s, he (Ambedkar) made speeches, including in front of a female audience, which today would be considered as progressive for a male politician. He was probably India’s first male feminist,” the Congress MP said adding that Ambekar urged women not to allow themselves to be forced into marriage, to delay marriage, delay childbirth. He urged them to stand up to their husbands as equals. “It was a remarkable feminist thinking of this man 80-90 years ago.” he said.

“There is a tendency to see Ambedkar as a Dalit leader. He was the principal Dalit leader of the country. From his early 20s, he was an influential voice and became more and more influential,” Tharoor said.

 Ambedkar was an extraordinary constitutionalist, being the chairman of the drafting committee. It was he who presented and defended every single one of the provisions of the Constitution, he added.

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