Constitution: The wisdom of Dr BR Ambedkar, the chairman of the Indian Constitution drafting committee, inspired many articles of the Bhutanese Constitution, former Chief Justice Sonam Tobgay said yesterday.

He was speaking at the lecture “Transcendental Wisdom and Wisdom of Dr Ambedkar” at the Royal Institute of Management in Thimphu to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar.

To name a few, fundamental rights, the independent election Act, and a strong and independent judiciary are the direct influences of Dr Ambedkar.

An RIM official described the former chief justice as “Dr Ambedkar of Bhutan”.

Sonam Tobgay was the chairman of the Constitution drafting committee of Bhutan. He said he was grateful and honoured to speak at the programme.

He said that one of the direct influences of Dr Ambedkar’s wisdom in the Bhutanese Constitution was that Bhutan’s prime minister should be a natural born citizen. Sonam Tobgay divided his speech into three parts. While the first segment of his speech focused on the life of Dr Ambedkar, the second and third segments dealt with his contribution to India and as the chairman of the Indian constitution drafting committee.

Present at the programme were foreign minister Damcho Dorji, Finance Minister Namgay Dorji, Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk and former Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi. Ambassadors Jishnu Roy Chaudhary and Jaideep Sarkar of Bangladesh and India respectively were also present.

Dr Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 and died in 1956. Dr. BR Ambedkar was elected as the chairman of the drafting committee that was constituted by the Constituent Assembly to draft a constitution for independent India; conferred Bharat Ratna in 1990.

Dr Ambedkar is viewed as a messiah for the dalits and downtrodden in India.

In 1947, when India became independent, the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, invited Dr Ambedkar, who had been elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly from Bengal, to join his Cabinet as a law minister.

On May 24, 1956, on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti, he declared in Bombay, that he would adopt Buddhism. On 0ctober 14, 1956 he embraced Buddhism.

MB Subba