Narendra Modi pays respects to Ambedkar
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays respects to the author of the constitution, BR Ambedkar. NDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images

On 14 April India celebrates the 125<sup>th birth anniversary of one of the country's leading figures, Dr BR Ambedkar. Known as the "Father of the Indian Constitution", Ambedkar is also well known for his role in fighting to abolish India's caste system.

In 2016 the United Nations celebrated Ambedkar's birthday for the first time by hosting a commemoration ceremony at their headquarters in New York on 13 April. The event was organised by the Kalpana Saroj Foundation For Human Horizon in collaboration with the UN's Permanent Mission of India.

Speaking at the event, Helen Clark, the United Nations Development Programme administrator, said: "We are committed to continuing our very close partnership with India to help raise the vision of the 2030 Agenda and ensure that Ambedkar's vision becomes reality for the poor and marginalised around the world."

Ambedkar was the first Dalit or "untouchable" in India to pursue a university degree. After securing a law degree, he went on to gain a reputation as a leading political and social campaigner for rights of the repressed Dalit people. In protest against the Hindu caste system, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism and was followed by thousands of other Dalit people.

Many states in India celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti (Ambedkar's birthday) with a public holiday. On 14 April 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation for Ambedkar Jayanti from Mhow, Ambedkar's birthplace in the state of Madhya Pradesh.