Matriculation and Marriage
In due course, Bhim passed his Matriculation Exam. He had already come to the attention of some people interested in improving society. So when he passed the exam, a meeting was arranged to congratulate him – he was the first ‘untouchable’ from his community to pass it.
Bhim was then 17 years old. Early marriage was common in those days, so he was married to Ramabai the same year. He continued to study hard and passed the next Intermediate examination with distinction. However, Ramji found himself unable to keep paying the school fees. Through someone interested in his progress, Bhim was recommended to the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda. The Maharaja granted him a monthly scholarship. With the help of this, Bhimrao (‘rao’ is added to names in Maharashtra as a sign of respect) passed his B.A. in 1912. Then he was given a job in the civil service – but only two weeks after starting, he had to rush home to Bombay. Ramji was very ill, and died soon afterwards. He had done all he could for his son, laying the foundations for Bhimrao’s later achievements.