Since 1948, Ambedkar had been suffering from diabetes. He was bed-ridden from June to October in 1954 owing to diabetes and failing eyesight. He had been increasingly embittered by political issues, which took a toll on his health. His health worsened during 1955. Three days after completing his final manuscript The Buddha and His Dhamma, it is said that Ambedkar died in his sleep on 6 December 1956 at his home in Delhi.
His body was taken to Bombay. A Buddhist-style cremationwas organised for him at Dadar Chowpatty beach on 7 December, attended by hundreds of thousands of people. A two-mile long crowd formed the funeral procession. At Dadar cemetery that evening, eminent leaders paid their last respects to him. The pyre was lit according to Buddhist rites. Half a million people witnessed it. A conversion program was supposed to be organised on 16 December 1956.So, those who had attended the cremation were also converted to Buddhism at the same place. Since this incidence Dadar Chowpatty is also known as CHAITYA-BHOOMI.
Thus ended the life of one of India’s greatest sons. His was the task of awakening India’s millions of excluded and oppressed to their human rights. He experienced their suffering and the cruelty shown to them. He overcame the obstacles to stand on an equal footing with the greatest men of his time. He played a vital role in forming modern India through its Constitution.
His work and mission continue today – we must not rest until we see a truly democratic India of equal citizens living in peace together.
Ambedkar was survived by his second wife Savita Ambedkar (née Sharda Kabir), who died in 2003. and his son Yashwant (known as Bhaiyasaheb Ambedkar).Ambedkar’s grandson, Ambedkar Prakash Yashwant, is the chief-adviser of the Buddhist Society of India,leads the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and has served in both houses of the Indian Parliament.
A number of unfinished typescripts and handwritten drafts were found among Ambedkar’s notes and papers and gradually made available. Among these were Waiting for a Visa, which probably dates from 1935–36 and is an autobiographical work, and the Untouchables, or the Children of India’s Ghetto, which refers to the census of 1951.
A memorial for Ambedkar was established in his Delhi house at 26 Alipur Road. His birthdate is celebrated as a public holiday known as Ambedkar Jayanti or Bhim Jayanti. He was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1990. Many public institutions are named in his honour, such as the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University in Hyderabad; Dr BR Ambedkar University in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh; B. R. Ambedkar Bihar University, Muzaffarpur; the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar; the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur, otherwise known as Sonegaon Airport; the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University in Tamil Nadu; and the Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. A large official portrait of Ambedkar is on display in the Indian Parliament building.
On the anniversary of his birth (14 April) and death (6 December), and on Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din (14 October) at Nagpur, at least half a million people gather to pay homage to him at his memorial in Mumbai.Thousands of bookshops are set up, and books are sold. His message to his followers was “Educate!, Organize!, Agitate!.”