Last day of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
5 Dec 1956: On the morning of 5 December, Dr. Ambedkar woke up a little late. Nanak Chad Rattu, his assistant was there till then, and after Dr. Ambedkar’s waking up, he took permission from him and left for office. Only his wife (Mrs. Savita Ambedkar) and his doctor, Dr Mavlankar, from Bombay remain in the house. In the afternoon, Dr. Savita and Dr. Mavlankar went to market. They had to do some shopping before Dr. Mavlankar’s return to Bombay, so they got late in returning home.
At 6 o’clock in the evening when Rattu came back from his office to Dr. Ambedkar’s house. Mrs. Ambedkar had not returned from the market till them. At this Dr. Ambedkar felt that he was neglected, and he was beginning to feel angry due to this. Ratu realized this. Gathering his composure, Dr. Ambedkar gave Ratu some work to type. Ratu was about to go to this room, when Mrs. Ambedkar returned from the market. Dr. Ambedkar could not control his anger, and he said some harsh words to Mrs. Ambedkar, He also said that he wanted to divorce Mrs. Ambedkar. Dr. Savita Ambedkar saw that Dr. Ambedkar was angry and anything she would say would only provoke him further. So, she told Ratu to try to calm Dr. Ambedkar. Ratu tried to pacify him, and Dr. Ambedkar calmed down after a little while.
That evening at 8’o clock, a deputation of Jain followers met Dr. Ambedkar as per the scheduled appointment . Dr. Ambedkar was thinking of calling them the next day; but since they had come, he said, he should have a talk with them. After about 20 minutes he went to the bathroom. With his hand on the shoulder of Rattu he came out of the drawing room, flung himself into the sofa and sat with his eyes closed.
The Jain leaders stood up as a mark of respect and then sat down. There was complete silence for some minutes, the Jain leaders gazing on his face intently. After Dr. Ambedkar rose his head, they discussed for a few minutes questions concerning Buddhism and Jainism. . He was presented a book ‘Jain Buddha’ at that time. Actually, they had come to invite Dr. Ambedkar to a function that they were organizing the next day. They gave their invitation to him and Dr. Ambedkar accepted it and assured them that if his health permitted, he would definitely take a part in the function.
Dr. Ambedkar was busy in his conversation with the Jain deputation, when Dr. Mavlankar who had come there especially to look after him, left for Bombay according to his pre-decided programme.
After the Jain deputation left, Rattu pressed his master’s legs. Dr. Ambedkar asked him to anoint his head with oil. He did so. Dr. Ambedkar felt a little relaxed. Suddenly a gentle, pleasant, musical tone was heard; and it took little time for Rattu to know that his master was, with his eyes shut, singing a song, the fingers of his right hand striking the arm of the sofa. Slowly the song became distinct and louder. Its lines became firm as Dr. Ambedkar recited ‘Buddham Sarnam Gacchami’ with full concentration. Ratu felt happy on seeing this. Afterwards, Dr. Ambedkar told Ratu to put on a record of the same song on the radiogram and with devotion Dr. Ambedkar accompanied the song. While the song was playing on the radiogram, he asked Ratu to take out a few of his books including the preface and introduction to The Buddha and His Dhamma and keep them on the table besides to his bedside so that he could work on them during the night.
After some time, Dr. Ambedkar’s cook Sudama came out and said that supper was ready. Dr. Ambedkar said that he would have simply a little rice and nothing else. He was still under the spell of the song. The servant came a second time and Dr. Ambedkar rose up to go to the dining room. While walking with his head on the shoulder of Rattu, he took out some books from different almirahs and told him to place these books too on the table. After his dinner, he came into his room. There he kept humming the song of Kabir ‘ Chal Kabir tera bhav sagar dera’ for some time. Then he got up and went to his bedroom. There, he looked at the books that he had asked Ratu to keep. He worked on the preface of The Buddha and His Dhamma and fell asleep by keeping his hand over the book.