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Did you know how Babasaheb Ambedkar honoured a semi-literate engineer?

Every history textbook mentions Dr B R Ambedkar, the Father of the Indian Constitution. A man of unimaginable determination, he was the voice of the untouchables and oppressed classes of India. Here is a little-known true story about him, which throws light on his greatness.

In July 1942, Dr B R Ambedkar was the Labour Minister at the viceroy's council. He was also looking after the Central Public Works Department. One day, he received a strange letter in Hindi from a semi-literate poor man in Agra. The man, named Puranchand, claimed that he had successfully repaired a crack that had developed in the dome of Taj Mahal in 1939.  He also claimed that no other engineer could have done the work. Puranchand said that he had done the repair job free of cost, of course expecting some employment in the Taj Mahal precincts. The main engineer of Taj Mahal had promised some favour in return, however nothing had happened after that assurance.

Puranchand's letter disturbed Dr Ambedkar. He decided to investigate the matter. Ambedkar paid a visit to Agra and called for the particular file. After verifying Puranchand's complaint, Ambedkar met the semi-literate man and heard his story. Very soon, he presented Puranchand before the viceroy. Ambedkar told the viceroy that, in the former's capacity as the labour minister, he had decided to relax all rules and appoint Puranchand as the assistant engineer of Taj Mahal. The viceroy was moved by Ambedkar's concern.

Upon Ambedkar's request, the viceroy gave the title of Rai Saheb to Purachand. It was an honour for the poor man who had preserved India's traditional engineering skills and done a great service to a famous historical monument. Puranchand served the Taj Mahal's engineering department for a good number of years.

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