Since 1948, Dr. Ambedkar ji had been suffering from diabetes. He was bed-ridden from June to October in 1954 owing to side-effects from his medication 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, Dr. Ambedkar ji died in his sleep on 6 December 1956 at his home in Delhi.
A Buddhist cremation was organised for him at Dadar Chowpatty beach on 7 December, attended by half a million sorrowing people. 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.
Dr. Ambedkar ji was survived by his second wife, who died in 2003 and his son Yashwant (known as Bhaiyasaheb Dr. Ambedkar ji).Dr. Ambedkar ji’s grandson, Dr. Ambedkar ji 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 Dr. Ambedkar ji’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 Dr. Ambedkar ji was established in his Delhi house at 26 Alipur Road. His birthdate is celebrated as a public holiday known as Dr. Ambedkar ji Jayanti or Bhim Jayanti. He was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1990.
On the anniversary of his birth and death, 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!”.