Politics is all about hitting at the right time. Many political parties in the state have geared up to woo the Dalit community by becoming a part of the 54th death anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on Monday at Shivaji Park. Usually, all political parties show respect to Babasaheb on his death
anniversary, also known as Mahaparinirvan Din, but the presence of non-Dalit politicians is likely to be more this year in view of the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections.
The entire cabinet, including chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, are likely to make a journey from Nagpur to pay homage to the Dalit leader.
Other political parties are also planning to make their presence felt amongst the five lakh Dalit devotees who throng Shivaji Park. The opposition parties have also prepared themselves to reach out to the community by deploying their members at the ground to assist the visitors.
“Our cadres will be at the ground to help the people. We will also set up food stalls for the visitors,” BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.
Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has set up kiosks to sell literature on Dr Ambedkar, and also medical check-up camps for people coming to Chaityabhoomi on Monday. “Our cadres will be manning these stalls. This occasion gives us a good chance to serve the people,” MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande said.
The Shiv Sena too has arranged for food for the visitors.
The 12 factions of the Republican Party of India, set up by Babasaheb, will also display their strength at the ground. Several Dalit leaders, including, Prakash Ambedkar, Ramdas Athavale, Jogendra Kawade, Namdeo Dhasal, Surekha Kumbhare, Rajendra Gavai, and T M Kamble, will be present there.
Incidentally, the strength of Dalit parties has been waning, as the RPI failed to win any seat in the assembly elections.
Political analyst Surendra Jondhale said: “It is a telling statement on Dr Ambedkar’s contribution to the Dalit community that even 54 years after his death, lakhs of people converge to pay tribute to him. At the same time, it also shows that Dalits have not been able to find a leader of his stature.”
A decision was taken in a meeting between the urban development department and NTC officials in Mantralaya on Thursday. The plot is located along the sea in Dadar.
Chief minister Ashok Chavan had requested Union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran to allot land for the project. A senior state government official said, “The NTC wants to construct a hotel with a convention centre on the remaining eight-acre plot. We will give the entire floor space index (FSI) to the NTC.”
The state government will sign a memorandum of understanding in October with the NTC. Since the plot is next to the sea, the development will require a nod from the Union ministry of environment and forests.
The NTC has also agreed to hand over a plot for setting up of a vocational guidance centre for mill workers and their wards by December 31.
Read more: NTC gives 4 acres for Chaityabhoomi project – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/NTC-gives-4-acres-for-Chaityabhoomi-project/articleshow/6616544.cms#ixzz17JPOzwc4
As lakhs of Dalits converge at Chaityabhoomi (Dadar) on Monday to commemorate the 54th death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, social reforms and economic empowerment appear to have overshadowed the political agenda.
Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, died on December 6, 1956 and since the day is known “Mahaparinirvan Din”, when Dalits across the state and the country travel to Mumbai to offer tributes. Having aligned with the ruling Congress-NCP combine, the Republican Party of India (RPI), at the forefront of mobilising masses, this time appears to be on the back foot.
After failing to unite the faction-ridden Dalits, RPI leader Ramdas Athavale seems vulnerable.
On the other hand, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s experiment to integrate the Dalits under one forum, led by Mayawati, proved a debacle in Maharashtra. Not surprisingly, as Ambedkar’s relevance grows in the globalisation era, torch-bearers of his movement need to indulge in introspection and take corrective steps if they have to reaffirm their independent identity.
President of the Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) and Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar asserts, “His philosophy is more relevant as discrimination in educational, political, social and economical sector needs to be weeded out.”
Citing examples in Maharashtra, he asked, “How can one explain the atrocities against Dalits in progressive states. Why were Khairlanji victims not awarded capital punishment? Why was their capital punishment turned to life sentence?” This only shows the deep prejudices among the ruling class against Dalits, he added.
Most Dalits in the city admit that they felt various organisations should have joined hands to make Khairlanji a common issue.
Meanwhile, Dalits from distant villages in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh unanimously stated, “We have come to pay obeisance to Dr BR Ambedkar. He is our god,” Outside Dadar station, Dalit youth were seen distributing booklets on BR Ambedkar as part of the awareness campaign in Marathi, Hindi and English.
According to Dalit activist Tusshar Jagtap, “Ambedkar’s relevance has grown as he was the champion of human rights and social reforms. Today, every suppressed section looks forward to his philosophy for lasting solutions. There is a subtle movement among the oppressed classes at the grassroots. They are looking for a right leadership.
” According to Milind Kamble, president of the Dalit Chamber of Industries and Commerce (DCIC), “Today, the relevance of economist Ambedkar is significant. Along with social reforms, he has always laid emphasis on economic empowerment for self-reliance of an individual.”
Kamble reveals, “The DCIC, which is committed to Dalit economic upliftment, has enrolled 1,000 Dalit businessmen across the country. In Maharashtra, we have 400 Dalit business enterprises whose annual turnover is worth Rs5,000 crore.”
Father of Indian Constitution
Dr B R Ambedkar’s 54th death anniversary today:
Dr B R Ambedkar
* Born: April 14, 1891
* Died: December 6, 1956 (aged 65)
* Nationality: Indian
* Title: First Law Minister of India, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee
* Political party: Republican Party of India
* Religion: Buddhism
* Awards: Bharat Ratna (1990)
According to the Constitution of India, Dalit Community with nearly 160 million population is identified as members of the Scheduled Castes. It was on the October 14, 1956 Dr B R Ambedkar with his wife Srimati Savitabai Ambedkar along with half a million followers embraced Buddhism in an impressive and historic ceremony at Nagpur, Maharashtra, India.
Dr B R Ambedkar
The leader who brought a promise of new life to the long down-trodden and oppressed members of the Scheduled Castes died on December 6, two months after the mass conversion ceremony paralysing the forward march of his mission and vision.
Dr Ambedkar himself was the father of the Constitution of India framed and adopted after the Independence. Speaking at the Nagpur on the eve of his conversion to Buddhism Dr Ambedkar told that he had decided to embrace Buddhism because of misbehaviour by those so-called upper class society. “I am decidedly choosing something better” and asked “why do you want us to remain perpetually untouchable to enjoy those benefits like reservations under Constitution? Are the Brahmins prepared to become untouchables to have these privileges?”
Ancient Buddhist shrines
Babasaheb Ambedkar was born in 1891, the year Anagarika Dharmapala founded the Maha Bodhi Society of India for the purpose of reviving Buddhism in the land of its birth and for restoring the ancient Buddhist shrines at Buddha Gaya, Sanath and Kushinara.
The Scheduled Castes members were subjected to inhuman treatment by the high-caste in the name of religion. According to them, Ambedkar family, were not only lowest of lowly and devoid of even elementary human rights but these unfortunate people were also damned as unseesbles, unapproachable above all untouchables, whose mere touch, and even shadow would pollute the high-castes. In short they were made to suffer immeasurable deprivations and humiliations.
According to the life story of Dr Ambedkar himself, at school at Satra he was made to sit outside the classroom on a piece of gunny bag which he had to carry to the school everyday.
Many a time he had to go without water, because he was being untouchable, had no right to drink from the common source. In the same school some of the teachers would not touch his notebooks for fear being pollute. Outside school, the position was even worse. “Touch me not” was the rule for him everywhere.
As a man of learning and high official in the Baroda State in 1917, he was subjected to inhuman treatment. Drinking water was not available to him in office.
His subordinates kept distance from him and even the peons fearful of pollution threw the files and papers on to his desk from a distance. There he even could not get accommodation and had to resign in disgust and return to Bombay.
As a professor in Bombay University in 1918-1920, he was treated as a ‘Parish’ by the academic staff belong to high castes and was not allowed to drink water from the pot kept in the professor’s common room.
When in 1923, he started practice as barrister in the High Court of Bombay, the solicitors would not condescend to have any business with him on the ground of untouchability. Even the humble canteen boy would not serve him tea.
This was the case of Dr Ambedkar, a highly educated person made to think about the future well-being of his caste members numbering millions living in rural areas all over India.
He fought bravely against the protagonists of inequality and exploitation and made heroic efforts to inspire the downtrodden classes to raise the banner of revolt against those strong, rich and powerful with extraordinary social status.
He started the struggle for the liberation of the downtrodden at Mahad on March 20, 1927 when untouchables for the first time asserted their human rights by drinking water from a forbidden tank.
Several times he openly declared his intention to embrace Buddhism but with pressure mounting from and within the Dalit community he finally informed Ven Chandamoni Maha Stavira from Kushinara and Devpriya Valisinghe, then General Secretary of the Maha Bodhi Society of India about his final decision to embrace Buddhism.
Accordingly Devpriya Valisinghe along with Ven Galagedara Pannarama Maha Stavira (present high priest of Luknow Buddha Vihara) visited his Nagpur residence and accompanied him to the venue.
Today, the Dalit Community has become a powerful political force and a vote bank of different political parties rather than a religious group, specially in Maharashtra, North India, Tamil Nadu and Uttara Pradesh. For instance, Kumari Mayawathi, a member of the Dalit Community became the Chief Minister in Uttara Pradesh (several times) due to her affiliations with the Ambedkar Movement.
Ambedkar Mission remains today with different faces but with no particular leader.
Courtesy : Srilankan News
The nation pays homage to the Father of Indian Constitution and Bharat Ratna, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar on his 54th death anniversary today. A Special function is being organised in the Parliament House complex in New Delhi where senior leaders of different political parties and Union Ministers will pay floral tribute to Dr. Ambedkar.
Functions are also being organised in different parts of the country to mark the occasion. Thousands of people from across the country will gather at the ”Chaitya Bhoomi” in Dadar, Mumbai to pay homage to the architect of the Indian Constitution.
Dr. Ambedkar preached non-violence and spread the message of peace across the nation. He is also viewed as messiah of dalits and downtrodden in India. Dr. Ambedkar spent his life fighting untouchability and the caste system and he was honoured with the Bharat Ratna.