Vancouver (Canada)- On April 1, 2021, Government of British Columbia (Canada) took a historical action by proclaiming and declaring that April 14, 2021 be known as “Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Equality Day”. The news was well received and sent a wave of joy among the Diaspora and patrons of Dr. Ambedkar in India. April 14, 2021 marks the 130th birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar. Ambedkar’s contributions to education, economics, political science, and social justice are noteworthy and are resulting in him emerging as a global icon. City of Burnaby (in BC) had also acknowledged Dr. Ambedkar and proclaimed April 14, 2020 as Equality Day in Burnaby last year.
According to Mr. Manish, Consul General of India in Vancouver, “Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is the chief architect of the Constitution of India. He strived for a society based on justice and equity. The champion of Social Justice will always be remembered for his untiring efforts to emancipate the underprivileged and downtrodden. His thoughts and ideals continue to give strength to millions”.
“The Proclamation by Province of British Columbia to declare 14 April 2021 as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Equality Day is lifting tribute to Dr. Ambedkar on his 130th birth anniversary”, continued Mr. Manish.
The Consulate General of India (Vancouver) plans to host virtual celebration and commemorate 130th birth anniversary on April 14 in partnership with local community organizations and elected officials. A Facebook Link with additional information will be released shortly.
In 2020 when City of Burnaby passed a proclamation, Councillor Sav Dhaliwal acknowledged Dr. Ambedkar for providing religious and linguistic protection, safeguards that are also relevant globally.
Manjit Bains, Chair of Chetna Association of Canada’s Women Empowerment Committee, was very pleased with the BC Government’s decision to proclaim Equality Day on Dr. Ambedkar’s 130th birth anniversary.
“Although significant gains have been made, gender inequality remains one of global issues and I am hoping Equality Day in our province will give us opportunity to reflect and renew our vows for addressing inequity in our personal and professional lives”, said Bains.
Suraj Yengde, a Shorenstein Centre inaugural post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of Caste Matters, was also elated by the news of BC Government proclamation the Dr. Ambedkar Day of Equality.
Yengde explains: “The recognition of Dr Ambedkar’s birthday as “Equality Day” by the Government of British Columbia is a befitting tribute to one of the most non-violent, democracy loving revolutionaries. Dr. Ambedkar is responsible for giving the world its largest democracy when its Asian neighbours have given way to threats of dictatorship and autocracy. Bodhisatav Dr. Ambedkar’s work and struggle is a template for every human rights champion. With the acknowledgment of his life and struggle, British Columbia has reiterated its commitment to the universal values and that of Dalit lives”, continued Yengde.
Former MLA and community leader in Surrey (BC), Dave Hayer, also commended BC Government for proclaiming April 14th as the Equality Day and congratulated Chetna Association of Canada and its allies for highlighting Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions.
“Dr. Ambedkar’s ideals and work on inclusion and empowerment are as relevant today as they were 75 years ago. His contribution to reform laws and safeguards has positioned India to remain as a strong democracy built on the vision of equality, liberty, and fraternity”, noted Hayer.
In 2018 at a special event held in the United Nations to observe Dr. Ambedkar’s 127th birth anniversary, UN Official, Achim Steine, noted Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions as “tireless efforts” towards ensuring excluded groups were politically and socially empowered made him a “pioneer” in the world and his vision of equality and social justice echoes the ambitions of the UN’s 2030 development agenda.
Stein further highlighted Ambedkar’s immense contribution to the vision of social justice and equality, saying this vision underpins the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “Equality of opportunity and of access—critical to Dr Ambedkar’s vision of development for all—are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.
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