-Report by Arun Kumar
Though Dr Ambedkar’s actual birth falls on 14 April, his followers and admirers continue to celebrate his birth for months. This annual event is celebrated not only in India but around the World. Bedford is the only town in the United Kingdom where a number of organisations come together to commemorate the memory of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. A grand function was organised jointly by Ambedkar Mission Society, Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha and Bhagwan Valmik Sabha on 2nd June to remember Dr Ambedkar and his contribution to the making of India as the principal architect of India’s constitution and his efforts and struggle against caste discrimination.
In his welcoming speech, Jaswinder Kumar, President Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha, Bedford, said that Dr Ambedkar gave us three mantras, educate, organise and agitate. We in Bedford are trying to follow in the footsteps of Dr Ambedkar.
Guest speaker, Dr Mukesh Kumar IPS, Commissioner, Delhi Police said that Dr Ambedkar is his role model from whom he got inspiration and was able to achieve high position in the government. Dr Ambedkar himself stressed upon education which is the key to progress. We must give higher education to children so that they can compete with others. In his spare time, Dr Kumar plays on flute and regularly performs in various TV and musical events. He also entertained the audience with the melodious tunes on his flute.
- Gautam, Joint Secretary of the Federation of Ambedkrite and Buddhist Organisations, UK (FABO UK) explained how his colleagues in the FABO UK worked hard to take Dr Ambedkar out from the Indian community to the Western World. To achieve this objective, a number of busts of Dr Ambedkar in the prestigious educational institutions in the UK, America and Canada were installed and also over three hundred sets of Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar’s writing and speeches were donated to the universities and libraries in the UK and America. Dr Ambedkar House is another example of our hard work.
Congratulating the organisers for jointly organising the function, Dilawar Bagha, President Guru Ravidass Sabha, UK said that to get together is a need of the hour. Talking on the atrocities on Dalits in India, he said that the provisions in the constitution are not implemented. Consequently people continue to be the victims of caste oppression. Devinder Chander, Dr Ambedkar Buddhist Organisation, Birmingham and Chief Editor of Samaj Weekly, touched upon the issue of identity. All the scheduled castes are clubbed together in the Constitution which makes 15% of the total population. Unfortunately each and every caste considers itself a nation and separate and superior from other castes. That’s why they are not getting together. Sooner or later they must realise that we are indigenous people of India and we are one and the same people having common heritage.
Arun Kumar, General Secretary Mission Society, Bedford said that unity doesn’t come through mere lip service. You need to work for it and sometimes make sacrifices for the common cause. Bedford has shown the path to others to agree on a minimum common agenda and try to implement it. He said today we are all busy in criticising each other but never think about the bigger issues facing Dalits in India and UK. It is time to get together irrespective of religion and caste and become the voice of the marginalised communities. UC Saroa, chairman Shri Guru Ravidass ITI College, Phagwara spoke on the deteriorating condition of educational system in Punjab. He told that they are providing free education to girls coming from economically backward communities.
Charan Sekhon from the SEVA Trust UK also explained in details the help their organisation providing by annual educational grants to the poor students. Recently they have installed a solar system in a school which meets all electricity needs to the young students and teachers in the school.
A young girl Khushi Chumber read a paper on Dr Ambedkar. Poonam, Des Raj Mehmi, Ram Pal Rahi and Manohar Teji also shed light on the life and works of Dr Ambedkar. Amrik Palahi, Gurmail Singh, Santosh Gill, ladies group from Bhagwan Valmik Sabha, Bedford, Amrik singh Makhan singh and Rakesh Kumar from Guru Ravidass Bedford entertained with missionary song.
Arun Kumar and Sam Kalyan, President, Bhagwan Valmik Sabha anchored the programme.