Reflections on Dr Ambedkar’s Birthday

-Arun Kumar,

General Secretary, FABO UK

We are celebrating Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary in a very  unusual way in unusual circumstances. The Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK (FABO UK) commemorate this day in a number of ways at various locations, India House, Indian High Commission, Ambedkar Museum and at the British Parliament. We also take out a peace march from Ambedkar Museum to the London School of Economics where Babasaheb studied.  Because of the Coronavirus, we had to cancel all the programmes.  Though the Indian High Commission celebrated Ambedkar birth on online and asked us to send video message. But because of the arrest of Professor Dr Anand Teltumbde, a human rights activist and son in law of Dr Ambedkar’s son on flimsy grounds, FABO UK decided not to participate in the official celebrations by the Government of India as we strongly oppose the charges levelled against him and his arrest.

Considering all this negativity, there is not a doom and gloom in the Ambedkarite circles. Two historic events took place in 2020 for which we are all proud of. On 12 March, the museum dedicated to Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar situated at 10 King Henry’s Road, North West London where he stayed during his studies during 1921-22 at the London School of Economics was saved after the UK Government approved appeal against its closure. Allowing the appeal, Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick tweeted, “I was pleased to grant planning permission for a museum in London to Dr Ambedkar-one of the founding fathers of modern India and an important figure to many British Indians. I wish the museum every success.” This is the only museum in the World dedicated to any Indian outside India. Thanks to the FABO UK team especially to Ms Santosh Dass MBE and C Gautam and all the people in India and here in the UK working behind the scene for this monumental achievement.

Another significant event took place on 6 April, 2020 in the City of Burnaby, Canada when the Burnaby City Council issued a proclamation declaring 14 April, birth of Dr Ambedkar as a Day of Equality. It is matter of pride for all Indians. Chetna Association of Canada especially Jai Birdi, Burnaby City Council especially Councillor Sarv Dhariwal deserve appreciation for this historic work.

The proposal to declare 14 April as an International Day of Equality by Mr Ramesh Chander, former Diplomat was made through the then Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj in May 2015 for government’s recommendation to the United Nations. Many organisations in India and abroad including FABO UK wrote to the Government of India for taking this issue to the United Nations. The proposal is still sitting with the Government of India and we need a strong lobby to push this issue ahead. All organisations in India and abroad must write to the government of India to declare 14 April, an International Day of Equality. From now on, we should also observe 14 April as a Day of Equality so that it catches the eye of all people at national and international level.

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