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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jats crush three dalits under tractor in Rajasthan

crush three dalits under tractor in Rajasthan

Incident Leads To Exodus Of Minority Community
Hundreds of dalits from Nagaur district's Dangawas and surrounding villages fled for their lives on Friday after the region's dominant upper caste, the Jats, mowed down three dalits under tractors, and grievously wounded a dozen others following the flaring up of a decades' old land dispute.
The Jat violence followed firing by dalits in which one dominant caste member was killed on Thursday . Heavy police was deployed at Dangawas, around 250km from Jaipur, to enable the funeral rites of those killed but no arrest was made despite some horrific crimes committed against dalit women, including their molestation, beating, and repeated attempts to disrobe them.

Many of them are battling severe injuries and are admitted to in different hospitals. The dispute relates to a 20ha farm land claimed by dalit families of Ratnaram Meghwal, Gutaram Meghwal and Khemaram Meghwal, but disputed by the family of Chimnaram Jat.The dispute has been pending in court for years.

Matters reached a head on Thursday when Dangawas's Jats held a panchayat and summoned the Meghwals. The dalit families, fearing that the Jats were assembling to attack them, fired shots at the two men sent to call them.

One Rampal died on spot. The crowd at Jat panchayat then went berserk, attacking the Meghwals, bulldozing their houses, assaulting their women and chasing the fleeing men on tractors.

Ratnaram Meghwal, 65, Pancharam, 60, and Pokaram, 45, were crushed to death while 14 others, including six women, were injured.

On Friday, armed attackers reached the hospital at Merta City and surrounded it to prevent doctors from treating the injured da lits. Police from half-a-dozen police stations had to be called to ensure medical treatment to the injured, some of whom were later shifted to Ajmer.

Dangawas's six dalit women are being treated in Ajmer's JLN hospital alleged that the attackers molested them. Some of them suffered multiple fractures in hands and legs.

A 25-year-old woman wept in the hospital speaking about how the attackers tore off her blouse and tried to strip her on the disputed land. She got 15 stitches on her head. “They tried to rape me and abused me,“ the woman said.

Another woman said, “Four attackers tried to remove my `ghaghra' (skirt) and tried to thrust a stick inside.“ A third woman said, “They pulled me by my hair for about 50 metres, tore off my clothes and hit my legs with ironrods.“ A DSP with a police team is now deployed to secure the injured dalits women.

Kishan Meghwal, the brother of one of the injured women, said, “We identified 13 among the 200 attackers, but the police hasn't acted so far.“ He added, “We've been suffering Jat atrocities for decades.“

Source: The Times of India dt 16-5-15 page No 12( Chennai edition)

Dhananjay Mahapatra
Both BJP and Congress have used Ambedkar

Interview with noted policymaker Narendra Jadhav

Economist and educationist Narendra Jadhav has written and edited 35 books. Four years ago, Mr. Jadhav was asked by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to chair a committee and prepare a master plan for a memorial and an international centre for B.R. Ambedkar. The committee finalised its report on September 12, 2012, and waited for things to move. They never did. As political parties clamoured to honour Ambedkar on his 125th birth anniversary that went by recently, Mr. Jadhav spoke to Anuradha Raman on how the Congress frittered away an opportunity to work on the master plan, and how the Bharatiya Janata Party has, in turn, also let him down. Excerpts:

When Mr. Modi laid the foundation for the Ambedkar International Centre on April 20, what was going through your mind?

I was very happy that Mr. Modi has carried on from the earlier proposals of the previous government to create an international centre in honour of Dr. Ambedkar.

You were the chairman of a committee set up by Dr. Singh four years ago, to do exactly what Mr. Modi did a few days ago. Why didn’t the Congress act before?

That it has taken so long hurts. In 1991, Ambedkar’s birth centenary was celebrated. He was also given the Bharat Ratna posthumously. Two very important projects were discussed then — one, to create a National Memorial at the place where Ambedkar lived and breathed his last 

in a bungalow on 26, Alipore Road. He had moved in after resigning from Nehru’s Cabinet in 1951 and stayed in this house till 1956. A lot of Dalits, including me, regard the place as Nirvana Bhumi. The second idea was to have an international centre in Lutyens’ Delhi, which could become a place for scholars to come together and share thoughts and ideas dear to Ambedkar, particulary in the area of social justice. There were many movements and agitations in the Congress regime by several pressure groups to get the projects started. Not much happened.

Mr. Modi said it’s taken 20 years for the Ambedkar centre. The Congress was in power for 15 of those years.

The National Democratic Alliance was in power for five years. In 2004, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government took over the bungalow and converted it into a makeshift memorial.

Was this done to appease the Dalit community before elections?

Possibly. But I don’t think there is anything wrong in that. In a parliamentary democracy, to understand the vote banks of different strata of society is perfectly normal. What makes me a little unhappy was that this was just a makeshift memorial. There was nothing extraordinary about it. It did not do justice to the idea of a memorial. It was like, ‘you want a memorial. Here it is’.

Was that an insult to the memory of Ambedkar?

I don’t see it as an insult. But I saw it as a strategic move and not a move from within. There were some pictures and books of Ambedkar, that’s all. There was no move to work on the international centre. When UPA-I came, nothing happened. There were strong demands, particularly in the early part of UPA- II; so, finally, in 2011, Dr. Singh decided to do something about it and created a high-level committee with me as the chair and other experts, with a mandate to create a master plan for a world-class memorial of Ambedkar. The second [demand] was to create an international centre, which the NDA government had not done. In record time, in September 2012, my committee completed the master plan for both. Regrettably, things did not move as rapidly as they should have even after that.

Did you bring it to the attention of the Prime Minister?

Yes. Time and again. In fact, they could have laid the foundation stone before the code of conduct was announced. They could have done something, which Mr. Modi eventually did.
How do you reconcile the BJP’s attempts to woo Dalits with the party’s stand on ‘ghar wapsi’?
Going by newspaper reports, two things are happening. Some people in the BJP and RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] are giving an impression that Ambedkar was a hindu sudharak (reformer) and the corollary to that is he was against Muslims and Christians. ‘Ghar wapsi’ is being compared to Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism. Both are misleading and untrue. In fact, he took the Muslim League’s support to get into the Constituent Assembly. On Hinduism, Ambedkar said he was born a Hindu, but would not die a Hindu. He made a distinction between Vichar Dharma and Aachar Dharma. The former, the philosophical underpinning of Hinduism, is wonderful. It is the practical aspect — how you practise Hinduism in everyday life — where problems arise. So, in asking Dalits to come into the fold, where is the BJP going to place them in the social structure? Which caste are you going to assign Dalits?

How have the Congress and the BJP treated Ambedkar?

Both parties have made use of Ambedkar and not given him a dignified treatment. In fact, both parties have offended him when he was alive. And these issues range from the Hindu Code Bill, to personal insults, to the non-implementation and diversion of the Tribal and Scheduled Castes sub-plan.
Though the BJP did not have much exposure at the Centre, they still have lots to explain for. What is the attitude of the BJP government to the Tribal and Scheduled Castes sub-plan? During this year’s budget, the Finance Minister has reduced the allocation for the sub-plan by Rs. 19,000 crore. A lot of people feel you have reduced the income tax on corporates [on the one hand], and on the other, you reduce the budgetary allocation [to the sub-plan]. Where Dalits are concerned, there is not much to choose between the two national parties as far as their views on Ambedkar is concerned.

Then how do you say the BJP has honoured Ambedkar?

I will support anyone, including the MIM [Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen] of the Owaisis, if they do something strongly to honour Ambedkar. My loyalty is to Dr. Ambedkar and I will stand by anybody who works to honour his memory and work.

You were once associated with the Congress?

I was never part of any political party. I had the privilege of working with Dr. Singh for nearly 30 years and then, later on, I also had an opportunity to work with Sonia Gandhi as a member of the National Advisory Council. That association makes some people think I am a Congressman, but I am not a formal member of any political party.
Yet, you chose to contest from a Congress ticket?
I was hoping to contest on behalf of the Congress. The BJP, too, has been trying to persuade me to contest from 2004. In 2004, when I was with the RBI [Reserve Bank of India], the Congress approached me. In 2009, I was inclined to contest. I knew nobody in the top level of the Congress. Dr. Singh was the only contact. Unfortunately, he was unwell. I could not connect [with him]. The BJP approached me, but I did not want to betray Dr. Singh, who had been a father figure to me. Then, in 2014, I spoke to Dr. Singh and he was keen that I contest from the Congress. By then, the idea of holding primary elections had come up from Rahul Gandhi. Of 16 constituencies chosen for the primaries, two were from Maharashtra. I thought this was a terrible idea.
They compared it to the American primaries. Not comparable at all. All those elected through the primary process lost their deposits in 2014. That tells you something. So, I didn’t contest, though I was confident of winning the actual elections and losing the primaries. In principle, holding primaries was a good idea but badly implemented.

Source: The Hindu

Sunday, April 19, 2015



No inter-caste couple selected for Central aid in TN

The Dr. Ambedkar Foundation has not released financial assistance under “Dr.Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-caste Marriages” to any applicant from Tamil Nadu.
The foundation was established in 1992 under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to implement programmes for furthering the ideology of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.
Under the scheme, which was implemented on a pilot basis for two years from 2013-14, an assistance of Rs.2.50 lakh was extended to inter-caste married couples to settle down in the initial phase of their life.
It was planned to extend incentives to 500 such marriages in a financial year throughout the country and the target for Tamil Nadu was fixed at 36 couples a year.
Newly married couples, where one of the spouses belongs to Scheduled Caste and their marriage registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and with a total annual income of less than Rs.5 lakh, were eligible to apply for the assistance within one year of their marriage.
Applications recommended by the sitting Member of Parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly or the District Collector/ Magistrate should have to be submitted by the State/UT Government to the Foundation.
However, none of the inter-caste couples, who have entered into the wedlock in the financial year 2012-13 or 2013-14 in Tamil Nadu, seemed to have qualified to receive the financial assistance as per the reply given by the Foundation to a question raised in this regard under RTI Act by G.R.Ravi of Thamizh Makkal Panpattu Kazhagam, Kancheepuram.
Meanwhile, official sources in the district said that they were unaware of this scheme, as they had not forwarded any proposal.

Source: The Hindu dt 15-4-15

Ordinance on Dalit protection lapses

Even as the Modi government has sought to appropriate Ambedkar’s legacy at the start of the 125th birth anniversary of the architect of the Indian Constitution, it has been strangely neglectful of the well-being of the community that he represented, the Scheduled Castes.
Indeed, even though the government has shown a fondness for ruling by ordinance, the only ordinance that it has allowed to lapse is the one that relates to enforcing accountability on public servants who “wilfully neglect” duties on matters relating to atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
Indeed, 11 months ago when the BJP-led NDA government came to power, it inherited two ordinances from the previous Congress-led UPA government — The Securities Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 and The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014, promulgated on March 28 and March 4 respectively last year.
On assuming charge, the Modi government, in its first Budget session in 2014 swiftly converted the Securities Ordinance into an Act of Parliament on August 12, 2014, an amendment to further “protect the interests of investors and to ensure orderly development of securities markets.”
But the ordinance that was intended to strengthen the machinery to prevent atrocities against SCs and STs was allowed to lapse even though there were strong protests by the Opposition.
Instead, it was sent to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bais: the report was submitted on December 19, 2014. And the Bill has been pending since, even though in January 2015, after the winter session ended, the Modi government had a slew of ordinances promulgated.
In the first half of the Budget Session that followed, the government’s parliamentary managers used all their diplomacy to get five of six ordinances converted into Acts of Parliament. And this was managed, despite a largely uncooperative opposition in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is outnumbered
Source : The Hindu dt 15-4-15
Gandhi Comment on Babasheb B.R.Ambedkar.

இப்போதாவது விழித்துக்கொள்வோம்!
டாக்டர் அம்பேத்கரின் நிலைமையில் நான் இருந்திருந்தால், அடக்கவே முடியாத கோபம் கொண்டவனாகத்தான் இருந்திருப்பேன். அவர் இடத்தில் நான் இருந்திருந்தால் அஹிம்சை மீது நம்பிக்கை உள்ளவனாக இருந்திருக்க மாட்டேன்.
டாக்டர் அம்பேத்கர் என்ன செய்தாலும் அதை நாம் பணிவுடன் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும். அவர் நம்மைச் செருப்பால் அடித்தாலும் நாம் அதை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்… அவரும் அவரது மக்களும் இந்து மதத்தின் மீது நம்பிக்கை இழந்து வேறு மதத்துக்கு மாறினாலும் அதை நமது பிராயச்சித்தம் என்றே நாம் கருத வேண்டும். நமக்கு இத்தகைய தண்டனை வேண்டியதுதான். இப்போதாவது நாம் விழித்துக்கொண்டு, நமது பாவங்களிலிருந்து நம்மைச் சுத்திகரித்துக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்.
- காந்தி
Source: The Hindu -Tamil edition dt 14-4-15
அம்பேத்கர் நூல்கள்

அம்பேத்கரின் படைப்புகள் ஆங்கிலத்தில் 18 தொகுதிகளாக மகாராஷ்டிர அரசால் வெளியிடப் பட்டுள்ளன. மத்திய அரசு அமைத்துள்ள அம்பேத்கர் பவுண்டேஷன் அவரது படைப்புகளை இந்தி, மலையாளம், தமிழ், உருது, பெங்காலி, பஞ்சாபி, ஒரியா, தெலுங்கு, குஜராத்தி ஆகிய 9 மொழிகளில் இதுவரை மொழியாக்கம் செய்துவருகிறது என்று மத்திய அரசு கடந்த மாதம் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் தெரிவித்துள்ளது. ஆங்கிலத்தின் 18 தொகுதிகள் மற்ற மொழிகளில் 40 தொகுதிகளாக ஆக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.
தமிழிலும் 38 தொகுதிகள் வரை வெளியாகியுள்ளன. மற்ற மொழிகளில் ஒருசில தொகுதிகள் மட்டுமே வெளியாகியுள்ளன. ஆங்கில மொழியில் வெளியான படைப்புகள் போக மராத்தி மொழியிலும் பல படைப்புகள் இன்னும் மொழிபெயர்க்கப்படாமல் இருக்கின்றன என்கிறார் வரலாற்று ஆய்வாளர் வ.கீதா.
அவரது படைப்புகளிலேயே இன்னமும் பரபரப்பாக விவாதிக்கப்படுவதாக ‘சாதி அழித்தொழிப்பு’ எனும் நூல் உள்ளது. இந்தப் புத்தகத்துக்குத் தமிழில் ஓரிரு மொழிபெயர்ப்புகள் வெளியாகியிருக்கின்றன. ‘புத்தரும் தம்மமும்’ எனும் அம்பேத்கரின் நூலைப் பேராசிரியர் பெரியார்தாசன் தமிழாக்கம் செய்துள்ளார்.
தனஞ்செய்கீர் எழுதிய ‘அம்பேத்கர்: லைஃப் அண்டு மிஷன்’ என்ற புத்தகம் அம்பேத்கரின் ஒப்புதலோடு வெளியான அவரது வாழ்க்கை வரலாறு. கம்யூனிச இயக்கத் தலைவரான ஏ.எஸ்.கே. ஐயங்கார் என்பவர் எழுதிய ‘டாக்டர் அம்பேத்கர் வாழ்க்கை வரலாறும் தாழ்த்தப்பட்ட இன மக்களின் பிரச்சினைகளும்’ எனும் நூலை எதிர் வெளியீடு பதிப்பித்துள்ளது. ‘அம்பேத்கரின் வழித்தடத்தில் வரலாற்று நினைவுகள்’ எனும் நூலை அம்பேத்கருக்குச் செயலாளராக இருந்த பகவான்தாஸ் எழுதியுள்ளார். அதனை இந்திரா காந்தி அலங்காரம் மொழியாக்கம் செய்துள்ளார்.
மத்திய அரசின் சார்பாக எடுக்கப்பட்ட ‘டாக்டர் பாபாசாஹேப் அம்பேத்கர்’ திரைப்படத்தில் நடிகர் மம்முட்டி அம்பேத்கர் வேடத்தில் நடித்துள்ளார். இந்தப் படத்துக்காக அவருக்கு தேசிய விருது கிடைத்தது. அது தமிழிலும் வெளியிடப்பட்டது.
அம்பேத்கரின் வாழ்க்கையை ஒட்டியும் தலித் மக்கள் அனுபவித்துவரும் கொடுமைகளைப் பற்றியும் ஆனந்த பட்வர்தன் எடுத்த மிக முக்கியமான ஆவணப்படம்தான் ‘ஜெய் பீம் காம்ரேடு’.
அம்பேத்கரின் படைப்புகளையும் அம்பேத்கர் தொடர்பான விவாதங்களையும் அறிந்துகொள்ள விரும்புவோர் கீழ்க்கண்ட சுட்டிகளைப் பார்க்கலாம்.

How do we remember B.R. Ambedkar? He may not have been a hero of the war of Indian independence, but he is the hero who built an independent India.

On the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, on April 14, India still finds itself unable to induct him into the pantheon of greats unquestioningly. His statue, with its ubiquitous electric blue suit, may be a common sight at bus stands, bastis and universities, but it hardly brings out the fact that his life is one that was overshadowed by iconography and idolatry. We forget that Ambedkar was one of modern India’s first great economic thinkers, its constitutional draftsman and its first law minister who ensured the codification of Hindu law.
Assimilating Dr. Ambedkar into the national pantheon of the freedom struggle is difficult because his life was one of steady accretion of ideas, of making a stand on rights and of standing up to social wrongs. His biggest fights were with fellow Indians and not with foreign rulers. He led no satyagraha against the British, he led no march on Delhi, he broke no repressive law to court arrest for it. In fact, his father and ancestors had willingly served in the British Army even in the days of the East India Company. He himself served as a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. His often stated view was that British rule had come as a liberator for the depressed classes. Despite all this, he was in agreement with the nationalists, that India must be ruled by Indians.
In a corner

His status in the national pantheon, where he occupies a corner all by himself, and slightly apart from the nationalist heroes of independence, is somewhat like his status in school. He once wrote: “I knew that I was an untouchable, and that untouchables were subjected to certain indignities and discriminations. For instance, I knew that in the school I could not sit in the midst of my classmates according to my rank [in class performance], but that I was to sit in a corner by myself.”
This separateness was to lead him to assert in more than one instance, that the depressed classes he represented, were not to be counted among the Hindus. He famously chose to separately represent the depressed classes at the Round Table Conference in the 1930s, where Gandhiji was sent as the sole representative of the Congress. Having secured a separate electorate for the depressed classes, he had to give it up in the face of a fasting Mahatma, whose death he did not want ascribed to those outside the pale of varnashrama dharma. After this, the Poona Pact of 1932 ensured a greater number of seats for the depressed classes, but it was within a common Hindu electorate. Ambedkar never was sure that he had secured a fair bargain.
He never fully forgave Gandhiji for the pressure exerted on him. He told his followers, “There have been many mahatmas in India whose sole object was to remove untouchability and to elevate and absorb the depressed classes, but everyone has failed in their mission. Mahatmas have come, mahatmas have gone but the untouchables have remained as untouchables.” Ambedkar told Dalits: “You must abolish your slavery yourselves. Do not depend for its abolition upon god or a superman. ...We must shape our course ourselves and by ourselves.”
A fight for rights

The question of whether the depressed classes were to be counted among Hindus or separately, continued to be relevant especially when the country was going to be partitioned on religious lines. There were some Dalit leaders like B. Shyam Sunder, who vociferously said: “We are not Hindus, we have nothing to do with the Hindu caste system, yet we have been included among them by them and for them.” With the support of the Nizam of Hyderabad and Master Tara Singh of the Akalis, Shyam Sunder launched the Dalit-Muslim unity movement and urged his people to join hands with Muslims.
The imminent arrival of Independence saw a constituent assembly being elected to draw up a constitution for the new nation. Dr. Ambedkar was first elected to the assembly from an undivided Bengal. Because he lacked the requisite support in his home province of Bombay, he was forced to seek election from Bengal, a province he was unfamiliar with. Throughout the 1940s, Ambedkar and the Congress clashed over issues of the rights and the representation of the depressed classes. Ambedkar was a critic of the party’s positions on many an issue, which he believed were inimical to Dalit interests. Therefore, Sardar Patel personally directed the Bombay Congress to select strong Dalit candidates who could defeat Dr. Ambedkar’s nominees. Despite the politics, once in the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar worked closely with his Congress colleagues in formulating and drafting the Constitution.
Consequent to the announcement of Partition, fresh elections had to be held for only the seats from West Bengal. Dr. Ambedkar would not have possibly been elected again. At this stage he was co-opted by the Congress, into the seat vacated by M.R. Jayakar from Bombay. Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to B.G. Kher, then Prime Minister of Bombay and said: “Apart from any other consideration we have found Dr. Ambedkar’s work both in Constituent Assembly and the various committees to which he was appointed to be of such an order as to require that we should not be deprived of his services. As you know, he was elected from Bengal and after the division of the province he was ceased to be a member of the Constituent Assembly commencing from the 14th July 1947 and it is therefore necessary that he should be elected immediately.” Even Sardar Patel stepped in to persuade both Kher and G.P. Mavalankar, who was otherwise slated to fill in the vacancy caused by Jayakar.
It is against these adverse circumstances, that we must evaluate Ambedkar’s achievements in the Constituent Assembly. He walked a tightrope, between securing a modern society for all Indians and ensuring that a modern state stabilised around a constitutional architecture of social change. Granville Austin has rightly described the Indian Constitution drafted by Ambedkar as “first and foremost a social document. ... The majority of India’s constitutional provisions are either directly arrived at furthering the aim of social revolution or attempt to foster this revolution by establishing conditions necessary for its achievement.”
Making a mark

The Constituent Assembly was the hallowed ground from which Ambedkar made his most lasting contribution to all people of independent India, Dalit, savarna and non-Hindu alike. As chairman of the drafting committee, it was his interventions in the debates of the assembly that were soon to become definitive expositions on the intent of the framers. He also joined Nehru’s cabinet as the first Law Minister of independent India.
He explained to the Assembly, “On the 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one-man-one-vote and one-vote-one-value. In our social and economic life, we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one-man-one-value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril….”
Despite his insistence on individual liberties being enshrined as fundamental rights, Ambedkar was a realist as to their worth as guarantees. He said: “The prevalent view is that once the rights are enacted in law then they are safeguarded. This again is an unwarranted assumption. As experience proves, rights are protected not by law but by social and moral conscience of the society.”
Political battles

Ambedkar’s constitution was barely finished and adopted, when he plunged into piloting the Hindu Code Bill. There was opposition from the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, as well as a host of Congressmen like Pattabhi Sitaramayya, but Ambedkar kept pushing for the passage of the Act, by the Constituent Assembly, which functioned as an interim parliament. Nehru was advised by Rajagopala Ayyangar and others that it was better to wait till after the general election of 1952. When it became apparent that the bill was going to be deferred, Ambedkar resigned in protest from the cabinet in September 1951. The Hindu Code Bill finally came about in 1956.
 B.R. Ambedkar walked a tightrope, between securing a modern society for all Indians and ensuring that a modern state stabilised around a constitutional architecture of social change. 
In 1952, in independent India’s first general election, he was defeated from the Bombay North Constituency by a Dalit from the Congress. Though he was elected to the Rajya Sabha immediately thereafter, he made a second attempt in 1954 to enter the Lok Sabha through a by-election for the Bhandara seat. He failed again.
His political battles and his voracious capacity for intellectual work began affecting his health. His spirit to fight on and his spiritual quest though continued undaunted. In the 1930s, his first wife, Ramabai, who was dying, had asked him to take her to Pandharpur on a pilgrimage. The entry of untouchables was barred there. He then promised to build a new Pandharpur outside Hinduism.
After her passing, he declared at Yeola in 1935: “I was born a Hindu, I had no choice. But I will not die a Hindu because I do have a choice.” In the twilight of his life, on October 14, 1956, two months before his death, he left Hinduism to become a Buddhist. His Brahmin-born second wife and nearly six lakh of his followers followed suit.
As he lay down for the night on December 5, 1956, Dr. Ambedkar had by his side, the preface to his latest book, The Buddha and his Dhamma. He wanted to work on it but it was not to be. The book was published posthumously as Babasaheb, never woke up and moved into history on December 6, 1956.
How do we remember Ambedkar? He gave the nation a constitution that has endured, he forced it to look shamefaced at its own social inequities, and he gave the most oppressed Indians, the hope of a better nation to come. He may not have been a hero of the war of Indian independence, but he is the hero who built an independent India. It is time that we cease to keep him ‘slightly apart’.
Source : The Hindu dt 14-4-15