Skip to main content

Victory for local Dalits: London authorities 'agree' to turn Ambedkar House into Museum

By Our Representative
There is good news on the Ambedkar House in London. While the permission to convert this house into a museum was refused by the local authorities, thanks to the Maharashtra government, which assisted a number people in London appeal against the decision, after a lengthy public inquiry, it has become possible to convince the authorities and the permission has been granted. Now the house has officially become Ambedkar Museum.
During the Public Inquiry Hearing in September and October 2019 into the Appeal against London Borough of Camden’s rejection of an application for a memorial dedicated to Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar at 10 King Henry’s Road, the Council argued it didn’t want to give up the property’s residential floor space.
They also argued Dr Ambedkar’s status wasn’t well enough known in Britain to be a person of wider interest. The Chair of the Public Inquiry Chair, Inspector Keri Williams, and Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, were persuaded otherwise by evidence and testimonies in support of the case for the memorial.
They gave their seal of approval on March 12, 2020. Ambedkarites in the UK and around the world were jubilant; they celebrated the good news. Santosh Dass President of the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK (FABO UK), had first proposed to the Government of Maharashtra the purchase and refurbishment of the then-dilapidated house’s purchase she visited. 10 King Henry’s Road was where Dr Ambedkar lived in 1920-21.
She responds:
“I’m thrilled. This is very a good day for equality and dignity. My dream was to create the first memorial outside of India to Babasaheb Ambedkar at a place where he lived. He was a giant of social equality and human rights. That dream is coming true. Let’s all celebrate this champion! Now we have to finish our work setting up the museum.
“I look forward to ever more people learning how extraordinary Dr Ambedkar was and about the far-reaching social reforms he set in train. I’m grateful to Mr Steven Gaztowicz QC and to Dr William Gould for presenting our case so magnificently, the Government of Maharashtra – particularly Mr Rajkumar Badole for all his support since 2014 –, the India High Commission and in particular Her Excellency Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam and the HC lawyer Janeevan John at Singhania & Co, and to Mr Jenrick for his expedient intervention.” 
Arun Kumar, General Secretary of FABO UK, adds, “It’s great news for all followers and admirers of Dr Ambedkar. A great burden is lifted from our minds.”
Residents from the neighbourhood, Ambedkarites and equality-focused organisations voiced strong support for the memorial prior to, and at the Hearing
William Gould, professor of India studies at the University of Leeds and one of the three key witnesses at the Inquiry alongside Santosh Dass and Jamie O’Sullivan, a Town Planning expert, said:
“Dr Ambedkar is one of world’s key figures in the development of 20th century liberal democracy and, via his work, the vibrant political culture of India. Its great social document – the nation’s Constitution – links back to Britain and British history. It is only right that we have a memorial. I’m honored to have contributed to getting Dr Ambedkar recognized here in the UK amongst circles that first challenged his significance.”
Ravi Kumar, General Secretary of the Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance, who had lobbied Mr Williams, and Mr Jenrick, said: 
“Dr Ambedkar’s vision of a more equal and discrimination-free society has inspired and shaped our campaign to outlaw Caste-based discrimination in the UK. He’s on par Martin Luther King Jr and Dr Nelson Mandela.” Residents from the neighbourhood, Ambedkarites and equality-focused organisations voiced strong support for the memorial prior to, and at the Hearing. Moving and powerful contributions were made at the two-day Public Hearing by Sally Roach, Alex Sunshine, Bonnie Garnett (better known as the Canadian folksinger Bonnie Dobson), the writer Ken Hunt, Satpal Muman of the Ambedkar International Mission, Raj Banger of Kanshi TV, and the Ven Bhante Vijithavansa.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.