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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”

Activist-journalist Indukumar Jani served marginalised, felt helpless towards end of life

By Martin Macwan* We, his friends and colleagues, lovingly called him Indubhai. He is no more . The vacuum created by his departure into a shrinking space for social activism will be difficult to fill. In his 77 year age, he spent 41 long years, serving the most marginalized through multiple activities, especially through his writings.