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

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.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen