Saturday, September 25, 2004

Ambedkar's memorials in a state of neglect

Yogesh Pawar

Saturday, September 25, 2004 (Mahad ):

While Ambedkar's legacy is used by several parties to garner votes, almost all memorials of the Dalit leader in Maharshtra are in shambles.

The 17-crore Dr Ambedkar Memorial in Mahad in the Konkan belt of Maharashtra is a testimony to the treatment, which the memorials have received in the state.

While opening the memorial to the public last month, Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had called it the biggest archive of the Dalit leader's legacy, including his books and personal belongings.

However, unfinished empty rooms dot the memorial. While on paper all are welcome but even for a peek special permission from Mumbai is required.

Dalit leaders angry

Meanwhile, the Dalit party leaders are furious and are blaming each other for the state of affairs.

"This is playing with the feelings of lakhs of Dalits. All these leaders should remember that people will not forgive us for this,'' says Babu Shinde, State Secretary, BSP.

The famous Chawdaar Lake from where Dr Babsaheb Ambedkar launched his movement against untouchability on March 20, 1927 too is lying neglected.

The monument from where Ambedkar had led over 10,000 Dalits to drink water from this public lake, which was till then only used by the higher castes is today coming apart.

The Dalit community is rather upset at the fact that while they had been promised preservation of the place as a national monument, the reality if far from it.

Source: NDTV, September 25, 2004


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