Vishwa Ratna, Bharat Ratna, Bodhisattva Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s last message:
“Whatever I have done, I have been able to do after passing through crushing miseries and endless struggle all my life and fighting with my opponents. With great difficulty, I have brought this caravan where it is seen today. Let the caravan march on despite the hurdles that may come in its way. If my lieutenants are not able to take the caravan ahead, they should leave it there, but in no circumstances should they allow the caravan to go back. This is the message to my people.”
Source: Last few years of Dr Ambedkar-Nanak Chand Rattu
Friends, I am confident by looking at the current scenario with global Ambedkarite movement, we are going to move Dr Ambedkar’s caravan to the next level.
Bust of Dr B R Ambedkar in Columbia University, New York USA
There is a spate of local Ambedkarite organizations in major cities around the world which are not only celebrating important events with local communities but also increasing awareness on Ambedkar’s thoughts, and his struggle to get rights for Bahujans. He fought to eradicate old caste-based discrimination. He was the architect of India’s Constitution to build a modern India based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, irrespective of language, culture and religion.
Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism on 14th October 1956 with 500,000 followers. The first slogan he offered to his people was to Educate, Agitate and Organize.
Some members of the Educated Bahujan community migrated to seek higher education and skilled jobs in other countries. Many Bahujan organizations are located globally–in China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Canada, USA, UK, Germany, France, New Zealand, Australia, Hungary, UAE, South Africa, South America and many more countries.
Bust of Dr B R Ambedkar in the Atrium, Brandeis University, Boston, USA
Any movement that seeks liberation needs allies. These alliances need to be built to gain much-needed support to fight issues in an international framework. The Ambedkarite movement is uniting with like-minded communities like the Periyar groups, Dalit Christians, Sikh community, Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha, Dalit Muslims and other Bahujans to spread Dr Ambedkar’s thoughts locally among young generations around the world. There are Dr. Ambedkar Memorial lectures in many international universities, along with Dr. Ambedkar’s busts in Columbia University NY, Brandeis University in Boston, University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada & York University in Toronto, Canada, Koyasan University in Japan, Western Sydney University and Melbourne Central University in Australia, Ambedkar School in Sajokaza, Hungary and London School of Economics, United Kingdom. In 2015, robust lobbying by the Federation of Ambedkarite Organizations in UK secured for the public a memorial for Dr Ambedkar at 10 King Henry’s Road, NW3 London where Dr Ambedkar lived from 1921-1922.
York University, Toronto, Canada
There are many organizations which are working internationally, like the Ambedkar International Mission (AIM USA) (http://ambedkarmission.org/), Ambedkar International Center (AIC) (www.ambedkarinternationalcenter.org), Dr. Ambedkar NRI Association (DNRI) (http://danria.org); Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organizations UK (FABO UK) (http://ambedkar.nspire.in/about-fabo-uk.html), the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) (http://www.acdauk.org.uk/), Boston Study Group (BSG) (http://bostonstudygroup.com/), Ambedkarite Buddhist Association of Texas (ABAT) (http://abatusa.org/), Ambedkar Ignited Mission (AIM), (http://www.aim2change.org), Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar National Association Of Engineers (http://banaengp.com/), Samata Sainik Dal (http://ssdindia.org/ssd/) and:
Koyasan University in Japan
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Doctors Association International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) (https://idsn.org), Dalit Women Fight (http://www.dalitwomenfight.com/) Periyar Ambedkar study circles (PASC), Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC), Foundation of Human Horizon (www.foundationforhumanhorizon.org/), International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) (http://icdrintl.org/), Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha California, Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha New York, Begumpura Cultural Society of Network, Ambedkar Educational Aid Society (AEAS), Friends for Education International (FEI) (www.friendsforeducation.org), Ambedkar Mission Canada (http://www.ambedkarmission.com/), Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha Toronto, Babasaheb Ambedkar International Association for Education (BAIAE) Japan, Dalit Sujag Tehreek in Pakistan and Dalit Network (http://dalitnetwork.org).
Western Sydney University, Australia
AIM was created to contribute to the process of overall development of the suffering untouchables/Dalits/Tribals/ Buddhists, whose population in India is more than 250 million. It also aimed to create a sense of identity and also to regain their lost human personality.
Taking inspiration from Ambedkar’s thoughts, Ambedkar International Mission (AIM) made Payback to Society as its governing principle. There are several Ambedkar International Mission(AIM) organizations globally. Ambedkar International Mission currently exists in India, USA, Canada, London, Brunei, Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and France.
Dr Ambedkar’s bust at Sajokaza, Hungary
Ambedkar International Mission has a lion’s share in creating an international platform for Ambedkarites to gather, conduct seminars/symposia, deliberate on issues of concern to the society internationally.
Ambedkar International Mission was an active partner in the first-ever Dalit International Conference organized by Dalit International Organization, Malaysia in October 1998. Second and Third International Conferences were organized by AIM with the active support of Indian Progressive Front, Malaysia (December 2011), Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha, UK and Sri Guru Ravidas Gurudwara, Paris in France (July 2014).
AIM organized 125th Dr Ambedkar Birth Anniversary in Columbia University in 2016 by inviting like-minded organizations and over 500 delegates from across the world. The conference had panel discussions on atrocities and related issues. Ambedkar International Mission also raised caste discrimination issues multiple times at the United Nations. The UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the International community promise to ‘leave no one behind’. But by omitting any mention of caste, they have cast aside the Dalits. Wherever Indians have gone and settled in large numbers, caste has followed.
Simon Fraser University Library, Vancouver, British Columbia
The First Global Conference organized in Washington, D.C. by the International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) in 2015 on Dalit Rights recognized caste-based discrimination and all other forms of discrimination and inequality as key challenges to achieving inclusive democracy, human rights, justice, good governance, rule of law, and Sustainable Development Goals, including establishing a casteless society and empowering Dalits in a caste-sensitive Post-2015 development agenda. The meaningful implementation of existing international human rights agreements by the Member States of the United Nations for Dalits and other vulnerable groups requires political will, civic engagement, skills, technologies and resources, to achieve equality and equal access to justice.
There are many Ambedkarite Media who spread the message across the world: Ambedkar Times (http://www.ambedkartimes.com/), Desh Doaba weekly newspaper in California, Round Table India-English ( http://roundtableindia.co.in/), Round Table India-Hindi ( http://hindi.roundtableindia.co.in/), Round Table India-Marathi ( http://www.ambedkarage.com/lekhani/), (https://www.samajweekly.com/), (https://theasianindependent.co.uk/) weekly newspaper based in UK, Bheem Patrika based in Panjab, Dalit Dastak (http://www.dalitdastak.com/), BAMCEF Backward (S.C., ST.,NT, O.B.C.) and Minority Communities Employees Federation (www.bamcef.info/), (http://www.bamcef.org.in/) National India News Network, Dalit Camera (https://www.dalitcamera.com/), Bahujan Nayak, Prabudhha Bharat newspaper, Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DICCI) (www.dicci.org/), Kanshi TV (http://www.kanshitv.co.uk/). Nalanda Education Foundation , Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Advocate Association, Awaaz TV, Mahabodhi Society (http://www.mahabodhisociety.com/) , Lord Buddha TV, Asoka TV, Samrat Newspaper, Mahanayak Newspaper, Dalit and Tribes blog (https://dalitandtribe.wordpress.com/) Samyak Prakashan (http://www.samyakprakashan.in), (http://twocircles.net/category/dalit), (http://navayan.com), Nagaloka (http://www.nagaloka.org/), Manuski in Pune (http://manuski.in/) Ambedkar Press Council, Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan (http://www.da3.in/) and many more.
The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations (UN) in association with Foundation for Human Horizon, Begumpura Cultural Society of New York, Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha of New York commemorated the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar at UN headquarters in 2016. The United Nations Organized a panel discussion for the first time with a focus on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
All Bahujans need to fight the battle on all fronts depending on our individual capacity, talent, and commitment. We all need to engage with larger humanity, as this will pay rich dividends in the movement for liberation in India. Hence, serious thought should be given to it and resources should be mobilized for it globally, to pay back to society.
In conclusion, we will not allow Dr Ambedkar’s Caravan to go back where it was before, but will move it to the next level globally, to spread the message of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Mahesh Wasnik is an Automotive Engineer/Purchasing Manager Detroit, Michigan USA.