Mangaluru: The birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (April 14, 1891 – December 6, 1956) – more commonly known as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar – is being observed all over the country on Thursday, April 14, 2016.
On this day, prime minister Narendra Modi has tweeted to remind us all that he was also the architect of the water and river navigation policy in India.
And today, there would be innumerable events all over to commemorate the contribution of the great man to the Indian body-politic and who is considered the chief architect of the Constitutution of India.
And it is most likely that he would be forgotten until the Nirvan Divas on December 6, the day of his demise.
We have a traffic circle here in the city named after him at a point, which is a confluence of six approaches, where the Balmatta road from the Collector’s Gate, the KACES-Kairanna building lane, Dr A F Coelho Road (formerly Balmatta New Road), Dr Shivarama Karanth Road towards Hampankatta, the Light-house Hill Road and the Bunts’ Hostel Road meet.
The circle had been known as Jyoti Circle for a long time in the past, because of the location of the Jyoti movie-house nearby. A few decades ago, it was renamed as Bharat Ratna Dr B R Ambedkar Circle. Unfortunately, and on the pretext of ease and convenience, it is still being referred to as Jyoti circle.
This is the point from where any number of rallies and morchas are flagged off towards the deputy commissioner’s office, for whatever reasons, like protests and show of political strength.
A glance at the circle on this significant day gives a fair idea of what kind of respect the city pays to the great man.
There is a small portrait of his put up on the traffic island donated by a nationalized bank. Much above the stature of Dr Ambedkar, the commercial element has taken precedence.
His name has been totally camouflaged by the bank’s generosity, which is, to put it mildly, is uncharitable to the memory of one of the most brilliant products of modern India.
The matter came up at a meeting of grievances of the backward communities earlier this week. An organization has gone to the extent of threatening to clear the obstacles on its own if the city and district administrations did not remove them.
The citizens couldn’t care less. At least the City Fathers and the district administration should take immediate steps to set the eyesore right.
About Dr Ambedkar
Ambedkar was born in the military cantonment town of Mhow in the then-Central Provinces, now part of Madhya Pradesh, on April 14, 1891, as the 14th and youngest child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal, a ranked army officer at the post of Subedar and Bhimabai Murbadkar Sakpal.
His family hailed from Marathi-speaking background from Ambavade in Mandangad taluka of Ratnagiri district of Bombay state, now in Maharashtra.
He belonged to the financially and socially backward Mahar (Dalit) caste, who were treated as untouchables and subjected to socio-economic discrimination.
As a token of of breaking the shackles of caste discrimination, he gave up his family name of Sakpal and adopted the name of Ambedkar, after his native village of Ambavade.
By sheer hard work and merit, he rose to be the Law minister of India.