Want an institution, not just Ambedkar memorial

Dalit demand: Research centre to promote views of Ambedkar.

Dalit organisations are demanding a world-class institution on Indu Mills land with facilities for research on and propagation of views of B R Ambedkar on issues ranging from centre-state relations to economic and foreign policies. This has put the state government in a Catch 22 situation.

A Dalit section believes that the plan of a grand memorial with a tall Ambedkar statue on scenic landscape on 12.5 acres of mill land at Dadar will have no meaning unless the government promotes research into Ambedkar's ideology. They want a research institution.

The Congress is treading cautiously realising that promoting Ambedkar's socio-economic politics would mean bringing out the differences the Dalit icon had with the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Party insiders have admitted as much.

Ambedkar's grandson and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) chief Prakash Ambedkar, however, said, "The differences between B R Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru was never a secret."

Prakash said, "Whether it was state or federal powers, economics or foreign policy, there were sharp differences between them."

The purpose of the institution proposed by Dalits is to promote works of Ambedkar which have been ignored or wrongly portrayed so far, he said.

Noted Dalit writers and political commentators associated with various parties are supporting the idea of an Ambedkar international institution on Indu Mill land.

"In 2001-2002, the NDA headed by the then PM AB Vajpayee had for the first time discussed the idea of building an Ambedkar institution. The objective was to showcase the intellectual legacy of Ambedkar not only to domestic students and researchers but also foreigners."

RPI chief Ramdas Athavale said, "The government should hold consultations with experts well-versed with Ambedkar's writings."

CM Prithviraj Chavan has sought the views of leaders.

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