Ambedkar followers throng Chaityabhoomi
Neeta Kolhatkar / DNAWednesday, April 14, 2010 22:54 IST
Mumbai: Long, orderly queues are a common sight at Chaityabhoomi near
Shivaji Park, the resting place of legendary leader Dr BR Ambedkar,
and Wednesday, his 119th birth anniversary, was no different as
thousands of followers in white stood waiting in the afternoon sun to
get a 'darshan'.
"White is the colour of peace and Babasaheb always spoke about peace
and equality," said seventh-grade student Shweta Wankhede. "I will
study further as Ambedkar had said, study, unite, and fight the
challenges, which is what I want to do."
The occasion saw families from Marathwada who reached Mumbai early in
the morning to visit Chaityabhoomi. They said Ambedkar's resting place
gives them inspiration to face life's battles that they need to face
"He pulled us out from the rubble and showed us what it is to lead a
life of a human being. His sufferings are really nothing compared to
ours. We have benefited because of his struggles," said Anapurna
Wakle, a 50-year-old lady from Nanded.
Siddharth Wankhede, another follower from Buldhana, added, "Coming
here reminds us of our history — the fight to eradicate the caste
system, the violence leashed on us, and Babasaheb's teachings. By
drafting the constitution he led our country into a new dawn. Had he
been alive today, India was sure to have progressed much more."
Many stalls lined the road from the junction at Shivaji Park to the
Chaityaboomi structure selling books, CDs, pictures, posters of Dr
Ambedkar and Gautam Buddha, while flags and colours of Buddha and
Dalits fluttered in the wind.
Bhimrao Ambedkar from Gautam Nagar, Powai, said he is inspired by Dr
Ambedkar and wanted to read more about him. "I read that Babasaheb was
asked to fill a form and he wrote in his blood because he was denied
admission to a college. Thereafter, he went on to become a barrister.
This is inspiring for children like me," said Ambedkar.
The police were expecting over 9,000 followers at Chaityabhoomi, and
had taken precautions of deploying the new combat vehicles and had
also kept boats on guard. "We have three boats, including one of the
fire brigade. There is a fire engine, a combat vehicle and 100 police
on bandobast," said Sanjay Kawde, the police inspector on duty.
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