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The First B.R. Ambedkar Statue Erected in the United States Unveiled in Maryland

From travelandleisureasia.com

On 14 October, a new statue was revealed to the public at The Ambedkar International Center in Accokeek, Maryland.  The statue is 5.8 meters (nineteen feet) tall, and it depicts Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a civil rights activist who was instrumental in writing the Indian constitution. Dr. Ambekar was a champion of equality and social justice. This is the first time he has been honored with a statue in the United States.

The design of the statue is credited to Ram Sutar, and it is called The Statue of Equality. Ram Satar is also credited with creating The Statue of Unity in Gujarat.

From travelandleisureasia.com

Followers of Ambedkar’s political and social philosophies are known as Ambedkarites, and a large number of them attended the statue’s unveiling, which is meant to serve as a symbol of equality and human rights.

The event was also accompanied by performances from Indian American groups from all over the United States of America.

With the statue’s intended purpose in mind, the members of the Ambedkar International Center chose to locate the statue in close proximity to the White House. It is approximately 35 kilometers from Washington D.C. and members hope that it will reinvigorate the global justice movement, providing a platform for oppressed people to come together in solidarity.

Ram Kumar, President of the Ambedkar International Center, had this to say about the statue’s unveiling, “The statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is a symbol of the shared values of democracy, justice, and human rights that bind India and the United States. It serves as a reminder of the importance of championing the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their background.” (Yahoo News)

B.R. Ambedkar was born on 14 April, 1891 and he died on December 6, 1956. He was born into the Dalits caste, formerly called the untouchables, and he served as government official from 1947 to 1951.

As a child, Ambedkar was bullied by his classmates because he was a member of a Dalit family. Despite this, he was academically gifted enough to earn a scholarship from the rule of Baroda, which allowed him to study at universities in the United States and Europe. Upon graduation, he entered public service, but mistreatment by his high-caste coworkers made him turn to teaching and the development of a law practice.
In 1947, he worked as the Indian government’s minister of law. In this position he took the lead in writing the Indian constitution, which included many important civil rights guarantees. For example, it disallowed discrimination against members of the Dalit class and made it illegal to refer to them as untouchables.

Members of the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution in August 1947. B.R. Ambedkar is seated in the center. From yourstory.com

It took two years and eleven months to draft the constitution, which ended up being the longest written constitution in the world with 448 Articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules, and 97 amendments, and 145,000 words.

The constitution was officially adopted on 26 January, 1950, a day that is now known as Republic Day. However, in 1951 BR Ambedkar resigned from his government post in protest of the continued mistreatment of Dalits in India and his inability to enact greater change through official channels.

In 1956 he left the Hindu faith and converted to Buddhism as part of a mass ceremony that included an estimated 200,000 other Dalits. The ceremony took place at Nagpur, in southwest India. He died two months after the ceremony. However, the day that B.R. Ambedkar embraced Buddhism is celebrated by his followers as Dhammachakra Parivartan Din.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, politician, and activist, Ambedkar was also an author. Some of his most popular works were Annihilation of Caste (Self-published 1936)and The Buddha and His Dhamma (Siddhartha College Publication 1957).

See more

Ambedkar International Center
The Story Behind Making of the World’s Longest Written Constitution
BR Ambedkar Statue In Maryland: North America’s Largest Tribute To Equality
Maryland unveils tallest statue of BR Ambedkar outside of India

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