Ambedkarite movement in the western hemisphere
Sadar Jai Bhim
Thank you for your email message. I hope you have received my earlier message sent on 16th May. As regards to the audio cassette of Babasaheb_s interview on BBC radio on an aeroplane in 1952. On this aeroplane, he was going to USA to be conferred his LL.D. by Columbia University. I will send the audio cassette to you, as soon as I find it. Ambedkarites in the UK are very much involved in the work and mission of Babasaheb and have been since the 1960’s. The Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK (FABO UK) is the umbrella organisation working for our people. FABO is responsible for numerous publications, some of these publications have been included on university course reading lists. Sixty publications of the complete works of Babasaheb_s speeches and writings have been donated to major universities i.e. Cambridge, Oxford, London; public libraries and the Houses of Parliament. FABO donated Babasaheb statues to the India High Commission, London School of Economics and also New York_s Columbia University and have presented Buddha statues to 19 London Boroughs and other cities in the UK (i.e. to the Lord Mayors’ of those cities). Also, a blue commemorative plaque was installed by FABO at the former residence of Babasaheb at 10 King Henry_s Rd, London NW3. On February 19, 1997 Dr L M Singhvi, in the presence of the Lord Chief Justice of England, planted an Indian Beans Tree (Calalpa Bignoides) in the Walks at Gray_s Inn, Holborn, London WC1. This tree has a life-span of approximately 200 years.
Under FABO_s guidance and help, 16 scholars have managed to complete their studies in 5 years. Several seminars and conference s have been organised under the auspices of FABO. Furthermore, FABO members have been organising celebrations for Ambedkar and Buddha Jayanti’s in the UK for the last 30 years on a grand scale.
In the UK, we have largest number of Ambedkarite Dalits outside India, approximately 145,000 people, in other words these Dalits include:
Ravidasis, Valmikis, Hindu ST/SC, Buddhist and others. The Ravidasi Dalits have their Gurdwara, Valmiki Dalits have their Gurdwara (temple), Buddhists have their Vihara.
We get many letters from India and all over the world and we reply to each request and in some cases we send replies to remote villages in India with the help of local airlines.
The first Dalit Convention held in Malaysia was a great occasion. The organisers deserve our appreciation and thanks. However, looking ahead to future activities, one has to take a democratic approach and look at the global perspective. It is for Dalits world-wide to decide what is to be done next. Dalit International Organisation Malaysia were the first organisers of this kind of convention and the global Dalit community can learn from their example when organising the Second Convention in 2000.
As previously outlined at the Convention it is a general opinion that London being the recognised international centre of democratic, liberal and human rights issues, it should be seriously considered as the next venue.
The following are thoughts of the members of FABO, meant for your information only:
i) New international body for the next convention to be formed.
ii) Location and date for the second Dalit convention
iii)Subjects for discussion, themes for the next millennium
iv) Lessons to be learnt from the first convention
We propose to inaugurate the Second Historic Convention at the House of Parliament to be followed by seminars at the LSE and the world renowned Oxbridge universities; a meeting also with the Lord Chief Justice of England at Gray_s Inn where Babasaheb was himself called to The Bar. We would receive positive international media coverage via TV, radio, press and Internet.
I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU.
Yours in the Dhamma,