Dr Ambedkar, the unifier | Other communities join in celebrations with Dalits in paying homage to Babasaheb

“Dr. Babasaheb did a lot to ensure that people get justice. By doing this we gain the satisfaction of contributing our little bit on his day,” said Mr Khan who distributed biscuits.

Ashutosh M ShuklaUpdated: Wednesday, December 07, 2022, 05:04 AM IST
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Mumbai: On Tuesday, as Ambedkarites remembered and celebrated Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar with pomp and gaiety, members of other communities too were inspired to join them. Some joined their brethren or planned a solo intent to make sure that the late leader's zeal to serve people and his teachings are remembered.

Outside Dadar station, as hordes of people rushed to reach Chaityabhoomi-Shivaji Park, Mr Javed Khan and Mr Rakesh Gupta joined the initiative taken by Mr Satish Thorat to serve people who come to pay their obeisance to Babasaheb. A hawker by profession and a Dalit, Mr Thorat had started distributing buscuits and water to people on December 6 over 10 years ago.

“When we started this, our budget was Rs 10,000, now our budget is over Rs 1 lakh. We wanted to do something for Babasaheb’s devotees who travel long distances to come here. Many do not have anything to eat or drink,” said Thorat standing beneath a stall near Inox Nakshatra that had Ambedkar's photos running throughout. He along with other hawkers formed Aadharshtamb Ekta Samajik Sanstha, which distributed 3,000 vada-pav, 30,000 biscuits and 3,000 water bottles on Tuesday.

“Dr. Babasaheb did a lot to ensure that people get justice. By doing this we gain the satisfaction of contributing our little bit on his day,” said Mr Khan as he distributed biscuits. Mr Gupta said that the late leader was the  framer of the Constitution which was beneficial for citizens and their welfare. Dr Ambedkar fought for “equality” they said. Both Mr Khan and Mr Gupta sell clothes and glasses like Mr Thorat. The mother of Mr Gaurav More, actor of popular Marathi show ‘Hasya Jatra’, also distributed food items along with them.

“Our aim was also to get the community together on this day. We cater to the hungry and thirsty. We got this opportunity to serve and be famous only because of Babasaheb,” said Mr Thorat.

While Mr Khan and Mr Gupta joined Mr Thorat and worked in a group, Mr Rajeev Soneja went around picking calendars, posters and flags symbolic to the Dalit community to take it along with him to the US to talk about Dr Ambedkar, his work and teachings and how he was the unifier of the Dalit community. “I live in the US and I am here for a few days. We were a colony for 200 years but what Dalits faced is unprecedented. Dr Ambedkar, architect of our Constitution, did a lot to improve the downtrodden by bringing in reservation. There is an increasing pro-nationalistic emotion among the Indian diaspora. That is why I am taking these with me to help me with some visuals,” said Soneja.

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