Thousands of followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar have been visiting Chaityabhoomi in Dadar, his memorial, in the last few days as the country observes Mahaparinirvan Diwas, his death anniversary, on December 6.
Ambedkar, the Father of the Indian Constitution and India's first minister for law and justice, died on December 6, 1956, in Delhi, less than two months after he converted to Buddhism. The day is marked as ‘Parinirvan,’ a term used by Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists for deliverance from the continuous cycles of life and death. Ambedkar was cremated at the site in Dadar that is now known as Chaityabhoomi.
People converge in Dadar from all over the country
People travel from all over the country in the days leading to Mahaparinirvan. Avinash Mahalekar, General Secretary of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), who was at Chaityabhoomi on Tuesday, said that his daughter has traveled from Chennai to pay her respects at the memorial. "My nephew has come from Hyderabad, and many relatives have traveled from Pune to be here," said Mahalekar, who added that young people are especially fascinated by the life and thoughts of Ambedkar. "People love Dr. Ambedkar, no doubt, but the new generation particularly is inspired by him. They are researching his life."
Rajendra Gavai of the Republican Party of India, which was founded by Ambedkar, said that the country observes the anniversaries of many leaders, but no occasion brings the spontaneous crowds that an Ambedkar commemoration does. "Nobody has to send invitations or announce a program," said Gavai. "He was an exceptional man, and he would have found great success in any profession that he chose, but he decided to spend his life in serving humanity. In the process, even his family did not get his entire attention. He fought not just for his caste but for everyone who suffered because of social culture. It is because of his sacrifices that people come in droves to his memorial."