Mumbai: Thousands Throng Mahalaxmi Race Course For ‘Dhamma Diksha’ Int'l Conference On Buddhism

Mumbai: Thousands Throng Mahalaxmi Race Course For ‘Dhamma Diksha’ Int'l Conference On Buddhism

The 14th Dalai Lama, who was to be the chief guest at the function, did not attend the meeting because of ill health

Rahul MUpdated: Saturday, December 16, 2023, 10:36 PM IST
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Vijay Gohil

Thousands of followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar gathered at the Mahalaxmi Race Course grounds on Saturday evening to fulfill his dream of holding a ‘Dhamma Diksha’, an international conference on Buddhism, in Mumbai.

The 14th Dalai Lama, who was to be the chief guest at the function, did not attend the meeting because of ill health. Foreign guests like the prime ministers of Sri Lanka and Thailand, too, did not attend.

The programme started with Buddha Vandana, or a prayer of obeisance to Lord Buddha. Artists from all over Maharashtra sang 'Bhim Geet', songs composed on life of Ambedkar.

Speakers at the meeting said that the conference was a fulfillment of Ambedkar's dream.

Vijay Gohil

Vijay Gohil

Vijay Gohil

Vijay Gohil

Kalpana Saroj, Padma Shri winner and entrepreneur, who was the vice-president of the conference, said that after embracing Buddhism along with five lakh followers in Nagpur on October 14, 1956, Ambedkar had announced plans to organise a large Buddhist gathering at the Mumbai Race Course grounds on December 16, 1956. "He had even booked an air ticket to Mumbai gor December 14, 1956, from Delhi. Unfortunately , he passed away on December 6. It was our responsibility to fulfill his dream. This conference is a tributes to him," said Saroj.

"Where there is Buddha there is no war": Ramdas Athawale

Ramdas Athawale, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, and president of the Republican Party of India, who was instrumental in organising the conference, said that the aim of the conference was to end war. "Where there is Buddha there is no war," he said, adding that the members at the conference have made appeal to the Russian and Ukrainian governments to end the war in Eastern Europe. "We do not want war, we want Buddha," said Athawale. 

Rahul Bodhi Maha Thero, a Buddhist monk from Mumbai asked the audience at the meeting to teach Ambedkar's message to the younger generation. Anand Bodhi Thero, a Buddhist monk of Sri Lankan origin, spoke in Marathi, said that he decided to become an Indian citizen and learn Marathi because he wanted to preach Buddhism in the villages of Maharashtra.

Photos of a helicopter showering flower petals on the state of Babasaheb Ambedkar.

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