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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

Bhim, Eklavya

From Ambavadekar to Dr Ambedkar, the shaping of India’s Dalit icon

Bhim, Eklavya
Bhim, Eklavya
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The Lawman’s Heroes

Kabir Saint-poet an early influence.

Tukaram Saint-poet left a deep impression

Edwin Seligman Economist and mentor

James Shotwell Historian and a major influence

John Dewey Philosopher and Ambedkar’s hero

***

In the west-facing corner of the first-floor library that metamorphosed into the Ambedkar home is situated an angular room that Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar spent considerable time in while in Bombay. The study opens out onto a balcony overlooking Dadar station, where Ambedkar appeared occasionally to greet an eager crowd of supporters gathered below. “I have heard him, pushing us all to study hard and rise in life,” recalls the white-haired Tukaram Londhe, a teenager then who’s spent decades here as attendant at ‘Raj Griha’, the Ambedkar home in the ironically named Hindu Colony.

The balcony, the study, the winding staircase that leads to it, indeed Raj Griha itself, is as nondescript as any other two-storey building in the colony. It has seen better days. In the study, Ambedkar’s four-feet-wide table and personal chair are still in the position they were through the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Two old chairs and a sofa complete the seating. His C-shaped bookcase still holds the volumes that he had leafed through. As one’s fingers glide over the solid table, it is not difficult to imagine Dr Ambedkar seated there, writing and fine-tuning drafts of many a volume, drawing on his memories and experiences.

Dr Ambedkar, as his grandson Prakash Ambedkar sarcastically remarks, had a rich and large treasure of experiences and...

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