Dr. Ambedkar’s letter to Buddha Sasana Council, Rangoon (Burma)


19th July 1956: Dr. Ambedkar wrote a letter to Buddha Sasana Council, Rangoon (Burma)

The letter is as follows –

The Honorable Secretary

Buddha Sasana Council,

Rangoon (Burma)

Dear Sir,

You will remember our talk in Kathmandu and New Delhi regarding the ways and means for financing the movement for spreading Buddhism in India. The need for financing the movement I have already explained in a Memorandum which I had sent to the Sasana Council dated the 19th July 1954. I am enclosing herewith a copy of the same for ready reference. Since then there has been further contact with the Trade Secretary of the Burmese Embassy in New Delhi on the same subject. I am, now in a position to state our proposal and that put forth by the Trade Secretary of the Burmese Embassy.

Our proposal: My proposal is:

(i)  that it would form a Partnership firm;

(ii) that this firm should be appointed by the Burma Government as their Trade Agent for supplying to the Burma govt. certain goods;

(iii)  It would be quite satisfied if the firm is a appointed Trade Agents for only two goods; (1) cotton goods; and (2) jute.

(iv) that the firm should be paid of remission on the total annual purchase made through the firm;

(v)  that the management of expenses of the firm be borne by the Embassy;

(vi) That the profits made by the firm after payment to the partners shall be credited to the Buddha Maha Sabha in trust for carrying on the work of conversion and of providing temples, training preachers and maintaining them, issuing literature in vernacular etc.

II- BURMA TRADE SECREATARY’S PROPOSAL

(i) that the Secretary buys goods by inviting tenders;

(ii) that during the system over our firm should also submit tenders;

(iii)  that the Secretary is considering the tenders would show as much favour as he can to our tender.

III ARGUMENT OF THE TRADE SECRETARY

The argument of the Trade Secretary is that our proposal involves a payment of 2% to the firm which is an extra burden on the Burmese people for which there is no justification. In other words the tender system is cheaper and cannot be departed from.

IV OUR CASE AGAINST THE TENDER SYSTEM.

Our contention is that the tender system is not cheaper to the Burmese government. On the other hand it is much more costlier to the Burmese government. This will be clear if we examine what items are included in a tender. The price quoted in a tender includes the following items

(1)   the market price;

(2)   plus the merchant’s profit.

In addition to these two items the tender would includes

(3)   Interest on investment made to secure

The goods on for delivery in time;

V- Our quotation:

1. our quotation would be based on ex-Mill price as against market price which would include middle man’s profit; besides the tenderer’s profit plus interest on his investment;
2. our quotation will not include any extra charge such as profit or interest.

We will be trading in the name of the Burma Government and the Burma Government will be entitled to look into our papers and claims every item of profit that we might have made.

Takings these facts into consideration it will be seen that my proposal is far more economical to the Burmese Government. On a calculation made by the Burma Government will save 6/7 percent by accepting my proposal, than the tender system.

VI- IMPOSSIBILITY OF TENDER SYSTEM

It is impossible for me to accept the tender system. The tender system means would require an initial investment of 20 to 30 lakhs. For in order to ensure prompt delivery it would have to make purchases in advance,. No merchant would wait till the tender is paid which would take few months. Further no bank would give us credit. There is also the risk of our tender not being accepted in which case the mill owner may auction the goods purchased and if there is a loss I shall have to bear it.

For these reasons the tender system will not suit me. We are hoping to earn money for the movement. We have not money to invest.

I, therefore, hope that you will persuade the Burma Government to accept our proposal and help the movement for spread of Buddhism as you are in duty bound to it

I have started the movement in right earnest. I wish to strike the iron while it is hot. If I fail the blame must lie at the door of the Buddhist Countries for failure to rise to the occasion.

Civil Lines,

26 Alipore Road

Delhi, the 19th July, 1956.

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