Tag Archives: 24th January in Dalit History

15th May in Dalit History – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar published Annihilation Of Caste


On 15th May, 1936 Babasaheb Ambedkar published Annihilation Of Caste book. Dr. Ambedkar was scheduled to deliver this speech to a conference in Lahore, but could not. The conference organizers cancelled his invitation as they felt the contents of the speech were too radical for the time. Dr. Ambedkar later released the speech in written format, and it became one of his most famous work – title, ‘Annihilation of Caste’. In this work, Dr. Ambedkar discussed the problems in ending the caste system in India, and how those problems could be countered.

If you’d like to read the text, Columbia University in the City of New York has designed a special e-text format of the speech for easy readability and cross-referencing at http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/projects/mmt/ambedkar/web/index.html

Annihilation of Caste – Front Page

Annihilation of Caste – Front Page

 

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24th January in Dalit History – Gandhi was shown black flags in Nagpur by the Ambedkarites


24 January 1938: Dr. Ambedkar spoke on Small Holder’s Bill in Bombay Legislative Assembly.

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24 January 1942: Gandhi was shown black flags in Nagpur by the Ambedkarite movement.[1]

In 1941, the Chokhamela hostel management in Nagpur, with the collaboration of some Harijan students decided to call M K Gandhi for the hostel annual gathering. Most of the students, who were strong Ambedkarites and activitsts of the Samata Sainik Dal, opposed this. However, no one was in the mood to listen to them. Sadanand Dongare, an Ambedarite activist lived in the hostel, but felt he could not vanquish the idea of bringing Gandhi while staying there. One or two kilometers away from the hostel towards the railiway lines, there stood a hostel for Mahars named Gaddi Godam. He took a room there and laid out all his plans. The youth of north and central Nagpur came together.

By the day of Gandhi’s planned arrival i.e. 24 January 1942, a huge pavilion had been erected in the central area of the hostel’s open ground. A strong line of police was placed outside. Nanasaheb Gavai, Kisan Fagu Bansode, and other Mahar opponents of Dr. Ambedkar were members of the managing board. The president was Chaturbhajabhai Jasani of Gondia district who was a loyal member of Congress and a big leader of Madhya Pradesh. He brought Gandhi from Delhi, but he took him off the train two stations early; and because of this the Ambedkarite community, which was spread throughout Nagpur, was led to believe that Gandi had not come. However, Gandhi had come to Nagpur in the company of Jasani.

On the east side of the Chokamela hostel lay a parallel railyway line running north – south. This line goes via Itwara, Katol and Kalmeshwar to Delhi and east of Calcutta, Stone rocks had fallen on the railway line. Women and men, young and old gathered on this line, and shoulted, “Long Live Ambedkar!” On the north, south and west of the hostel lay people’s houses and narrow roads.

Gandhi’s car came to the hostel from behind. There the members of the reception committee were waiting to welcome him. While they were trying to shout “Long LIve Gandhi,” a noise like one voice could be heard from the thousands of demonstrators outside of hostel: “Mahatma Gandhi go back!” And as this noise reached the neighbourhoods around, people began to run towards the hostel.

The hostel was a four-sided block two hundred by two hundred feet in size. The pavilion had been set up in the open ground in the middle. Here along with the students of the hostel, distinguished guests had been invited to sit. But there were many Ambedkaritie Dalits among the students. Until Gandhi went onto the stage, everything was quiet inside. But once he rose to speak, some of the Ambedkaritie students in the audience stood up and began to shout, “Gandhiji, we have many questions for you.” Gandhi was standing quietly. He said, “Yes, ask them.” But the turmoil only increased. No one could hear the questions in that confusion. The hundreds of people standing outside on the railway lines began a massive stone-throwing into the hostel. The stones fell inside the pavilion also. There was no sign of halting this attack. Once the stones hit the canvas, it began to collapse. No one would give Gandhi a chance to make his speech. In this confusion, the organizers brought Gandhi out of the pavilion to protect him. Just as he had come in by the back door, so he left.

With the shouting of “Long Live Ambedkar! Bhim Raj is coming soon!” Gandhi’s car departed with black flags shown to him. The incident showed the ferocity of the anti-Gandhi sentiments of our people after the signing of the Poona pact.

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24 January 1950: Consituent assembly met and in all 284 members appended their signatures on the Constitution of India

H.V.R. lyengar, Secretary of the Assembly announced that only one nomination paper was received for the office of the President of India (election was on 21 January 1950). The name of that candidate was Dr Rajendra Prasad. His nomination was proposed by Jawaharlal Nehru and seconded by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Thus Rajendra Prasad was duly elected to the Office of President of India. The members then fell over one another to sing paeans to the President. Nehru led the brigade with a speech that ended: “It is a comfort for us all to know that in future tasks and struggles, we shall have you as the Head of this Republic of India, and may I, sir, pledge my loyalty and fealty to this Republic of which you will be the honoured President.” Not to be out-done, Patel too joined the chorus of congratulations. This was followed by many members. One by one, they showered praise on the President, paying no heed to his repeated requests to stop, till, finally, he stopped the discussion with “I am sure I have the House with me on this occasion as on all occasions, and so, I would request Members who are anxious to speak to desist.”

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