Thursday

Dr Ambedkar audio files. I highly recommend the 6 minute talk which is a reading of Sangharakshita's words about Dr Ambedkar and the centrality of 'going for refuge'. Please then make time (1hour and twenty minutes) for the amazingly vivid and engaging exposition by Padmavajra (speaking at Manchester Buddhist Centre, twinned with Nagpur) of how the example of Dr Ambedkar inspired the ongoing Dhamma Revolution; that revolution of love that becomes the most compelling life-calling.

Tuesday

The most inspiring Indian (for me)

Dr Ambedkar is, in my view, the most inspiring Human Being of the last century. I base my view on personally meeting (in three weeks) scores of people in India inspired by him and by having read three biographies of his life.
Gandhi is not more inspiring than Ambedkar because the more one looks at how he was politically and religiously compromised in his stand in relation to actually improving the lives of "Untouchables", the less he can be idolised as he is by tourists (who've seen the Gandhi film) and the government of India. The government of India backed the Gandhi film and erected what few statues of Gandhi there are -comparative to those of Ambedkar. The state of Maharashtra backed the more modest bio-pic of Ambedkar's life, and it is in Maharashtra that the statues of Ambedkar are most numerous.
Some critique putting up statues as a waste of money; yet a statue in this context can be more inspiring than a Cathedral. (I visited Hereford Cathedral recently and found that it requires £4,000 a day for it's upkeep; money which could fund so much more for the uplift of individuals in India...).
A summary of Ambedkar's life from the closing pages of a biography bought at the Deeksha Bhoomi :

The story of the life of Dr Ambedkar was the struggle of a champion for human rights...All agreed that he was a fighter for the dignity of man and the saviour of the suppressed people. No man in [India], or perhaps in any other country, could equal Ambedkar in his career which was exciting, varying, romantic and wonderful. To be born on a dunghill, to begin life as an Untouchable, to be treated in one's boyhood as a leper, and to have passed one's youth barred and bolted from society, which showed one out of hairdressing saloons, hotels, hostels, cars, temples and offices, is a shocking experience in life. To have acted as a tiffin-carrier boy, to study while starving to obtain the highest degrees from world famous universities, to devote one's time to study, to have made one's way fighting every step forward, now with a surgical scalpel, now with a bludgeon, favoured neither by a family fortune, nor by political adoption, and to have faced perils and bitter political opposition, is creditable, courageous and remarkable enough.
And yet to have grown in name, fame and national prominence without being lifted by a party press or party caucuses, to have served on important committees relating to the development of Franchise, Economics and Constitution of a nation, to have been the Chief Architect of the Constitution of a nation that trampled one in one's boyhood, and to have released a suppressed people from the stigma, shackles and slavery under which they had groaned for ages, is surely an unequalled achievement in the whole experience of mankind! And so this son of an untouchable Hindu stands out in the history of this ancient land as an educationist, economist, author, professor, lawyer, leader, fighter, law-giver, law-maker, leveller and liberator.
Ambedkar edited newspapers. He wrote books on economics and sociology, history and politics. He conducted hostels and reading rooms. He was the Principal of a Law College. He presided over hundreds of political and social conferences. A mass leader, he led social, political and labour movements. He founded political parties and colleges. He displayed the wisdom of a statesman, the qualities of a leader, the courage of a hero, the endurance of a martyr and the erudition of a savant. He adorned high public offices enriching them with his wisdom, democratic mind and love of human dignity. That in such a span of life the son of an Untouchable could crowd such varied interests, distinctions and scholarship is an unparalleled achievement in the modern world.
Great men have sprung from palaces as well as from cottages. They have sprung from the homes of shoemakers, tailors, butchers, bricklayers and blacksmiths. But Ambedkar had the unique distinction of springing from the dust. He came of a family whose hundred forefathers were treated in this land worse than dogs, whose touch was regarded as a pollution and whose shadow a sacrilege.
Ambedkar's name, therefore, will be imperishably linked with the history of India. Most of his ideals hae been incorporated into the Constitution. He rebelled agaisnt Manu and dethroned him from his high pedestal. This was a victory unequalled in the history of this ancient land. Ambedkar thus achieved what was above the ambition and attainment and beyond the dream of men of his community. He belongs to the men of first eminence of our age. He belongs to the line of those who have been saviours of the suppressed and oppressed. He shaped the life of sixty million people. He made his mark on the times. He wrote his name in the futue of this country and in the history of human freedom."
 (p523-525 of "Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar" by Dhananjay Keer)

Introduction

Here's a 2 minute YouTube clip of a journey to Deeksha Bhoomi with Nagamitra; the first 24 seconds is of the street outside, then the explanation of the significance of this place begins...


Dr Ambedkar on Wikipedia
The Dr Ambedkar Bio-Pic