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Let’s help celebrate the life of Dr Ambedkar

13 December, 2018

• WALKING along King Henry’s Road with a friend who lives there, a couple of days ago, we met a friendly small group outside the house (No 10) whose English Heritage blue plaque informs passers by that the great Indian economist and innovator Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar lived there.

These gentlemen, from the government of Maharashtra (the home state of Dr Ambedkar) explained to us that their government had bought the house and were preparing it to be a place for people to visit, to learn more about the great man who had lived there. Their arrangements would be ready in due course.

It is easy for internet users to find out that Dr Ambedkar had been born into the large group of people now referred to as Dalits, who experienced a deep degree of prejudice – a situation which some would say has not been entirely rectified in the new India.

Dr Ambedkar had risen hugely beyond the lowly status of his youth, had several economics degrees and the respect of Amartya Sen the Nobel Prize-winner who referred to him as “the father of my economics” and was a principal writer of the Indian constitution. Ambedkar later converted to Buddhism and many from his background have followed his example.

It is surely a privilege for Camden to find ourselves as the place where Ambedkar lived, in London, and it is to be hoped that our borough will do all we can to help the Maharashtrans establish their visitor centre.

Indeed, he deserves a statue in the borough. Beyond this it must surely be an ambition, in Dr Ambedkar’s memory, for Camden to join in putting the burden of the caste system with its exclusion category, out of the experience of current and future citizens who have come to this country from their background in India.

Lancaster Grove, NW3


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