BUDDHA JAYANTI – BUDDHA PURNIMA
Buddha Jayanti – Buddha Purnima fell and was celebrated on May 6. My friends at the Buddha Vihar at Sidharath Nagar (Bootan Mandi) at Jallandhar special Ram Lal Kainth and Darshan Bodhi had invited me to be the Guest Speaker at a function to observe the Day at the Vihar. I accepted the invitation in principle but could not make it as I had to come to Delhi/Gurgaon on some urgent personal engagement. I felt sorry and my hosts were also disappointed. I shall catch up with them in due course on my return to Jalandhar.
But yet another opportunity was in store for me. The followers of Dr. Ambedkar in and around Gurgaon under the aegis of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Sabha headed by Dharambir celebrated the day at the Ambedkar Bhawan in Sector 4 of Gurgaon. My friend Paramjit Saroya was aware of my presence in Gurgaon and on his suggestion the Sabha invited me to be the Chief Guest at the function which I gladly accepted. I was doubly happy as my daughter Vaishali was also born on the solemn day of Buddha Purnima in 1975. It was a well-organized programme, started a little late in the evening, attended by a well-meaning and disciplined audience. A missionary musical group of Rajaram from Rohtak regaled the attentive audience with numbers dedicated to Ambedkar and Buddha and their mission. A well-educated, professional veterinary doctor, Bhikshu (Bhante) from a Vihar in Palwal was the chief guest speaker. He spoke well and with conviction. I am no authority either on Ambedkar or on Buddha. But my abiding interest and ardent wish to follow Ambedkar keep me alive to the relevant situation and concern. I based my brief speech, on the contents of D.C. Ahir’s book “Ambedkar and his legacy” as to how Buddhism was different from Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Ambedkar’s immense contribution in reviving Buddhism in India was recalled. The function was concluded with a nicely done and arranged Preeti Bhoj (Langar).
Let me make a couple of observations which may be interest to the readers of my blog. After my retirement about a year before, I attended and spoke at many such functions pertaining to Guru Ravidass and Dr. Ambedkar in and around Jalandhar. I was given to understand and somehow I also felt that the community audiences and the organizers were comparatively good and better placed in Jalandhar which has a good concentration of, both economically and educationally, community. My participation at the Gurgaon function was the first. It was a good education for me. The function was nicely conducted by the Master of Ceremonies. The audiences were nicely seated on clean white covered chairs. The audience was attentive and participatory. The musical group of Rajaram was applauded and rewarded (mostly by hundred rupee notes), liberal monetary contributions were made to the Sabha for the function, the preeti bhoj was well prepared and nicely served. I was awakened from the wrong notion that the dalits of Punjab were ahead of their brethren in Haryana. May God bring them more success and prosperity?