Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bits and Pieces – As I please – 8

Bits and Pieces – As I please – 8

Diksha Day at Jalandhar – October 14, Diksha Day, the day when Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism in 1956, an epoch making event in the history of India was celebrated and observed as usual every year at Ambedkar Bhawan in Jalandhar. My day started early with yet another good cause. I accompanied my friend and fellow Bootan Mandian Ram Lal to D.A.V. College to deliver a rare collection of books for the Ambedkar Corner to be established in the well-stocked and efficiently run college library. The Ambedkar Corner is scheduled to be opened soon by the end of October, 2017. It may be recalled that Dr. Ambedkar visited D.A.V. College, my alma mater, in October, 1951 and delivered a lecture on the theme ‘Parliamentary Democracy in India’ which still is a relevant and thought provoking piece on the subject. I joined the Diksha Day celebrations at Ambedkar Bhawan which the organizers named as Ambedkar Sabhyacharak Mela. The function was started with the hoisting of the Buddhist flag by the revered Bhante Pragya Bodhi followed by paying obeisance at the statue of the Buddha. For school children, a painting competition, poetry recital, and declamation contest were arranged followed by one act plays by the group named Lok Kala Manch. The function was much behind schedule. The Chief Guest, IPS of Telengana cadre Dr. R.S.
Dr. Ambedkar seaking on Diksha Day
Praveen Kumar along with the Guest of Honour the youngest Everest Mountaineer Poorna Malavath arrived and I left the show half way because of some other engagement. Later, I came to know that the function was dragged up to about five in the evening. But the Chief Guest and Guest of Honour spoke well with conviction. My interlocutor commented that it was gratifying and rewarding to sit and listen to the speakers. The guest speakers fully justified their presence. I take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the organizers to honour and listen to such personalities for the benefit of all. It was a mela with book stalls, photo exhibitions and gratis tea and traditional Langar at the end. As compared to many other events at Ambedkar Bhawan, the attendance was good. The students belonging to schools having affiliation with Babasaheb Ambedkar and other icons like Sant Sarwan Dass did well and conformed themselves to the life and philosophy of  Babasaheb and related themes. Credit for the good show goes to the organizers.

Now I come to the flip side of the event not as a criticism but as an honest assessment being a humble follower of Babasaheb Ambedkar. The focus of the function should have been on the Diksha Day and its solemnity but unfortunately it was missing. I sat there for almost two hours, but nobody mentioned about Diksha Day and its significance. I don’t think it was a deliberate lapse but a sub-conscience slip. The electronic invitations also did not mention about the Diksha Day except the date i.e. October 14 and so was the case for the banners at the backdrop of the stage and the podium. Some of the functionaries and organizers hosted photographs of the function on Facebook but nobody thought of hosting even a single photograph of the Buddhist aspect of the event held on Diksha Day. The local vernacular media carried stories of the event the following day. It must have been done by the media on the basis of the Press Note issued by the organizers. These reports duly reported the good presentation by the guest speakers and focused on their individual achievements without mentioning about Diksha Day. While I congratulate the organizers for the good function otherwise, I thought I should give my frank assessment. October 14 is an epoch making day in the annals of Buddhism in India when Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism in 1956. I am confident that followers of Babasaheb are not oblivious to the importance of Diksha Day. Sabhyachar is fine but not at the cost of the core issue close to the hearts of millions of followers of our leader and his mission.

It may be of interest that to remember the Diksha Day, October 14 and as my tributes to Babasaheb, I posted a blog “Revival of Buddhism in India and Babasaheb Ambedkar at: http://diplomatictitbits.blogspot.in/2017/10/revival-of-buddhism-in-india-and.html

Khuralgarh Sahib – Khurali village in tehsil Garhshankar in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab has been officially named as Khuralgarh Sahib by the Captain Amarinder Singh government. It is a welcome decision. Guru Ravidass visited and stayed at Khurali
Design of Minar-e-Begumpura
in the 16th century. The earlier BJP-SAD government of Parkash Singh Badal, with an eye on elections and to appease the Ravidassia community vote bank, announced that the site “Charan-Choh-Ganga” will be developed to preserve the legacy of the great saint of the Bhakti movement, Guru Ravidass. It was decided to erect a 151 feet monument - Minar-e-Begumpura which will be a tourist attraction in the region.  I had offered my humble services to the project, being a follower of Guru Ravidassji and as a keen observer of related developments, to the then BJP-Akali government through the nodal Minisry of Culture. My interest and intent was referred to the then Minister of Culture, Sardar Sarwan
Singh but could not find favour with him. Presumably, I did not have any political clout.  It appears that the Congress government of Captain Amarinder Singh has revived the project. It should be welcomed and appreciated. The earlier government could not proceed further from the designs on the drawing board. No budget and funds were ear-marked for the project. I had written about this earlier on my blog:

Let us hope that Khuralgarh Sahib comes on the map of spiritual tourism in due course to cater to the needs of millions of followers of the great Guru, living in and around the Doaba region of Punjab.

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