Re-visited: International Day of Equality
I have been writing about the International Day of Equality, my proposal to declare April 14, the birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as the International Day of Equality under the aegis of the UN. It is almost three years that I have been pursuing the matter with the high offices of MEA and PMO and also with many interested and concerned individuals and their respective organizations. I am not
tired as yet. I have re-visited the subject by writing
again to EAM Sushma Swaraj and her junior MoSs, General V.K. Singh and M.J.
Akbar and solicited their consideration and support. I have endorsed my letter
of March 3, 2018, along with a Non-Paper, to Minister of Social Justice Thavar
Chand Gehlot and his deputies MoS Vijay Sampla and MoS Ramdass Athawale and
also some Swayamsevaks of the RSS and have urged them to kindly back and take
up the proposal with the concerned offices to seek GOI’s support for the
proposal. With a view to involve the dalit intelligentsia and fellow
Ambedkarites, I have also e-mailed to about 50 of my friends beside posting the
matter on social media for inviting a wider support in this regard. The text of
my March 3, 2018 letter to EAM Sushma Swaraj and the Non-Paper are appended
|At Un at New York in April, 2016|
Let us hope for the better.
इक तर्जे तग़ाफ़िल है; सो वह उनको मुबारक,
इक अर्ज़े तमन्ना है; वह हम करते रहेंगे !
March 3, 2018
Dear Madam Minister,
Kindly allow me to recall that subsequent to GOI’s decision to observe and celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar in 2015, I wrote to you and proposed that it will be in fitness of things if GOI considers and makes a demarche to the UN to declare April 14, the birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as the International Day of Equality. Since then we have been following up the proposal. The attached Non-Paper on the subject would provide you the details and developments in this regard.
You would observe, Madam, the matter is resting with MEA and PMO. I thought of reminding you and soliciting your considered support to the proposal. You would appreciate that the decision of the MEA in this regard will not only go a long way in contributing positively to the establishment of a just and equitable world order which is one of the lofty ideals of the foreign policy of India but also deliver good political dividends internally. The subject is close to the hearts of millions of followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar both in India and abroad. It is not difficult to see and understand its political and social potential. I fully realize and appreciate your diplomatic proves and political acumen in understanding these important aspects of the proposal to declare April 14, birthday of Dr. Ambedkar as the International Day of Equality.
I am confident, Madam Minister, that you would spare a few minutes from you busy schedule to study the proposal and take necessary action before the next birthday anniversary, April 14, 2918, of one of the greatest sons of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj,
Minister of External Affairs,
South Block, New Delhi
1. General V.K. Singh, MOS of External Affairs, South Block, New Delhi.
2. Shri M.J. Akbar, MOS of External Affairs, South Block, New Delhi.
International Day of Equality – April 14 – Birth Anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
· Government of India, under the stewardship of PM Narendra Modi, decided to officially celebrate and observe the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in March/April, 2015. It was an appreciable gesture to pay a befitting tribute to one of the greatest sons of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar.
· Ambassador Ramesh Chander, a retired career diplomat, wrote to Hon’ble EAM Sushma Swaraj in May/June, 2015 and proposed that the GOI should make a demarche to the UNGA to declare April 14, birth date of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as the International Day of Equality on the lines of October 2, birth date of Mahatma Gandhi as the International Non-Violence Day and the International Yoga Day. This decision and action of the GOI will be highly appreciated by the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar and the society at large as well as the international community on one hand will certainly register the keenness of the Government of PM Narendra Modi to commit itself to the empowerment of the weaker sections of the society of the world and contribute positively to establish an equitable world order while paying befitting tributes to Babasaheb Ambedkar. The proposal of Ambassador Ramesh Chander was duly acknowledged by the MEA in August, 2015. The letter of Ambassador Ramesh Chander to EAM Sushma Swaraj and its acknowledgement by the Joint Secretary (UNES) of MEA may be seen at Annexure 1 and 2 of the Non-Paper.
· Subsequently, keeping in view the UNGA session of September, 2015, the proposal was pursued both with the EAM and PMO. PMO also acknowledged it electronically. Many organizations and individuals both in India and abroad supported the proposal either through social media or directly writing to the EAM and PMO. Please see Annexure 3 for the letter to Hon’ble PM.
· Ambassador Ramesh Chander solicited the support of Forum of Schedule Caste MPs and MLAs under the leadership of the then Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, Sardar Charanjit Singh Atwal to the proposal. Please see the letter to Sardar Charanjit Singh Atwal at Annexure 4. The Forum very kindly adopted the proposal and decided to submit it to PM Narendra Modi. Accordingly, a Memorandum was submitted to the Hon’ble PM by a high power delegation of the Forum, led by Hon’ble Minister Thavar Chand Gehlot, which also included some other Hon’ble Ministers and leading politicians and intellectuals of the community in November, 2015. The Memorandum, inter alia, included the proposed International Day of Equality.
· With these efforts and background, the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, was observed and celebrated at a solemn function at the UN in New York for the first time under the aegis of the PR of India at UN. The Indian delegation to participate at these celebrations was led by the Chairman of the Forum of Schedule Caste MPs and MLAs, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal. He in his speech at a function on April 13/14, 2016 at the UN referred to the proposal to declare April 14 as the International Day of Equality and urged the international audience to support the proposal. Sardar Charanjit Singh and many other delegates later informally informed and confirmed that the proposal was received well and an over-whelming majority of the participating delegates of the countries of the world supported the proposal by thumping of their desks. The world community appreciated the initiative of the Indian delegation in this regard.
· Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal submitted his report of his visit and function at the UN to PM Narendra Modi in April/May, 2016 and informed him of the proposal on the International Day of Equality and his speech at the UN and also requested the GOI under the leadership of the Hon’ble PM to make a suitable demarche to the UN through diplomatic and official channels. The letter of Speaker Atwal may be seen at Annexure 5 of the Non-Paper.
· Ever since, Ambassador Ramesh Chander and various organizations and outfits have been following up the proposal both through social media or otherwise. Ambassador Ramesh Chander’s letter of February, 2017 to Hon’ble EAM Sushma Swaraj may be seen at Annexure 6. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the proposal of International Day of Equality got an over-whelming support and endorsement from the entire Indian society both at home and abroad. GOI is yet to take a decision. The matter rests at that.
· Forum of Scheduled Caste MPs and MLAs again submitted a Memorandum to Mahamahim President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, in September, 2017 and included the proposal of International Day of Equality in the Memorandum for Rashtrapatiji’s kind consideration and direction.
· It will only be appropriate for the GOI under the able leadership of PM Narendra Modi to a decision and make an official demarche to the UN appropriately to get the birthday of Babasaheb Ambedkar declared as the International Day of Equality. The decision may be announced on the forthcoming birth anniversary of the great leader on April 14, 2018. It may be followed up with the UN through diplomatic channels. EAM/PM may pursue the matter in their respective customary addresses at the UNGA in September, 2018.
· The first International Day of Equality may be observed on April 14, 2019 as a grand gesture to commemorate one of greatest sons of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar on the eve of the first successful and glorious term of office of the government of PM Narendra Modi. It will not only be an important milestone in our journey to establish a just and equitable world order, a very lofty ideal of the Indian foreign policy, but also be yet another colourful feather in the turban of PM Narendra Modi.
Done on March 3, 2018
Annexures of the Non-Paper
Annexure 1 & 2
Text of the Letter to EAM Sushma Swaraj –
I am one among the IFS fraternity. After retirement in December, 2010, I have come back to my roots in Jalandhar. As post retirement activities, I engage myself in educational and social matters pertaining to the socially and economically weaker sections of the society. I am a dalit and a humble follower of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. After the Government’s decision to observe 125th Anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar, I wrote to Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar (copy enclosed for kind perusal) and offered my services with regard to the programmes to be made and conducted by the MEA in this regard.
The purpose of this letter is to make a humble suggestion for your kind consideration. PM Narendra Modi’s government, particularly you as the Minister of External Affairs, has given due weightage to India’s “Soft Power” in diplomacy. The latest feather in your cap is the International Yoga Day under the aegis of the UN. With a view to honour Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, one of the greatest sons of India, by celebrating his 125th Birth Anniversary, the Government has taken a right and laudable decision. It will go a long way in assuaging the ruffled feelings of millions of poor and socially backward followers of the great leader. My humble submission is that it will only be appropriate if India makes yet another proposal at the next UNGA in September, 2015 to declare 14th April, birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality. You would agree, Madam Minister, that it would not only carry forward the UN goals of “Empowerment” of the weaker sections of the world population but also instill the democratic values of “Equality, Liberty and Fraternity” in the world order. These democratic and humane values were dear to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and his spiritual Guru Mahatma Buddha, the greatest son of India.
I am confident that this decision and action of the Government will be much appreciated by the weaker sections of the society. It will also be a befitting tribute to the memory and legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, messiah of the under privileged and neglected sections of humanity at large.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj,
Minister of External Affairs,
South Block, NEW DELHI – 1100
Text of the Letter to PM Narendra Modi –
September 11, 2015
At the outset, let me say, Sir, you are one of the pro-active leaders of India who understands the pulse of the Indian masses. It is a well deserved compliment and rightly so. As PM of India, you have done well and have initiated many good ideas and programmes for further progress and prosperity of India. I take this opportunity to wish you and your government all the very best and all success.
I am writing this to invite your kind attention to an important matter of public interest. You are aware, Sir, under your able leadership, GOI has decided to celebrate and observe 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. It is a good decision which has found universal appreciation. It is a befitting tribute to the memory of Dr. Ambedkar, the greatest son of India in contemporary times. I thank and congratulate you and your government for this commendable gesture.
You would agree with me, Sir, that Dr. Ambedkar was such a personality that limiting his contribution and legacy to India alone will not do justice to the greatest son of India. Some of the foreign universities and other political and social fora have duly recognized the great contribution and work of DR. B.R. Ambedkar in bringing about the world order where the principles of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity would be the cardinal fundamentals of governance. We Indians are proud of this. With a view to fete Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as a world leader on his 125th birth anniversary, I made a humble proposal to EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj and requested that India under your stewardship shall make a demarche to UNGA to declare April 14, birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as the International Day of Equality. A copy of my letter to Hon’ble EAM is enclosed for your kind perusal. My letter to her has been duly acknowledged by the Joint Secretary (UNES) in the MEA vide his letter dated August 6, 2015. Subsequently, I endorsed copies of my letter to the concerned Ministers and BJP MPs and also wrote to Shri Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of Punjab Legislative Assembly who is a Member of the High Power Committee to celebrate 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar under your able Chairmanship with a view to seek their support and understanding.
You would agree with me, Sir, that if GOI under your leadership approaches the UNGA and you kindly consider and make this proposal to declare April 14 as International Day of Equality in your forthcoming address to the UNGA, it will be a befitting tribute to the worthy son of India, Dr. Ambedkar on his 125th anniversary. I need not add, as you very well understand and know, Sir, how it will be appreciated not only by the under-privileged masses not only of India but also by the suffering humanity the world over crying for their empowerment. You are aware that Empowerment and Equality are the cherished fundamentals of the aims and objectives of the UN. Dr. Ambedkar remained the champion of these lofty ideals to establish an equitable world order. The dalit communities and followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar in India and abroad would appreciate and support you in this regard. Obviously, the social and political dividends in this regard would be considerable which would further strengthen you and your resolve in taking India to further heights.
I am confident, Sir, my submissions would find due consideration at your hands. Your office may like to visit my blog to know my views and thinking on various issues of interest and concern: www.diplomatictitbits.blogspot.com
With personal regards,
Shri Narendra Modi,
Prime Minister of India,
Text of the Letter to Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal –
July 15, 2015
I am taking the liberty of writing to you on an important matter of mutual interest that of an immense significance to the community at large. You are aware that Government of India has decided to observe the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as an official celebration. You are a member of the high power Committee appointed for the purpose.
I have made a proposal to declare April 14, birthday of Dr. Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality. PM Narendra Modi may take up the matter appropriately at the next UNGA in September, 2015. In this regard, I have written to EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar. I am enclosing a copy of my letter to the Hon’ble Minister for your kind perusal. I am confident, Sir, your support and intervention in the matter will make a definite dent in taking a favourable decision by the Government. I may inform you that I have sent copies of my letter to Hon’ble Ministers T.C. Gehlot, Ram Vilas Paswan and Vijay Sampla.
I will be grateful, Mr. Speaker, if you could kindly consider and pursue the matter not only in your capacity as a Member of the High-Power Committee headed by the Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi but also as a recognized leader of the community and follower of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. You would appreciate, Sir, that time schedule is of essence to prepare for PM’s address at the UN and include this idea in his address. I would, therefore, request you to kindly make a suitable approach to the Committee at the earliest.
Shri Charanjit Singh Atwal,
Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly,Chandigarh
Text of the letter to EAM Sushma Swaraj
I take the liberty of writing to you again on my proposal to declare April 14 (Birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar) as the International Day of Equality which I made to you vide my letter of June, 2015 (copy enclosed for ready reference). My letter was duly acknowledged by JS (UNES) of the MEA vide letter No. Dated August 6, 2015. Thereafter, I wrote to PM Narendra Modi on the subject and endorsed it to the Forum of Parliamentarians and MLAs for their kind consideration. The Forum of Parliamentarians and MLAs under the leadership of Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly Charanjit Singh Atwal took up the matter with PM in a Memorandum submitted to him by a high powered delegation in November, 2015. With these efforts and MEA’s kind support and direction, the 125th Birth Anniversary was observed and celebrated at the UN at New York on April 13, 2016. The Indian delegation to these functions at New York was headed by Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal. He in his speech requested the UN to declare April 14 as the International Day of Equality which was much appreciated not only by the participants at the UN function but also by Ambedkarites and the society at large not only in India but also throughout the world. On return from New York, Speaker Atwal in his report to PM requested him to kindly take up the proposal of International Day of Equality with the UN. Speaker Atwal’s letter dated May 3, 2016 to PM in this regard is enclosed for ready reference. As far as I know, the matter rested at that.
I thought of writing to you again and seek your kind understanding and support to the proposal. Under your directions, Madam, MEA did well and celebrated the 125th Anniversary of the greatest son of India throughout the world under the aegis of our Missions. It was highly appreciated and liked by one and all. I need not add that all educated and enlightened Indians particularly the weaker sections of the society will be happy if the MEA under your able leadership and the GOI under the dynamic leadership of PM Narendra Modi decide and endorse the proposal to declare April 14 as the International day of Equality. The current political scenario also dictates that it is the right time to do so. There is no point in elaborating this. You fully know and understand.
I will be grateful, Madam, if the proposal is kindly given a fresh thought and a demarche to the UN is made accordingly. It will be much appreciated.
With personal regards,
Smt. Sushma Swaraj,
Minister of External Affairs,
South Block, New Delhi