I have been writing in these columns about the proposal on April 14, birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality which is resting with the Ministry of External Affairs since June, 2015. Along with our associates and supporters – Chetna Association of Canada and Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhists Organizations of UK among others, we have been following up the proposal in all possible ways. We are to go a long way and we not oblivious of these ground realities. As I wrote earlier that it is by a design or chance that Ambedkar never got
anything easily in his life time. But it is also a fact that his mission and legacy is so potent that it could not be ignored or side-tracked for long. I think it is equally true for the proposal on International Day of Equality. It will get acceptance and approval sooner than later. The powers and people who tend to ignore it now would fall on each other to own it and flag their role in making it a reality. Let us do something on our part and support the proposal on International Day of Equality to pay a befitting tribute to one of the greatest sons of India in the contemporary times on one hand and to instill the much needed sense of the lofty ideals of “Equality, Liberty, Justice and Fraternity” so beautifully enshrined in the Constitution of India by Babasaheb Ambedkar on the other.
Picking up the threads after some rest and lethargy due to Corona situation, I wrote and reminded the Minister of External Affairs of
the Government of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar on the subject on September 13, 2020 under endorsement to PM Narendra Modi and requested them to kindly consider and make a demarche to the UN in this regard and include in the proposal in their speeches at the forthcoming UNGA scheduled to be held in the last week of September, 2020. My letter may be seen below. May I urge and request all of my readers and supporters of the proposal to kindly write to EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar and PM Narendra Modi to kindly consider the proposal on International Day of Equality and take it up appropriately with the UN. The letter has also been copied to the SC Ministers in the Government of India but unfortunately, I regret to say, they are silent as if the proposal will shake up their cozy chairs in the coveted positions which they enjoy because of non other than Ambedkar.
I am reminded of an Urdu couplet of Faiz Ahmed Faiz:
Ek tarz-e-taghaful hai so woh un ko mubarak,,
Ek arz-e-tamana hai so woh hum karte rahenge.
(She/He is blessed with the style of neglect,
As for me, my expression of desire, that will continue)
Text of the letter of September 13, 2020 addressed to EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar.
September 13, 2020
Hon’ble EAM Dr. Jaishankar Sahib,
I am writing this with reference to my letter of April 15, 2020 on the proposal of declaring April 14, the birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as International Day of Equality resting with the MEA since June, 2015. My letter of April 15 is appended as an enclosure to this for ready reference.
I am not oblivious of your busy schedule and pre-occupations due to India’s increasing engagement and profile internationally and also the ongoing matters of security and defense besides difficulties of corona pandemic. Nevertheless, I thought of reminding you of the matter and requesting for your kind consideration in view of the forthcoming UNGA in the last week of September, 2020.
I may add here, Sir, the proposal on International Day of Equality has been well received and supported by the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar and intelligentsia in general both at home and abroad. It will only be appropriate, if the MEA under your able stewardship and GOI under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, to consider and decide to make a demarche to the UN to declare April 14 as International Day of Equality. You would appreciate that it will not only give a befitting tribute to one of greatest Indian icons of contemporary India but also give further impetus to our soft diplomacy to support the lofty ideals of “Equality, Liberty and Fraternity” so beautifully enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution of India.
I, as one of your humble colleagues, take this opportunity to greet you and wish you all the best in steering the foreign policy of India in the days to come. Your kind efforts and support in getting declared International Day of Equality will add yet another feather in your hat.
With personal regards,
Dr. S. Jaishankar,
Minister of External Affairs,
Copy to: Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi, PMO, New Delhi