Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Eyes on Gujarat polls, Modi tries to appropriate Ambedkar

Eyes on Gujarat polls, Modi tries to appropriate Ambedkar

Speaking after inaugurating Dr Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi today, the Prime Minister said, social empowerment of people was a commitment for his government. He said the centre would function as a think-tank for inclusive growth, and related socio-economic matters.

The worldwide centre will be a boon for the younger generation and will work on the vision of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the Prime Minister added. "He has been more influential in the minds of people, much more than the family for which all this was done", Modi said.

"Baba Saheb's contribution to nation building is very important, there had been attempts to undermine his role, but such attempts were unsuccessful", he said. These sites in Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur, Mhow and London were like a homage from the present generation, he said.

The Prime Minister said that there are forces trying to divide the country on caste lines, and the present generation understands well that India can not progress with pace if such divisions are allowed.

Quoting from Dr. Ambedkar's address to the Constituent Assembly in December 1946, the Prime Minister said despite his struggles, Dr. Ambedkar had an inspirational vision for the nation to overcome its problems.

Modi also lamented that Ambedkar's dream of social democracy - where all have a say - is still unaccomplished.

Attempts made to underplay Ambedkar's efforts towards nation building proved futile as his ideas continue to inspire people, said Modi. The home state of the Prime Minister has been witness to massive protests by Dalits against the BJP since a year ago when two Dalit men were mercilessly flogged in Gujarat's Una by cow vigilantes on the suspicion that they had slaughtered cows.

The Prime Minister asserted that his call of "New India", is the India which Dr. Ambedkar envisioned, where everyone has equal opportunity and rights, free from caste oppression, and progressing through the strength of technology.

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