A statue of Dr. BR Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, was formally inaugurated on Sunday in a Maryland suburb of Washington.
It is considered the tallest Ambedkar statue outside India.
Chants of ‘Jai Bhim’ were heard during the inauguration of the statue. According to news agency PTI, more than 500 Indian-Americans from different parts of the US and some from India and other countries attended the unveiling ceremony of the 19-foot-tall ‘Statue of Equality’.
The statue was made by renowned artist and sculptor Ram Sutar, who also constructed the statue of Sardar Patel, the so-called Statue of Unity, and installed it on an island in Narmada, meters downstream from the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat.
“We call it the statue of equality… this (inequality) is not just the problem in India, it exists everywhere (in) different forms,” Ambedkar International Center (AIC) President Ram Kumar told PTI after the ceremony Unveiling of the statue.
The “Statue of Equality” represents 1.4 billion Indians and 4.5 million Indian-Americans, said Deepip Mhaske from New York, who leads the Ambedkarite movement in the US.
“Although this is entirely through community contributions, we have received congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar saying, ‘Ambedkarite has laid the foundation of a united India in the US and globally,'” he said.
“This statue will inspire not only millions of Indians living in the US, but all communities including Blacks, Hispanics and others!” said Mhaske. “This is a historic step towards uniting the Indian-American diaspora and developing India into a superpower, not only in terms of technology but also in terms of social justice,” he said.
Mahindra Rajwade, who traveled more than 10 hours from Kentucky to attend the statue unveiling ceremony, said it was a proud moment for all followers of Dr. Ambedkar. “This is the first time in the world that we have such a large statue of Babasaheb outside India.”
The unveiling ceremony was followed by cultural performances by Indians and Americans from different parts of the country.
Born on April 14, 1891, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar – popular among his followers as Babasaheb – was chairman of the main drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly, earning him the nickname “Architect of the Indian Constitution”.
He died on December 6, 1956, months after embracing Buddhism on October 14 of that year, the date coinciding with the unveiling of the statue in Maryland. October 14 is celebrated by Ambedkarites as Dhamma Chakra Parivartan Din.
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