Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated a memorial in UK dedicated to Dr BR Ambedkar two months after India acquired the bungalow where the Dalit icon and architect of India’s Constitution lived as a student in the 1920s. Visiting the house where Ambedkar lived in 1921-22 during his student days at London School of Economics (LSE), PM Modi said the Dalit icon’s message of equality and justice continues to resonate even today.
“Ambedkar, whose 125th birth anniversary we are celebrating now, was not just an architect of India’s Constitution but our parliamentary democracy,” PM Modi had said in his speech in the British Parliament on Friday.
“He also stood for the upliftment of the weak, the oppressed and the excluded. And, he lifted us all to a higher cause in the service of humanity; to build a future of justice, equality, opportunity and dignity for all humans; and peace among people,” he had said.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, paid floral tributes to Ambedkar’s bust at the house.
The government of Maharashtra had acquired the three-storey 2,050 sq ft house at 10 King Henry’s Road, in northwest London, in August for an estimated cost of 3.2 million to 4 million pounds which the state government had borne.
PM Modi was greeted at the new memorial, to be referred to as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum, by Devendra Fadnavis and Rajkumar Badole, Maharashtra’s Minister of Social Justice and Special Assistance. The memorial houses a selection of black and white photographs, Dr. Ambedkar’s famous quotes and a room dedicated to bound copies of his writings as well as a large wall painting of the preamble of the Indian Constitution.
“There are some very special documents and letters related to Babasaheb on display, including some of his writings. My personal highlight is a letter he wrote in German to Bonn University. It just shows the wide intellect of the great man,” Fadnavis said.
“We hope this memorial will be an inspiration to young students and others from around the world,” the Maharashtra CM added.
The six-room memorial is still under renovation but one of the floors which PM Modi explored today will be open to the public until November 20. It will then shut for further repairs and renovations and is expected to be open again in the New Year.
“Plans for the memorial are still in discussion. We hope to also open it up for some Indian students who come to study at London School of Economics as an interim accommodation in due course. Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in London will be taking care of it,” Rajkumar Badole told the press on Saturday.
(With inputs from the PTI)