India's Revolutionary Icons who followed the paths of The Buddha

India's Revolutionary Icons who followed the paths of  The Buddha
It all began with Buddha... and these are some of the great Torch Bearer's of Buddha's Dhamma.... This Blog is a Scholarly Blog created to provide insights into the life, services and Social contributions of some of the Greatest of Indian Scholars, Humanitarians, Saints and social activists about whom the vested interests and Rotten Indian media do not write. Nor there is a State or center policies to restore and protect the stunning stories of these great men and woman...let me walk you through the greatness..!!

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Father of Nation of India Dr.Bheemarao Ambedkar

The first Law Minister of India and the Father of Indian Constitution Bheemrao Ramji Ambedkar (Dr.B.R.Ambedkar)spoke, wrote and demonstrated quite extensively and comprehensively than any other known living or dead humans of India as to how treacherous, dangerous this so called Indian hindu society and it's deadly cultures that spread discrimination and bigotry between each of thousands of heterogeneous groups. To find a way to bring them all these "heterogeneous mess of India", and to put them in single order to lead a happy, free and prosperous life, to make them behave like humans and to treat fellow humans DrAmbedkar crafted this finest of the fine Constitution that even Americans refer to it when they are in crisis. Ofcourse, Dr.Ambedkar was an American Scholar and Columbia Doctorate, he did learn lots about humanity and freedom while he was in America, but he also studied American Constitution, so a well learned scholar and genius DrAmbedkar fathered the Indian constitution in real sense, he is the Father of Modern India, while SakyaMuni Buddha was the Father of ancient and all time Father of India. Here is the dedication to the Father of India:

DrPravin's Column on Ambedkar!

Dr.Pravin Khobragade is one of the most active young Ambedkarite/Buddhist on various message groups, an active participant in discussions,debates and issues that matter people and Indian society, though a busy physician and health care provider, he finds time to compile some of the greatest historical events happened during Dr.Ambedkar's time. His compilation taken from various books, journals, writings and speeches of Dr.Ambedkar and other Dalit activists is worth following and learning about the contribution of Babashaheb. 

If you want to reach out by email:
05 February 1852: 
Mahatama Jyotiba Phule wrote a letter to Government

05 February 1852: Mahatama Jyotiba Phule wrote a letter to Governmet requesting for economic assistance from the Government for his educational institutions.

First Girls School in India initiated by Jotirao Phule, his wife Savitribai Phule was the First woman headmistress in first girls school in India

Among the documents at the Mumbai Archives is an application dated 5 February 1852 written by Jotirao
Requesting for economic assistance from the government for his educational institutions. The letter is accompanied by a recommendation letter by Major Kandy, the Principal of Poona College. According to this, the first three schools for girls were started on 3 July 1851, 17 November 1851 and 15 March 1852 at the Chiplunkar Wada, Rasta Peth and Vetal Peth, respectively. It has been noted that there were four, three and one teachers and forty eight, fifty one and thirty three girls respectively in these schools. Savitribai Phule was the Headmistress in the first of these schools along with Vishnupant Moreshwar and Vitthal Bhaskar as co-teachers. There were eight girls on the first day of the first school. Soon their numbers went up to more than forty eight.

05 February 1951: 
The day dawned for the battle on the Hindu Code Bill that was introduced by Dr. Ambedkar and all opponents rallied.

The Hindu code was introduced in the House on the 11 April 1947. For full one year the Jawahalal Nehru led Congress Government did not feel it necessary to refer it to Select Committee. It was referred to the Select Committee on 9 April 1948. The report was presented to the House on 12 August 1948. The motion for the consideration of the Report was made by Dr. Ambedkar on 31 August 1948. It was merely for making the motion that the Bill was kept on the Agenda. The discussion of the motion was not allowed to take place until the February Session of the year 1949. Even then it was not allowed to have continuous discussion. It was distributed over 10 months, four days in February one day in March and two days in April 1949. After this, one-day was given to the Bill in December 1949, namely the 19 December
on which day the House adopted Dr. Ambedkar’s motion that the Bill as reported by the Select Committee be taken into consideration. No time was given to the Bill in the year 1950. Next time the Bill came before the House on 5 February 1951 when the clause by clause consideration of the bill was taken. Only three days 5, 6 and 7 of February were given to the bill and left there to rot. 
Replying to the objections during the discussion, Dr. Ambedkar said that the bill would be uniform throughout India. As regards the Sikh objection he replied, ‘the application of the Hindu code to the Buddhists, Sikhs & Jains was a historical development & it would be too late to object to it. When Buddha differed from the Vedic Brahmans he did so only in matter of creed, but left the Hindu legal framework in tact. The same was the case with Mahavir and the ten Sikh Gurus. The Privy Council had as early as 1830 laid down that the Sikhs were governed by Hindu Law’. Referring to the point of a secular state in the Constitution it did not mean that they could abolish religion. It meant that the Govt could not thrust any religion on the people. The debate continued for 3 days, Bill was postponed to next session.
This being the last session of the Parliament, the Cabinet had to consider whether the Hindu Code Bill should be gone through before this Parliament ended or whether it should be left over to the new Parliament. The Cabinet unanimously decided that it should be put through in this Parliament. So the Bill was put on the Agenda and was taken up on the 17 September 1951 for further clause-by- clause consideration. As the discussion was going on the Prime Minister put for a new proposal, namely, that the Bill as a whole may not be gone through within the time available and that it was desirable to get a part of it enacted into law rather than allow the whole of it to go to waste. It was a great wrench to Dr. Ambedkar. But he agreed, for, as the proverb says “ it is better to save a part when the whole is likely to be lost.” The Prime Minister suggested that to select the Marriage and Divorce Part. The Bill in its truncated form went on. After two or three days of discussion of the Bill the Prime Minister came up with another proposal. This time his proposal was to drop the whole Bill even the Marriage and Divorce portion. This came to Dr. Ambedkar as a great shock--a bolt from the blue. He was stunned and could not say anything. He was I am not prepared to accept that the dropping this truncated Bill was due to want of time. He was sure that the truncated Bill was dropped because other and powerful members of the Cabinet wanted precedence for their Bills. He was unable to understand how the Banaras and Aligarh University Bills and how the Press Bill could have been given precedence over the Hindu Code even in its attenuated form? He got the impression that the Prime Minister although sincere had not the earnestness and determination
required to get the Hindu Code Bill through.

05 February 1988: Massive dalit demonstration in support to publish “Riddles in Hindusim”

With the death centenary of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and the birth centenary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar due in 1990-91, the state government of Maharashtra had begun the project of publishing the complete works of both.  As part of this project, in October 1987, it brought out a volume that contained Dr. Ambedkar's hitherto unpublished work, "Riddles in Hinduism" (volume no 4). In this, he made a rational and dispassionate analysis, from the standpoint of social justice, of the life stories of Hindu deities. The work also had a section (appendix 1) which was called "the Riddle of Ram and Krishna".

The Shiv Sena party in Mahatashtra pounced on "Riddles", branded it as an intolerable insult to Hindu religion and Hindu deities and demanded a ban on its publication.  It held a huge demonstration in Mumbai on 15 January 1988 and began disturbances all over the state, abusing Dr. Ambedkar and widening caste-communal divisions.  It was only after an even larger counter-demonstration by all Dalit groups that was led by Prakash Ambedkar (grandson of Dr. Amebdkar) on 5 February 1988 that the publication could further proceed with a note from Government that it does not concur with the views expressed in the chapter on Ram and Krishna.

It is worthy to note that as per Nanak Chand Rattu (in his book Last few years of Dr. Ambedkar, page 59) Dr. Ambedkar had planned to write a separate book on “Riddle of Rama and Krishna”  Compilation of material under different headings in the form of rough notes, written in small note books and loose sheets, some typed extracts, markings and references put together in file covers and paper bags, under different headings, indicated his ambition to bring out the following books one after the other – (i) Buddha and His Dhamma, (ii) Buddha and Karl Marx, (iii) Revolution and Counter-revolution in Ancient India, (iv) Riddles in Hinduism, (v) Riddle of Rama and Krishna, (vi) Riddle of Trimurti and (vii) Riddle of Woman.

He knew fully well that no body would be able to complete these books and as such he was keen to get these published in his lilfe time. However, his priority was “Buddha and his Dhamma”. But he also devoted time for his other work.

The book “Riddles in Hinduism” that he started writing in the frist week of January 1954 was brought to completion by the end of November 1955 and four press coipes typed out on a fine strong paper. When his attention was drawn by Nanak Chand Rattu that to prepare four copies of the manuscript was unnecessary he lost no time to quip with a smile. “Look”, he said, “what is the title of the book – Riddles in Hindusim - which is itself a reply. I haven’t got my own press and naturally it has to be given to some Hindu Press for printing. It can be lost, burnt or destroyed and my several years of hard labour will thus thus go waste. Doesn’t matter what the cost involved. I must have a spare copy with me.”

The book though complete in all respects, its printing was held up as he wanted to add two very important photos. One related to
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of Indian Republic, when he went to Benares, worshiped Brahmins, washed their toes and drank the water.
The second photo related to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, when on 15 August 1947 he sat at the yagna performed by Brahmins of Beneras to celebrate the event of a Brahmin becoming the first Prime Minister of free and independent India, wore the Raja Danda given to him by these Brahmins and drank the water of the Ganges brought by them. Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s photo had become available, search was on for the photo of Nehru.

Whenever Dr. Ambedkar took up the writing of a book he did it with hope, belief, confidence and determination. He felt overjoyed after completion, having a look at the manuscript ready to e sent to the Publisher, he got heavenly joy when the book was published and his thoughts printed. He would then enjoy the event in a jubilant mood, cutting jokes and singling a song in tune with his favorite song displayed on the radiogram

But alas! He could not see the book in his life time. Tragedy is that all the four copies of the manuscripts     disappeared all atone. Savita Ambedkar had stayed till 1967 in the Bunglow at 26 Alipore road where her husband Dr. Ambedkar breathed the last. One Madan Lal Jain had purchased the bunglow in 1966 and allowed her to stay in the rooms already in her possession. Madan Lal quietly moved an application in the court to evict her. And on 20 January 1967 when she went to Alwar district, Madan Lal Jain and his son-in-law entered the premises with three bailiffs and 20 muscle men and forcibly opened the rooms and a big store room taking bunch of keys from Mohan Singh, her servant, who was listening, at ease, the radio programme.

On 27 January 1967 with the facilitation of Nanak Chand Rattu she got the help from Home Minister Shri Y B Chavan, Lt Governor and Deputy Commissioner. Consequently she was permitted to enter the premises and have access to rooms in her possession. The worst was that Madan Lal Jain and his men had removed countless precious documents and important papers, nicely kept in several racks of the big store room and recklessly dumped in an open yard opposite the shed in a shameful manner, not realizing the importance of these. In addition the store room had contained manuscripts of his several writings which at that time were unpublished. But many of them were destroyed and reduced to waste paper due to the reckless handling and rain the same night.

Subsequently the papers were taken into the custody by the custodian of the High Court of Delhi. Later these were transferred to the Administrative General of the Government of Maharashtra. Later Shri J B Bansod, an Advocate from Nagpur, filed a suit against the Government in the High Court at Nagpur making a simple request seeking permission from court to allow him to publish the unpublished writings of Dr. Ambedkar or to direct the Government to publish the same. Government then formed a committee called as Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Source Material Publication Committee and appointed Vasant Moon as the Officer on Special Duty. The work of Dr. Ambedkar then got published due to the unrelenting hard work of Vasant Moon.

Nanak Chand Rattu in his book has thanked the Maharashtra Government for bringing together the scattered material from different sources and publishing the work in the form of a book – “Riddles in Hindusim” – the original one disappearing immediately after Dr. Ambedkar’s death. However “Riddles of Rama and Krishna” were added only as an appendix to the book that was published by Government of Maharashtra. Perhaps the papers were destroyed and reduced to waste during reckless handling and rain between on 20 and 27 January 1967. The dream of Dr. Ambedkar of a separate book on “Riddles of Rama and Krishna” had remained unfulfilled

04 Feb 1889: 
Phule's adopted son, Dr.Yashwant was married to Radha the daughter of Sasane.

The Satyashodhak Samaj (The Truth-Seekerís Society) was established on 24 September 1873, and Savitribai was an extremely dedicated and passionate activist of the Samaj. The Samaj undertook the programme of arranging marriages without a priest,  without dowry and at minimum costs. The first such marriage was arranged on 25 December 1873. Later, this movement spread across the newly emerging nation. The first report of the Samaj proudly notes that Savitribai was the inspiration behind this revolutionary initiative of a constructive revolt to reject 21 centuries old religious traditions. The marriage of Radha, daughter of Savitribaiís friend Bajubai Gyanoba Nimbankar and activist Sitram Jabaji Aalhat was the first 'Satyashodhakí' marriage. Savitribai herself bore all the expenses on this historic occasion. This method of marriage, similar to a registered marriage, is still prevalent in many parts of India. These marriages were opposed by priests and ‘bhatjis’ (Brahmans) all over the country, and they also went to court on this matter. Savitribai and Jotirao had to face severe difficulties but that did not deter them from their path. On 4 February 1889, at the age of 16, they also got their adopted son married in this manner. This was the first inter-caste marriage in modern India. The Satyashodhak marriage required the bridegroom to take an oath of giving education and equal rights to women. The ‘mangalashtake’ (the Mantras chanted at the time of the wedding) were to be sung by the bride and the bridegroom themselves, and these were in the form of pledges made by the bride and the groom to each other. Yeshwant was married to Radha alias Laxmi, daughter of Satyashodhak Samaj leader Gyanoba Krishnaji Sasane in this manner. To ensure that they got better acquainted with each other and with each other’s likes and dislikes, Savitribai had made Radha stay in the Phule household even before the marriage took place. She also made provisions for Radha’s education.

04 February 1933: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar met Gandhi in Yervada Jail.

Dr. Ambedkar was accompanied by S N Shivtarkar, Dolas, Upsaham, Kowly, Ghorpade and Keshavrao Jedhe. In a happy mood Gandhi got up and welcomed the visitors.

After a while, the conversation turned to the question of temple entry. Gandhi requested ambedkar to lend this support to the Dr. Subbarayan’s Bill and that of Ranga Iyer.  Ambedkar flatly refused to have anything to do with Subbaraya’s Bill, since the Bill did not condemn untouchability as a sin. It only said that if a referendum favored the temple entry, temples should be thrown open to the Depressed Classes, but nothing of the right to worship the deity in the temples. He told Gandhi that the Depressed Classes did not want to be Shudras in the order of the caste system and added that he honestly could not call himself a Hindu. Why, he asked, he should be proud of the religion which condemned him to be a degraded position. If that system was to continue, he had no use of the benefits of the temple entry. Gandhi said that according to him, the caste system was not a bad system. He continued: “Let the touchable Hindus have an opportunity to expiate their sins and purify Hindusim. Do not be indifferent to this question. If the reformation takes place, the Untouchables would rise in society.” Ambedkar differed from Gandhi. He was convinced that if the Untouchables made progress in the economic, educational and political filed, temple entry would follow automatically.

Discussing the propriety of two Bills – Dr. Subbarayan’s Bill and Ranga Iyer’s Bill.
Dr. Ambedkar: The one-paragraph Bill (Dr. Subbarayan’s Bill) is a very simple one. Its fair point lies in admitting that this custom is immoral. There is no such admission in the second Bill (Ranga Iyer’s).
M K Gandhi: No, it is there in its preamble.
Dr. Ambedkar: But it is not clear.... I also think that the two Bills do not go together...
M K Gandhi: The one-paragraph Bill is certainly superior to the other. But the other lengthier Bill was brought forward because the first one could not be introduced in the Provincial Legislature. There is no contradiction in the two Bills. In one Bill untouchability ceases to be a disability and the law refuses to accept the argument based on untouchability. As a result of the second Bill, temple authorities are obliged to take steps under certain circumstances. If we can get both the Bills passed the trustees will not be able to put up any kind of obstacle. I take it upon myself to have all the temples opened within one month if we could get both the Bills passed. The sanatanists would prefer the second Bill. But speaking as a sincere sanatanist I would prefer the first Bill.
Dr. Ambedkar: ...Now the Government will have to issue orders against the sanatanists under Section 144 because they would be regarded as interfering with untouchables’ rights.
M K Gandhi: However, I want you now to emphatically proclaim your ideas in very clear words.
Dr. Ambedkar: ...As far as we are concerned we have no immediate concern other than securing political power... and that alone is the solution of our problem... We want our social status raised in the eyes of the savarna Hindus. There is another point of view also. The object of this effort could be that you want the depressed classes to be retained in the Hindu religion, in which case I am inclined to believe that it is not sufficient in the present awakened state of the depressed classes... If I call myself a Hindu I am obliged to accept that by birth I belong to a low caste. Hence I think I must ask the Hindus to show me some sacred authority, which would rule out this feeling of lowliness. If it cannot be I should say goodbye to Hinduism... I am not going to be satisfied with measures, which would merely bring some relief... I don’t want to be crushed by your charity.
M K Gandhi: I have nothing to say if you have come with a final decision that you are not going to move your little finger to have this Bill passed.
Dr. Ambedkar: We have not made any decision. However, I have shown you how my mind is working.
M K Gandhi: I told you that I could have nothing to say if you have already taken a decision.
Dr. Ambedkar: We cannot ask the savarna Hindus to decide for themselves whether or not we are a part of them. You ought to demonstrate your determination by getting these Bills passed.
M K Gandhi: I am not asking you to do anything. I never wanted the depressed people to go on their knees to the savarna Hindus and ask them to get these Bills passed. Unfortunately, the solution of this problem is in the hands of a third power, which is in a position to mend or worsen the situation.
Dr. Ambedkar: I can set right the thing.
M K Gandhi: That is right. Of course I agree with you that it does not behove your dignity to approach the Hindus. I take the position—you might remember since I made the speech at the Round Table Conference—that we should atone for this. If you repudiate us and go away I would think that we only deserved it.
Dr. Ambedkar: The Bill mentions temple-entry but it makes no mention of entry into the sanctum sanctorum. Will they let a member of the depressed community place flowers on the idol, or will they let him offer a tray containing oblations? Malaviyaji has already declared that question of offering puja does not arise.
M K Gandhi: Temple-entry is meant for puja if anything. But if the language of the Bill is not right it can be amended and we can say ‘entry for the purpose of puja’. It seems there has been some misunderstanding somewhere in the case of Malaviyaji. He would not say what you attribute to him. Flowers, sweets or any other offerings from Harijans will surely be accepted. So we two agree on this point that there is no question of your imploring the savarna Hindus. When some savarna Hindus tell me that Harijans do not want to enter the temples I ask them to throw open the temple doors for the Harijans whether or not they wish to come in. They ought to have the satisfaction that they have done their duty. They ought to discharge the debt, which they owe whether the creditor keeps it or throws it into the gutter. But I must say that you ought not to say that you are not a Hindu. In accepting the Poona Pact you accept the position that you are Hindus.
Dr. Ambedkar: I have accepted only the political aspect of it.
M K Gandhi: You cannot escape the situation that you are Hindus in spite of your statement to the contrary.
Dr. Ambedkar: We ask of you that our silence should not be misconstrued. After that I accept your point.
M K Gandhi: I go one step further. You will not be able to go ahead a single step unless you maintain your position absolutely correct. I regard temple-entry as a spiritual matter through which everything else will bear fruit.
Dr. Ambedkar: The Hindu mind does not work in a rational way. They have no objection to the untouchables touching them on the railway and other public places. Why do they object to it only in the case of temples?
M K Gandhi: We are well caught on this point. I take up the question of temple-entry first of all because these people want to cling to untouchability in the temples. Many sanatanist Hindus say that they would admit Harijans in schools and public places but not in temples. I ask them to grant the Harijans equal status before God. It will raise their status.
Dr. Ambedkar: Supposing we are lucky in the case of temple-entry, will they let us fetch water from the wells?
M K Gandhi: Sure. This is bound to follow it. And it is also very easy.
(Source: The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi- APPENDIX X VOL. 59: 13 JANUARY 1933 - 9 MARCH 1933)
[From Gujarati]
Mahadevbhaini Diary, Vol. III, pp. 117-22
Vide “Dr. Ambedkar and Caste”, 7-2-1933

04 February 1956: 
“Janata” was renamed as “Pradbuddha Bharata”

In 1930, Dr. Ambedkar started a journal named, “Janata (The People)”. This magazine lived for 26 years. After that the magazine’s name was changed to “Prabuddha Bharat (Enlightened India)” on 04 February 1956. The names of the magazine which Dr. Ambedkar published had the reflection and the emphasis of the direction of his movement at a particular time. He changed the name of Janata to Prabuddha Bharat when he was in the process of launching the massive historic conversion to Buddhism

2 February 1915: 
Death anniversary of Subedar Major Ramji Maloji Sakpal, father of  Dr. Ambedkar.

Dr. Ambedkar’s ancestral village is Ambavade, five miles off Mandanged, a small town in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. His grand father Maloji Sakpal was a retired Havaldar in the Bombay Army of the East India Company. He is said to have been allotted some land for acts of bravery in the battle field. (Source: Chandrika Prasad Jagiasu, Babasaheb ka Jivan Sangram, Lucknow, 1961, Page 15). Maloji had two chidren – Ramji (son) and Mira Bai (daughter).

Like his father, Ramji also joined the army. He was an enlightened person who worked hard and attained proficiency in English language. He obtained Diploma in Teaching from the Army Normal School in Poona (Source D.C Ahir, The Legacy of Dr. Ambedkar, B R Publishing corporation, Delhi, 1990, Page 2). Consequently, he was appointed as a teacher in the Army School. He served as Head Master and had attained the rank of Subedhar Major. The Sakpal’s belonged to the Kabir cult along with the untouchability (Mahar) tag attached.

Ramji had 14 children, the 14th being Bhimrao (Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar). However only three sons – Balaram, Anandrao and Bhimrao – and two daughters – Manjula and Tulasa –survived. The Bhakti movement in Maharashtra had impressed the Sakpal’s family to imbibe its spiritual content, Ramji Sakpal brought up his children under strict religious atmosphere at time performing poojas and offerings with great devotion. Thus, during childhood Bhimrao used to sing devotional songs. Ramji Sakpal’s attitude towards his children was basically responsible to the alltound development of Dr. Amebdkar. Ramji was good in English and Arithmetic. He was a teetotaler and as mostly interested in his won and his children’s spiritual development.

Ramji Sakpal retired in 1894 and the family moved from Dapoli to Satara two years later. Shortly after their move, Bhimrao’s mother (Bhima Bai) died. After the death of his wife Ramji married for the second tome, which was opposed by Bhimrao. The children were cared for by their paternal aunt. However, Ramji did not curtail the ambition of Bhimrao towards his education. Ramji stood firm and committed to his children’s betterment and Bhimrao's intellectual aspirations in particular.

During his stay at Bombay in 1904 in a one room tenement rented in the Improvement Trust Chawals at Parel, Ramji took outmost care of Dr. Ambedkar in particular. He would ask his son to go to bed early and he himself would work till 2 ‘o’ clock in the morning and go to bed after awakening his son for study. Under his father’s guidance Bhimrao gained experience in translation work. Bhimrao’s knowledge of Englisgh lauguage was good compared to his class mates, courtesy his father’s interest in the language. Bhimrao ‘s desire to posses’ books was insatiable which was supported by his noble father. Ramji ungrudgingly supplied Bhimrao with new books often borrowing money from his two married daughters at times even pawning their ornaments, which he had given as marriage gifts and redeeming them after he received monthly pension which was a meager sum of Rupees fifty. 

Ramji was able to secure a sum of Rupees twenty five per month through Keluskar guruji (teacher of Bhimrao) from Maharaja of Baroda Sri Sayajirao Gaekwad. Maharaja had sanctioned this amount after satisfying himself about Bhimrao in an interview with him. Bhimrao, after passing his B A examiniation in 1912, entered the service of Baroda state in January 1913 as Lieutenant in the Baroda State Forces. Dr. Ambedkar received a telegram informing him that his father was seriously ill in Bombay. He left Baroda immediately to look after the health of his fater. On his way home he got down at Surat station to buy sweet-meats for his fater and lost his train. Next day when he reached Bombay he stood aghast at the sight of his sinking father. The sinking but searching eyes of the dying man moved on to his darling son upon whom he had revolved his thoughts, his hopes, and his existence. He moved his feeble hand over his son’s back and the next moment death-rattle was in his throat. His eyes closed and his legs and hands became motionless. He breathed his last. So great was the outburst of Bhimrao’s sorrow that words of consolation failed to soothe his heart and his loud lamentations drowned the wails of the members of his family. It was 02 February 1913,the saddest day in Bhimrao Ambedkar’s life.

Thus passed away an untouchable, Subhedar Major Ramji Maloji Sakpal, who was till the end of his life industrious, abstemious, devotional and aspiring. He died ripe in age but poor in wealth, for he had run into debt; but was exemplary in character and unconscious of his great legacy of his clan, country and humanity. Having infused in his son strength of will to resist wordly temptations and a depth of spirituality very seldom found in his son’s contemporaries, he left him behind to fight the battle of life and to break the world to his way. 

Right from Bhimrao’s school days which started at Dappoli till he completed his B A degree, Ramji had stood as an inspiring angel. Ramji was responsible to shape the mind and personality of Bhimaro. Ramji was like a Sculptor carving out with patience, devotion and dedication of Bhimrao. The road showed by Ramji helped Bhimrao to get himself educated in foreign countries and develop ideas which were to make him the Liberator of the oppressed. Rightly, Dr. Ambedkar had dedicated his book, ‘The problem of the Rupee’ to the memory of his father and mother as a token of his abiding gratitude for the sacrificies they made and the enlightenment they showed in the matter of his education.

02 February 1959: 
Death anniversary of Dr. Mukund Rao Ambedkar.

Dr. Mukund Rao Ambedkar was the nephew of Dr. B R Ambedkar

31 January 1920: 
Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar started 'Mooknayak' newspaper.

Chatrapati Shahuji Maharaj had donated Rs 2500 as seed money to start Mooknayak (Leader of the Dumb). This Marathi weekly paper championed the causes of the depressed classes. Shri Nandra Bhatkar was the editor, later Shri Dyander Gholap was the editor. Dr. Ambedkar wrote in the first issue of this paper dated 31 January 1920 the following:

 "The hindu society is like a tower of many stories. It has neither a ladder nor a door to go out. And therefore there is no way to interchange stories. Those who are born on a particular storey die in that storey. Even if the lowest storey person is worthy deserving to be promoted to upper storey he cannot move to that level. And if the person in the upper storey is most unworthy and undeserving still he cannot be pushed down…….. …. A Society which believes that God exists even in inanimate things, also says that people who are a part of that very society should not be touched!”

31 January: National bird day.
In Buddhism, Peacock,  the National Bird symbolizes wisdom.



I read with great interest "A Challenge to Buddhism" by Ven.Bhikkhu Bodhi that I was fortunate to read on the internet. 
We all know and revere Bhikkhu Bodhi. His talks and writings are always inspiring and  provocative. His distress evident in the above-mentioned article will be shared by all those who read it.
Of late we have been hearing a lot about the expression  "Engaged Buddhism". I find the expression mostly among the Mahayanists rather than among the Therawadis in the Western world. Mahayanists also use the expression "Humanistic Buddhism". To everyone who is not a Buddhist, it simply means Applied Buddhism or practical Budhism.
There has been  challenges to Buddhism in all eras. To my mind, there is no greater solution, no enduring remedy to the challenges in any era than the creation of Buddha's disciples known as Arhants who would advice and give lead to people to solve their problems as and when they arise, regardless of color, race, creed or nation. Whatever the problems - social problems like injustice or natural catastrophies like earthquake or global problems like climate change 
-  the cutting edges of weapons in Buddhist armory to counter them always lay in individuals in the first instance, and subsequently in their organizations, with or without the support of governments. Therawada Buddhism which I am more familiar with has had a monastic order in place since Buddha'.s time where trained monks are turned out in large numbers, year after year, in Therawada countries -  Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia.  Many of the trained monastics become bodhisatvas (seekers of enlightenment), few if any become fully enlightened worthy ones known as arhants who are worthy to advice and lead. Finding arhants is like mining for diamonds.
Many of the social service organizations, Buddhist or other,  fail because of the absence of arhants, the fully enlightened ones, to lead them. The fully enlightened arhants emerge out of the multitudes of monks, worthy to advice and worthy to lead..  
There have been a plethora of institutions with long histories of social service like the CARE, the American Peace Core, Red Cross, YMCAs, and many others. Bhikkhu Bodhi has mentioned American Jewish World Service (AJWS) which is relatively a new organization like the Islamic Relief USA and others, all of which "aiming to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease, worldwide". On the other hand,  organizations with limited goals also take birth like the Armenian Relief Society with its limited goal of serving the humanitarian needs of the Armenian people worldwide, who still suffer from the effects of its underreported holocaust of early 20th century. I wonder what make AJWS exceptional. 

Has AJWS  tested its declared objective of social service on the soils of Israel's next door neighbors or in the  Arab sector inside Israel itself?  Some material on the internet gave me the impression that AJWS perhaps took birth out of cognitive dissonance among American Jews suffering from psychological conflicts between incompatible beliefs and attitudes.  
The highly efficient style of working of organizations like AJWS backed by media support can make favourable impression of them even if they do not have enlightened leaders and violate one or more of the five precepts that the Buddhists always practise in all their endeavours.
Social service is the objective of most organizations, but they have besides social service something which make them distinct. For instance, the U.S. after taking thousands of lives in Japan with their nuclear armory seek to create a better image of the U.S.with its Peace Core volunteers, YMCAs seek to spread Christian messages behind their altruism,  what if AJWS seeks to show Jewish presence in world service, no matter that the Jews are only 0.2 percent of a world population of 7 billion.   
I wish to draw the attention of my readers to an organization which I had in  mind when I wrote earlier in this piece about arhants and searching for them like mining for diamonds. 
The organization is called Fo Guang Shan (FGS), which means literally "Buddha's Light Mountain", and its organizer is Master Venerable Hsing Yun, born in mainland China in 1927. Master Venrable Hsing Yun founded FGS in 1967 in a remote quiet area in the hills of  Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. It is a Mahayana Buddhist order promoting Humanistic Budddhism, a modern Chinese philosophy. Humanistic Buddhism aims to make Buddhism relevant in the world and in the people's lives and hearts. It is a monastic order and not a theoretical school of thought per se.
In May 1997, Hsing Yun got the gates of FGS closed to the general public in order to give a cloistered atmosphere to the temple residents.
But, following the plea of the public headed by the President of Taiwan, FGS reopened the gates in December 2000. In the last 40 years since its inception, FGS has been remarkably successful in extending its services beyond Taiwan,  setting up temples and organizations in 173 countries and encompassing more than 3,500 monastics. FGS also created an affiliate in 1992, Buddha's  Light International Association (BLIA),  
which has now over 100 chapters in the world.  The monastic order represented by Fo Guang Shan and Buddha's Light International Association has now over a milliom followers worldwide. It has been said  "In Master Venerable Hsing Yun, Buddhism has found a reformer, an innovator and an educator. Under his strong  leadership, Buddhism has extended beyond traditional temple life to integrate and further enrich the modern city dwellers."
December 18, 2008

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Ravana & the depiction of 10 Heads? What is the Rationale?

Ravana's ten heads represent the ten crowns he wore as a result of his being the sovereign of ten countries.