Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday inaugurated B R Ambedkar memorial in London.
Maharashtra government has decided to transform the house where Ambedkar lived in London into an international memorial cum research centre.
The 2050 sq ft property on King Henry’s Road in London is a three storeyed structure where Ambedkar lived while pursuing his studies (DSC) in London School of Economics in year 1921-22. Ambedkar, a scholar also wrote papers on economics during this period.
In a simple ceremony that marked unveiling the statue of Ambedkar in the courtyard, Modi and Fadnavis recalled the immense contribution made by Ambedkar to empower the socio-economically backward sections in the society.
Modi after visiting the London House of Ambedkar said, “Ambedkar’s message of equality and justice continues to resonate.”
Maharashtra CM who accompanied Modi took him around the house. The chief minister had requested the prime minister to visit Ambedkar’s London House when he had come for bhoomi pujan of Ambedkar’s grand memorial at Indu Mills in Mumbai a couple of months ago.
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Fadnavis described the event as “historic moment in London.” He said, “I was overwhelmed as I entered the house where Ambedkar lived while pursuing his studies in London School of Economics. It was indeed a very proud moment. I am sure this memorial would continue to remain a great inspiration for the generations to come ahead.”
The initiative to acquire the private property in London was taken by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The property was purchased for Rs 40 crore. On October 31, 2014 after taking the charge of Maharashtra government Fadnavis pledged to buy the London House of Ambedkar.
Fadnavis moved a formal proposal to seek the unanimous consent of all his colleagues in the cabinet. Earlier, he had already sought the consent from prime minister.
The entire process of acquiring the property and completion of paper work was done on September 24, 2015. The chief minister had deputed cabinet minister for social justice Rajesh Badole and junior minister Dilip Kamble to park in London and get the paperwork done.
According to Fadnavis, “It is like a dream come true. Babasaheb Ambekdar’s struggle for social equality and justice has a universal appeal.”
Fadnavis said, “Our government has decided to award scholarship to two dalit students every year to study in London School of Economics.”
The 125 year old structure is likely to be redesigned as per the plans drawn by the state government and consultation with overseas authorities. Fadnavis said, “Today, lot of works of Ambedkar remain under wraps. We would like people who tour London (foreigners and domestic) to visit Ambedkar centre. It is our endeavor to make Ambedkar’s writings global.”
It was in August-September 2014, Federation of Ambedkarites and Buddhist Organisations (FABO) based on London informed about the London House auction.
The state minister for social justice Rajesh Badole, RPI chief ramdas Athavale and other dalit representatives like Surekha Kumbhare were also present at the London event.