The library at Siddharth College in South Mumbai will soon display artefacts connected to the architect of the Indian Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar. The college will devote a corner of the library to display these articles. At present, an armchair that was used by Ambedkar is preserved at the library at Anand Bhavan, the building that houses the Siddharth College of Arts, Science and Commerce at Fort.
The college was founded by an education trust run by Ambedkar. The chair has been sourced from his fourth-floor room in the building — the room that made way for a ‘moot court hall’ in the 1990s, says Maruti Chaudhari, senior clerk at Siddharth College.
“The current generation of students has lost its connect with teachings of Ambedkar. They are not very aware of his work. With such a display, students will be more enthused about the man and his work. Also, what is the point of having such artefacts if we do not display them and make them accessible to everyone,” said principal UM Maske. The college will hire a consultant for the project. The memorial will also have his photos and famous quotes by him displayed in a corner.
Another “prized possession” with the college is a copy of the Constitution of India with his name embossed on it. This book can be found in the library at Buddha Bhavan, an extension of the college two blocks away, along with an abridged version signed by him. This copy of the Constitution is among “rare” private book collection of Ambedkar at the library, alongside another of his reclining chairs. The Ambedkar family has given consent to the idea.
“We gave permission as it is a very good project to display artefacts. We have instructed the college that care should be taken that these artefacts are not spoilt and to ensure their supervision at all times,” said Ambedkar’s grandson Anandraj Ambedkar.
Besides this, Ambedkar’s ashes are locked in a cupboard along with rare books from his collection, secured within the strongroom on the ground floor of the college.
Other than the college, Rajgruha, Ambedkar’s bungalow in Dadar, has a memorial on the ground floor, complete with his busts, statues, and photos of his younger days with other prominent leaders, and photos of his funeral procession.
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