The restoration work at a four-storey Victorian building in London, used by Babasaheb Ambedkar during his student days in the UK, will be completed by July, a senior Maharastra minister has said as he set up a committee to oversee the completion work at the memorial. The international memorial is inspired from the life of eminent jurist and social reformer during his student days at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1921-22. Rajkumar S Badole, Maharashtra’s minister for social justice, during his four-day visit to London this week, convened the first meeting of the advisory committee set up to oversee the restoration work at the Babasaheb Ambedkar International Memorial.
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The meeting was chaired by Indian high commissioner to the UK Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha. The six-room, four-storey Victorian home at 10 King Henry’s Road in north London was acquired by the Maharashtra government in August 2015 and its ground floor has already been renovated and open to the public as a memorial.
“It was decided at the meeting to accelerate the pace of work on the rest of the building. The committee has put forward a number of proposals, which will now be implemented,” Badole told media on Wednesday.
The plans are being financed by the Maharashtra government’s budget of Rs 10 crores set aside for the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Ambedkar. The memorial will include a library-cum-conference room for visitors, a multi-media space to project archival audios and videos from Ambedkar’s life and his old bedroom to be restored to the way it was back in his student days. “The memorial will be inspired from his life. We will be hiring a curator once the main refurbishment work is complete,” Badole added.
The minister also held follow up talks with the South Asia Centre at LSE for the purpose of setting up a permanent Chair in the name of Babasaheb Ambedkar as well as two scholarships for students from Maharashtra who study at LSE. The state government hopes the fully completed memorial will be ready to be unveiled by July this year, he said.
The 10 King Henry’s Road townhouse on a leafy street in Chalk Farm area of north London had gone up for sale in 2014. London-based FABO UK had written to the Indian government to purchase the property as a historically relevant monument and make it a “focal point to spread Dr Ambedkar’s message about equality, human rights and social justice”. The decision for to purchase the home was cleared by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and it became one of the focal points of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November 2015.