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An Unrecorded Festival – Pictures from Parliament Street: Siddhi Bhandari

April 18, 2012

April 14 was Ambedkar’s birth anniversary. There is no single pan-India political icon, certainly not Gandhi, whose birth and death anniversaries are celebrated as public festivals, by the public, in the way the Ambedkar’s is. Some newspapers on 15 April typically had photos of the top leaders of the country paying homage to Ambedkar but that’s about all. When historians turn these pages they will not find, in the first drafts of history, any reports about how people celebrated Ambedkar’s birthday like a festival. They will not find a record of the singing and dancing, of drums and plays, of Dalit housing socities and employees’ unions holding celebrations bang under the nose of the Indian Parliament at Parliament Street as much as in Dalit bastis is villages across India. Such is the public ignorance of this celebration at Parliament Street in Delhi that most Delhites enjoying a free holiday don’t even know about it. Parliament street is where SIDDHI BHANDARI took these photos in 2010.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Gandhian permalink
    April 19, 2012 8:04 PM

    Ambedkar anniversaries are a regimented affair. Gandhi anniversaries are spontaneous and free and by far the most univrersal. I don’t usually agree with Ram Guha. But he is right on one thing. An Ambedkar is born every 100 years. A Gandhi once every 500 years. Gandhi is the most written about human, ever. At last count over 10,000 titles have been written about the man. His collected works run into 100 volumes. Ambedkar was great. Gandhi is greater still. I respect both regardless. Stop this puerile fascination. Engage with ideas and not with men.

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