Ambedkar's grandson inspires Dalits students

Ambedkar's grandson inspires Dalits students

As Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Baba Saheb B R Ambedkar, invited former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar on stage, a group of Delhi University students and many others standing among the audience at a Dalit solidarity rally broke into a thunderous applause.

For  Mohd. Bilal, a post-graduate History student from the DU, he was witnessing a massive unification of forces that could prevent incidents like the harassment of  Hyderabad Central University student Rohith Vemulla, who was driven to suicide.

“Dalit empowerment has only remained a slogan in our country. Students like us never get a course of our choice despite all the talk of upliftment and reservation,” said Bilal, a native of Uttar Pradesh, who is involved in popularising the pro-Dalit Krantikari Yuva Sangathan in the DU.

Pointing to Prakash Ambedkar on the rally’s stage, Bhim Kumar, another DU student, said: “People like him and Kanhaiya are our last hope.”

“Prakashji’s face  reminds us of his grandfather and  I feel that the Father of Indian Constitution  has virtually come alive among us to support the cause,” said Kumar.
The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh president, Prakash Ambedkar, who is a former Member of Parliament, also spoke at the rally about the need for the right wing forces to realise that "the Dalits are also Hindus and taking up arms against them was unethical".

Another KYS supporter at the rally on Friday near Parliament House, Sachin, who is pursuing Hindi honours in under-graduation, said: “The Dalit students are forced to study in the School of Open Learning (SOL) as they can barely make it to the regular colleges.”

“Most of us come from government schools as we cannot afford private schools. This is the reason that lakhs of Dalits like us never manage to reach the top institutions,” said Sachin, a native of Uttarakhand, registered with the Delhi University’s SOL.

After hearing the speech of, Jignesh Mevani, who floated the Dalit Atyachar Ladhai Samiti following flogging of Dalits in Gujarat's Una, Bilal said the biggest take-away from the rally for the Capital was the hope of unification of Dalit community. “The politicians in the city and the country treat us only like vote banks but nobody talks about getting us out of the state of disadvantage,” said Bilal, hoping to carry forward in Delhi  the spark lit by leaders like Prakash Ambedkar, Kanhaiya and Jignesh.

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