Centenary of Mangaon Conference 

Centenary of Mangaon Conference 

DH photo.

On March 20-21, 1920, at the Mangaon Conference, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of the princely state of Kolhapur, a legendary democrat and social reformer declared Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar "the true leader of the oppressed classes in India" 
March 2020, marked the centenary year of this event.

Mangaon, a village located 20 kilometres off the town of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, hosted the conference that was presided over by Ambedkar while Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was the chief guest.
The conference was a landmark event in the untouchables' struggle for self-respect and their search for dignity. Back then, three major caste groups lived in in the village — Jains, Marathas, and Dalits. The Dalits of Mangaon village faced severe caste discrimination and violence, but aware of their social rights in the face of discrimination and untouchability, they planned to organize a conference and invite Ambedkar. They also approached Shahu Maharaj and requested him to join the conference. Before Dr Ambedkar was politically active, Shahu Maharaj had already started an anti-caste and social justice movement in Kolhapur.
"It is an historic and important moment," said Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and founder-President of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh. "I salute both these maha-manavs," he added.
In fact, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi had planned a major commemorative event but in wake of Covid-19 outbreak, it has been postponed. State's Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde was coordinating the event planning.
"ASA remembers 100th year of Mangaon Conference. The Mangaon Conference on 21 March, 1920, was the "First Public Meeting" of Dr. Ambedkar where Shahu Maharaj announced that 'Dr. Ambedkar is the true leader of the oppressed classes in India'. Jai Bhim," tweeted Ambedkar Students' Association,  University of Hyderabad.

Considered the messiah of Dalits, Dr Ambedkar was the chief architect of the Indian constitution.

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