International Memorial of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar in London
A dream finally coming true
After tense months of delays, on 26 August 2015 the Government of Maharashtra exchanged contracts on 10 King Henry’s Road, NW3. This house, located near Primrose Hill in north London, was where Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar lodged in 1921-22. Dr Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Modern Buddhist Movement and campaigned against social discrimination against Untouchables (Dalits), women and labour. He was Independent India’s first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution of India.
Ms Santosh Dass, MBE, President of the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK, comments,
“I am delighted that Mr Raj Kumar Badole, Minister for Social Justice and Special Assistance at Government of Maharashtra, via the High Commission of India in London, has exchanged contracts on 10 King Henry’s Road, NW3.
This follows my proposal to GOM in September 2014 that the house be bought by GOM and turned into an educational and cultural centre. Generations of Indians in the UK and visitors studying, interested or inspired by Dr Ambedkar’s key roles in furthering social justice, human rights and equal treatment issues will be able to visit. He is a figure on par with William Wilberforce and Dr Martin Luther King. Additionally, its five bedrooms could be used as accommodation for Indian students from Dalit backgrounds while doing post-graduate studies in the UK.
FABO UK has a long history with this site. As part of the celebration of the centenary of Dr Ambedkar’s birth, organised under the auspices of FABO UK, English Heritage in 1991 recognised its historic significance and installed a ‘blue plaque’ on the exterior of the property with the words “DR BHIMRAO RAMJI AMBEDKAR 1891-1956 Indian Crusader for Social Justice lived here 1921-22”.
Whilst in this house Dr Ambedkar enriched his academic studies and strengthened his resolve to challenge the impact of the Caste System and British Rule in India. It was also during this time that India’s Government was struggling with the falling value of the Indian Rupee – the backdrop to his thesis The Problem of the Rupee: Its origin and its solution.
There is a lot of work to do on the house before it can be opened to visitors.
We look forward to working with GOM and the High Commission in London in the months and years to come to ensure that this cultural and political heritage site is put to uses of which Dr Ambedkar would approve.
FABO UK would like to take this opportunity to thank the following key people in India and the GOM for their tireless and unflinching enthusiasm and support in making our vision a reality: Mr Raj Kumar Badole, GOM’sMinister for Social Justice and Special Assistance, His Excellency, Mr Ranjan Mathai, High Commissioner of India in London, and his team, Mr Vinod Tawade, GOM’s Minister of, Higher & Technical Education and Cultural Affairs, Mr R K Giakwad IAS (Indian Administrative Services), Ex-Secretary & Commissioner Social Justice Department, Mr Ramdas Athwale, MP, Padma Shri Kalpana Saroj, and Mr Ramesh Katke, Deputy Registrar GOM.