(Copy of the original letter sent on 8th May 2010)
Greetings from Voice of Dalit International. Every international movement needs its symbol for ordinary masses and sympathisers to understand and extend their support; so too Dalit movement. UK has made caste discrimination illegal (of course depends on the result of a study). Although the issue of caste discrimination affects over a billion people globally, it is still an unknown subject for the international community, particularly for the British public whose enlightened support is absolutely vital to address the issue internationally.
From our analysis and understanding, we feel that there has not been a proper projection of the international symbol of caste discrimination; proper understanding of Dr. Ambedkar by the international community would go a long way in providing a symbol for the issue of caste discrimination and Dalits.
For several years, different communities in the UK are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Ambedkar in their own communities, Gurudwaras, temples, viharas, India House etc. in their own way. As Government of India and certain communities have tried to make "caste discrimination an internal matter", these celebrations have mainly helped to make Dr. Ambedkar an internal issue of certain communities and countries whereas he is not the personal property of a community or a country, but the global symbol of caste oppressed billions.
In this context, we propose to hold the next birthday celebration of Dr. Ambedkar as a national event, instead of a narrow religious event of certain communities or groups. We propose to hold it as a national event in Trafalgar Square, London with a rally, youth,/ cultural programme, public meeting with speakers of national and international stature. (We can also contemplate to have one or two days of youth mela in connection with it - before or after the programme - here we can invite the politicians, Ministers, Prime Minister, India House people, even Chief/ Minister from India etc., hold Seminars, Conferences, discussions etc.).
Although we have been contemplating it for a long time, today we discussed it with Mr. Balram and Mr. Arunkumar, whom we met at Bedford at ACDA programme. They said it is a good idea and Balram suggested circulating it to different groups to get their opinions. If we receive positive responses, we would like to ensure cooperation of each and every individual, organisations, communities religious communities including Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Shri Guru Ravidass, Bhagwan Valmik etc. and start planning for the 2011 Birthday celebration of Dr. Ambedkar, probably on Sunday, 17th April 2011). Is there any particular groups who may like to take the lead in organising it or shall we do it together? If we are doing it for next year, we would have to start making preparations now.
Please feel free to give your views and let your views be known to all in the email group. Please feel free to circulate it to others outside this email group whom you think may be interested, with a copy to us. Alternatively, please let us know the contact details of anyone whom you think this circular my be sent. We will circulate to them.
Looking forward to having your valuable views at your earliest,
Voice of Dalit International (VODI)
ICG House, Station Approach,
Greenford, London UB6 OAL
Tel/ Fx : (00 44) 0208 813 2380