[This article was originally published on Ambedkar Jayanti in 2016]
Just off Ambedkar road, at Pali Naka in Bandra, residents of the Adarshnagar society tucked into a narrow bylane between two buildings began to dance to the latest hits of Bollywood blaring from their stack of loud speakers at 7 PM. Buddhist flags interspersed with flags of the Dalit movement hung across the road. A few men adorned white t-shirts with the words ‘Pali Boyz’ sprawled across them, indicating one of the many clubs in Bandra. A large picture of Buddha with bold, neon colours sat behind a framed picture of Dr. B R Ambedkar placed on a table.
“Hum sab Buddhist hai (We are all Buddhists),” says 22-year-old Anis Kureshi, a resident of Adarshnagar who works in apartment rentals and is one of the organisers of this celebration. In honour of Babasaheb’s 125th birth anniversary, about 200 people from their society will walk tonight, truck loaded with loud speakers in tow, to the statue bust of Ambedkar at the foot of the Pali Hill slope.
Lakma Ismail Sheikh, another resident, tells us over the sound of London Thumakda, “Unka birthday hai na (It’s his birthday),” pointing to the framed picture of Ambedkar. She explains that the group plans on cutting a cake to honour Babasaheb’s birth anniversary, and will decorate the statue bust with garlands. The younger generation of their society organises a similar celebration each year, however this year it’s bigger, she adds.
Scroll on for photographs of the celebrations:
All photographs were shot on an Iphone by Karan Khosla (@thekhos)
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