Ambedkar_float0416-e1460667084452UNITED NATIONS (Diya TV) — The architect of the Indian Constitution and the biggest advocate for equality and social justice in modern India, B.R. Ambedkar, was born April 14th 1891. Fondly known as ‘Babasaheb‘ Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th birthday was celebrated across the U.S.

In New York by the United Nations, where members examined the relevance of his legacy to their global development goals. The U.N. also heard a plea to make April 14, the birthday of the champion against discrimination, henceforth known as “International Equality Day.”

“I believe Baba Saheb’s lifelong struggle for equality was not only for the people of India but for people around the globe,” Punjab Assembly Speaker Charnjit Singh Atwal said at the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations on Wednesday. In a “true tribute and honor,” he called for the designation of the day.

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, agreed that Ambedkar’s ideals were unique and relevant to the U.N.’s ambitious program of sustainable development goals.

“Ambedkar understood that inequalities pose fundamental challenges to well-being, and the U.N. had adopted the elimination of inequality as its goal,” she said.

Clark currently serves as the head of the U.N. Development Program, and is also a candidate for the organization’s Secretary General in their upcoming elections.


India’s permanent representative to the U.N., Syed Akbaruddin, said: “Last year, when the U.N. adopted the universal and transformative Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, we, as Indians, noticed traces of Ambedkar’s vision in the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’.”

More than 550 people — diplomats, international officials, academics, civil society activists and Indian residents from across the U.S. — packed into the conference room for Ambedkar’s birthday celebration. Additionally, the celebrations featured two Dalits, who said they owed their positions to Ambedkar.

While the celebrations took place, Pakistan’s U.N. mission to organize a briefing on regional cooperation in Asia was happening just down the hall.

Consul General of India in San Francisco, Ambassador Ashok Venkatesan lights the ceremonial 'Diya'
Consul General of India in San Francisco, Ambassador Ashok Venkatesan lights the ceremonial ‘Diya’

In San Francisco, the Consulate General of India in association with the Indo-American community in Bay Area, celebrated ‘Babasaheb’s birth anniversary at the India Community center in Milpitas. Hundreds from all over Northern California attended the event along with several public official & dignitaries. Also in attendance were many academics and social activists. The event was inaugurated by Consul General Ambassador Shri Venkatesan Ashok by lighting the ceremonial ‘Diya’. He also paid floral tributes to Dr. Ambedkar’s photograph. In his address, the Consul General spoke about the many contributions of Dr. Ambedkar in bringing about social change in India through constitutional means. He spoke about the invaluable role in the making of the Indian Constitution and his tireless commitment towards the poor, disadvantaged & the ‘untouchable’.

“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved” – Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Quoting the late ‘Babasaheb’,  Ambassador Venkatesan also reflected upon another time in the history of India, when many people came from the subcontinent to the West coast of the U.S. as part of the ‘Gadar‘ movement. Calling the Gadar memorial a “standing torch” of this freedom movement, he made the announcement that the Government of India has taken a decision to rebuild the entire Gadar Memorial as a Museum.

The evening was concluded with a dinner reception as various dance troupes took to the stage showcasing the rich diversity of Indian classical dance.