Hundreds of Indian Americans, Indians and others gathered at a suburb in Maryland in the United States on Sunday to witness the unveiling of a statute of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the principal architect of India’s constitution.
Key details: Around 500 people reportedly attended the event held in Livingston Road in Accokeek in Maryland on Saturday. Many attendees could be heard chanting “Jai Bhim” as organizers unveiled the statue of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, which is touted as the tallest statue of the late political leader outside of India.
The event was also reportedly accompanied by performances from various Indian American groups from different parts of the country.
Coinciding dates: The unveiling date reportedly coincided with the same day Ambedkar embraced Buddhism on Oct. 14, 1956. He died nearly two months later on Dec. 6, 1956.
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About the project: Created by renowned Indian artist and sculptor Ram Sutar, the 19-feet-tall statue is called the “Statue of Equality.” Ram Kumar, president of the Ambedkar International Center, explained that the statue is a symbol of “shared values of democracy, justice and human rights that bind India and the United States.”
Besides the Statue of Equality, Sutar also created a statue of Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister, which he called the “Statue of Unity.” The statue was erected in Kevadia in the Gujarat state, India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the project on Oct. 31, 2018.
He was treated as a Dalit leader: Born on April 14, 1891, to a Mahar caste, one of the Dalit castes in India, Ambedkar became known as the “Architect of the Indian Constitution” for spearheading the Drafting Committee after being appointed as its chairman on Aug. 29, 1947.
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Besides drafting the country’s constitution, which is regarded as the world’s longest at 145,000 words — in comparison, the U.S. Constitution only has 4,400 words — some of Ambedkar’s contributions to society also included helping empower women and the marginalized community, Ravi Kumar Narra, the national president of Dalit Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), told PTI News.