04th January in Dalit History – Mahatma Phule film was inaugurated by Dr. Ambedkar


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4 January 1938: Reception was given to Dr. Ambedkar by the Sholapur Municipal Corporation[1].

Earlier on 30 December 1937, Dr. Ambedkar had addressed a conference which supported whole-heatedly the Mahar Vatan Bill that was introduced in the Assembly by their leader. From Pandharpur, Dr. Ambedkar went to Sholapur to address the Matang Conference. On his arrival, he was presented with a civic address of welcome by the Sholapur Municipality on the morning of 4 January 1938, at the Bhagwat Chitra Mandir. Dr. Ambedkar made a very important speech, expressing his views on the working of Parliamentary Democracy.

“In the political situation,” he delcared, “that has grown up in this country, there has grown the habit among the people of paying homage to only one political party, the Congress.”

“I am no believer,” continued he, “in Democracy as an ideal to be pursued in all circumstances and in all claims; and having regard to the present-day condition in India, Democracy is a most unsuitable system of the Government. At any rate, for some time India needs the strong hand of an enlightened autocrat,”

“In this country we have,” observed he, “Democracy, but it is a Democracy which has ceased to exercise its intelligence. It has bound itself hand and foot to one organization and only one. It is not prepared to sit in judgement over the doings or thinking of this organization. I consider it the greatest malasise, a disease and a sickness. It has affected all our people. They are intoxicatated.” “Unfortuanely,” he added, “the Indian people are by tradition men who have more faith and less wit. Anyone who does anything out of the ordinary, does something so eccentric as to be called in other countries as insane person, acquires in this country the status of a Mahatma or Yogi. And people follow him as the sheep follow the shepherd…. Democracy must learn to give a respectful hearing to all who are worth listening to.” “I am glad,” he concluded, “that the Sholapur Municipality has set an example in voting an address to me who do not belong to an organization which claims to be the only organization in the country and which all people are in a mood to uphold at present.”

Read -  "The Constitution is Our Dharma”

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4 January 1954: Dr.Ambedkar performed inaugural Ceremony of biopic film Mahatma Phule at a famous studio in Bombay (now Mumbai)[2]

Dr. Ambedkar’s health had deteriorated again and for over two months he was under close treatment at Hotel Mirabille in Bombay. Although bedridden, he performed the inaugural ceremony of Atre Pictures Marathi offering ‘Mahatma Phooley’ at the famous studio in Bombay on Sunday, January 4, 1954. The film won the first prestigious President’s Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Marathi in the 2nd National Film Awards function presented on December 21, 1955.[3],[4]

Acharya P.K.Atre was the Director, P Ramakant gave the music, Jyotiba Phule was played by Baburao Pendharkar and Savitribai Phule was played by Sulochana. Vasanat Rao Deshpande and Asha Bhosle were the playback singers.

——

[1] Dhananjay Keer, Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission book, pg 298-299

[2] Dhananjay Keer, Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission book

[3] State award for films 1955 (book), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi

[4] Uddhav Shelke and Anand Patil, Makers of Indian Literature book, pg 41

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  1. 1
    natujayaJaya

    Yesterday,(13th August,2015)the prestigious P.K.Atre literary award was presented to Dr.A.H.Salunkhe at Belgaum..Dr.Salunkhe in his speech,well described the incidence of inauguration of Atre,s matathi film on Jotirao,by Dr.Ambedkar.I was not aware of this fact.He also said that on the day of Dr.Ambedkar,s sad demise,Atre devoted all the pages of his Daily Maratha for Dr.Ambedkar,s cotribution,devotion,dedication.He himself wrote all the pages.I was overwhelmed by this incidence .(Which I heard for the first time in my life.)

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