We are delighted to share that the 61st Dhamma Chakra Pravartan day was celebrated in New York City on October 14th, 2017. The venue was within less than a mile away from the Columbia University where Ambedkar completed his PhD in 1927 and the university later offered him an honorary doctorate for his service as “a great social reformer and a valiant upholder of human rights”.
The Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din celebration is momentous for all of us to ruminate the biggest footstep for our emancipation and express gratitude to beloved Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar for introducing the greatest path of Dhamma.
The attendance was well over the full capacity of 150 in the auditorium. The attendees were from 7 different states of North America that include: New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Maryland and Delaware state.
The event was hosted by Mr. Vivek Fulzele and Mrs. Sonali Fulzele. After a welcome song by AIM group members, Ven. Bhante Mangala gave Dhamma Discourse along with Trisharan and Panchsheel. He talked about “The Dhammachakkappavattana Sutta“ (Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion), the Buddhist text that is considered by Buddhists to be a record of the first teaching given by Gautama Buddha after he attained enlightenment. To deliberate the thought process the speeches were conducted on various topics as follows:
Caste and Class: How communists have misunderstood Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and ignored him because of Brahminical Leadership. Mr. Narayanswami enlightens on this topic. Mr. Narayanswami has worked as Asst Professor in Vasavi Engg College Hyd. He is also a poet in Telugu language and has worked in Revolutionary Writers Association for almost 13 years
Buddhism and Mental Health by Satyajit Somavanshi
Gratitude: by Sujeet Shende
Buddhism in Student Life by Takshak Shende
A Young Mind’s Perspective on Buddhism by Snehal Kolhekar
It was indeed enlightening to hear all of the speakers, however it was very thought-provoking to hear from the perspective of our new Ambedkarite teenage generation from USA that included Savi Wahane who spoke on 22 Vows in Buddhism and Hivansh Dhakne who spoke on Buddhism from the teenage perspective.
A Panel discussion was organized to take a recap of Conversion, review the current progress of converted Buddhists and discuss the future growth and plans. The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Vivek Fulzele and the panellists were Jyoti Dingle, Sujata Wahane, Nitin Suryatale, Sujeet Shende and Harshraj Nainar. This Panel discussion demonstrated the importance of unity among Dalits by following Babasaheb’s thoughts.
The program created a platform for the kids to actively collaborate and participate in various activities including essay writing on Dr. B.R.Ambedkar and Buddhism; Drawing, The children dressed up as historical leaders and the whole fancy dress was conducted with a skit by Chetan Janbandhu. Kids also got the opportunity to give small speeches on Babasaheb and Buddhism. We are delighted to mention that the kids program was hosted by our young anchors Aria Fulzele and Inesh Rajwade. Providing platform to the kids was an effort to continue the momentum among the new generation of Ambedkarite diaspora. Various other speeches were also rendered to emphasis the significance of important topics of our struggles and community strength building.
The cultural activities included inspirational songs and energetic dances on the theme of generating Ambedkarite spirit and offering a gratitude to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
It is remarkable to note that the cultural programs have encouraged new talent in the team. Savi Wahane wrote and sang an English song praising Dr. Ambedkar titled “You are our Skyscraper”. Hitesh Dhakne also wrote and sang a song “Dhamma Chakra Pravartan”. Mr. Rambabu Gautam who has written hundreds of inspiring poems on Dr. Ambedkar and Buddha graced the occasion by reciting his own poem and talking about the Dalit liberation.
The program was concluded with facilitating Surwade family who came along with Ms Manisha who is still recovering from major injuries from a fatal accident where she lost her husband and in-laws. Mr and Mrs Surwade emotionally thanked AIM members for extending all the support during their difficult times.
We truly want to indicate that the AIM-Women group worked hard and contributed their vital time, efforts and energy to observe a front of spiritual and cultural activities of the event. Nevertheless, it’s imperative to cite that all the AIM-USA families worked untiringly to make this event a grand success. Thanks to all for coordinating the meetings and cultural practices. Indeed this event provided valuable inputs, spiritual gains and community building ideas.
Last but not least our sincere Jai-Bheem and thanks to Raju Kamble Saheb for connecting all of us under the banner of Ambedkar International Mission, USA.
Let’s continue to strengthen Sangha Building process under the principles of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
From – Satyajit S.