10th International Seminar on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

The 10th International Seminar on on the topic “Ambedkar’s Role to Empower women” was held on 18, May 2017 at Al-Razi Hall, New Campus, University of the Punjab, Lahore. It was attended by around 250 guests. Dr Muhammad Akram Choudhary, Ex Vice Chancellor Sargodha University, was the Chief Guest. Four Indian scholars and activists namely Dr. Parmod Kumar, Dr Anu, Mageshraj Dahiwale and Ms. Manjula Pradeep also graced the occasion. The seminar was arranged by Sir Ganga Ram Heritage Foundation (SGRHF) in collaboration with Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS), University of the Punjab, Lahore.

Director SGRHF welcomed and thanked the Chief Guest, faculty, audience and the participants from India. He briefly threw light on the theme of the seminar ”Ambedkar’s Role to Empower Women”. He highlighted that women empowerment is very imperative for the socio-economic development of society as per the teaching of Dr Ambedkar. In his address, Indian activist Mangesh Raj Dahiwala praised Lahore its people and food. He indicated that the oppression of women in the subcontinent is linked with problem of caste system coming since centuries.  Endogamy (arranging marriage of the people only in your own caste, class or circle) is a black feature of caste system. He emphasized on empowerment of women as necessary to break the caste system characterized with discrimination among human beings. He stressed on the need of spreading love and peace in the society; without love and respect you cannot be called as human being. The magic of love can bring radical change in the society. Indian activists Manjula Pradeep said that she reached to her current position only due to Dr Ambedkar’s ideology. She talked about the tough experience of her journey as a women working in a rigid caste based society; she experienced inequalities and demoralization mainly because of Hindu code book Manusmriti. She said that the teaching of Dr Ambedkar made people and society to recognize the rights of Dalits and we shall continue this struggle for Dalits rights. She highlighted that Dr Ambedkar, chief architect of Indian constitution, less than two months before his death rejected Hinduism and embraced Buddhism as a religious solution to the problems of untouchables. She highlighted that she also converted to Buddhism last year “it was very challenging as I was the only one in my family who embraced Buddhism”. In India, our women are struggling for women empowerment. I along with other women of diverse community organized a movement ‘Chalo Nagpur’ to end gender based culture of violence within our homes, communities and societies. Nagpur is significant for anti-caste movement, it is headquarter of RSS which represent Manuvad and Hindutva thought and here BabaSaheb embraced Buddhism also. This protest of Nagpur was against Brahmical Castiest patriarchy and exposing hollowness of Manusmriti. The credit of this passion and strength goes to Dr Ambedkar. Indian Scholar Professor Parmood Kumar said women liberty, equality and respect are crucial for women empowerment. Education is the key to women empowerment. We should wipe out at all levels gender discrimination and nurture our kids and students in an atmosphere of gender equality. There is great violence against women in houses and outside. We should make inner resolve to consider women equal in order to empower women, only then we can make a more just and equal society to create a better atmosphere. Another Indian Scholar Dr Anu Mehra after said that before coming to Pakistan she was very afraid and reluctant because of the wrong picture the newspaper and media of India present about Pakistan. However, after spending few day, she found a totally different atmosphere and was happy, relaxed and comfortable. Talking about women empowerment, she said Manu laws are prevailing in India according to which women are slave, animal and should be treated with violence. Before Dr Ambedkar Hindu Code Bill effort, forced widow marriage with her husband’s brother, sati pratha in which wife was burnt in the funeral fire of her husband existed. Killing of girl child at the time of birth, no right of women in the property, curse of dowry system, these practices still exist in the society in some form. The evil of rape exist in the society and is on the rise. She highlighted that still women are not provided the respect and dignity as provided under women rights protection laws and constitutional provisions. She said we have to carry our fight in most focused and astringent way, fight the cause of women issues. Women should not be discriminated but should be treated on the basis of equality. The Chief Guest Dr Muhammad Akram Chaudhary Ex VC Sargodha University welcomed and thanked the audience, faculty members and guest speakers from India. He said that Dr Ambedkar is a person in South Asia who stood up for social structuring and talked of rights of women equal to men. He discussed in detail about Manusmriti which is the sacred law making code book of Hindus and status of women in this code book. According to manu women is a animal, slave and should not be given freedom and treat her with violence. He said I consider Dr Ambedkar as the savior of Indian women and every depressed class. He said that Ambedkar always advised the women to make organizations and raise their voice for their rights. The Brahmins are the ruling class of India despite being in minority as compared to depressed majority class of Dalits. Therefore, majority class dalits should all stand up and fight for their rights in political and constitutional way without violence and bloodshed. In 1927, Dr Ambedkar took out a rally in which they burnt Manusmriti and recorded their resolution and protest. Dr Ambedkar gave voice to the downtrodden people. In the last year of his life he left Hinduism and embraced Buddhism along with thousands people.

 

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