WALTHAM, MA— A bust of B. R. Ambedkar, a social reformer and the principal architect of the Constitution of India, was inaugurated last week at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, as the University hosted its Third Annual Conference on Caste.
Boston Study Group (BSG), a Boston-based organization dedicated to working towards a just and equitable society, helped with the bust and contributed to the conference, which was held April 28-30, 2017.
Opening the conference, the Brandeis University President Ronald Leibowitz termed caste as a key human rights issue of the current times and commended BSG’s participation in the planning and execution of the conference.
The opening panel saw the participation of Jebaroja Singh, professor at John Fisher College in Rochester NY; Sukhadeo Thorat, former professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi; and Professor Cornel West of Harvard University.
On Saturday April 29, Brandeis University inaugurated the bust of DR. B.R. Ambedkar in the presence of Lisa Lynch, the Provost of Brandeis University and several other enthusiastic Ambedkarites from Europe, North America and Asia. This inauguration was made possible by BSG and Heller school of Social Policy at Brandeis University. The bust was made in Nagpur, India and was transported to the Goldfarb Main Library at Brandeis.
BSG hosted three round-tables discussions during the conference on Sunday April 30: on caste and religion, international solidarity, and patriarchy. The roundtables featured prominent members from the field of religion, gender studies, African-American activists and an organizer from the Roma community. The conference also saw the presence of a high-level delegation from Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University, India, which participated in several panels in the conference.
A cultural program, Surtal, was hosted by BSG on Saturday April 29 to mark the 126th Jayanti of Ambedkar. This program, emceed by sisters Jagruthi and Pragathi Maroju, featured a performance by Pandit Sudhakar Chavan, a renowned classical singer from India.
There was, in addition, an inspiring speech by Swadeep Kamble on Ambedkar’s vision and the reading of poems. On display at the venue were collages on Ambedkar’s life made spontaneously by a young sisters, Rema Roshan Lal and Priya Roshan Lal. As part of the evening, BSG honored Shobha Singh, Laxmi Berwa, Thenmozhi Soundararajan and the Late Omar Khalidi for their pioneering work in the cause of anti-caste advocacy in the US.