BOSTON–Boston-based Boston Study Group (BSG), dedicated to working towards a just and equitable society, celebrated “Equality Day” on the occasion of the 132nd Birth Anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar in Boston.
The celebration was a colorful mix of a panel discussion, speeches from various
academics, the Indian diaspora, and friends from all nationalities and ethnicity. Young
Ambedkarite kids enthralled everyone with their dance. Adorable kids walked us
through the key events of Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s life and his contribution to society through
an interactive game. The event was multilingual, with various songs, poetry, dances,
and speeches singing the resistance to oppression.
Dayamani Barla, known as ‘The Iron Lady of Jharkhand’ and at the forefront of
resistance against displacement and dispossession of Indigenous people in India, was a
Chief Guest. She spoke on how the marginalized, predominantly tribal communities are
on the verge of losing the right Dr B R Ambedkar gave them in the Constitution of India
because of deliberate attempts to undermine it.
The book, edited by Prakash Kashwan, an Associate Professor at Brandeis University and a scholar of environmental policy and politics, specifically focusing on environmental justice, climate justice, and global climate governance, was published.
Ms. Barla and Ms. Kashwan participated in a very educative panel discussion on Climate change and its impact on marginalized communities and moderated by Dr Venkat Maroju was much appreciated by the audience for BSG’s initiative on the issue of Climate Change.
In addition, BSG honored Vaibhav Singh Yadav, a.k.a. “Ahir Boxer,” an accomplished
Indian professional boxer who is the first and only Indian professional boxer to have
won the World Boxing Council’s “World Boxing Champion Asia Title – 2019” and the
Asian Boxing Federation’s unified titles.
Smitha Dandge, AANA President, emphasized women’s role in the Ambedkarite
movement, which was very inspiring. Sampath Kumar, IAS, Principal Secretary to
Govt. Meghalaya was also one of the guests, and he emphasized the need to follow the
larger mission of Ambedkar’s works beyond caste and especially gender equality, which
affects 50% of the Indian population.
Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Nephew of Shahid Bhagat Singh, talked about the movement started by Bhagat Singh and Dr B.R. Ambedkar back in 1934 was very inspiring. His deliberations on how these two movements complemented each other helped the audience understand the relationship between these two great icons in Indian History.
BSG published the 4th issue of the digital Magazine ‘The Awakened’ on the BSG
website- www.bostonstudygroup.org , the magazine by Ambedkarites and for
Five states in the United States of America and Canada proclaimed 14th April as
‘Equality Day’ or ‘Equity Day’ last year. This year, many more states in the USA are
expected to issue a similar proclamation. Washington State, the State of
Michigan,Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermont already honored Dr B. R. Ambedkar
by issuing the proclamations for the year 2023.
BSG believes that issuing this proclamation by the state government will help increase public awareness of caste discrimination now seen in South Asian communities of the USA. In addition, many Universities in the USA, including Brandeis University, Harvard University, Brown University, Colby College, and the City of Seattle, included caste in the list of the
The evening concluded with BSG honoring several luminaries from South Asian
organizations who have contributed to the advancement of Ambedkarite thought and
anti-caste activism globally, including Coalition for Democratic India (CDI), Alliance for a
Secular and Democratic South Asia, Boston South Asian Coalition, South Asian center,
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Massachusetts Indian Christians, Kabir
Society, Global NRI Forum (GNF).
Finally, BSG also honoured Sanjay Bhagat, passionate Ambedkarite, social worker, activist and co-founder of the Boston Study group, for his leadership, social work and unparallel contribution to the growth of BSG.
BSG’s foundation is based on developing critical conversations around caste, race, and
gender through studying Dr Ambedkar’s ideology and a call for the ‘Annihilation of
Caste’ while working in solidarity with various other social struggles in the US. BSG, in
the past several years of its existence, has pioneered engagements with the academic
community and social organizations on the issues of caste, race, gender, and social
exclusion. BSG is dedicating extraordinary efforts to further the vision of B.R.
Ambedkar. Much credit goes to the hard work of BSG members. As Ambedkarites
around the Boston area has grown, BSG’s membership has been increasing rapidly to
form a strong form of community and belonging.