President lays foundation stone of Ambedkar memorial in Lucknow

President Ram Nath Kovind said the mission of any government should be ‘Bhavatu Sab Mangalam’ (may all beings be happy)’, adding that he is happy that the present government under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is striving to reach this goal.

Laying the foundation stone for Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar Cultural Centre in Lucknow, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday borrowed a piece of the Babasaheb’s wisdom to say that we are Indians first, Indians later and Indians even to the end and that religious, caste or community has no place anywhere.

Addressing a gathering a Lok Bhavan after presiding over the foundation stone laying ceremony, the President said the mission of any government should be ‘Bhavatu Sab Mangalam’ (may all beings be happy)’, adding that he is happy that the present government under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is striving to reach this goal.

Mentioning that Ambedkar had always emphasized on the important of politics based on harmony, Kovind said that even during the struggle for independence several freedom fighters would say that we are Hindus and Muslims later and Indians first, and this should be the guiding principle for every citizen going forward. “While other freedom fighters would say we are Indians first and Hindus, Muslims or Christians later, Babasaheb used to say that we are Indians first, Indians later and Indians even to the end,” the President said.

“In the chanting by Buddhist monks here, one line that came up repeatedly was ‘Bhavatu Sab Mangalam’. These are the words of Bhagwan Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar used them a lot. Babasaheb always emphasised that the mission of any government should be ‘Bhavatu Sab Mangalam’ (may all beings be happy). Different political parties can articulate it in different ways like ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ but I appreciate the fact that the present government is working with the aim of ‘Bhavatu Sab Mangalam’,” he added.

Throwing more light on the life of the Father of the Indian Constitution, the President said, “Babasaheb had a special relationship with Lucknow. Apart from spending a lot of time here, he used to adore the cultural heritage of the city. I also appreciate the initiative of the UP government to build a memorial in his name.”

Invoking the ideals of the Dalit icon, Kovind said Babasaheb always worked towards empowering women and providing them equal rights in the society. “Our Constitution provides for equal rights to women, including the Right to Vote. Today, our legal system is following the path suggested by Babasaheb on many issues such as succession of property for women. The multidimensional personality of Babasaheb Ambedkar and his contribution to nation building testify to his skills and virtues. We all know he was an educationist, politician, economist, journalist and a socialist, but he also had his invaluable contribution to upholding our cultural, religious and spiritual identities. Four things that were close to Babsaheb’s heart were morality, equality, self-respect and Indianness,” he added.

Earlier, the President and First Lady Savita Kovind were accorded a warm welcome at the event by the CM. Also among the dignitaries present were Governor Anandiben Patel and Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.

The CM, in his address, the nation will forever be indebted to Ambedkar as the architect of the Constitution and his name and legacy will live on not just in India but wherever justice is delivered to the poor and the downtrodden. “On this day, 93 years ago, Babasaheb started the weekly newspaper ‘Samta’. He worked for the betterment of the society. This state-of-the-art museum and cultural centre will carry forward his ideals, principles and legacy,” the CM said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Bharat Ratna Dr Bhimrao Memorial and Cultural Centre at Lucknow will further popularise the ideals of the architect of the Constitution. “The ‘Bharat Ratna Dr Bhimrao Memorial and Cultural Centre, Lucknow’ will further popularise the ideals of respected Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar among the youth. I laud the Uttar Pradesh government for taking the lead in this effort.”

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