Embracing Buddhism served as unifying force: Experts

Anniversary of Dhammachkra Pravartan Day 

On the 59th anniversary of Dhammachakra Pravartan Day, the day on which Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, experts spoke on whether his dream of liberating Dalits and other backward caste people from social segregation has gained momentum.

“Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism along with his followers in the year 1956 on October 14, on Ashoka Vijay Dashmi Day also known as Dusherra among Hindus,” said Nitin Lata Waman, social activist.
Convinced that Buddhism was a true part of Indian history and that to revive it was to continue India’s best tradition, Dr Ambedkar, in the quest for recasting Indian society wanted to initiate people into an alternative culture of Buddhism.
Principles of Buddhism

“Buddhism is based on the principles of equality, liberty and fraternity. It protects human rights and dignity. Morality is the base of Buddhism. In a real sense, Buddhism tells us about the democratic value and opportunity to express ourselves,” says E Z Khobragade, former IAS officer.
Prof Dr Suresh Mane, founder Bahujan Republican Socialist Party feels, “Today the citadel of casteism is weakening day by day with social struggle, industrialisation and new ways of life.”
Buddhism gave an enormous sense of pride to the Dalits. “If we study the socio-economic, educational and cultural status of the people in 1956 and thereafter, we find that the people were poor, backward in every sphere and struggling for survival. But after embracing Buddhism, they have attained the feeling of being human and started progressing,” opines Khobragade.
Although Ambedkar had been a Buddhist for only seven weeks, during that period he probably did more for the promotion of Buddhism than any other Indian since Ashoka.
Relevance of Buddhism 
“Dr Ambedkar has brought together Dalits, tribals, backward and certain minority through Constitutional safeguards like reservation policy. At least to protect safeguard these sections are coming together. Barriers are weakening day by day. This weakening is moving towards Buddhism. This is the greatest contribution of Dr Ambedkar, whose main aim was to ensure the whole society should be free from caste, untouchability and another form of discrimination,” adds Dr Mane.