An Open Letter To Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Of India
By Nishikant Waghmare, Countercurrents.org, August 2, 2007
Committee hands over resolution calling for official recognition of Buddhism in India, calling for "due justice and to give a human face to Buddhist people of India, in the land of Buddha."
Hon'ble Prime Minister
Republic Of India
7 Race Course Road
Most Respected Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji,
The Minister of Tourism & Culture, Mrs. Ambika Soni, is the Vice-Chairperson of the National Committee and also heads the Implementation Committee entrusted with the task of implementing the various programmes chalked out for a year and for the whole country. 2550 th Buddha Anniversary programme was inaugurated on 13 May 2006 (Buddha Purnima Day) by yourself and was attended by many important leaders including religious leaders.
A number of events have been planned including an important International Conference at Bodhgaya on the theme of Buddhism and the 21 st Century from February 4 to 6, 2007. The closing ceremony will be held at Kushinagar (the place of the Mahaparinirvana in eastern Uttar Pradesh) on the Buddha Purnima day.
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that The three Sub-Groups of Implementation Committee has set–up and for Conferences and Publications Committee Convener Dr. Bhalachandra Mungekar invited me to attend Bodhgaya International conference on February 4-6, 2007 on this historic occasion I wish to hand over my "Resolution relating to Ambedkarites and Buddhist of the World." Along with Dr.Bhalachandra Mungekar in Conference at Bodhgaya on February 4, 2007.
Mr. Prime Minister, after 60 years of Independence we must give due justice and human face to Buddhist people of India in the land of Buddha and Nation of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who has given us one of the finest Constitution in the world which we all love and respect Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar for his contribution and Chairmanship.
Dr. Ambedkar's role as a prominent constitution maker of India is quite well known. However, his views on religion, particularly his reasons for renouncing Hinduism, the religion of his birth, are not as widely known. Ambedkar who was born in an "untouchable" family carried on a relentless battle against untouchability throughout his adult life. In the last part of his life, he renounced Hinduism and became a Buddhist. What were his reasons for doing so?
A detailed answer to this question can be obtained by studying his the Buddha and His Dhamma, Annihilation of Caste, Philosophy of Hinduism, Riddles in Hinduism etc. Nonetheless, some of his articles, speeches and interviews before and after his conversion to Buddhism throw some light on this question.
Ambedkar's statement in 1935 at Yeola Conference is quite instructive in this regard. Ambedkar believed that the untouchables occupied a "weak and lowly status" only because they were a part of the Hindu society. When attempts to gain equal status and "ordinary rights as human beings" within the Hindu society started failing, Ambedkar thought it was essential to embrace a religion which will give "equal status, equal rights and fair treatment" to untouchables. He clearly said to his supporters "select only that religion in which you will get equal status, equal opportunity and equal treatment."
The Government of India must hand over the management of one of the Holiest Shrines of world the Mahabodhi Temple, amending the Management Act of 1949. Millions of Buddhists across the world are upset as non-Buddhists have the control over the Holiest Shrine of Buddhists. We Buddhist must have control over the management.
We the Buddhist of India wish to make an appeal to all the world's religious and political leaders to demand immediate dissolution of the temple management committee to hand over control of MahaBodhi Temple in the hands of Indian Buddhists.
If the management of Hindu Temples, Churches, Mosques and Gurudwaras are not under the control of other sects, then why not so in the case of the Mahabodhi temple in the hands of Buddhists. Buddhists had been given very little role in managing the affairs of the temple for over five decades. Mahabodhi Temple was given a UNESCO Heritage...
Wisdom and Compassion –The way forward!
May peace prevail in India! May peace prevail on Earth!
Yours in the Mission,
"Resolution Relating to Ambedkar Samaj and Buddhists in World"
1. It has been the long-term desire of the Buddhist religious Minority to be entrusted with the responsibility of the management of the important Buddha Gaya Temple known as "BodhGaya Mahavihara" At present there is a managing Committee consisting of 9 Members, of whom 4 are Buddhists and 4 are Hindus, with the D.M. Gaya as the Chairman (provided that if he/she is not a Hindu, then the ADM.) The Bihar Act 1949 has to be amended to provide for a Managing Committee with Buddhists as Chairman and Secretary and the other Managing Committee Members to be Buddhist.
2. Buddha Poornima (Vesak Day) should be declared as a Public Holiday under the Negotiable Act. Vesak Day (Buddha Poornima) is declared Public Holiday by United Nations three years back.
3. Government of India officially must declared Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar as the "Father of the Constitution" if there is a need to amend the article 18 (1) since Article 18 (1) of the Constitution specifically provides that "no title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State."
4. Every Year on January 26 President of India coming from Rashtrapati Bhavan in Open Car or His Special Horse Chariot must offer a floral tribute to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Statue at Parliament House,( Since Dr. Ambekdar is the Chief Architect of the Nation's Constitution) main entrance. Than President of India take a National salute at Rajpath.
5. Work on the Establishment of an International Buddhist University, in New Delhi should be taken up vigorously and completed early, utilizing the Grants made by the Japanese people and Government of Japan. In December 2006, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, made agreement on the issue in Japan.
6. Special 2550th Mahaparinirvana Buddha Anniversary Celebration Indian postal Stamps four Images of Buddha as Shown Rajgir "Vishwa Shanti-Sutpa"
7. Special Indian Coin and Currency Notes with Buddha Images .World is changing we must change our mindset after 2550 th year of Buddha's Enlightenment since we all call our civilization 5000 years old in the world.
8. Ministry of Culture must print all important books of Buddha's life during the year long Celebration and Indian Buddhist must not be called "Indian Dalit Buddhists."
Presented by: Nishikant Waghmare-Dhammadutta.
Director-Asia & Pacific-Airline Ambassador, United Nations N.G.O.USA.