Author Topic: Gujarat: 500 Dalits embrace Buddhism on Vijayadashami  (Read 7471 times)


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Gujarat: 500 Dalits embrace Buddhism on Vijayadashami
« on: October 13, 2019, 07:17:56 AM »
Dr Ambedkar was born a Hindu of a very low caste. His childhood life was not easy as he was judged by his caste not his capability in India. He had suffered a lot and he didn't want other Dalits to go through what he had gone through. After years of studying Buddhism, he converted to Buddhism and encouraged other Dalits to the do the same. Buddhism is a religion that promotes equality, non-violence and non-discrimination, this gives Dalits the same rights to everything. Dr Ambedkar worker very hard to spread Buddhism to the Dalits and it has helped his community to grow and change their lives.

Gujarat: 500 Dalits embrace Buddhism on Vijayadashami
It was on a Vijayadashami day on October 14, 1956 that Dr B R Ambedkar famously embraced Buddhism along with lakhs of his supporters in Maharashtra.

Around 500 Dalits from various parts of Gujarat embraced Buddhism on Tuesday in three separate programmes held in Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Idar of Sabarkantha district on the occasion of Vijayadashami.

The first such function was held at Swastik Bungalows in Rakhiyal area of East Ahmedabad by the Gujarat Buddhist Academy. GBA Secretary Ramesh Banker said 148 Dalits gave up Hinduism and embraced Buddhism at the function.

One of the 148 persons is Vandana Parmar from Amraiwadi area who is pursuing her masters in science. Vandana converted to Buddhism along with her parents and a brother. “We have been influenced by Buddhism and the ideology of Dr Ambedkar in the recent past. Buddhism and the Ambedkar ideology of equality and scientific temperament make sense to me and my family. And therefore, we have taken the ‘diksha’ today,” Vandana said.

“Our entire family used to be a staunch Hindu religious family. My father used to observe fast on Navratri. But, now we have stopped worshipping gods and goddesses. And my father does not observe fast. We will not celebrate Diwali too,” she added. “We have adopted this new lifestyle because it makes sense to us. But, we are not opposing anybody who is following the Hindu faith.”

The reason for her to embrace Buddhism was discrimination towards the Dalit community in Hinduism, she said.

Vijay Vaghela is another Dalit from Navrangpura area of Ahmedabad who converted to Buddhism. Giving reasons for his decision to adopt Buddhism, Vaghela, who is an insurance agent by profession, said, “The fundamental principle of Buddhism is equality. And that has drawn me towards Buddhism while giving up Hinduism.” “There is no religion in the world (except Hinduism) which has Varna Vyavastha (caste-based hierarchy). People make statements of Hindu unity, but that is only during elections. After elections, the discrimination towards Dalits continues,” Vaghela said.

In another such function held at Chitrodapura Vasahat in Mehsana, around 310 Dalits from various parts of the state like Palanpur, Patan, Mehsana and Gandhinagar converted to Buddhism. The function was organised by practising Buddhists – Bodhiraj Vishwas and P M Parmar.

Speaking with The Indian Express, Vishwas said, “These people have embraced Buddhism under the influence of Dr Ambedkar and as part of a social and cultural revolution.”

The day of Vijayadashami holds a special significance in Buddhism in India. It was on a Vijayadashami day on October 14, 1956 that Dr B R Ambedkar famously embraced Buddhism along with lakhs of his supporters in Maharashtra.

The third conversion programme was held in Idar by Buddhh Saheb Dhamma Sangh, a Buddhist organisation.

Convener of the programme Hardik Chauhan said that 105 people – mainly Dalits – from Sabarkantha, Aravalli, Mehsana and Gandhinagar converted to Buddhism at the programme. “These people embraced Buddhism to get equality and to get rid of oppressive customs of Hinduism.”


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Re: Gujarat: 500 Dalits embrace Buddhism on Vijayadashami
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2019, 07:19:24 AM »
I read about Dr Ambedkar before, he was a great man who fought for equal right for his Dalit community. He was very intelligent and bright but because of the caste he was in, many opportunities were taken away from him. This is very unfair when people are judged by their label not by merits.

Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism because Buddhism is a religion when every sentient beings are equal, there is no difference. Everyone has the same opportunity to gain enlightenment, regardless of their social status or background. Since the Hindu caste system cannot be abolished, it will be better to embrace Buddhism.

I rejoice for the Dalits who want to make a difference in their lives and made the decision to convert to Buddhism.