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Ambedkar Jayanti: Dalit party-goers make it their day

NEW DRESSES, make-ups, joyful faces and feasting on ice-creams, chaat and other eatables in Hazratganj and Sahara Ganj ? it seemed they all came to partake of a party on the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. For Dalits, if the morning and afternoon was for ?observing? the day, evening turned out to be ?celebrating? the party. The city?s main shopping street and the Mall was teeming with Dalit ?party-goers? in the ganjing hours.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 01:35 IST

NEW DRESSES, make-ups, joyful faces and feasting on ice-creams, chaat and other eatables in Hazratganj and Sahara Ganj — it seemed they all came to partake of a party on the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.

For Dalits, if the morning and afternoon was for ‘observing’ the day, evening turned out to be ‘celebrating’ the party. The city’s main shopping street and the Mall was teeming with Dalit ‘party-goers’ in the ganjing hours.

It was by accident that on asking a group of young Dalit boys about their ‘party mood’ at Sahara Mall’s food court, a boy named Karam shared: “We had a cake-cutting and feasting ceremony at our house at Naka.”

So now cakes too have become part of the celebrations.

The party mood of followers of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar was visible in the Hazratganj in the evening. Incidentally, Hazratganj Shopping Festival added to the festivities of Dalits.

The party in the Hazratganj street turned out to be a new off-shoot of the annual Ambedkar Jayanti procession that the Dalits take out from different parts of the city to converge at Ambedkar statue at Hazratganj. The procession began from Tehri Pullia at 4 pm and as it wended through city roads, more and more groups of Dalits joined in as it proceeded towards Hazratganj. As the procession reached Hazratganj, people began dispersing into the mall and shopping street. There was so much crowd that the Ashok Marg’s lane towards Hazratganj Crossing was closed by the traffic police. Similarly, other roads to the market too were closed. In the procession people danced and sang. They threw confetti in the air.

And it was not a case of rowdy youths engaging in revelry. There were families also.

Galleries of all the floors of the Mall had Dalits savouring the splendor of the place. Food court had tables occupied by the Dalit families. “We came here for the first time. It’s a great place to bring family,” said Sarita Rani.

Then there were many from Maharashtra and Karnataka, who spake about their experience here.

Though the rally was not BSP sponsored, a lot of people had come from other states to celebrate the day.

Before this, many a Dalits had a picnic at Ambedkar Udyan in Gomti Nagar and almost all of them while entering and exiting the park, prostrated or folded hands at the Ambedkar’s statute.

Roaming around and feasting in Hazratganj went on beyond 9.30 pm.

First Published: Apr 15, 2006 01:35 IST