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Maharashtra to transfer Ambedkar’s artefacts to his London memorial

Maharashtra had acquired the London house where Dr Ambedkar lived as a student in the 1920s, three years ago.

mumbai Updated: Jan 31, 2019 15:26 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ambedkar Memorial in London,ambedkar memorials in maharashtra,maharashtra govt
The house in London where Dr BR Ambedkar lived as a student has a commemorative plaque marking his years in the UK. (HT Photo )

The Maharashtra government has planned a second section to the Dr BR Ambedkar memorial in London. The state will add a gallery, laser show, digital library alongside an exhibition of artefacts and personal belongings currently housed at three different memorials in Maharashtra.

The government has already appointed an architect to design the plan which is expected to cost the government around Rs 5 crore.

The state had acquired the London bungalow where Dr Ambedkar lived as a student in the 1920s, three years ago. The bungalow was purchased for Rs 33 crore and an additional Rs 5 crore was used to refurbish it before it was opened to the public in May last year.

The ground-plus-two-storey house on King Henry’s Road near London’s Primrose Hill will now witness its second phase of development. “We have appointed a Nagpur-based architect to design the second phase of the memorial which will have digital panels, live sensors and a laser show recreating the life of Dr Ambedkar. We have also planned to shift some of the artefacts and Dr Ambedkar’s personal belongings that are at Symbiosis Society in Pune, Chicholi museum in Nagpur and Rajgruha memorial in Dadar to London. Currently, the house has an exhibition of scanned photographs but lacks insight into Dr Ambedkar’s stay in London,” an official from the social justice department said.

Ambedkar had lived in the house in 1921-22 while pursuing his PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics and a degree in Law at Gray’s Inn.

“We are planning to display 15 artefacts and personal belongings including his typewriter, spectacles, bathtub, books, walking stick, necktie, kurta, and statue of Buddha to the London memorial,” said Dinesh Waghmare, secretary, social justice department.

“We will write to the three memorials in the state for the permission to move the items. A social organisation working in London is also planning to appeal to people to donate Dr Ambedkar’s personal belonging to the museum,” he said.

Currently, the Indian Embassy in London maintains the house though the cost is borne by the state government. “The monthly expenditure of the maintenance of the house is £1,500 [Rs 1,39,691]. Once the museum is completed, the state is planning to hand over responsibility of the maintenance of the building to a no-profit trust,” said Waghmare.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 15:26 IST