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Dadar ready for annual visitors

Police have deployed extra manpower, made traffic arrangements for Mahaparinirvan Din and Muharram.

mumbai Updated: Dec 06, 2011 01:39 IST
Nikhil M Ghanekar
Nikhil M Ghanekar
Hindustan Times

Madhukar Taksande, 68, was a foot soldier in the Dalit Panthers, a radical Dalit outfit started in 1972, in Mumbai.

A retired forest department officer, Taksande is among the thousands of people who make an annual pilgrimage to Dadar to pay homage at the place where Ambedkar was cremated on December 6, 1956.

For the past 30 years, Taksande has been setting up a bookstall on the footpath at Chaityabhoomi. He owns a bookshop called Nagpur Book Depot and this year he has got books worth Rs4 lakh to sell.

“I started by setting up my stall on the beach front in Dadar. Continuous reclamation of the sea has led to a rise in the water level. Babasaheb’s books are an inspiration to me. I have a personal collection of a lakh books,” said Taksande, who has come with his wife, three sons and daughters-in-law.

According to the civic body help desk at Shivaji Park, a day before Ambedkar’s 55th death anniversary, 1.50 lakh people were already inside the ground by 5pm, and 72,000 people had paid homage at Chaityabhoomi. The fringes of the ground were dotted by medical and police help desks, ambulances and mobile toilets while the centre was occupied by stalls selling books, badges, flags and wrist bands with Ambedkar’s image and music CDs.

“Every year I come to Mumbai on December 6. We are indebted to Babasaheb, can’t we even do this much?” asked Pandurang Bhagat, 61, from Washim.

First Published: Dec 06, 2011 01:36 IST