Rajapaksa lauds Ambedkar's service to Buddhism

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has lauded the contribution of Dr. BR Ambedkar to Buddhism, reports PK Balachandran.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on May 26, 2007 06:18 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | ByPK Balachandran, Colombo

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has lauded the contribution of Dr. BR Ambedkar to Buddhism.

"He had pioneered the renaissance of Buddhism in India and was responsible for millions embracing Buddhism in the land of its birth,"

Rajapaksa said in a message to the two-day International Buddhist Conference which began on Saturday at Mumbai.

The meet is to mark the 50th anniversary of Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism. Rajapaksa said that it was a "joyous" occasion.

According to media reports about 100,000 Dalits are expected to convert to Buddhism during the conference.

"I call upon Buddhists in India, Sri Lanka and worldwide, to promote the teachings of the Buddha, especially metta (loving kindness),karuna (compassion), mudita (rejoicing in other's good fortune) and upeka (equanimity)," Rajapaksa said.

"The Buddha's teachings could contribute to the evolution of a world in which peace and harmony reign."

"Dr. Ambedkar's mission should live long, guiding humanity on the correct path, " Rajapaksa said.

Ambedkar observed Buddhism in Lanka

The Sri Lankan President recalled that Dr.Ambedkar had visited Sri Lanka in 1950 as Indian Law Minister and had participated in the International Buddhist Conference held in Kandy.

"His lectures delivered here then were very popular," Rajapaksa recalled.

Ambedkar actually converted to Buddhism only on October 14, 1956, six years after he came to Sri Lanka to study the practice of Buddhism in the island, the only country in the South Asian region where Buddhism had survived.

His conversion became a reality a good 22 years after he organised a conference of Mahars (Dalits of Maharshtra) to get a stamp of approval
on conversion from Hinduism to other faiths.

During the Kandy conference on May 25, 1950, Ambedkar had said that he wanted to find out to what extent Buddhism was a "living thing" among the people of the island country.

"I am here to find out to what extent there is dynamics in the Buddhist religion as far as the people of this country are concerned," he said.

According to sources, initially, the Sri Lankan government wanted to send a delegation for the Mumbai meet, but they gave it up because such a gesture might become controversial. They were not sure if the Hindutva forces would take the mass conversion from Hinduism with equanimity.

Mayawati's victory welcomed

The astounding and unexpected victory of Mayawati in the recent Uttar Pradesh assembly elections has been welcomed in Sri Lanka.

The Dalit leader had become the favourite subject among the intelligentsia and the middle class.

Mayawati's frontal assault on India's "arrogant and hegemonic ruling class" is hailed here as a healthy development.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  •  A rescuer stands amid rubbles following the destruction of a heating system plant after a Russian missile attack in Kostyantynivka, in Donetsk region.

    'Massive' missile attack from Belarus, Russia ally not involved in war: Ukraine

    Ukraine said it came under "massive bombardment" Saturday from neighbouring Belarus, a Russian ally not officially involved in the conflict, the day after announcing a retreat from the strategic city of Severodonetsk. Belarus has provided logistic support to Moscow since the February 24 invasion, particularly in the first few weeks, and like Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions -- but is officially not involved in the conflict.

  • People march across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest against gun violence. (File image)

    Biden signs first significant US gun control law in decades

    President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law the first significant federal bill on gun safety in decades, saying that while it falls short of what's really needed it will "save lives. While this bill doesn't do everything I want, it does include actions I've long called for that are going to save lives," he said at the White House before leaving for major diplomatic summits in Europe.

  • European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles

    Talks to revive Iran nuclear deal to restart within days

    Iran's talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with the US will restart in the “coming days,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles said. The negotiations “have to be finished, three months have passed,” Borrell said. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian reiterated his call to the Biden administration to take a “realistic and fair” approach to help reach an agreement. The US pulling out of the Iran accord has increased tensions between the countries.

  • A Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. (AP/FILE)

    China scrambles air, ground forces to monitor US recon plane over Taiwan Strait

    China deployed “aerial and ground forces” to monitor an US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft, which flew over the Taiwan Strait on Friday in the backdrop of large scale Chinese armed forces' military drills around the self-ruled island of Taiwan earlier this week. The US Navy's reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Taiwan Strait on Friday in what the US Indo-Pacific Command described as a demonstration of the US's “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

  • Prabhmeet Sarkaria (right) after being appointed to the Ontario Cabinet on Friday, but with an expanded mandate. (Prabhmeet Sarkaria/Twitter))

    2 Indo-Canadians get key portfolios in new Cabinet of Ontario province

    When Ontario's Conservative Party premier Doug Ford was first given the mandate to lead Canada's most populous province, he did not have a single Indo-Canadian minister, though he rectified that omission later. Beginning the second term as premier, Ford appointed two Indo-Canadians to significant portfolios. Sarkaria, who represents the riding (as constituencies are called in Canada) of Brampton South, tweeted, “I'm truly honoured and grateful to be chosen for this important role.”

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, June 25, 2022