NH Exclusive: Prakash Ambedkar to challenge Yogi in court on BR Ambedkar name issue

The grandson of BR Ambedkar said Yogi Govt’s move to introduce ‘Ramji’ in BR Ambedkar’s name in official records in UP would be challenged in court, and accused BJP of “Hinduising Babasaheb’s legacy”

Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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“It is not a coincidence that at the time when the issue of Ram Mandir has resurfaced, the Yogi Adityanath government has issued an order to add 'Ramji' to Babasaheb 's name. The BJP government is trying to Hinduise Babasaheb's legacy,” Prakash Ambedkar told National Herald on Friday.

Prakash Ambedkar, leader of Maharashtra regional party Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh party and grandson of Father of the Indian Constitution and Dalit icon Bharat Ratna Bhimrao Ambedkar, was slamming the Yogi Adityanath Government’s move to introduce 'Ramji' in BR Ambedkar’s in all Uttar Pradesh official correspondence and records as a politically motivated move.

“Babasaheb never used ‘Ramji’ in his name or when affixing his signature, except when he was drafting the Constitution. Only in the Constituent Assembly did he sign his name as Bhimrao ‘Ramji’ Ambedkar. Ramji, which is also used officially in Maharashtra, was the name of his father. I will challenge the Yogi government in the court.

“Babasaheb and his family were Kabir Panthis (followers of Kabir). BJP should remember that Babasaheb famously said “Though, I was born a Hindu, I solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu,” added a furious Ambedkar.

Uttar Pradesh Opposition slams Yogi Government decision

The Yogi Adityanath government had on March 28 controversially decided to introduce 'Ramji' as the middle name of BR Ambedkar in all official correspondence and records. A government order to this effect was issued by Principal Secretary (Admin) Jitendra Kumar. The campaign for this change was initiated by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik in December 2017, citing the manner in which Ambedkar signed on the pages of the Constitution.

Udit Raj, a Dalit BJP MP, who had first criticised the Yogi government's decision, has changed his tune with in 24 hours. Speaking to National Herald on Friday, he underplayed the issue, saying "it is over" now. However, he conceded that the move is is an infringement on an individual's identity. Without referring to Ambedkar, he said, ''Jo jis nam se jana jata hai use rehne dena chahiye (the name by which is a person is known, should remain unchanged)."


Prakash Ambedkar: “It is not a coincidence that at the time when the issue of Ram Mandir has resurfaced, the Yogi Adityanath government has issued an order to add ‘Ramji’ to Babasaheb ‘s name. The BJP government is trying to Hinduise Babasaheb’s legacy. Babasaheb and his family were Kabir Panthis. BJP should remember that Babasaheb famously said “Though, I was born a Hindu, I solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu””

Prakash Ambedkar made short shrift of such comments, saying “SC/ST leaders who joined the NDA government are not the real representatives of the downtrodden community. Babasaheb had used the word ‘slave’ for these kind of leaders.”

The order has raised opposition hackles. Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati has said “This step is just for raking fake and cheap kind of popularity, while on the contrary Baba Saheb's followers are being inflicted with atrocities.” She asked “Does the prime minister write his name as Narendra ‘Damodardas’ Modi?”

Samajwadi Party leader Anurag Bhadoria said "The BJP government is playing politics with the name of the Dalit icon," and charged the state government with politicising Ambedkar's name for attracting Dalit vote bank.


With agency inputs.

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Published: 30 Mar 2018, 12:03 PM