Canadian province proclaims Dalit History Month

Chandigarh– In a historic move, the New Democratic Party (NDP) government of the Canadian province of British Columbia has recognized April as Dalit History Month.

Responding to a request by Radical Desi, an online magazine that covers alternative politics, the province’s attorney general and lieutenant governor signed the proclamation declaring April 2022 Dalit History Month.

Since April is the birthday month of a towering Dalit leader and world renowned scholar, Dr. BR Ambedkar, it has special significance for Dalits all over the world.

Additionally, the month of April is significant because of the birth and death anniversaries of other Dalit icons, such as Jyotirao Phule, Mangu Ram Mugowalia and Sant Ram Udasi.

Ambedkar and Phule were born in Maharashtra.

Ambedkar, who was the architect of the Indian constitution and fought against caste-based discrimination against his community, was born in Maharashtra on April 14, 1891.

He also championed women’s rights and challenged Hindu supremacy.

Phule, who was a highly respected social reformer who spoke out against untouchability, was born on April 11, 1827. He was known as an educator, who believed in scientific thinking and the empowerment of women.

Mugowalia and Udasi, on the other hand, are from Punjab. Mugowalia, who had participated in armed resistance against the British occupation of India, was instrumental in the emancipation movement of Dalits in Punjab. He died on April 22, 1980.

Udasi was a revolutionary poet, born on April 20, 1939. He was influenced by the communist revolution and later became an inspiration to the poor working class and those resisting repression.

The BC proclamation not only recognizes these people, but also acknowledges “the strength and resilience of the Dalit community to overcome hardship and champion social justice and equality for all.”

Decreed in the name of Queen Elizabeth II, the proclamation noted that British Columbia is “a culturally diverse province comprising many peoples and communities.”

“Indigenous peoples, black people and people of color in British Columbia continue to experience systemic racism, injustice, discrimination and hatred and the government of British Columbia is committed to fighting all forms of racism.”

Last year, the province marked the 130th anniversary of Ambedkar’s birth on April 14 as “Equality Day”. (IANS)