Maharashtra to buy Ambedkar house in London
The Maharashtra government has decided to buy the house in London where B.R. Ambedkar lived in the 1920s, and convert it into a memorial-cum-museum, an official said here Saturday.
Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde, currently in London for a global academic conference, finalised the deal and made the announcement.
According to an official, the deal for the 2050 sq. feet home, which was up for sale for the past few months, is expected to cost around Rs.40 crore.
The residential property, where the architect of the Indian constitution, lived as a student of the London School of Economics in 1921-1922, is situated at 10, King Henry's Road, NW3, London.
"By April, we plan to complete all the formalities and throw it open as a permanent museum-cum-memorial for the public," Tawde said in a statement from London.
"When we heard that the home was up for sale through an estate agent, I spoke with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is in Davos and he immediately gave the green signal," Tawde said.
The minister then met representatives of the Federation of Ambedkarites & Buddhist Organisations (FABO) and other Indian officials to finalise the deal for the historic home.
A meeting was held at India House, the Indian diplomatic mission in the UK, in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Ranjan Mathai, FABO's (Mrs) Santosh Das and other officials and it was decided to buy the property.
He added that the memorial would inform the people about Ambedkar's life, works and contribution to the country's freedom struggle and subsequent public life.
Around six months ago the house, where a plaque on its historic importance is also displayed, had been put up for auction by the owners.
The auction notice had created a furore among various Dalit and Ambedkarite groups around the world who had demanded that the state or central government intervene in the matter as the home had a historical significance for all Indians.
Tawde said all formalities shall be completed over the next couple of months and it will be inaugurated as an Ambedkar Memorial April 14, coinciding with Ambedkar's 124th birth anniversary.
Meanwhile, political parties across the spectrum hailed the state government's move, terming it as the right decision to preserve an important chapter in Indian history.
However, Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar earlier expressed his reservations at the state government's proposal to buy the London property.
"Since we are his legal heirs, the government should first consult us in the matter," the Dalit leader and chief of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, had said when the state government first mooted the proposal to buy the home around five months ago. - IANS