MY HERO, MY GOD

With lakhs collected at Shivaji Park and lakhs more spilling in, Rana Chakraborthy and Rishi Majumder visited the pilgrimage spot at night and captured these images well into the Dalit messiah’s death anniversary

Photographs: Rana Chakraborty

at the fair

Hum Chaar Bhagwaan Ek

HUM CHAAR BHAGWAAN EK: Nanda Ram, 35 has made his first Mumbai trip from MP with wife Saraswati and children, Premnath and Deepak. “Other villagers who’d been here informed us!” he gushes. “We’ve been allotted a special 25 rupee train ticket each!”

FIGHT YOUR KHAIRLANJI

FIGHT YOUR KHAIRLANJI: Priyadarshi Karkol (30) (right) has kicked up an engineering job for a cause, a helpline which takes anti-Dalit atrocity to media and the authorities. Across the road in a Barrista, Varun Arora (25), in the shipping line, asks, “Who the hell is Athavale?”

YOU HAVE MY BLESSINGS—NOW PASS IT ON

YOU HAVE MY BLESSINGS—NOW PASS IT ON: While the most crowded area around Shivaji Park was Chaityabhoomi, perhaps the relative space around this statue allowed this mother the opportunity to pass on some legacy to her child

AN EQUAL MUSIC

AN EQUAL MUSIC: Protest has been a vital part of Dalit literature and music, granting it uniqueness. Past midnight, Dalit singers drum up their cries at recent injustices to a crescendo, folk styles incorporated with contemporary lyrics

“TO A HUNGRY MAN, FOOD IS GOD”

“TO A HUNGRY MAN, FOOD IS GOD”: Gandhi’s saying holds true even at his old rival and colleague’s death anniversary, as amongst all the excitement, the maximum clamour is for food being doled out in a gigantic charitable gesture.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PILGRIMAGE

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PILGRIMAGE: “I am here to understand Dr Ambedkar better,” says Tibetan monk Karma Lodoa. “There are contradictions in his teachings—like the removal of the rebirth concept, which is essential in Mahayana Budhism.”

HOLY ENTERPRISE

HOLY ENTERPRISE: Many Maharashtrians earn their living during this pilgrimage. They sell posters, lockets and music CDs venerating Ambedkar. “My husband and I have sold 100 posters and 500 postcards already,” exclaims Yanubai, this man’s wife.

This article originally appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/fxsm

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