In a First, 'Jai Bhim' Resounds in Canadian Parliament, Push for Nobel Prize Recognition for Baba Saheb Ambedkar

Dr. Ambedkar Equality Day and Jayanti celebration, hosted by MPs Don Davies and Randeep Sarai, saw over 200 delegates gathering at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The event included educational sessions, acknowledgments of Dr. Ambedkar's achievements, and calls for caste recognition in Canada.
In a First, 'Jai Bhim' Resounds in Canadian Parliament, Push for Nobel Prize Recognition for Baba Saheb Ambedkar

Ottawa- The Dr. Ambedkar Equality Day and Jayanti Celebration held on May 6 and 7 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa left over two hundred delegates from Canada and the United States filled with pride and gratitude.

Hosted by MP Don Davies and MP Randeep Sarai, the event marked the first-time visit to Canada's Parliament for many delegates, who engaged in educational sessions and celebrated the accomplishments of Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar.

On the opening day of celebrations, MP Sarai acknowledged the event and all delegates in his statement in the House of Commons and set the stage for the educational session and the celebration on Parliament Hill. Sarai delivered a one-minute statement on Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions.

A day after the event, on May 7, MP Davies read his statement in the House of Commons and described Dr. Ambedkar as a towering personality. Davies concluded his statement with the salutation, “Jai Bheem,” a historic moment as it was the first time the salutation was heard in the parliament outside of India!

The event, planned and organized by the Chetna Association of Canada and AICS Canada (Ambedkarite International Coordination Society), was inaugurated by Venerable Bhante Saranpala, an Urban Buddhist Monk. Bhante Saranpala, along with four of his colleagues, recited Buddhist prayers. Land acknowledgment and gratitude were expressed on behalf of the organizers by Jasmine Balley.

The event included greetings by dignitaries and community leaders; a presentation on the caste movement across Canada by Professor Jangam of Carleton University; the host Members of Parliament MP Davies and MP Sarai; former member of parliament Frank Baylis: MP Chandra Arya (Nepean): MP Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey Newton), and MP Param Bains (Steveston- Richmond East). Manoj Bhangu, and Bill Basra were presented with recognition awards for their services.

Manjit Bains, co-chair for the event representing Chetna Association of Canada described the purpose for hosting the event while Anand Balley described the history and contributions of AICS Canada.

“We are pleased to see the action planning was a key component of the celebration”, says Bains. “We applaud MP Davies and MP Sarai for their tremendous support in hosting the celebration and sharing their interest in working across the party lines to consider adding caste as a stand-alone category”, says Jai Birdi, executive director of Chetna Association of Canada and a director for steering the planning of the celebration.

Surjit Bains, a treasurer for the event, along with a prominent researcher Dr. Smita Pakhale, welcomed the delegates to the celebration.

Harjit Sohpaul (president of Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha, Vancouver), Ratan Jakhu (President, Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha Montreal), Kuldeep Kailey (General Secretary, Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha Ontario), Makhan Tut/Deo (Mamta Foundation Canada), Roop Lal Gaddu (ex-president, AISRO), Rashpaul Bhardwaj (president, AISRO), Prof. Arun Gautam (AIM Canada, Toronto), Gopal Lohia (of Shri 108 Sant Sarwan Dass Charitable Trust Western Canada and Punjabi Mela) represented their organizations and shared their greetings for the occasion.

Rajesh Angral, who contested in the Alberta Provincial Elections for the NDP, was also present and took notes of the proceedings. Dr. Paramjit Chumber and Dr. Harjinder Kumar of USA shared their poems.

Santokh Jassi, a journalist based in Montreal, explained the prominence of Baba Sahib Dr. Ambedkar and why he should be nominated for the Nobel prize.

Ratan Jakhu also included this sentiment in his message. High Commissioner of India, His Excellency Shri Sanjay Kumar Verma, was expected to be present and grace the occasion.

“However, I started receiving calls from some of the dignitaries in this room that they will not be able to attend the event if the High Commissioner is present. I spoke to His Excellency Sanjay Kumar Verma in this regard. Considering the significance of this event, His Excellency agreed not to join us. However, he sends his best wishes for the success of the occasion and pays his tribute to the father of Indian Constitution Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar”, announced Birdi.

As the High Commissioner Verma was not present, the organizers presented the recognition award to his delegate for his 'outstanding leadership' on the following day," continued Birdi.

Several other dignitaries, including an MP of Bloc Quebecoise, participated and networked with the participants and organizers.

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