Context: B.J.P. Government has allocated Rs. 197 crore for building a B.R. Ambedkar International Centre, at 15 Janpath, New Delhi, and Rs. 99 crore for his memorial. News reports indicate that Union Cabinet has approved the Project.
Occasion: 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. A tableau of Dr. Ambedkar is also planned to be presented during the Republic Day Parade on 26.1.2015. GoI also plans to sponsor 100 students to University of Columbia and London School of Economic, where Dr. Ambedkar studied.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi, Vice President, Congress is said to be visiting Mhow, birth place of Dr. Ambedkar, to kick of his party's nation-wide celebrations.
I can't say whether it is good or bad for BJP and Congress to compete with one another to pay homage to Dr. Ambedkar.
Both the parties have also started throwing rubbish against one another. Example, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot is reported to have said:
'...Rahul Gandhi and his party never honoured Ambedkar. Neither he neither got Bharat Ratna nor was his oil painting installed in Parliament premises as long Congress was in power. If today somebody is going there (Mhow), I want to ask why did he not do it for so many years? ...'
ybrao-a-donkey's humble perceptions वैबीराव गधे के विनम्र अनुशीलनाएँ और भावनाएँ వైబీరావు గాడిద వినమ్ర అభిప్రాయాలు
Spending Rs. 1.97 billion on an International Centre, Rs. 1 billion on Memorial apparently do not benefit people much. It may be true that GoI has already spent hundreds of billions on memorials of Nehru dynasty. That was a blunder. Two mistakes do not make a "right thing".
At some point or other we may have to stop spending billions on memorials. Else, in future we may have to spend thousands of crores on Vajpayee Memorial, Sonia Gandhi Memorial, Narendra Modi Memorial, Mulayam Singh Yadav Memorial, Lalu Prasad Yadav Memorial, Jayalalithaa Memorial ... ... (endless list).
We have to find out ways and means of combining commemoration and practical benefits to people. We can't say by raising memorial buildings, tourism industry can be developed. Cost-benefit-analysis-wise, that may be good for Colonial Empires of Europe and North America, but not for a resource-starved Nation like India.
Question प्रश्न ప్రశ్న: Can you suggest something?
Answer जवाब జవాబు: This is one way. I do not want to impose on my readers. We can name Itarsi Station as Ambedkar Junction.
GoI can establish an Ambedkar Memorial Trust, controlled by Govt., and release the allocated Rs 3 billion. This trust can purchase some rail engines and sufficient number of rail bogies to run 2 pairs of Ambedkar Memorial Express Trains.
1. From Por Bandar to Gauhati-Itanagar (East to West, via Ambedkar Junction.)
2. From Srinagar to Kanyakumari (North to South, via Ambedkar Junction.)
In typical Indian style, an Arti can be performed to Dr. Ambedkar, at Ambedkar Junction Station, when these trains stop at Ambedkar Junction for about 20/30 minutes. One or two quotes of Dr. Ambedkar can be announced on PAS for benefit of passengers.
The profits made from the two pairs of Ambedkar Express trains can be shared at agreed rates between Indian Railways and Ambedkar Trust. Separate higher fares can be fixed for these two special trains, so that Ambedkar Trust does not incur loss.
Everybody knows that Railways are unable to introduce new trains owing to paucity of funds. India today is 1.25 billions. India is shortly going to become No. 1 in population in the world, a dubious distinction.
There are hundreds of railway stations in India, which are craving for new trains. Memorial funds can be used to promote new trains. Railways will get new partners and new investments.