This article explores individual and collective pilgrimages to the Mumbai-based cremation ground (samādhi)
of Bhimrao Ramji (Babasaheb) Ambedkar (1891–1956), a renowned economist and lawyer, academician and philosopher, political leader and social reformer who dedicated his life to the struggle for rights of the untouchables (Dalits) in India. In October 1956, Dr. Ambedkar together with almost half a million of low-caste followers converted to Buddhism. After Babasaheb’s death on 6 December, 1956, his cremation ground became an object of worship for Buddhists and adherents of other religions. In December 1971, on the eve of the 15th year of his demise, the Chaityabhoomi
memorial was inaugurated there. A dramatic increase in the number of pilgrims coming from all across India to Dr. Ambedkar’s samādhi
as well as to other places associated with him has become instrumental in building up Dalits’ sites of memory/lieux de mémoire
in contemporary India. The growing interest to Chaityabhoomi
has also acquired a political dimension in contemporary India.
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