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Buddhadharma : Spring 2011
HWith justice on our side, I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy... For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality. — Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, All-India Depressed Classes Conference, 1942 HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, a modern Buddhist revolution is gaining ground in the homeland of Shakyamuni. It’s being led by Indian Buddhists from the untouchable castes, the poorest of the poor, who go by various names: neo-Buddhists, Dalit Buddhists, Navayanists, Ambedkarites. But like so much in their lives, these names carry a subtle odor of condescension that suggests their kind of Buddhism is something less than the real thing. In the children’s hostels and schools of Nagpur or modest viharas in Mumbai’s Bandra East slums and the impoverished Dapodi neighborhood in Pune, one finds people singing simple (Facing page) Dr. B.R. Ambedkar painted on a wall in Bangalore, India Photos alan senauke 63 spRing 2 01 1 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly