Mumbai Celebrates the 60th Mahaparinirvan Divas

Thousands of Dalits throng Chaitya Bhoomi to pay homage to Babasaheb Ambedkar

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December 6 marks the death anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Also known as Mahaparinirvan Divas, lakhs of people march towards Chaitya Bhoomi to pay homage to the Father of the Indian Constitution every year on this day. People across different religions, castes, and cultures pay tribute to him by lighting candles, offering garlands and flowers, and feeding the poor.

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A blind couple sings hymns of praise to Ambedkar as the crowd begins to settle down at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park.

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Dozens of people, including monks, struggle to get their hands on the food provided at Chaitya Bhoomi. Everything, from bananas to chivda and even poha and khichdi was given to people free of cost.

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While many stand in line, a family eats a meal together on the road.

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A vendor takes a short nap in the afternoon while posters of Ambedkar lie on floor, waiting for buyers to take them away.

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People from all over Maharashtra take shelter at Shivaji Park, as they arrived a few days before December 6 and had nowhere to go. The huge pandals provided respite during the hot afternoons.

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Women donning the typical white and blue sari representative of the Dalit community are seen enjoying kulfis at Shivaji Park.

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The crowd eagerly waits to listen to Bhim geet, which are songs about Ambedkar.

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Lakhs of people sit at a crowded and cramped Shivaji Park.

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A Dalit man writes a message on the Facebook Ambedkarite Movement banner.

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While many parts of Mumbai clamour for water, this group of men takes a shower on the footpath using water from a public tap.

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Bhikkhus
, sadhus and babas proudly wearing saffron robes walk together to Chaitya Bhoomi.

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A buyer pays attention to the minute details of a portrait of Gautama Buddha as a seller speaks to him.

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Crowds gather at stalls near Dadar Chowpatty to buy cut-outs of the Dhamma chakra, Ambedkar lockets, key chains and ornaments.

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A shop sells Dalit literary works and books written by Ambedkar.

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A woman dressed in traditional Rajasthani attire sells statues of Gautama Buddha outside Shivaji Park.

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After paying homage to Ambedkar, thousands visit Dadar Chowpatty to take a stroll.

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Many Dalits were attracted to this larger-than-life sand art portrait of Ambedkar that was sculpted on Dadar Chowpatty.

Images and additional reporting by Nawab Hussain Sayed.