Kochi: This week marks the 70th anniversary of the visit of the father of India’s Constitution, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, to Kerala.
Ambedkar had visited Kerala from June 8-11 in 1950, just a few months after the Indian Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950.
He had come to Kerala to hold discussions with Hindu leaders in the Travancore-Kochi (also known as Thiru-Kochi) region on the Hindu Code Bill that was proposed to be introduced in the Parliament.
Ambedkar arrived in Thiruvananthapuram by the Thiruvananthapuram Express about 9pm on June 8. He travelled in a special compartment from Dhanushkodi in what was then known as the Madras state.
He was welcomed at the Thiruvananthapuram railway station by the then Thiru-Kochi Chief Minister Narayana Pillai and other dignitaries.
He then addressed a public meeting at the Assembly Hall, and spoke about the salient features of the Constitution.
Not on dignitary visit list
However, a recently-released official account of the visits of prominent personalities to Thiruvananthapuram did not include Ambedkar’s visit, writer and historian Cherai Ramadas pointed out.
There was no mention of the visit when Ambedkar’s statue was installed in front of the Assembly nor during his birth centenary year. No one remembered the historic visit even during the golden jubilee celebrations of the Assembly Secretariat, he said.
The government archives have over 200 pages that talk about Ambedkar’s visit, he said.
The then Backward Classes Development Commissioner had urged Ambedkar to visit Kerala’s first Dalit colony at Kurichy, Sachivothamapuram, in Kottayam, but he could not, Ramadas said.