Had a riveting full-day workshop on “Buddhism to Ambedkarism” last Sunday as part of our Summer Workshops. This was an introductory understanding of the history of these movements, as well as the regressive systems that they fought against. Founder Deepa Pawar created the module and conducted the workshop.
Through group reading, study circle, analysis, and presentations of book excerpts & archeological-historical facts, youth learnt about the historical (as against the mythical) life of Buddha, how his personal activism started (banished due to his anti-war stand as against the popular notion that he left home for spiritual searching) as well as the anti-war, anti-discrimination, egalitarian ideology and work of successive Buddhist movements. Youth also learnt about the oppressive systems against which Buddhism fought – how Brahminism established its supremacy through violent means, how and why it created the caste system, its inherent inequality and misogyny, the violent and cunning ways that Buddhist symbols, monuments and histories have been suppressed, appropriated and manipulated. It is important to learn about these regressive and discriminatory systems if we are to oppose them. Youth are eager now to study further.