This April 14, 2020, Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, D-California, introduced a resolution to honor the 129th anniversary of the birth of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, a celebrated leader of India credited with drafting the Indian Constitution and shining a light on the Dalits’ struggle for equality.
Cosponsors of H.Res. 921 include, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, D-NY, and the remaining Indian-American lawmakers in the House of Representatives – Rep. Ami Bera, D-California; Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington; and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois. The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs the same day.
“Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was a pioneer in the movement to make India a free, fair, and just society for everyone in it,” Rep. Khanna is quoted saying in a press release. “He mobilized a generation to push back against discrimination and to instead celebrate equality, human rights, and universal tolerance. Today, we stand at a moment in world history when we could all use more of that compassionate spirit. I’m proud to work with Equality Labs and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) to make this landmark resolution a reality.”
According to the press release, “Rep. Khanna’s resolution acknowledges the profound impact of America’s own discriminatory practices on Ambedkar, specifically pointing to the systematic discrimination of African Americans and women in the United States as influential in his pursuit to guarantee equal rights for every human being in the Indian constitution.”
The resolution also celebrates Ambedkar’s historic labor reforms, codification of gender equality, and the successful inclusion of Article 17 in the Constitution of India, which abolished untouchability and its practice in any form.
Rep. Khanna’s resolution is endorsed by advocacy organizations Equality Labs, a South Asian American human rights start-up, and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).
The full text of the resolution is available here.