Visit By Dr. B. L. Mungekar
LEHMAN LIBRARY, Friday, December 1, 2000 Dr. Bhalachandra L. Mungekar, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mumbai (India) visited Lehman Library today to view the bust of Columbia alumnus Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Ambedkar (1891-1956), renowned freedom fighter for the untouchables of India and father of the Indian constitution.
Dr. Mungekar was visiting Columbia to meet with President Rupp and with members of Columbia's Southern Asian Institute, including Professors Gauri Viswanathan (Director), Phil Oldenburg (Associate Director), Jack Hawley and Dr. David Magier (Columbia Libraries' Director of Area Studies and South Asia Librarian). In addition to being a scholar of development economics and serving in India's Ministry of Agriculture, Vice-Chancellor Mungekar has been very active in the Ambedkarite movement to end the economic and cultural oppression of the untouchables.
The bronze bust of Dr. Ambedkar was donated to Columbia in 1995 by the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organizations, UK, and ever since its permanent installation in the main lobby of Lehman Library, has attracted numerous visitors from around the world, who revere Ambedkar as a moral and religious leader and an examplar of political action on behalf of the powerless in India. (See also the news article in the Columbia Record.)