Jai Bhim Network

Hungarian Gypsies by Kavyasiddhi

2009.04.28. Categorized: Uncategorized   

Montgomery CastleI had tried to put too much into the day; like an overfilled suitcase that won’t close, bits of my life were bursting out of the seams, trailing behind me in the street. I had the slightly unfocussed look of someone who is almost on top of things. Delayed leaving work, I was late getting to the BBC and late arriving at the Buddhist Centre. As I drove in, I reflected that this was not the best night to welcome four visitors to the continuation Buddhism class – especially when one of them was Subhuti, the man who has arguably done more to shape the FWBO than any other individual. I found them in Earth:

- Subhuti, would you like to lead anything?
- I’d like not to lead anything

(Damn, I was going to have to lead the meditation. Why had I let Hasavajra have his turn last week?)

Subhuti was in Manchester with two mitras from Hungary, Janesh and Tibor, who work with the marginalised gypsy community. To address issues of exclusion, they founded the Ambedkar High School, named after Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.

Montgomery CastleAs an untouchable, whose very shadow could pollute a high born Indian, Bhimrao Ambedkar wasn’t expected to read and write, let alone design the world’s largest democracy. He got his education by sitting outside the schoolroom & finished his studies abroad. He overcame huge discrimination to become not just a lawyer but India’s first law minister and author of the country’s constitution; a constitution still operating today in India’s month long general election. But he knew that real change happens not just in laws but in the mind of individuals, so he looked for a faith which showed that everyone could change; rich or poor, woman or man. After studying Communism & Islam, he converted to Buddhism in October 1956, to follow the path of ethics, meditation and wisdom set out by Shakyamuni who, through his own efforts, became Buddha or ‘Awake’:

The greatest thing that the Buddha has done, he said, is to tell the world that it can not be reformed except by the reformation of the mind of man, and the mind of the world.

Subhuti's retreating farmhouse in WalesTibor brought out the parallels with the gypsies of Hungary, mentioning that the same month as the ‘Dharma Revolution’ of the mass conversions in Northern India, there was a revolution in Hungary against the Stalinist government.

For four years Subhuti has visited these men and strengthened their connection with the dharma, as well as with the FWBO in India where he works. Many of the Trailokya Bauddha MahaSangha Sahayaka Gana (TBMSG) are the children and grandchildren of the half million dalits who converted with Dr Ambedkar.

In the shrine room, after the metta bhavana, we saw metta in action; compassion reaching out to help people help themselves.

Subhuti's retreating farmhouse in WalesAs Tibor and Janosh showed us pictures of the people they teach, women learning to read after raising a family, kids breakdancing in a disused cinema, my day became simpler. The rushing was over: here was the link with the talks I had recorded at the BBC, here was the most important thing in the day – people who put the Buddha’s teachings into practice coming together to share what they do.

For further information about the Hungarian project visit www.jaibhim.hu

For information on Dr Ambedkar, try ‘Jai Bhim!’ by Nagabodhi, pub Windhorse

Kavyasiddhi’s Pause for Thoughts are on the Janice Long show, Radio 2; April 26 - May 1st

Source: Manchester Mitras

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1720 (You will need this technical-number if you would like to offer one percentage of your tax to Our Inspiration.)----

Our Inspiration 1st Part

Our Inspiration (1st Part)
Jai Bhim is a cheerful greeting. Ten million Indians greet each other in this manner. They're the Dalits who are a proud community. They inherited an extremely difficult life. Their parents and grandparents and untold generations before them were outcasts in society. Even today they still encounter prejudice and experience helplessness.
For more than a millenium their ancestors lived as outcasts. People had a horror of touching them. Others even avoided being in their proximity as their shadow was considered polluting. If they went to school they were seated separately, If they were able to obtain work they did the dirtiest and lowest paid jobs.

Our Inspiration 2nd Part

Our Inspiration (2nd Part)
With their greeting of Jai Bhim they remind each other of their own successful revolution in 1956 for their human rights. Their cause is sacred. It inspires us here in Hungary, as we also face segregation and prejudice today. We would like to know discrimination is a thing of the past.
The dalit's story is like a fairy tale.

Our Inspiration 3rd Part

Our Inspiration (3rd Part)
Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a seventeen year old untouchable boy in a big family, His name was Bhim. He was the youngest child among 14 siblings. He surpassed all of them because of his brilliant mind. A wealthy maharaj acknowledged his poverty and bestowed a scholarship on him. Bhim was aware that Indian schools were being discriminatory and practiced segregation. Therefore, he tried his fortune in London and New York where he achieved university degrees. He received the title Dr. Ambedkar when he returned home to serve his people as a barrister.

Our Inspiration 4th Part

Our Inspiration (4th Part)
Nevertheless, he was considered as an untouchable in accordance with the holy books of the Hindu religion. Therefore, he convened with his friends and publicly burned Manu's Laws, the Hindu holy script which bids the Hindu to hold the Untouchable in disdain. He became a human right fighter and his authority was constantly growing throughout the whole country. When India gained independence in 1947 he was nominated as law minister. He was entrusted with drafting the Constitution for the country. He wrote in it that discrimination is forbidden.

Our Inspiration 5th Part

Our Inspiration (5th Part)
In his old age the Dalit people addressed him with veneration as Dr. Babasaheb. He and his laws, however respected they were, he still stared frustratedly at the discrimination existing all over the country. He decided then to show the people a spiritual alternative. As our judgment is determined by our faith, he took an oath: "I was born a Hindu Untouchable. It was beyond my power to prevent that but I declare that it is within my power to refuse to live under ignoble and humiliating conditions. I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu". He abjured hindu religion that had brought so much suffering and humiliation to the Untouchable people (today's Dalits).

Our Inspiration 6th Part

Our Inspiration (6th Part)
He studied thoroughly all the faiths of the world. He was seeking a religion which fitted together with reason, with modern science, and which declared liberty, fraternity and equality amongst people. He decided to follow the path of the Indian prince who lived 2500 years ago: he would be a follower of the Buddha. This was a decision of profound importance for the Dalits because the Buddha is venerated thoughout the world, and India is entitled to take pride in her great son. Dr. Ambedkar showed his astuteness: all of us can choose the way to be respected, we can change our fate for the better. Hundreds of thousands followed Ambedkar to the magnificent ceremony in Nagpur in October 1956. This was the rebirth of Buddhism in India. Babasaheb died six weeks later.

Our Inspiration 7th Part

Our Inspiration (7th Part)
Those who at that time embraced a new world view with him, they are today grandfathers and grandmothers. Their grandchildren are as numerous as the whole population of Hungary. They follow Ambedkar's example: they face even the biggest difficulties in all things - to study and to exercise their human rights.

All of the Parts in One

Our Inspiration

  • Chandrakirti: I like ur views on Bhim Jayanti... And i jst can say "Jai Bhim".....
  • Sunil Sagar: Jai Bhim Janos it's great seeing Dr. Ambedkar's follower in Hungary. The Emancipator, The god of Small. What Millions of god and goddess of Hindu's c
  • Ashwin Jangam: Struggle for liberation of Mulnivasis When freedom struggle of our country was going on, we were dual slaves. The Arya Brahmin
  • Ashwin Jangam: Jaibhim Abhinav Thank you Abhinav for putting up a superb photos of our ancestors to know our peop

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