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Ramesh Tukaram Shinde’s personal library at his Goregaon residence echoes some of the strongest historical sentiments of the bitter sweet, chaotic and steady social and political developments spearheaded by Ambedkar for the masses between the 1930s and 50s. Born in 1933 and as someone who has witnessed Ambedkar's charisma and impact, Shinde has been able to collect over 3000 titles on Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule, Shahu Maharaj and other pioneers of the social justice movement. Today, his collection is a breathing link to history and the leader himself.
Read his full story here:
Ramesh Shinde’s personal library at Goregaon is a treasured wealth of Dr Ambedkar’s writings
Prior to curating his personal library, Shinde had developed a habit of preserving the daily copies of newspapers started and run by Ambedkar such as ‘Janata’, which was founded in 1930 and ‘Prabuddh Bharat’, published in 1956 and is still being published at the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Bhavan in Dadar. As an employee at the Bombay Porters’ Trust, Shinde went to collect rare titles published at selected places in and around the state, mainly in Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar, during his free hours.
From the first editions of ‘Annihilation of Caste’, ‘The Problem of the Rupee’, ‘The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India’, ‘Thoughts on Pakistan’, ‘What Congress and Gandhi have done to the Untouchables’ and original copies of the speeches at the Round Table Conference and the Constituent Assembly, Shinde’s treasure includes Ambedkar’s finest works of authorship on economy, caste, religion and national affairs of India.
Amid heaps of books, one can get their hands on files of Ambedkar’s original hand-written letters and essential seminal papers, thesis and speeches, which document his rigorous works advocating for the fundamental rights of the marginalised communities. There are also old photographs closely capturing some of Ambedkar’s family, social and political moments. Though, away from the mainstream fame, Shinde’s valuable collectibles have proved to be a hidden gem for Indian and foreign researchers, PhD scholars, filmmakers, activists in the anti-caste movement and those who acknowledge Ambedkar’s works and are involved in studying his works.
As Shinde grows old, he is on the lookout to pass on the duty of preserving the legacy to an organisation or individual who can be determined, responsible and empathetic enough to value what they would inherit. Most importantly, he wants the collection to be accessible to the common public in the same manner as it is now. “My collection and hard work is all under Babasaheb’s name and if you are benefiting from it, then supporting you is my work. Everyone should benefit from Ambedkar’s thoughts,” he concludes.
Watch the full story here:
Shelf Life With Mid-day: Mumbai’s Ramesh Shinde’s Library Is A Treasured Wealth Of Ambedkar’s Works