(Renowned Buddhist scholar and Ambedkarite thinker D. C. Ahir passed away on 12th July, 2012)
D. C. Ahir was one of the few Punjabi Ambedkarites who had the honour of sitting in the company of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at his residence in Delhi. That was the time when a large number of educated young men from Doaba Punjab made a bee line to Delhi for the purpose of seeking government jobs over there and to offer themselves for the mission of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar. Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar was a Messiah for them. Following the clarion call of his beloved Master (Babasaheb), D.C. Ahir embraced Buddhism and opted for not to take any advantage from the system of caste reservation while keeping himself outside the Hindu fold. He earned all promotions in his job without counting on the policy of reservation. He especially emphasised on this point in one of my conversations with him at the residence of Mr. K. C. Sulekh at Chandigarh.
Mr. D. C. Ahir earned a big name in the scholarship of Buddhism the world over. He was a prolific writer who wrote intensively on Buddhism and also the contribution of Babasaheb Ambedkar towards the spread of the teaching of Buddha in India and abroad. He was also instrumental in establishing Buddh Viharas in Delhi and Punjab. In his own village, Batthan Kallan, Ahir Saheb also founded a Buddh Vihara. He remained active in sincerely spreading the mission of Babasaheb for the annihilation of caste in India. Even before his shifting to Delhi, he was also associated with the Punjab chapter of Scheduled Castes Federation and its mouth organ Ujjala. The founder Editor of Ujjala, Mr. K. C. Sulekh, shared with me that Ahir Saheb used to write missionery poems for the Ujjala. Till his last breath Shri D. C. Ahir remained a valuable source to scholars, researchers and students who work on Buddhism and the philosophy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. He used to help them very liberaly in sharing the rare material as well as the brilliant ideas he had. I am one of many such beneficiaries of his rich and liberal intellectual grace.
In his demise the mission has lost yet another great follower of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and an accomplished scholar of Buddhism. I share the grief with the family and friends of Respected Ahir Saheb.
ICCR Chair Professor of Contemporary India Studies,
Leiden Institute for Area Studies &
International Institute for Asian Studies,