Woman who hosted Ambedkar in Aurwad in 1927 passes away

Jagan Bi Patel

Jagan Bi Patel  

Jagan Bi Patel, a home-maker who played host to B.R. Ambedkar in 1927, died in Karoshi village in Belagavi district on Tuesday. She was a little over 108. She died of natural causes, her family said.

Jagan Bi, also called Munni Bai, served food to Ambedkar in her native village of Aurwad in Kolhapur district in Maharashtra. As a 15-year-old girl, she served tea and lunch to the national leader and eminent lawyer when he stayed in her parent’s house for a week, as he was fighting a civil case for her father. Ambedkar represented Mohammad Patel, Jagan Bi’s father, in a property dispute.

Jagan Bi settled down in Karoshi after her marriage to a farmer in 1930. She used to relate stories of Baba Saheb’s visit to her paternal house and how he saved her father’s land by winning cases in Chikkodi and Mumbai in the 1920s. She spoke of how her father and Ambedkar would at times walk to the court in Chikkodi. Her favourite episode was an unrelated incident where Ambedkar rode a horse to Nippani.

She became some a sort of celebrity in Chikkodi after Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kanshi Ram met her during a visit to Belagavi district in 1995.

“She told Kanshi Ram that Ambedkar fondly called her Munni,” Bahujan Samaj Party leader from Chikkodi, Rajeev Kamble, who was present during that meeting, recalled.

Her husband died 30 years ago and she lived in Karoshi where her sons tilled land and sold farm produce for a living. She spent her last years reciting and reading the Quran among women’s groups.

She spoke Marathi and Urdu and entertained the village children by telling them stories.

The final rites were conducted in the village on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 5:05:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/woman-who-hosted-ambedkar-in-aurwad-in-1927-passes-away/article31744624.ece

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