Mayawati heralded a new tradition of social change by lighting the pyre of Kanshiram
"While serving and caring for Kanshiram during his long years of ailments, I never realised whether I am a girl. I fulfilled my responsibilities. I lit the funeral pyre of my mentor and heralded a new tradition of social change," she said after performing the seventh day rituals for her late mentor and BSP founder Kanshiram in accordance with Buddhist traditions.
She said that in Buddhism, there was no difference between a boy and a girl in performing rituals and that was why she had lit the pyre.
Mayawati said while Kanshiram's two brothers' were busy doing the rounds of the courts, she relentlessly served his mentor and "did not let him feel that he has no one with him".
However, the former UP Chief Minister dismissed speculation about embracing Buddhism saying she and Kanshiram were of the view that they would embrace Buddhism along with millions of Dalits once there was a BSP government at the Centre and in many states.
"On 14th October, 1956, Babasaheb Bhimam Ambedkar had embraced Buddhism. Kanshiram had visualiased that on 14th October, 2006, when 50th anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar's embracing Buddhism would be celebrated, there would be a BSP government at the centre and in many states.
"Once this is realised we will discuss conversion", she said adding that his dream did not fructify for different reasons including his continued illness for 15 years.
Though Kanshiram did not embrace Buddhism, she said he used to do all his works according to Buddhist rituals. "In his written wish he expressed that his rituals should be performed as per Buddhist traditions", she claimed.
Asked about the reason behind conversion only after power at the Centre, Mayawati said, "Hindu religion got support/boost after Independence as India was predominantly ruled by Hindus, while Buddhism which had a prominent place before Independence, got step motherly treatment and lagged behind".
Asked about forming a government at the centre with the support of other parties, if situation arises, the BSP chief said, "she would see who are these supporters".