TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT
SAHIB KANSHI RAM JI
March15th, 1934 - October
Editor-in- Chief www.ambedkartimes.com
Kanshi Ram Ji was born on March 15, 1934, in Khawas Pur village
of Ropar District of Punjab. He belonged to the Ramdassia community
(Ad Dharmi) of the Scheduled Caste group, which is the largest
group in Punjab. He was named Kanshi because after his birth
the midwife placed him in a tray made of kansa metal. His father
owned some land and his uncles were in the armed forces. In
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram's own words, "I was born and brought up
amongst those who sacrificed themselves but never betrayed the
country...” Despite his low caste background, he
earned a bachelor’s degree in science from the Government
College at Ropar ( Punjab). Soon after, he joined the research
staff of Kirki’s Explosive Research and Development Laboratory
(ERDL) in Pune 1957. While working in Pune, he quit his job
after becoming involved in the famous Deena Bhan case. Deena
Bhan, a Rajasthani Scheduled Caste employee and senior colleague
of Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram was suspended. His fault was that he protested
against the decision of ERDL management for the cancellation
of holidays for Dr. Ambedkar and Lord Buddha Jayantis and their replacement
by the Tilak Jayanti and one additional holiday for Diwali.
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram decided to fight against such a caste ridden
and dictatorial behaviour of the management. The fighter in
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram got the suspension orders of Deena Bhan revoked and
Dr. Ambedkar and Lord Buddha Jayantis holidays were restored.
This was the beginning of the long battle for the emancipation
of the Dalits in the country that Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram had to lead
till his last breath. He resigned from his job and totally dedicated
his entire life for the cause of the community. He never married
nor visited his home since then. His struggle was not for the
home and family. He devised a new strategy to regain the lost
glory of the original (Adi) inhabitants of Bharat. He gave utmost
importance to the culture of work and democratic method of struggle.
He also expanded the circle of the Dalits by incorporating other
Backward Classes and Minorities into it.
criticised the post-Ambedkar leadership of Dalits in India.
For that he declared Poona Pact as the main reason. He said
that “Poona Pact made dalits helpless. By rejecting separate
electorate, dalits were deprived of their genuine representation
in legislatures. Several and various kind of chamchas were born
in the last fifty years. As and when India's high caste Hindu
rulers felt the need of chamchas and when the authority of the
upper castes got endangered by real and genuine Dalit leaders,
chamchas were brought to the fore in all other fields".
In his "The Chamcha Age", a well argued and polemical
tirade against the pseudo Dalit leaders, Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram sharpen
the contradiction for the legitimate acquisition of political
power by the downtrodden in electoral democracy in India. In,
the Chamcha Age, "he focused very much on the Poona Pact
which was a point of a rather decisive Gandhian victory over
Dr. Ambedkar after a long duel between the two at the Round
Table Conference". Ambedkartimes.com
pays tribute to The Great Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram Ji on his eighth death
Kumar Chumber Editor-in-
Chief www.ambedkartimes.com (Posted
on October 9, 2014)
The Legacy of Sahib Kanshi Ram Ji
Ramesh Chander (Ambassador, IFS Rtd.)
Today, October 9, is the death anniversary of Babu Kanshi Ram (March, 1934-October, 2006), the Mesiah of Dalits after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the contemporary times. Babu Kanshi Ram was an ordinary man in the formative years of his life and career. After education in Punjab, he joined one of the defense research laboratories and started his professional career as a scientist. He did not have any political leanings to begin with. The discriminatory and Manuwadi working environment at the work place motivated and attracted Kanshi Ram to Ambedkar’s mission and philosophy. He resigned his well-placed job and joined fulltime public life to integrate and organize the Bahujan Samaj (as against the minority Brahminical order).
Kanshi Ram’s first priority was to engage and streamline the Government and organized sector employees. In December, 1978, He floated Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) for the purpose. It was a success and he could establish himself in the educated and well-to-do employees belonging to dalit and backward communities. He marched further on his chartered course and established Dalit Shoshit Samaj Samiti (DS4) in December, 1981. With the experience, he graduated and initiated a full fledged political party named Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in April, 1984. Kanshi Ram worked hard with unprecedented zeal. In no time, BSP became a force to reckon with. I recall the famous columnist and journalist, M.J. Akbar observed in one of his articles in the late 80s that ‘He (Kanshi Ram) has arrived but is yet to reach’. He did reach, not at the goal during his life time, but certainly near the goal. Kanshi Ram’s untimely demise changed the entire scenario. His followers like Mayawati showed some promise under Kanshi Ram’s leadership to begin with. The Dalit masses extended the desired support and understanding but, it appears, that the inheritors of Kanshi Ram’s legacy are unable to sustain the situation.
Coming to the legacy of Kanshi Ram, it will be in order to know his views on some of the vital issues. The things will become clear. He dedicated himself totally to the cause he espoused. He stood for socio-economic change as against the status quo supported by the current political and social order. Kanshi Ram proved himself a game changer. He told his followers to become self-reliant and retaliate against oppression. He taught his followers “Ek Eent Ka Jawab, Do Pathar (for one brick respond with two stones) otherwise they were not his followers. Kanshi Ram wanted for the Dalit masses their share in the political and economic structures as a matter of right and not magnanimity of the upper castes. The potent force behind this agenda of Kanshi Ram was his total dedication and self-sacrifice. Before he ushered himself to the tortuous journey, Kanshi Ram vowed “I will never get married. I will never acquire any property. I will never visit my home. I will devote and dedicate my life to achieve the goals of Phule-Ambedkar movement.” He stood by the vows he took throughout his life. He never cared for is personal comforts. This total involvement and dedication of Kanshi Ram made him dear to the suffering and oppressed masses. He could establish and register his presence in the political and social spheres of life. He became a living legend. His political outfit, BSP became a strong cadre based political party by its own right. Thus, Kanshi Ram proved himself a powerful leader with vision. His legacy is relevant and important and will remain so in the years to come till a just and equitable social order is established.
Let us watch and see. The situation is taking a different turn. The opponents of Kanshi Ram in the major political parties like Congress and the BJP are willing to own Kanshi Ram on account of his following and political weight on one hand and his political heirs like Mayawati (no second name comes to my mind) are losing their steam and relevance, of late. The followers of Kanshi Ram are getting disgruntled and tired. It is a sad and bad commentary on the legacy of Kanshi Ram.
on October 9, 2014
BABASAHEB DR. B.R. AMBEDKAR,
POONA PACT AND THE CURRENT SITUATION
Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar devoted his entire life for the emancipation and empowerment of the Scheduled Castes of India who for centuries have been compelled to live in deplorable situations. He tried different ways for this noble cause while setting the goal of annihilation of caste. First, he did his best to improve upon the situations through reforms within Hinduism. But soon, he realized that reforms within Hinduism will not work for the annihilation of caste because without caste the whole structure of Hinduism would come down like a house of cards and that would not be acceptable to its protagonists at all. Annihilation of caste at the first instance requires doing away with the Hindu Sastras (sacred scriptures/law books), which Hinduism would never agree to comply with. Thus the other way and rather the only way open to seek casteless social order was to say good bye to Hinduism and construct a new society under a different religion for the Ex-Untouchables. Dr. Ambedkar finally left Hinduism and established a new social-religious order popularly known as Navayan-Buddhism (Buddha and His Dhamma) where no one is subjected to any social discrimination based on accretive and primordial notions of caste and creed. In between, Dr. Ambedkar battled many struggles for the betterment of living conditions of the Scheduled Castes. Poona Pact was one of such major struggles.
It was through this historic Pact that Dr. Ambedkar got voice for his people in the provincial legislative structures in the form of certain fixed number of seats. That was 1932. A lot has changed now in 2014. State in India is fast withdrawing from its responsibilities towards the people. It firmly believes that market can save them from all the hardships they face. In other words neo-liberalism is being projected as the messiah of the Scheduled Castes. In such a changed scenario downtrodden has to rethink rather critically about the nature of struggle that they have to wage for the acquisition and protection of their rights. Quite interestingly, there is also fast emerging a viewpoint from within the academic circles of the Scheduled Castes which says that neo-liberal market economy offers lots of opportunities to the former untouchables who no-longer face any social exclusion in the aftermath of 1991 Globalizing India. This view-point also talks about Dalit billionaires and their own chambers of commerce. What it forgets is that in the free market economy only those are welcome who have the capital to invest. And the capital in India used to be the prerogative of the upper castes only. Lower castes were deliberately kept out of reach of the capital by all possible means under the garb of a discriminatory and hegemonic religious social order. What about the millions of lower castes who do not have requisite capital to enter into the so-called non-discriminatory market economy in India. Would they be not discriminated in this new economic order? Neo-liberalism is no more different from capitalism. We must not forget that the two main enemies of the lower castes are, as cautioned by Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Capitalism and Brahmanism. Both of them are once again busy in fashioning new permutations and calculations to keep their hold intact. Thus to face the realities of current situation in contemporary India, the teachings of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar are of utmost value as they have been ever.
Prem K. Chumber Editor-in Chiefwww.ambedkartimes.com
Posted on www.ambedkartimes.com September 24, 2014
This site has been dedicated to Bharat Rattan Baba Sahib Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar in the memory of Babu Mangu Ram Muggowalia, Gadharite and founder of Ad Dharm Movement in Punjab. The sole aim of this site is to highlight the plight of the Mulnivasis (Inhabitants) of India who have not only been deprived of their due share in the wealth of their own country, but had also been subjected to untold miseries over centuries. Atrocities against them are still rampant in almost all the parts of the country. Hardly a day passes when there is no news about the social boycott or physical repression of all sorts on them. Ambedkartimes.com is duty bound to highlight all such incidents as well as to seek and articulate some solid perspective for the amelioration of this age-old problem old social exclusion and blatant violation of the basic human rights of the Dalit brethren.
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Prem K. Chumber (Editor: ambedkartimes.com)