DALIT MOVEMENT IN J&K State From C H H A N N R O R I A N to Martyrdom of Bhagat Amar Nath
Tenth Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh Ji said “ Koyi Kisi Ko Raj Na Dehi, Jo Lehi ,Nij Ball Lehi ” means The Kingdoms are won by force and not got in charity” Also Shri Guru Ravidas Ji Sayeth “ Aisa Chahun Raj Main, Yahan Meley Sabhi Ko Ann,Shoto Bado Sam Vasain, Ravidas Rahyo Parsan” meaning Ravidas desired to have kingdoms, where every body is fed well, all live in harmony, irrespective of his/her caste, creed, sex or economic affiliations. He further stressed his people to be strong to to use all possible means to have share ingovernance. Guru Ravidas Ji advised his disciples to remove their poverty and dependency on others as poor subjects do not have any religion. In Guru Ji’s words “ Pradeen Ka Deen Kya,Paradeen Bin Deen. Ravidas Pradeen ko Sab Hi Maney Heen”. This laid the foundation of democracy in India; shaking age old religious dogmas of only Upper Caste Hindus were worth being called humans. Pandvas had to wage war on their kith & kin to get their share in property & power caring less for the death of over 20 lacs knights, many of whom were their blood brothers and relation .The history is full of such stories, when legitimacy failed it paved way to fierce struggle. A Hindu Bhangi native of Surashtra Gujrat,due to caste hatred of upper caste Hindus, got converted to Islam. He was renamed as Khusrau Khan. He became a medieval Indian military leader, and ruler of Delhi as Sultan Nasir-ud-din for a short period of time. When the poor organized under unified umbrella, they gained kingdoms. The main slogan or philosophy of Marxism is “Workers organise, you have nothing to loose but your chains”. These universal thoughts and historical facts have been repeated time and again during history of struggles for freedom. The Naxilite struggle of North East India is indicator that if rules are ignored in dealing with poor and depressed,they will revolt . In the present times only legitimacy is the safe way out.
Although India won freedom by forcing out the British Crown with united efforts of all Indians. Here too saga of influential persons from upper castes found mention in the history books. Bravery tales of many Commoners who lost their every thing including their lives but were ignored. The real freedom from the socio-political forces remained to be won despite being freed from British yoke. The religious tyranny continues even after years of political freedom The Hindu Religious Texts did not change even an iota of their sanctions against their own religion brethren classified as shudras and now clubbed as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes & Other Backward Classes or commonly as Dalits orMul- Niwasies ( Aboriginal Indians) . Their rights as per the Constitution of the Free India adopted in January, 1950 are being systematically denied even after over six decades of freedom. The situation in the country was worst before Independence and the Dalits had to wage political struggle to gain the legitimate rights as per the cannons of law. Since priority for the majority Hindu leaders was political freedom from the British yoke of suppression, but they never recognised suffering of Dalit on all fronts as their problem. They were the same very peoples who were in British employment to cause atrocities on the Indian masses. They shared power with British. Dalits wanted political share in free India besides other safeguards, but Hindu leaders including Mahatma Gandhi believed it as the internal problem of Hindus and not a problem arisen out of political, religious, education, economic suppression of this major chunk of Hindus segregated centuries ago and classified as shudras, ati shudras etc.
So to achieve their goal of real freedom in India, Dalits organised them selves under as many as 83 different organisations between 1857 to 1956. In Maharastra alone they had 29 organisations during this period. With the rise in the awareness graph in Dalits the number of these Organisations rose to 60 in 1956 from mere 5 in the years 1857--1890.
A strong wave was raised by Dr Baba sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar against the prevailing inhuman treatments to his people. This inhuman treatment to poor downtrodden people had sanctions of Hindu religious law Codes like Manusmiriti, Ramcharitamanas and others. As per Manusmiriti the fourth Verna had only right to work with out asking for any remuneration. Even Lord Krishna, said to be incarnation of Lord Vishnu proclaimed in Geeta “Work, work, selfless work, with out desire for any fruit” But the religious preachers did not follow these by themselves and instead gave sermons to others on humanity, ethics, morals, characters, human values etc.
These ideals are good as sermon but harsh to follow. The grouse of Dalits against the teaching of Hindu Shasta’s preaching hate against shudras convinced Dr Ambedkar and his followers to hold public bonfire of the Manusmiriti in 1927. Dr Ambedkar even wrote a book on “Riddles of Hinduism” The wave of resentment in Dalits against the ill treatment mated out to them by their religious brethren of higher castes spread in whole of India and J&K state was no exception.
Since 1846, J&K state was under a Hindu Rajput monarch with religious domination power in the hands of Brahmin prohits, Dharamaacharayas or religious gurus. The condition of Dalits was no way better as compared to many other Indian kingdom subjects. All Hindu religious Laws were applicable on Untouchables. But no school admitted their wards. Separate water sources like wells and tanks, cremation grounds, System were enforced by state agencies for the Shudras. Untouchability a human curse was prevalent in the worst form for Dalits. The majority Dalits were farm labour with out their own land and they were poverty ridden. Open revolt by Harijans gathering of over one lac at Kir-Pind- RatianTehsil Ranbhirsinghpura in 1935 to get them converted to any other religion from Hindus due to unabated atrocities forced High Caste Hindu leaders. This Harijan meeting was arranged by Mahasha Nahar Singh ( Later MLA) Bhagat Chhajju Ram( Later Minister), Choudhary Rangila Ram and many more. On this open revolt the Upper Caste Hindu leaders approached Maharaja Hari Singh who was crowned in 1925 and apprised him of Dalit problems. So Maharaja Sahib initiated certain Dalit welfare measures against stiff opposition from the powerful religious Brahmin prohits. Maharaja Hari Singh also became interested in Harijan welfare measures, particularly after attending Round Table Conferences, where Dr. Ambedkar logically and forcefully explained to the British dignitaries, the Indian leaders and Kings to take welfare measures for the Dalits. As per Dr. Ambedkar every fifth Hindu was an untouchable and with out empowering Dalits politically, educationally, economically and socially, the Indian Freedom shall carry no meaning for them. Dalits were slaves to British slaves. The Arya Samaj movement of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati (1823-1883) did a good work for Dalit education, removal of untouchability but with their limited motto of stopping Dalit conversion to other religions. They never struggled to get political empowerment for the Dalits. In J&K State, no united Dalit front existed prior to 1935, except Sat sang societies on the teaching of Guru Ravidas and Guru Kabir Maharaj ji . Ever since the control of governance by the upper Caste Hindus; the untouchables were kept away from the seat of power. Deceit, hate, rebukes religious, cultural and social exploitations fell in their share, for none of their faults.
As per the report prepared in 1932 by Mr. J.Galancy, President Constitutional Reform’s conference (J&K) said that deputation of the Megh community met the conference. He wrote, “In the evidence given to us at Jammu we have heard with great interest and sympathy the claims of the Megh Community, and our conclusion is that the Meghs have real grounds for being specially considered, without - - - --howeve”. We also observe that the great majority of the Meghs are localized in Jammu and Udhampur Wazarats”. There after Two seats in the Praja Sabha in 1934(then as the assembly was known in J&K) were also made available to Harijans on which two Harijan Meghs contested and got elected. The Dalit empowerment struggle continued inside and out side of the Praja Sabha with good awakening but no power sharing. In the Praja Sabha proceedings, Shri Jagat Ram Aryan is recorded to have cited many examples of atrocities on Harijans in the State.
To protect their interests, the Harijans floated a political party of their own named "The All Jammu and Kashmir Megh Mandal", It was mostly a pro establishment organization, representing only Megh/ Bhagats or Kabir Panthies. Jagat Ram Ariyan ( later MLA), Bhagat Daulat Ram (MA B.Ed LL.B) Bhagat Mangat Ram,Member Praja Sabha, IAS officer who retired as Addl. Chief Secretary J&K Govt, Bhagat Chhajju Ram( later MLA,MLC& Minister , and also J&K State unit President of the INC) were the fore front leaders of Megh community being founding fathers too. But this organization had influence in and around Jammu and RSPURA Tehsils. The leaders were either under the influence of National Congress or Arya Samaj movement. As per the Praja Sabha Reports. September 1936, the seventh annual session of the Mandal was held at Ranbir Singh Pura towards the end of June, 1936. Presenting his address of welcome, Bhagat Chhajju Ram, President of the Reception Committee, said:"Harijans have been placing their demands before the Government now for a very long time but, on government part, the Government has turned a deaf ear and there has been no slowing down in the unbroken chain of the injustices perpetrated upon us". Bhagat Mangat Ram, President of the Mandal said in his presidential address:"Harijans can no longer tolerate the innumerable tyrannies inflicted by the caste Hindus. How can Harijans adept a society and religion in which there is no respectable place for them? Caste Hindus do not treat them as human beings. Four lakh Harijans have been given only two seats in the Assembly (Praja Sabha) which is a glaring injustice. The caste Hindus, instead of representing their point of view, in fact tried to suppress them. Other communities also resented the ill treatment meted out to Dalits. So a united organization representing all untouchable communities was thought of.
With thinking of Harijan unity as a whole, in Jammu one such organization with the name of “Harijan Mandal” was founded in 1940 by dissolving existing pro establishment organization called Megh Mandal .This new organization was broad based with giving representation to all Sub Castes of J&K Untouchables. These efforts brought to gather all sections of Scheduled Castes and their unity started showing results. Harijan Mandal succeeded in organising all sections of the Scheduled Castes. Elite, thinkers social, religious and political personalities belonging to all sub castes( 13 in number) of the Scheduled castes who took part in the unified Harijan struggle in the J&K state. When Scheduled castes strived for their political, economic, education, social rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Free India, the Dalit oppressors also got alerted. So at times open struggle stated between the two.
India attained freedom in 1947. Harijan struggle took violent form with the enactment of new revolutionary laws by Sheikh Mohd. Abdulla (1905-1982), a mass Kashmiri leader, then Prime Minister ( later re- designated as Chief Minister)of J&K. He took historic decisions of “Abolition of Big Landed Property or land to tiller and one time Settlement of debits of Private money lenders”. Over night changes were effected in the history of the state in July,1950 .
Officially the State working class peoples got ownership right on the land under their cultivation, and also their chains of private money lenders were broken. The powerful lobby of land lords, private money lenders coupled with their Upper Caste pride did not compromise. The caste Hindus could not digest new democratic measures initiated by the new government. This process awakened Harijans although in minority so resisted the continuing of the methods of their suppression. In district Kathua, & Jammu having a substantial Harijan population percentage aligned around their leaders and ruling political party. Small groups were formed at village, tehsil and District levels to resist any un law full act of Land lords or money lenders towards Dalits. A sense of brotherhood in Dalits caused worries the circles of protagonists of pro status quo.
For further fostering unity among them selves a meeting was called by the Harijans at village Marheen in Hira Nagar Tehsil of Kathua district on 25th July,1956. Pandit Chhano Ram from Diaye Chak, belonging to Chamar community was the main organiser. Over 300 delegates are reported to have gathered there. In the meeting speeches were being delivered to suggest ways to organise mass Harijan protests to get their constitutional rights, including reservation in government services, government scholarships for their school going children, removal of stigma of untouchability , action against illegal evection of Harijan farmers etc. Suddenly a unruly mob from the Upper castes Hindus reached Harijan meeting place. Some government officials from the Dalit community under the influence of local caste Hindu leaders were also said to have joined disruption activities. A very heavy stone pelting was made on the Harijans in the meeting and bamboo sticks( Lathies)were freely used to beat and terrorize the peaceful participants The participates in the meeting got injured and so confused, as to why this had happen when meeting was all peaceful. Some Harijans even ran away from the venue. However with the efforts of Pandit Chhano Ram and others a delegation meeting was again held to decide the future action plan to counter such uncalled for action of the disrupters. This group again headed by Pandit Chhano Ram decided hold a protest meeting the next day followed by hunger strike by Harijans, if their point of view was ignored by the state authorities. A delegation led by him went to meet same day Babu Milkhi Ram (1926-1989), a Dalit leader . Babh Milkhi Ram an B.A.B.T was a prominent Dalit leader hailing from Chamar sub caste. He had alredy unsuccessfully contested for the State Constitution Assembly election in 1952 for Marh Constituency. The delegation met Babu Ji same after noon, at the house of Bhagat Munshi Ram at Samba, the venue of the meeting. After hearing the tale of ill treatment met out to their persons at Mareen, a decision was unanimously taken to hold a big conference the very next day on the side of National Highway at Chhan Arorian tehsil Hiranagar. On the intervening night of 25th&26th July 1956 an emergency meeting was held at chak Dayala Tehsil Hiranagar. Volunteers attending this night deliberation accepted to perform different duties. Master Gian Chand ( later Dy Director Education) took the responsibility of laying down the Jute matting, Mr. Anant Ram to bringing the Public Address System. S/shri Bhag Ram, Sunder Dass ,Sh. Chatru Ram of Ghagwal , sh.Khakhru Ram, sh.Anant Ram, Sh.Sukh Raj,Sh. Pukhu Ram,Sh. Fatta Ram, Sh. Amir Chand, Sh.Kura Ram,Sh Bajo Ram,Sh.Dhani Ram,Sh.Gareeb Dass and many others promised to spread out to surrounding village to inform Harijans of the area about the next course of action and request them all along with area Namberdar ( Headman) Fatora Ram to reach Chhan Arorian. The organisers spread out in different directions. They moved from village to village to make the conference a big success. Duties for the various jobs of organisation were also distributed. The preparations were as if to re-act the Maharastra Mahad Tank water Satyagraha( agitation)1927 launched by Baba Sahib B.R.Ambedkar.
In the morning of 26th July, 1956, participants stated reaching the venue. Babu Milkhi Ram along with many of his followers from Jammu, Samba, Akhnoor, Marh area also reached the site. By the noon a big crowd of Harijans assembled at Chhan Arorian canal bank. The meeting started and speeches by different senior participants were being keenly listened by the audience with apt attention. All of a sudden again a mob of Caste Hindu miscreants and some mislead Harijans equipped with long sticks, sharp edged weapons and drum beating appeared at the venue of the meeting. Majority of the attackers were drunkard and dancing on the drum beating singing Bhanga ( Punjab folk dance) songs. On reaching the venue of Harijan meeting they started beating peaceful gathering. The miscreants were raising slogens “Beat them, kill them. The public address system was broken, jute mat torn, meals spoiled. The conference came to sudden halt. After the melee, Harijans reassembled, resolved to fight to finish deciding to adopt Gandhian way of protest of “Fast unto death”. Havaldar Sh.Tej Ram Dogra of Chhan Arorian and Pandit Chhano Ram of Malani volunteered to lead the hunger strike . Those ten persons who resorted to Hunger Strike are named below..
1. Pt. Chainnu Ram S/o Sardha Ram R/o Daya Chak, Hiranagar.
2. Tej Ram Dogra Havaldar S/o Harya Ram R/o Chann Rorian .
3. Lachhu Ram S/o Punnu Ram R/o Daya Chack .
4. Mahatma Kantho Ram R/o Chandore, Hiranagar.
5 . Saran Dass R/o Patiari, Hiranagar.
6. Mahant Feru Ram R/o Gurah Piyarian, Hiranagar.
7. Lajjur Ram S/o Thakur Dass R/o Nayal Pura, Kathua.
8. Bhagat Bodh Raj, Samba Tehsil.
9. Bhagat Surjan Dass R/o Samba Tehsil.
10. Mejra Singh (Army Personnel Retd.) R/o Gagore ( vijaypur)Tehsil Samba.
With this hunger strike a strong sentiment to struggle through self help by the Dalits for the benefit of the Dalit society to get Constitutional rights. The people decided that for attaining freedom, they may were prepared even to die. Kathua to Udhampur and beyond ares Harijans of all castes united to finish for thie legitimate rights. This news spread like wild fire in the region. The women also came forward in this unique and historic movement. The Dalits in villages stopped their routine activities and unitedly worked for the success of the action undertaken. They would collect the money and other items from the villagers and presented them to the organizers’ of the hunger strike. Management Committee started getting the langar (Food) prepared for the outsiders. Bus fares were being paid for the workers deputed to different areas to muster support in favour of the Hunger Strikers. Babu Milkhi Ram used to write and get printed the posters for different corners of the areas for cultivating the public opinion in favour of the cause of the Dalit Samaj and everyday attendance at the venue increased. The loud speakers were being used day and night at the venue of the Hunger Strike. Day started with sat-sangha (Spiritual prayers) and passed off with speeches, Bhajan, poems recitations, meeting. Sant Rasila Ram Ji( Now later Head of Radha Soami Dera Said Pur Punjab),then having his residence near by the hunger stike venue used to deliver his sat sang daily.
The Dalits from Samba, Jammu, Kathua, Billawar, Basohli, R.S. Pura , Reasi and Udhampur were participating. Jago-Ram from Akhnoor also participated. The visitors were bringing small bags of rice, wheat along with financial contributions with them. I saw my father shri Gillu Ram carrying on foot food items collected from my village Pakhri Tehsil Samba to Chhan Arorian at a distance of over 40kilometrs . I organised my village school going Harijan boys and elders for a protest march in my village. I was beaten by the village Namberdar and others. A fight between Harijam elders and others was averted by some good hearted persons. Such was the atmosphere surcharged in the favour of the hunger strikers. After some days, when the physical condition of the Hunger Strikers started deteriorating, then Tehsildar Hiranagar visited the Hunger Strike place advising them to with draw the hunger strike. He promised to forward their demands to Deputy Commissioner Kathua for sympathetic considerations. But his proposal was rejected and the organisers demanded rules amended before they withdrew their unified action. Next came to the venue the Deputy commissioner Kathua to persuade the hunger strikers to break their fast, but in vain. This way ten days passed and the condition of the hunger strikers deteriorated. Doctors certified blood loss of 14 to 16 lbs each of strikers with condition of one of the strikers turned critical. This created more strength in the masses to continue with their under taken pledge till the matter is not taken to a logical conclusion. This strike also laid foundation for winning of Assembly seat to Harijan Mandal candidate Babu Milkhi Ram in 1957. One of the confidant lieutenant of the organisers was Assar Chand of ( Diaye Chak) who later joined as Range officer in the State Forest department.He passed away at Radha Soami Dera Beas in 2011. Sh. Tej Ram Dogra of Chhan Arorian also worked with great zeal. The contents of this article were gone through and approved by Shri Assar Chand during his life time.
Finally Bakshi Ghulam Mohd then Prime Minister accompanied with Mr. Girdhari Lal Dogra (Finance & Law Minister) came to the venue of the agitation to talk to the Hunger Strikers. Bakshi Sahib said, “Do not worry! Your all demands will be conceded”. On this hunger strikers along with their organisers and workers agreed and so the decision was taken unanimously to end the fast. Zenab Bakashi Sahib offered juice to the hunger strikers. So the firm foundation to get reservation rights implemented in the J&K. Harijans had lost about 165 lbs of blood of the hunger strikers.This was result of hard unified action of Harijans. Implementations in true spirit of the Land Reforms were also promised. Illegal eviction from land of Harijans farmers was also accepted to be stopped. Bakashi Sahib even offered a ministerial berth to Babu Milkhi Ram in his cabinet of ministers, if Babu Ji joins the National Conference. Babu Ji declined the offer to remain available to his people to educate and guide them freely. The scholarships to students, employment to educated youth in isolated conditions was undertaken. But still no rules were amended in the statue books.
To deliberate on the offer of Minister Ship to Babu Milkhi Ram, a large workers conference was held in Karan Park Jammu on 15th November 1956. Many participants advised Babu Ji to join the cabinet, which shall equipped him better chances to look after Dalit interests in J&K. Babu Milkhi Ram declined the offer again arguing that this shall make his voice dead and he may be forced to toe the anti Harijan line of the government. He wanted to avoid it. On this some of his trusted lieutenants left him saying he was non compromising and stiff. Those who disassociated with Harijan movement were rewarded by government by various means.
When state government failed to honour the promises made with Dalits at Chhan Arorian it was again decided to go on hunger strike at Prade Ground Jammu with following hunger strikers,
1. Jago Ram of Samailpur
2. Sant Ram of Gajansoo
3. Sardar Megra Singh( Ex. Army Serviceman) of Gagore Samba.
4. Mahatma Gujoor
5. Sant Ram of Barori.
6. Bawa Sadhu Ram of Jammu
7. Malook Ram of Krishna Nagar, Jammu
8. Giani Punnu of Jammu
9. Basant Ram of Barori
10. Bua Ditta of Swankha
11. Mahatma Feroo Ram
Again government promised to implement the agreed demands, but failed to honour its commitments in letter and spirit.So a third hunger strike was organised with the folloing hunger strikers in Azaib Ghar( Now State Assembly Complex) 1. Bawa Sadhu Ram
2. Malook Ram of Krishna Nagar, Jammu
3. Giani Punnu Ram of Krishna Nagar, Jammu
4. Bua Ditta of Swankha
5. Mahatma Feroo Ram
6. Mahasha Sant Ram of Gajansoo
To suppress the strike of Dalits, harsh measures were adopted. Some leaders and workers were arrested and government used undesired acts instead of giving due to the Dalits as a matter of right.All these efforts paved way for adoption in the J&K Constitution the right of Reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the Legislative Assembly under Art.48. Babu Milkhi Ram won from Marh as MLA.
He won on the agenda and programmes of Harijan Mandal. Harijan Mandal was alloted “Standing loin” as election symbol? Election song was “Uth Jag Harijan Shera , Hun Tere Jagne Da Wella” meaning awake and stand up Harijan loin, now is time for you to awaken from your deep slumber. Besides elected members as MLA (3 in 1957 to 7 in 1996) MLC’s were also nominated, share in the Cabinet of Ministers was also made available. But Reservation in services was systematically denied to the Scheduled castes.
A Circular of July, 1966 was issued by Sh. E.N. Mangat Rai then chief secretary of the State and fixed Scheduled Caste population the J&K State at 7.96% ( Jammu Divisio18.07%) agreeing that government was contemplating to reserve certain posts for S/C so all recruitment agencies should know their population in State /Division /District. Even Gajendra Gadkar Commission of 1968 stressed that all reservation facilities in services and in education institution admissions including technical education in respect of S/C candidates as applicable country over be extended to J&K as well. Still no worth while action was taken or clear policy framed by the government to give Reservation to Scheduled Caste of the State as their population. The spirit of Art.370 of the Constitution of India to safe guard the interests of the state residents was used to delay and deny the Scheduled Castes their share in services as per the Central Government orders.
Therefore the resentment in the minds of Dalits was but natural . This simmering got strength with formation of a unit of The Depressed Classes League in 1968 in Jammu. The Depressed Classes League was actually formed some time in 1935. A very big rally was held in Parade ground where Babu Jagjivan Ram National President of this all India Organisation. Babu Jagjivan Ram was taken from Air Port to Parade grounds Jammu in an open jeep. The organisers had arranged a very big public gathering. Bhagat Amar Nath (1928-1970) was then the State President of The Depressed Classes League, who was also editor of organization’s Weekly Urdu “ Pasmandgi”. Choudhari Guran Ditta Mal( MLA and Vice Chairman SC welfare Board) was the General Secretary of this all India NGO. Article in“ Pasmandgi” paper on Baba Sahib and his teachings was contributed by the writer of this article. State Cabinet Minister Pandit Trilochan Dutt while addressing the large gathering promised to get implemented all welfare measure including Reservation in services in the state for the Depressed Classes. But this time also promises made with Dalits were not honoured and fulfilled by the government. I was then deputed to make sitting arrangements for the participant in the Parade Grounds. Besides others Bhagat Amar Nath Ji also addressed this historic conference of Harijans in Jammu.
Since the state Govt was still not framing or implementing the reservation in services Rules in the state. Bhagat Amar Nath took it very serious and a comprehensive note on the ill-conceived intention of the state Government was submitted with a warning to intensified his non stop agitation in the entire Jammu province. So he started whole heartedly leading many processions, demonstrations, public meetings for the expeditious redressing of core issue of reservation in services for the Scheduled Castes. An ultimatum with deadline was given to state Govt to take remedial measures fast otherwise he shall under take fast unto death. Mean while Government issued notification No 37-GR of 1970 dated 28th April, 1970.This notification with out any legal teeth was titled as “ The J&K,SC’s and BC ( Reservation) rules 1970”. This also landed into trouble by writ petition in SC of India.
Sensing that the state government was not taking his threats seriously he under took fast unto death to get conceded the major demand of reservation implementation along with certain other core issues. On the day of taking the extreme step of stating fast unto death by Bhagat Ji, this writer met him in Karan Park and discussed some apprehensions of peoples not prepared fully for such an extreme step and requested him to work in the field for some more time to prepare the masses for such a step. While addressing my apprehensions he quoted lines from Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s poem “Chalain Ge Mere Naal Dushman Be Mere, Eh Bakhari A Gal ke muskra ke chalangey, jazon mere Arthi utha ke chalan Gay” meaning after my death, when I shall be carried for cremation, even my adversaries shall accompany it, may be with joy in their hearts”.
Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath voluntarily offered himself for the supreme sacrifice and resolved to observe silence and subsequently sat on fast unto death on 21-05-
1970 in Karan Park in front
of civil secretariat. His health
condition deteriorated so he was shifted to SMGS Hospital Jammu. But despite
efforts by prominent physician of that time Dr. Manhas, his condition continued
to worsen. Bhagat sahib refused to take any medical treatment and this son of
the soil Bhagat Amaranth achieved martyrdom on Ist June 1970 and
became “Martyr of Reservation".
Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath voluntarily offered himself for the supreme sacrifice and resolved to observe silence and subsequently sat on fast unto death on 21-05-
After the Martyrdom of Bhagat Amar nath notification No 60 GR of 1970 dated 8-8-1970 for “Reservation of appointment by promotion” was issued. After the Judgement of Hon’ble SC of India J&K Government issued GO No 174-GD of 1973 dated 17-01-1972.
The supreme sacrifices made for the cause of the reservation culminating in martyrdom of Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath, forced the government to take consorted efforts issue G.O. No 174 of 1973 Dated 17-1-1973 for reservation in services for the SCs . In respect of persons of ST’s and OBC’s catagories subsequent orders were issued. So this Notification was earned by paying the precious life of Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath besides loss of 165 lbs of the blood was lost in Chhan Arorian in 1956 and other numerous sacrifices.
The struggle by Dalits for implementation of the existing Reservation Rules with out legal teeth continued in one form or the other till issue of SRO 294 Dated 21-10--2005. But alas despite all these efforts by the Dalits their representation in the State services is yet below 4% against rules for 8%. The unity among the Dalit Castes is the only remedy to all road blocks in their progress.
Er. Hem Raj Phonsa, Jammu