Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath J&K Reservation Struggle Hero



After Aryan invasion the aboriginals were made Dalits and forced  to live out side the human habitations and lead a life of extreme poverty. They were debarred from schools and worship places. They were not allowed to draw water from wells or, tanks and, wear clean cloths.”Juthan” the discarded food and clothes were the food and clothing of Aryans   Although the Dalits contributed immensely in making history but biased writers put a blanket ban in their writings about Dalits contributions. So they became history less peoples. In the past 150 years or so, effort by some writers particularly from among Dalits themselves including foreign writers have put in efforts to dig out right historic facts in their writings. The undertaken effort is a small step to keep on records the contributions made by the Dalits of J&K in their efforts for their own progress and for the empowerment of their brethren in their mother land. This shall give in site of the testing times the Dalits have gone through to climb the progressive ladder by dint of their sole efforts. The persons on whose life and contributions, I have been in a position to lay hand show that Dalits if given chance are no way inferior to any other in the society. They have proven their worth in all fields of life on the basis of their intelligence and hard working. I am reminded of Baba sahib Dr B.R. Ambedkar saying “Those who do not know their history, cannot make history”.
         Thus upper caste induced illiteracy ruined untouchable of every thing. Getting a little respite from these men made hurdles, the untouchables have tried to show their worth in all fields and this article demonstrates it amply. These people have proven their worthiness of being worthy off springs of  great Epic Writers Bhagwan Valmik, Ved Vaisa, and  Father of Indian Constitution Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar. One among the glaxy of Dalits who offered their every thing to make their fellowmen and women to live a life of dignity was Bhagat AmarNath
 While describing conditions of Indian Dalits Jyotiba Phule (1827-1890) the political Guru of Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Dr. Ambedkar said:-
       Lack of education impairs wisdom, Lack of wisdom impairs moral,
       Lack of moral impairs motion;   Lack of motion impairs financial status,
        Lack of finances impaired status of untouchables. 
 This short but great meaningful capsule narration, summed up the man made hurdles in the  path of Dalit progress for  very long time. For centuries Dalits (Shudras, Ati-Shudras abd women) were not allowed to read and write under the authority of Hindu religious texts like Manusmiriti. Even the Ramcharit Manas,the Epic storey of Lord Ramma by Goswami Tulsidas proclaims in SundaKanda(Sloka58-3) “ A drum,a rustic,Suhdra,a beast and a womam” all these need beating .The Hindu texts carried many obnoxious unfounded imaginary things about Dalits, who were rulers prior to the Aryan invasion in this land of ancient culture. History shows that First Magdha King, a Shudra ,Mahapadma Nanda (450–362 BCE) founded the Nanda dynasty, claimed to be “EKRAT”  the sole sovereign who destroyed all the ruling princes. He even conquered Kilinga much before Ashoka the Great re-conquered, when it was independent state. Dalits had given rich cultural heritage, wisdom, agriculture and many other progressive measures to Bharat.       
            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 given in  charity” Also Guru Ravidas desired to have kingdoms, where every body is fed well, irrespective of his/her caste, creed, sex or economic affiliations. He further stressed his people to be strong to get their just rights. Guru Ravidas preached forcefully “Pradeen ko Deen Kaya, Pradeen bin Deen” meaning the slaves have no religion, they are religion less people. Pandavas 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, including their own kith & kin. The history is full of such stories, where legitimacy did not work and gave way to   fierce struggle.
            Dr Ambedkar advocated for Democratic methods to achieve goals. But when administration proved deaf to the urgent public interest problems, he too advocated the method of Revolutions to solve the problems but in rare of the rarest circumstances. Only when there is no way left to Constitutional methods for achieving economic & social objectives, there was a great deal for the unconstitutional methods. Baba Sahib B.R Ambedkar believed that without economic & social justice, political independence will not give national integration and social homogeneity. He advocated liberty, equality and fraternity a must ingredients for achieving national integration.
           Although India won freedom in August, 1947 by forcing out the British Crown, but the real freedom from the rigid religious fundamentalists & autocratic mind set forces remained to be won. The Hindu Religious Texts did not change even an iota of their sanctions against their own religion brethren classified as Shudras now clubbed together as Scheduled Castes & Scheduled tribes & Other Bach ward Classes. Their rights as per the Constitution of Free India adopted in January, 1950 are being systematically denied even now. The situation in the country was worst before Independence with little change even after political freedom gained in 1947 so the Dalits had to wage political struggle to gain the legitimate rights as per the cannons of law. Basically these deprived sections of the Hindu Society were slaves to the British slaves. The British slaves got freedom in 1947 & their slaves are still striving to gain it. 
            Such 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 sanction of Hindu religious law Code like Manusmriti.  As per Manusmriti fourth Verna had only right to work with out asking for any remuneration. Even Lord Krishna proclaimed in Geeta “Work, work, selfless work, with out desire for any fruit, a way to salvation”. Many Dalit luminaries like Mahatma Jyotirao Phuley, Revolutionery Mata Savitribai Phuley, Mahatma Periyar, Birsa Munda Sahib Kanshi Ram, Chokhamela, Guru Ravidas, Guru Gadge, Guru Ghasidas Ji, Babu Milkhi Ram ,Amar Saheed Bhagat Amar Nath (J&K) and countless others have sacrificed themselves for the sacred cause of Indian Dalits and made indelible mark in history.
            The reservation in services for the S/C’s, S/T’s was effected with the enactment of the Indian Constitution but this remained illusive in J&K state as long as 1970. So in J&K state revolt against this was raised. Babu Milkhi Ram was one among the sate subjects who organized fast unto death twice, first at Chhan Rorian in 1955 in & second time in Karan Park Jammu in 1957, where a large number of peoples participated. It is said 165 pounds of Dalit Blood was lost for the noble cause. Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath blew the bugle in May 1970 which created a strong wave in J&K forcing the J&K State to issue Reservation in services SRO in 1970. This struggle continued  for  63 years in one form or the other & finally J&K Legislature passed law in 2010 giving legal teeth to the Rules of Reservation in services.
            The son of soil, Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath(1928 to-1st june1970), was born in 1928 at village Champa near Batote Tehsil/Disstt. Ramban in a megh family of Scheduled Castes. His parents were respected Shri  Moti Ram and Shrimati Janki Devi. After completing his school education upto Middle standard, he joined service in NAC Batote and later in the Health department. He got married to Shrimati Shanti Devi at  a young age. He  was blessed with a sonand a daughter. His family still lives at Champa .He resigned from the Govt. job and joined social service. He joined Congress party and was elected as Cogress Block Presedent and later was made the Secretary of this party. He shifted to Jammu to play a wider roll for the Dalit Samaj  so he dedicated to devote himself for social cause exclusively for down trodden. Since from his childhood, he was deeply and highly concerned towards the worst plight of the oppressed and exploited people denied human rights. He was very much committed and determined to even sacrifice his life for the welfare of persecuted, victimized, discriminated, deprived, suppressed, oppressed, exploited and neglected downtrodden masses. 
            In order to upliftment and emancipation of the depressed classes, he came to Jammu  from his native place with an explicit motive, and objective to secure justice for Dalit Samaj of J&K in  particular and country over in general. He worked for the Bhartiya Depressed Classes league, an all India Origination founded by Babu Jagjivan Ram a union Minister and later Deputy Prime Minister. The organization had spread its wings all over India for the welfare of the Depressed classes peoples. Bhagat Amar Nath was made President of this Organization in J&K with Chodhary Guran Ditta  Mal an MLA and Vice Chairman of S/C’s Welfare Board as the General Secretary. All other Dalit leaders of J&K were its members. A Weekly Urdu News Paper named “PASMANDGI” was started from Jammu to raise a forceful voice against denial of the just rights of depressed Classes peoples in J&K State.  The write ups in Pasmandgi  paper helped in uniting the  Dalit masses. An All India one day convention of the Bhartiya Depressed Classes league was held in 1968 in Prade ground Jammu which was presided over by Babu Jagjivan Ram and was attended by over 20,000 peoples. Among others Babu Jagjivan Ram, Bhagat Amarnath,Pandit Trilochan Dutt addressed the gathering. Bhagat Amarnath spoke forcefully pleading  for granting of due rights to the Depressed Classes  persons in recruitments, promotions, in services , grant of scholarships to the deserving students up to all levels of education including university level.
        He was already in contact  with some Jammu based Dalit leaders i.e Babu Parmanand, Babu Milkhi Ram, Bhagat chajju Ram, Pashori lal and Mahasa Nar Singh , Jagat Ram Aryan ( Kishatwar) and others.  But the government was not acceding to the just demands of the Dalit leaders. He had gained close association & friendship with Ayub Khan, then Health Minister of J&K State. Bhagat Amarnath was earlier follower of Kabir Pant and later  was initiated as  follower of Radha Soami Satsang Beas. He was a complete vegetarian and abstained from all intoxicants.
            Since the state Govt was still reluctant to implement the reservation in services in the state. Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath took  it very serious and comprehensive note on  the ill-conceived intention of the state Govt and  so he intensified his non stop agitation in the entire Jammu province by leading many processions, demonstrations, public meetings for the expeditious redressal of core issue of reservation. An ultimatum with deadline was given to state Govt to take remedial measures fast otherwise he shall go for fast unto death. Seeing 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, 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 deushman be mere, eh bakhari a gal ke muskra ke chalangey, jaddo mere Arthi utha ke chalaney gey” 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 the 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". 
            His supreme sacrifice for the cause of  the reservation  forced the government  to take consorted efforts and the First Notification No 37 GR of 1970  for reservation in services for the Sc’s , ST’s and OBC’s was issued on 28th April 1970 So this Notification was earned by paying the precious  life of Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath . Also 165 lbs of the blood was  lost in Karan  Park in the under taken fast unto death in 1957 and at Chhan Arorian in 1955. After the  agitations, fast unto death in 1955 and 1957  dalits  succeeded  to win on their own Assembly Election in 1957 under the banner of Harijan Mandal & martyrdom of Bhagat Amar Nath in 1970   proved final  blow to Reservation in Services  hindrances in J&K State.
            As per his wishes the   funeral of Amar Sheed Bhagat Amarnath was attended by a large number of Dalits peacefully, despite the facts that the government has made elaborate arrangement to control the protest marches in Jammu city on that day. His sacrifice was no way less than the sacrifices made by hundreds of Indian to win freedom from the British yoke. Some people make out that Harijan leaders like Bhagat Chhajju Ram and Babu Parmanand were made Ministers on the condition that they shall not  help Bhagat Amarnath’s agitation for reservation to SC’s and ST’s.  It is afalse claim as these two persons were Ministers since 1967,  where as Bhagat Amar Nath under took Fast unto death in May,1970. However Dalit leaders lost their strength in 1932 due to signing of Poona Pact  under duress by Dr. Ambedkar  to save life of Mahatama Gandhi, who had undertaken fast unto death against the terms of Communal Award or Simon Commission agreement.
           Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath was a great visionary, emancipator, revolutionary socialist of Dalit samaj. He was a political personality with a spotless image. He is no doubt a hero of reservations as well as Martyr for social justice. But  he goes unsung by those for whom he gave his life. His family needs care and rehabilitation besides erecting of a suitable memorial in the memory of Amar Shaheed Bhagat at a prominent place preferably in Karan Park Jammu.
 Still the worst suffers of the selective application of rules passed by the Parliament in J&K are the  poor Reserved Categories people such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBC’s particularly in matter of Reservation in  recruitments  and promotions. These rules came into force in Union of India except in J&K even before Indian independence. A number of hunger strikes, dharnas, agitations, resolutions by scheduled caste peoples have failed to get their rightful share in services or promotions. Even Bhagat Amar Nath Laid his life for the denied rights of the SC’s in the state particularly reservation in services. The first government SRO in 1971 was issued 25 years after India got independence. This has now been given the shape of an act after lapse of another 35 years. But practically against 8% fixed quota in services has not crossed even 4% mark. Recently nearly a lakh of recruitments were made in different department under the garb of Rehbere Talim and other such flimsy names throwing  share of Reservation claims of SC’s  to winds. Even in the matters of nominations in the Legislative Councils from 1952-1996, out of 172 nominations only 6 were members of SC’s. In the Indian Parliament from 1952-1998 as many as 78 MP’s ( RS30 &LS48) were elected or nominated but  none from the SC’s. Since 1952 not even a single person belonging to SC communities have seen the Parliament from with in as its member. Host of Govt. department including Education universities being run on the Government funds do not bother to give practical effects to the reservation rules. These universities have either H.E. the Governor of the State or the Chief Minister as Vice Chancellor.  Recently  the promotion of S/C employees  have been denied ( Catch up Rule)by the J&K High Court on the pretext that rules  as emended by virtue of 77 th amendment of Indian constitution as incorporated Article 14(4A) is not applicable  to J&K State  by virtue of Article 370 barrier. Reservation rules are only applicable to a limited service grades.  The jurisdictions of many  National Commissions set up by Parliament  to over see welfare measures of different sections of society are yet no extended to J&K State. The un abated   miss use of Special component funds for S/C’s S/T’s and OBC’s  has become no concern of the state Government. These issues yet are wanting solutions.


      Let us all strive hard to keep the sacrifice flame lit with blood of Amar Saheed Bhagat Amar Nath, burning for the good of deprived sections of the society.

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