Friday, September 26, 2014

Dogra Rattan Babu Parmanand’s Life and vision of Mass Empowerment

Babu Ji was born on 10th august 1932, to late Sh. Jaggu Ram & Smt Matyan Devi; both of whom were deeply religious souls, having deep faith in Sant Mat as expounded by Saints of Radha Soami Satsang Beas .Village Sarore is largely in-habited by the followers of Radha Soami Satsang, following strict norms of Sant Mat. This village like any other rural villages has earned distinction to be the birth place of Baba Sant Rasila Ram Ji the present Head of Baba Teja Singh Radha Soami Ashram Saidpur Distt Amritsar (Punjab) Babu Ji was brought up in an atmosphere full of spirituality, so he followed and practised principle of "Love all, hate none". Babu Ji from his early school days was hard - working, punctual, brilliant but poised boy. He had to travel a distance of over 4 miles to go to his school bare-footed. But poverty and vagaries of weather could not deter him from his determination to get educated. During those days education was rare, particularly for rural Dalits, as only a few lucky were privileged to go to schools, schools being only a few in number.  His will to succeed brought laurel when he passed his M.A. LL.B degrees with flying colures.  Parmanand was perhaps, one of  the first Dalits from J&K state to acquire such higher qualifications before 1958. He also appeared in the State Civil Services Examination1960, earning 9th position. During his student life, he was taking active part in politics particularly as a student leader. He was always ready to help and guide the needy students. His efforts earned scholarships to many students from his area & community and a hostel wing was added to GGM Sc. College Jammu Hostel exclusively for the Dalit students. He was inclined from the very beginning to politics. His strong will to become a public representative, won him his maiden elections from Ramgarh (reserved) constituency in 1962, general election. This was his first leap towards his chosen goal. He continued to win elections till 1990. He had the proud privilege to serve as Minister for various departments including transport, Local Bodies and Local Self Government, Housing, Power and Finance. Babu Ji Served as Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly when internationally  known Sher-e Kashmir sheikh Mohd. Abdulla was the Chief Minister. Due his  qualities of head and heart Babu Ji was appointed as Governor and he took the oath for the same    on 19th July 2000 in the Haryana Raj Bhawan Chandigarh
   on 6th May 1962 Babu ji got married to  Sudesh Kumari, daughter of Lala Munshi Ram of Jalandhar town of Punjab Lala Munshiram was a well to do sports businessman, who had migrated from Sailkot (Now  in Pakistan ) to India during 1947 turmoil. Babu Ji was blessed with two equally brilliant sons.
 Babu Ji served on different political and social organizations viz. Organizer Depressed Classes league, Founding President of J&K unit of Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Akademi, Indian National Congress, the National Conference and Bhartiya Janta Party etc. He served as director to various banks. He had close contacts with Babu Jagjivan Ram, Sher-e Kashmir sheikh Mohd. Abdulla, Dr K.R. Narayan and Giani zail Singh  both Presidents of India, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, General K.V. Krishna Rao ( Retd) ,G.C. Sexsena, Dr. Farooq Abdulla Dr. Karan Singh and a host of other Indian leaders, administrators, jurists, religious heads of different religions etc.
       Babu Ji started fortnightly news paper “The Voice of the Depressed”. He wrote editorials which were acclaimed as best of his times. While launching the voice of the Depressed Babu Ji wrote “The voice of the Depressed will give coverage to programmes and schemes floated for the benefit of people living below poverty line, welfare of Sc’s/ST’s, OBC, small farmers, village artisans, landless, shelter less, unemployed, and living in bad pockets. It shall work as watch dog to proper and full utilization of funds earmarked for poverty alleviation, provision of employment and failures of administration. The paper shall try to provide feed up of ground work and ground realities so that the authorities can take cognizance and apply corrective measures”.
 Only three points  will do:-
 While writing in The Voice of the Depressed dated December15th, 1997, he elaborately dealt with the developmental activities being carried on in India. He mentioned about the various development programmers being carried by the Governmental agencies for the intended benefits of the deprived and neglected section of the Indian Society. Starting with the launching of Community Development Programme (CDP) on 2nd October,1952 the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Babu Ji counted almost all welfare programs launched till 1997. He narrated that Indra Gandhi launched twenty Point Programme to remove poverty and improve the economic lot of the common man. Indra Awas Yoj( IAY) in1983 and Jawahar Rozgar Yojna ( JRY) with great fanfare. This was followed by Fifteen Point Programme welfare of the minorities formulated in May1983 and launched subsequently by Rajiv Gandhi and V.P Singh. Then P.V. Narsimha Rao launched from Red Fort Social Security Schemes and Mid day Meals. When H.D. Devgwda held the Government of India reigns, he decided to implement Common minimum Programme consisting of 11 Points. He also announced provision of the rations at half the rates to the families living below the poverty line. Babu Ji further counted  other programmes launched like Panchayati Raj Institutions, Hill Area Development Programme, Small  farmers Development agency, Marginal Farmers and Agriculture Labourers Programme, Draught Prone area Programme,Deseret Development Programme, Applied Nutrition Programme, Land Reforms , Tribal Area Development Programme, Pilot Intensive Rural Employment ProjectIntegrated Rural Development Programme, National Ex. Rural Employment Programme, Training for Self Employment Of Rural Youth, Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas, National Social Assistance Programme, Intensive Jawahar Rozgar Yojna, Million Well Scheme, Integrated Waste Land Development Project, Employment Gaurantee Scheme, Revamped Public Distribution System.
While commenting on the achievement of the set goals through these various programmes, Babu Ji  expressed” But unfortunately all these programmes and schemes have failed to remove poverty, illiteracy,unemployment,hungerand disease, and the general view is that about 70 crores of the Indians are still suffering from economic slavery and are denied proper education, proper food and clothing and reasonable shelter.-------------------- none of the twenty points, fifteen points, eleven points Programmes have removed the poverty and the common man is not in a position to get even basic amenities of life much less true independence from hunger, shelter and  unemployment.”. Babu Ji continued to further write in his paper “ The funds allocated for these programmes and schemes are misused for want of impartial identification of the real beneficiaries at the village level and major part of the these allotments is shared by various agencies connected with the preparation and implementation of these programmes and schemes. Only 20% money has reached the real beneficiaries and the rest is pocketed by the government machinery, banks/financial institutions and contractors/ favorites of the political bosses in power”. Babu Ji in his write up gave thought to the causes of failure of these programmes and schemes. The multiplicity of schemes by creating various layers of execution often complicates the execution by making the system cumbersome. The same invariably creates problems during the execution of schemes. The number of such schemes being directly supervised or implemented through the office of the District Magistrate (DM) or the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) wherein DM has significant role in ensuring proper implementation of these schemes is endless.  This single handed supervision it self over loads the DM’s work load. The DM’s remain involved in the law and order problems and host of other functions assigned to them, so the implementation of  welfare and development  schemes suffer.
 He wrote in detail in the same columns “ The lack of seriousness by political leaders and bureaucrats charged with the implementation of these programmes and schemes shows that these were meant only to boost the image of the men in authority rather than bettering the lot of the deprived, exploited and unprivileged  population of India.. The talk of removing poverty through these points and growth rate has failed to rid the vast majority from hunger, disease, unemployment and poverty. He said. if it has not happened in fifty years, another fifty years may not  also solve these problems. It is a common knowledge that Judging the futility of slogans raised and promised made during the launch of every new Programme and scheme, which ultimately failed to achieve the desired goals, he clearly mentioned only three points Programmes and gave the key to achieve the welfare goals for the deprived, neglected, diseased, illiterate, poverty ridden Indian population from the mess. He suggested these three points as
1)    Education to all by the end of this century (which has already lapsed) with one syllabus for all irrespective of caste, creed or religion and one rate of school fees for both public and private schools. 
2)     Land and House to the landless in rural areas.
3)    Job to jobless            
  Babu Parmanand Ji also gave some guide lines for the success of these points stressing the need to show professionalism by  persons and agencies engaged in implementation of schemes and programmes in dealing with the problems of the masses which is ultimate problem of  prosperity and wellbeing of India. He advises to the politicians and officers to be true to the salt and prove by actions true to the sacred oath to work for the wellbeing of all irrespective of caste, creed, sex, religion, region of the beneficiaries. Babu Ji   further wrote in his article “The poor man has survived  by dint of his  physical labour and if he is equipped with knowledge and means, he will improve his condition on his own. Merit is no body’s monopoly and if equal opportunities of education are provided to all, every body shall know his merit. He continued and wrote saying if a student of Jehanabad District in Bihar and Kalhandi Distt in Orissa ( Condition of Jammu and Kashmir Rural area schools is no better) to compete with a student of Covent School in Delhi or Bombay( Mumbai) is a shear mockery and joke with the poor man apart from being inhuman and tyrant “. Babu Parmanand wrote that to ensure the dignity of an individual in a caste ridden society of rural India is a moot point. He suggested that to achieve the dignified life style of an Indian in the rural area, he needs to be given a minimum quantum of land depending upon the fertility of land in each state. This should be done through legislation or budgetary provisions for the purchase of the land or persuasion of landlords. If not done at the earliest, nation should be prepared to hear more tragedies like Jehanabad in Bihar. One cannot absolve always under the cover of conspiracy. Babu Parmanand wrote that the main hurdles in attainment of dignity and prosperity to lacs of Indian poor are:
1.      Lack of education
2.       Lack of means of production ( and land is the mainstay in rural India).
3.       Lack of Job.
 While winding up the article dated December15th, 1997, Babu Ji wrote “Unless and until, a family is recognized as a unit of development in India, it will be impossible to increase  his income and make him self reliant and truly independent”.
     The above said commentary of Babu Parmanand on the half hearted efforts initiated for the poverty elimination can neither succeed nor have so far succeeded as the required will, sincerity, commitment and professionalism of executors is lacking. One can refer to the warning given by Dr Ambedkar while winding up debate on adopting of the Indian Constitution. He has said that the quality of the Constitution of a country is governed by the quality and commitments of those who are to get it implemented. If the persons turn out be good even a bad constitution shall prove good and if the quality of the persons (politicians, administrators, policy planners included) happens to be bad even a very good constitution shall turn out to be bad. In India administration is manned by majority persons who are more committed to their respective  projected religions than to the country. They are pro status quo which goes against the spirit of Democratic governance. The sooner we change this mind set the better it shall for the bright future of India. Mahatma Gandhi has said “India lives in Villages” realizing that villages are mine houses for supply of cheap laborers and workers necessary for prosperous future of India. But his Political descendents under the intoxication of political power visited village folks during elections only to seek their vote blessings and to forget them there after till next elections. Even communists and other political parties under the control of vested interests including money minded upper castes did only lip service to the poor and downtrodden. Dr Ambedkar realized Indian Labour potentialities and so said in December, 1942 while writing his broadcast speech for AIR Bombay “The country needs a lead and the question is who can give this lead. I venture to say that labourer is capable of giving to the country lead it needs-----“.( Dr Ambedkar writings and speeches vol 10, jacket writing)
Babu Ji left his mortal frame after a year long ailing on 24 th April 2008 leaving behind in tears his lacs of workers, sympathizers, two equally brilliant sons, four grand children and his wife. The best tributes to Babu Parmanand a Dogra Rattan is to continue his crusade against the exploitation and deprivation of the poor and downtrodden millions of this great country by providing them equal opportunities and not alms of mercy. Treat them as equal citizens which are possible only by getting implemented with open fair mind all welfare rules and schemes framed for them.
 This author  had association with Babu Parmanand for five decades.
Dated 14-09-2014          Words:-2330

                                                                          Er. H.R.Phonsa 

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