( Remembering Sahib Ji on His 86th birthday fall on 15th March, 2017)
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram came on the Indian political scene in mid Eighties of Twentieth century nearly two decades after the sad demise of Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the Father of Indian Constitution and a great democrat the oppressed world have ever produced. The most important factors providing field for Kanshi Ram were P.V. Narasimha Rao’s go ahead orders to Dr.Manmohan Singh his Finance Minister to initiate the new economic order coupled with Sang Parivar’s assault on the secular order. These along with ignoring Constitutional and human rights of Minorities provided enough grounds to take the cause of the majority population, consisting of poverty ridden Mulnivasi Dalits and minorities, who were eager to find solution to their hard ships. Had Kanshi Ram not provided resistance against the politically motivated policies of Congress and BJP the Secular Democratic fibber of Indian Constitution might have been damaged beyond repairs? Kanshi Ram met these challenges by pure democratic means. He carved a space in the Indian polity purely by dint of his hard labour, clear vision by becoming one with the common man. Since Kanshi Ram had personally experienced poverty and religious hatred , so he wanted to apply solacing balm on Dalit wounds of inhuman treatments to ignored population on Indian soil. Kanshi Ram was convinced that existing status quo was against Dalits empowerment and the best way to smash it was democratic means as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. For this ,political enlightenment of the Dalit masses was needed in a big way. So he used Democratic tools provided in the Indian Constitution by Baba Sahib Ambedkar for empowerment of Dalit masses including poverty ridden Indian population.
Kanshi Ram knew well that the struggle for equality of status & opportunity for the Shudra, Ati Shudra, and Untouchables is as old as the history of Hinduism, claimed to be one of the oldest religions of the world. He was convinced that the inter religious, inter country and inter society domination struggle & hate is seen world over. But hate with in a religion for their own religion people is practiced only in Hindus. The Hindus were divided into four segments under the Hindu Religious laws each having no meeting point, despite the facts that they belonged to the same religion. The Hindus laid claims to possess most ancient knowledge books of the world, but show no mercy towards their religious downtrodden brethren. The fourth segment of the Hindus named Untouchables were forbidden to mix with other upper segments called Brahmins (Learned), Khatriyas (warriors) and Vaishs ( Business, farming persons). Each set of segregated peoples belonging to Hindus were governed by different set of rules having strict religious sanctions under Hindu Religious code “ Manu Smiriti”, proclaimed to have Devine sanction. In these codes& stories devised from time to time to suit needs of Upper castes, untouchables were degraded to standards even below than that of animals. The dogs, the cats, the snakes, the crows the crows could enter houses of the Upper Caste Hindus but not Untouchables. Birds and animals could take water from the village tanks and bathe there but not the untouchables humans. This continued for centuries and all Merciful Hindu Gods & Goddesses equipped with all types of dreaded weapons did not come to the rescue of the helpless and weak Untouchables, although untouchables too worshiped them with full devotion. The Hindus show lip service to all humanity but practically worked for the welfare of the dominating upper castes only. If any body raised any alarm against this in- human treatment to their fellow men, he is not tolrated. He was convinced that solution to these problems lay in Democracy and not in religion based reforms organizations. As the religion based organizations strengthen religion fiber which works against the democratic spirit. Dr. Ambedkar the father of Indian Constitution has said that for the success of democracy in India religious demon will have to be tamedfirst. The Constitution Of India granted right of Adult Franchise i.e. right to vote irrespective of religion, race, caste, creed, sex. This mantra of “One vote, One adult Individual” To every Indian adult was found by Kanshi Ram as a missile to achieve his goals of equality and fraternity.
Revered Kanshi Ram belonged to Hindu untouchable caste named Chamar. Chamars the who worship and follow ideals of Sri Guru Ravidas follow the Principle of “ Hath Carr Vall tey Dil Yaar Vall” meaning remain attending your duty or work while your attention is attached to God Almighty. So no body from Chamar caste has been seen as a beggar . Non Schedule languages in India has CHAMARI Language .In India the chamras had nearly 1156 sub castes in 1891AD who were spread all over India. As per the 1911 Indian censes the population of Brahmins stood at number one & Chamars at number two, where as Rajputs stood at number three. Chamars are largest in number in all Scheduled Castes. They live in all parts of India. As per estimates Chamars are nearly 17 crores in India.
Saints like Guru Ravidas, Guru Maluk Das,Guru Ghasidas Chokhamela, brave martyrs of Sikh History like Bhai Jiwan Singh Rangreta, ,Bhai Sant Singh Bhai Dharam Das Amar Shaheed Udham Singh, great politicians like Babu Jagjivan Lal Behan Mayawati,Seth Kishan Das<Choudhari Devi Lal,S Devi Singh,L.R.Bali and many more belong to Chamars. In J&K State Babu Milkhi Ram, Babu Parmanand, Jagjivan Lal, Tilak Raj Atri, Chaman Lal Banal, B.R. Kundal IAS are prominent among many eminent doctors, engineers, social, political & administrative peers are born as Chamars. In Indian Parliament &State Vidhan Sabhas Chamars are present in large number even now. Present day saints from Chamar communities Baba Ji Soami Gurdeep Giri of Patahankot, Baba Narinjan Das of Ballan( Jalander). have large followings Many Chamar have spread all over world countries proving their worth of head& heart.
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram was born on 15th March, 1934, to revered Shri Hari Singh & mother Shrimati Bishan Kour of village Khawaspur in Ropar District of Punjab State. He was one of the seven children of his parents. In his family, he was the only graduate. He joined service in Poona Defense Lab. Maharashtra. Here he came in contact with one Dheema Vana ( Now deceased), a suspended class IV Dalit employee of his office, who demanded Holiday on the birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar. Dheema Vana had a stanch faith & love for Dr. Ambedkar. After getting inspiration from Dheema , Kanshi Ram studied literature on & by Dr. Ambedkar It is said he read “Annihilation Of Caste” several times in single night. Here he came in contact with great Dalit luminary D.K.Khaparday (1939-2000) who was also serving in the Defence establishment . Sh. Kanshiram then resigned from service to carry forward, the mission of uniting millions of Dalits, bond them through brotherhood bonds reminding them of their centuries old slavery & suffering He shook them to wake from their deep slumber so as to consolidate them into a force to be reckon with. He along with D.K.Khaparday and Dheema Vana awakened in Dalits a sense of empowerment .After resigning from service Kanshiram declared Dalit Samaj his family, all Dalit women his sisters & all Dalit men his brothers, he vowed to remain bachelor through out his life & not to acquire any property in his name For pay back to society he bade good bye to his family, family life, family comforts for the sake of cutting slavery chains of his fellow brethren. This he kept as a Buddhist Monk’s word. He got converted to Buddhism to achieve the goal of making Dalit masses a united electoral force to acquire political power, he traveled through out the length &width of
on his bi- cycle along with his trusted lieutenants.
Kanshi Ram was a great political, social mobilizer; he understood values of self-respect & collective wisdom of Dalit communities to gain political power to use it to their advantage. During record breaking Bahujan Rally in Brigade ground Kolkata, the Bahujan participants were beaten mercilessly by the West Bengal Police under the command of Jyoti Basu then Chief Minister. Sahib instructed on telephone at
2 in the morning to his
workers of different state to stop all trains marching towards Kolkata. Soon
trains were reported stopped at different stations in different States by
Bahujan volunteers, many trains reached Kolkata late by hours. Mr. Jyoti Basu
telephoned Sahib in the evening at Delhi,
where Sahib had returned after the rally, and begged pardon for the brutal incident,
in which several Karyakartas were injured, some seriously. There after Mr Jyoti
Basu arranged special trains for the
Bahujan Rally participants for their return journey.
He coined value based slogans from time to time to give directions to Dalit masses; one such was “Jiski Jitni Sankhaya Bhari, uski utni Bhagidari”. Once he was asked to explain ,why he devised the slogan of “Tilak ( Mark on fore head used by Brahmins), Traju ( weighing scale used by business community) aur Talwar ( sword, used by Rajputs ,warriors), enko maro jutey char ( Give then four shoe beating)|” He explained that elite class which spreads hatred, ignorance for their personnel ends, business persons ,who indulge in undue profiting, adulteration, less weighting and warrior who use force against weak and helpless need be treated with shoe beating not the one who work for the welfare of the society. He explained to his fellow men to be strong and courageous as “Only lambs are made sacrificial animals not lions”
When Kanshi Ram observed that falsehood and corruption are eating up the democratic fiber of India ,he vowed to keep his image free of it. He lived and died as a commoner. He was perhaps one leader, who kept his promise, proved true to his words. He lived & died as a leader, with out any immoveable or moveable property, any bank account, house, land plot or flat in his name. To achieve his set goals, he lived as an ordinary Dalit, took meals in small hutments, wayside tabhas ( paid community kitchens), slept on floor. On the night of 3rd & 4th April 1984, he was found sleeping uncovered broken stone metal at Nagpur, where he had gone to inaugurate the Marathi daily newspaper “Bahujan Times” his dream project. Sh. Kanshi Ram was convinced that to capture Delhi’s political crown the seat of power, much has to done to strengthen the 85% Bahujan Samaj To achieve this they should own a strong media, as present vested interest median can only suppress and confuse his downtrodden masses. He used to keep awake for days & nights to equip him with literary knowledge, assimilate it into practical thoughts & to devise ways to use it for the advantage of his peoples, many of whom were ill fed, ill dressed, naked, illiterate, exploited and miss guided. Many vested persons and politicians leveled him as a leader of a small section of people, but Kanshi Ram worked for the well being of all. Since his tools for change lay in the downtrodden masses, so he had to organize them in a big way.
Those close to him tell how hard he worked to built up his first social & educative organization of employees of all SC’s, ST’s, OBC’s & minorities named BAMSEF on 6th Dec. 1976 along with D.K. Khaparday and Dheema Vana But later Kanshiram brokeaway from the other two .He got registered BAMCEF on 6th Dec. 1978 & then prepared to launch His Youth’s Sangarash Simiti “ DS-
4” on 6th Dec.
1981. To prepare solid ground to get rightful
share in political power, he launched his Bahujan Samaj Party on14th
April, 1984.Kashi Ram shook the conscious of those who are under represented in
our Parliamentary system and were craving for a change. There by he
consolidated masses to work for their own political organization BSP, many volunteered to work for BSP as “Mission Ka Kaam” His message was so
inspiring to his peoples, that once a BSP volunteer was always so. Due to Kanshi Ram’s political vision soon BSP
became a National Party & attained third position, leaving far behind many
political parties, who were formed decades earlier. The election winning spree flourished &
in UP assembly it won 66 seats out of 162 it contested in 1993. Kanshi Ram’s
political maneuverability made Behan Mayawati Chief Minister of UP thrice in
coalition with other parties, but he did not yield to undue pressure from other
coalition partners even at the cost of loosing CM’s. Gadi The graph of winning seats in Lok Saba
elections also rose dramatically from zero in ( 8th ) to 04 ( in 9th); 03 (in 10th );
11( in 11th ); 05 ( in 12th) 15nos( in 13th
& 14th ) Lok Saba His continuous efforts in this direction bore fruits
of winning clear majority in 2007in UP
Assembly elections with 208,in remaining 10 seats, standing Second and
out of lost 111 seats 60 seats with a margin of less than 5000 votes. Behan Mayawati,
now National President BSP was sworn in as Chief Minister of UP State with
clear majority, but alas after the sad demise of Sahib.
During the period of 22 years of BSP under Kanshiram, the INC Govt programs of multinationals & New Economic order under late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, or Rath Yatra Of Sh. LK Advani culminating in demolishing of Babri Masjid on 6th Dec 1992, could not sway away Dalits from Kanshi Ram’s Programme of gaining political power to have share in running the affairs of union of India. Credit goes to Kanshi Ram that Dalits having over 80 % Indian population forming SC’s, ST’s, OBC’s and other Minorities, did not challenged the Constitutional arrangements, avoided violence against the state or other ethnic groups. Kanshi Ram’s formula that numbers, not violence work in democratic India is a great Nationilst’s doctrine for which Kanshi Ram shall be long remembered.
Sahib Kanshi Ram’s love for the Nation is reflected in his love for the deprived section of the society which constitute over 85% of Indian population. He was not against any caste or class but against “ism” which spreads ill will among persons by their ill conceived techniques. Sahib was simple but unpredictable personality, he could go to any length to safeguard the interests of his Bahujan Samaj.
Like every one else, he had to leave the mortal frame of body, although it is painful for those who were left behind to bear the unbearable shock . Destiny player the same with Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram Ji . He was not keeping good health for quite some time, but the brain stroke he suffered in
Hyderabad during a meeting
on 15th March,
2003 proved fetal. He was shifted to and remained
under expert treatment for over three years. Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram declared
Behan Mayawati as his political heir & National President of BSP on New Delhi Batra
The unfortunate end of Sahib’s worldly journey came on
Monday the 9th October, 2006 at 12.
20 at 11, Hanuman Road
New Delhi, the official residence
of Behan Mayawati. National Personalities like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha
L.K. Advani. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Lalu Yadav, Ram
Vilas Paswan and other paid their homage to the Messiah of Dalits. His funeral
was attended by lacs and he was cremated at Nigam Bodh Ghat New Delhi on 9-10-2006. He left behind
his wish that his mortal remains be not immersed in any river but kept in BSP
Party HQ’s at Delhi & Lukhnow.
He qualified his death as per the hymn of Kabir Sahib “Jab Ham Aye Jagat Main, Jag Hansa Hum Roay, Asi Karni Kar Chaloo, Hum Hansain, Jag Roay” (On child’s birth, child cries but locality celebrates birth with joy, One must work for the good of the society, so that at the time of death the locality mourns but the person dieing feels joyous so sayeth Kabir.)
But by loosing UP miserably in the just concluded2017 Vidhan Sabha Elections and making no political headway else where the BSP political comrades who claimed heir- ship of Kanshi Ram have miserably failed to keep the Dalit masses united. They have failed to realize the dreams of sahib who achieved it with lifelong labour of sufferings. Sycophancy or Chamchagiri most disliked by Sahib Kanshiram have entrenched his comrades in a big way. Politics of Chamchagiri shall bring ruins to the Dalit cause, so said Sahib. In a span of 10 years after the death of Sahib Kanshiram BSP has lost its National Character, due egoistic behavior of those who claimed to be the sole saver of the ideology of Kanshi Ram
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram shall be long remembered for his visionary saying “ NUMBERS, NOT VOILANCE SHOULD RULE IN DEMOCRATIC INDIA” Dalits should win race to New Delhi Gadi by democratic means only, leaving no space for violence against any political or ethnic group. Dalits should live with spine up, so were the dreams of Sahib. As per the doctrine proclaimed by Guru Ravidas,Guru Kabir Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram qualified as a practical Darwesh, Sanyasi Gyanashwer, Tyagi, Yogi, Pundit ,a crusader for peaceful political ,social change and above all a human.
Retd. Executive Engineer