Sunday, March 18, 2018


An enlarged and updated.

(His 84th birthday is falling on 15th March, 2018) 

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. 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 Shudras( both untouchable S/C’s ,ST’s and touchable OBC’s)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 Divine 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 cows could enter houses of the Upper Caste Hindus but not Untouchables. Birds and animals cold take water from the village tanks and bathe there but not the untouchables untouchable 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 work for the welfare of the dominating upper castes. If anybody raised any alarm against this in- human treatment to their fellow men, he was done away with.
Revered Kanshi Ram belonged to Hindu untouchable caste named Chamar ,who had convered to Sikhism. In India the chamras had nearly 1156 sub castes in 1891AD and 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. Even now chamars are substantial in numbers in all parts of India. Saints like Guru Ravidas, Guru Maluk Das, Guru Ghasidas Chokhamela, Gurdeep Giri, brave martyrs of Sikh History like Bhai Jiwan Singh Rangreta, Amar Shaheed Udham Singh, great politicians like Mangoram Magowalia, Ch.ChandRam Ex.Union Minister, 10 Indian K.R Narayana,  ever first Chief Minister of any Indian State D.Sanjiyya, Bangla War winner and Dy. Prime Minister Babu Jagjivan Lal, four time CM of largest Indian state UP Behan Mayawati , Nanak Chand Rattu the chamar who served free Baba Sahib Dr. B. R. Ambedkar for over 17 years, Living  legends of Baba Sahib Dr. B. R. Ambedkar equality  movement K.C.Sulekh, Sangpriya Goutam and many more belong to Chamars. In J&K State Babu Milkhi Ram, Babu Parmanand, Jagjivan Lal,  Tilak Raj Atri, Retd Chief Secretary Shri B.R. Kundal, Chaman Lal Banal IPS,  First J&K Cardiologist Brig.S.D.Karloopia, many eminent doctors, engineers, social, political & administrative peers are from Chamars . In Indian Parliament & Vidhan Sabha Chamars are present in large number even now. Present day saints from Chamar communities have large followings. Many Chamars 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 father & mother Shrimati Bishan Kour of village Khawaspur ( Pirthipur Banga) in Rupnagar District of Punjab State. He was one of the seven children of his parents. In his family, he was the only graduate with B. Sc degree. He joined service in High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), then became part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Pune. During his tenure in the DRDO in 1965 he joined the agitation started by SCEWASTAMB (All India Federation of Scheduled Caste/Tribes Backward Class & Minorities Employees Welfare Associations) of Government of India to prevent the abolition of a holiday commemorating B. R. Ambedkar's birthday. It was after he joined the struggle against the abolition of Ambedkar's birthday as a holiday, in 1965, that his career in the fight for the oppressed communities started. Here he came in contact with one Dheema Vana, a suspended class IV Dalit employee of his office and B.D.Khobragade another Dalit luminary who demanded Holiday on the birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar. Dheema Vana had a stanch faith & love for Dr. Ambedkar. Taking cues from Dheema Vana and B.D.Khobragade Kanshi Ram studied the entire caste system and the works of Ambedkar closely. It is said he read “Annihilation Of Caste” several times in single night preparing grounds to help the oppressed rise from the ditches they were tossed into.. He 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 single handedly awakened in Dalits a sense of empowerment .He declared Dalit Samaj his family, all Dalit women his sisters & all Dalit men his brothers To escape from family life commitments and bonds he vowed to remain bachelor through out his life & not to acquire any property in his name. 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 & breath of India on his bi- cycle along with his trusted lieutenants a record for any Indian politician.
Kanshi Ram was a great political, social mobilizer, he understood values of self-respect & collective wisdom of Dalit communities to gain political power and 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, 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. Mr. Jyoti Basu worked to see that all Bahujan participants got train tickets and returned safely to their distinations.
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 shoe beating)|” He explained that elite class which spreads hatred and 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. This slogan devised by him was based on conviction and not hate for any body,profession or trade persons. He explained to his fellow men to be strong and courageous as “Only lambs are made sacrificial animals not lions”.
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, slept on floor. On the night of 3rd & 4th April 1984, he was found sleeping on the bare 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 the Delhi’s political crown the seat of power, much has to done to strengthen the 85% Bahujan Samaj comprising of SCs, STs, OBCs and converted minorities . To achieve this they should own a strong media of their own, 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.
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. 1978 & then prepared them to launch their 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. Thereby 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 Nationwide third position of political Parties of India. This left 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 manoeuvrability 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 Sabha 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 ) and 20 nos(15th). Party 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 4th time , but alas after the sad demise of Sahib. But in 16th Lok Sabha elections the party was again reduced to Zero, when his party deviated from the goals set by Shri Kanshi Ram.
During the period of 25 years since the formation of BSP, the INC Govt programs of multinationalism & 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, have 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 Nationalist’s doctrine for which Kanshi Ram shall be long remembered.
His 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 fatal. He was shifted to New Delhi Batra Hospital 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 18-09-2003
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.). 
Unfortunate for the country  in general and Dalit Samaj in particular  Sahib Kanshi Ram’s dreams to get  equality and fraternity  dreams of Baba Sahib fulfilled  seems a distant dream. In a span of only 12 years from the death of  Sahib his  comrades and masters of his political soul BSP  seem to have forgotten the ideals dear to Sahib Kanshi Ram .His party & comrades are able to keep the Dalit masses united, to realize the dreams of sahib who achieved it with life long labour of sufferings. His comrades  are slipping away  from his ideals for their small personnel gains.  Unity of Dalit masses have struck  between short term personnel gains and long term goals of united Dalit masses. Personnel gains, which was to be warded off Dalit politics has taken roots among the Dalit leaders. Personality clash is the order of the day in Dalit politics.  Eyeing personnel gains and so Politics of Chamchagiri has brought ruins to the Dalit cause, so said Sahib. But alas in a span of 12 years his party is not only fast loosing set principles and so political strength. The BSP‘s relevance has got reduced to UP state only with its less caring for other Indian states. In UP Vidhan Sabha Elections in  its fort BSP the ruling party with 209 seats in 2007 had to satisfy with only 19 seats in 2017. In Parliament 2014 elections this party  obtained big ZERO against its strength of 21 MP’s in 2009 elections. In J&K the party had won 4 seats and now losing relevance without any representations in the state Assembly. The BSP bosses shall have to rethink and rededicate to the cause for which the party was formed in 1984. Sticking to set principles should be more concern of the party functionaries than nearness to political power. One can survive with out power but not without principles.
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram shall be long remembered for his visionary saying “ NUMBERS, NOT VOILANCE SHOULD BE 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 as a principled human.
Words 2778
Dated 14-03-2018
Jammu Er. H.R. Phonsa
Retd. Executive Engineer Contact or 09419134060

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