Monday, June 1, 2020

Amar Shaheeed Bhagat Amarnath J&K, UT,India Reservation Hero

Amar Shaheeed Bhagat Amarnath ( 27th Sep.1918-1st June 1970)                           
  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 inhuman sanctions against their own religion brethren classified as Shudras(both touchable and untouchables) , now clubbed 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 as defined by Baba Sahib Dr .B.R. Ambedkar. The British slaves got freedom in 1947 & their slaves are still striving to gain it. 
 Although the reservation in services for the S/C’s, S/T’s was effected from 1944 and with the enactment of the Indian Constitution it was  this right was voted to be enforceable by Law. However it remained elusive in J&K state as long as 1970. So in J&K state revolt against this was raised. A deputation of Megh Samaj met the Glaxy Commission in 1931. This commission was formed by Maharaja Hari Singh to study the reasons of unrest prevailing in the state and also to make recommendation for their redressal. The commission    suggested to give proper share to Kashmiri Muslims in the employment but remained illusive fot thr rights of Harians as the untouchable were then address. Jagat Ram Aryan was nominated to Praja Sabha in 1932,he  put forth demands of welfare of his people narrating their condition as most deplorable . These efforts succeeded in getting some relief as opening of entry to  Hindu temples to Harijans( Now SCs), admission of their children in schools with grant of Scholar ships to school going  children,banning of seprate sitting in schools of Harijan students. But no respite was given in services to these slaves to the British Slaves.  Later Babu Milkhi Ram joined the team of Dalit leaders. For the first time the Dalits in J&K organized fast unto death thrice, first at Chhan Rorian in 1955 in Parade Ground &third time in Karan Park Jammu in 1957, against excesses being perpetuated on them by upper caste peoples and government under their control. A large number of Dalits participated in these fasts and processions. It is said 165 pounds of Dalit Blood was lost for the noble cause of Dali emancipation in J&K State in fasts. After the agitations, fast unto death in 1955 to 1957 Dalits succeeded to win on their own  Marh ( Reserved) Assembly Election in 1957 under the banner of Harijan Mandal.  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 orders in 1969 and 1970. This struggle continued for 63 years in one form or the other & finally J&K Legislature passed law in 2004 giving legal teeth to the Rules of Reservation in services by issuing Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 Dated19/23 March, 2004  .
                                         Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath son of soil, Bhagat Amarnath was born on Friday the   27th Sep.1918 at village Champa near Batote Tehsil. Ramban Distt Udhampur   ( Now Ramban ) in a  Bhagat or Megh family now one of the Recognized  Scheduled Castes. His parents were respected Shri Moti Ram and Shrimati  Janki  Devi. After completing his school education up to 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. The coupe  was blessed with a son and a daughter. His family including his wife still lives at Champa .He resigned from the Govt. job and joined social service. He joined Congress party and was elected as Congress Block President and later was made theDistrict Secretary of this party.  To fulfill his dreams of uplifting and betterment  of the depressed classes educationally, socially, economically, he came to Jammu from his native place with  this  explicit motive, and to secure justice for Dalit Samaj of J&K in particular and country in general. He worked in Bhartiya Depressed Classes league, an all India Origination founded in 1935 by Babu Jagjivan Ram a union Minister and later Deputy Prime Minister. This organization as unit of INC had spread its wings all over India for the welfare of the depressed classes’ peoples.  Bhagat Amar Nath was made President of this Organization for J&K with HQ on Jogi gate Road Shahidi Chowk Jammu. This party General Secretary was Chodhary  Guran Ditta  Mal an MLA and Vice Chairman of S/C’s Welfare Board. All other Dalit leaders including M.L.A’s Ministers of J&K were its office bearers. A Weekly Urdu News Paper named “PASMANDGI” was started from Jammu to raise 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 Parade ground Jammu which was presided over by Babu Jagjivan Ram and was attended by over 20,000 peoples. Besides  Babu Jagjivan Ram, Bhagat  Amarnath, Pandit Trilochan Dutt  also addressed the gathering. Bhagat Amaranth spoke forcefully pleading for granting due rights to the Depressed Classes persons in recruitments and promotions in services, grant of scholarships to the deserving students up to all levels of education including university level, stopping  illegal  dislocation of small farmers from their rightful possession and many more problems faced by common people.
      Bhagat ji created a close  contact  with Jammu based Dalit viz. Babu Parmanand, Babu Milkhi Ram, Bhagat chajju Ram, Bhagat Chajju Ram, Mahasha  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 Amaranth was earlier Kabir Panthi and later was initiated as follower of Radha Soami Satsang Beas. He was a complete vegetarian and abstained from any type of intoxicants.
 Despite issue of G.O No 252-GD of 1969 dated 3-2-1969 and Govt. Notification No 37 GR of 1970 dated 28th April 1970  for providing reservation in services for the SC’s , ST’s and OBC’s the state Govt. was still reluctant to implement the reservation rules in services in letter and spirit  . Bhagat  Amar Nath took it very serious and a comprehensive note on the ill-conceived intention of the state Govt.  Containing detailed demands was submitted to the State govt. by him . When the State government failed to give positive respond, he intensified his nonstop agitation in the entire Jammu province by leading many processions, demonstrations, public meetings for the expeditious redressal of core issue including reservation in services . An ultimatum with deadline was given to state Govt. to take remedial measures soon else he shall go for fast unto death. When convinced that the state government was not taking his threats seriously he under took fast unto death.

        Bhagat  Amarnath Ji   voluntarily offered himself for the supreme sacrifice and resolved to also  observe silence . Subsequently Bhagat Ji  sat on fast unto death on 21-05-1970  in Karan park in front of civil secretariat. A day before 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 drastic  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 smiles in their hearts”.
  His health condition deteriorated so he was shifted to SMGS Hospital Jammu.Despite best  efforts by prominent physician of that time Dr. Manhas, Bhaderwahi, the condition continued to worsen. Bhagat sahib refused to take any medical treatment and this son of the soil achieved martyrdom on the 1st June 1970. His supreme sacrifice for the cause of the Scheduled Castes reservation and other problems forced the government to make consorted efforts to implement rules for reservation in services for the SC’s , ST’s and OBC’s.. Martyrdom of Bhagat Amar Nath in 1970   proved final blow to hurdles in providing Reservation in Services in J&K State. However Act to give the Reservation sound legal footing is services for SCs, STc, OBCs  was issued vide Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 Dated19/23 March, 2004. But with the subsequent developments in the J&K State( Now UT) and country as whole the reservation in Promotion in services,roster systems  changed from University posts to department wise posts, admission  in  Higher and technical education have been changed drastically mostly to the disadvantage to the Reserved Caste beneficiteries.  The promise made in the parliament while truncating  Article 370 of Indian Constitution in November 2019 thet now Central Rules shall be applicable in full in J&K UT ,have proven  hoax. The reservation in the central services is 15%, 7.5 % and 27% respectively for SCs, STs. and OBCs as promised to be made applicable in J&K, UT and this right have been denied to reserved category emloyes of J&K, UT.

Amar Sheed Amar Nath’s name shall go in the History of Martyrs for the cause of Rights of Dalits in India.  Bhagat Amarnath’s family with his wife Smt.  Shanti Devi  lives in their native place Champa, Batote Tehsil/Distt. Ramban J&K ( UT). Bhagat Ji’s daughter Smt. Chanchala Bhagat lives in Rajinder Nagra Ban Talab Jammu and is engaged in social work. A memorial in the form of a bust of Shaheed Amarnath ji  has been installed in Karan Park opposite to main gate of Civil Secretariats Jammu. Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath ji shall be long remembered  for his life sacrifice for the good cause of his Dali Samaj.

  Words: 1745                                                                  Er. H.R. Phonsa, Jammu

   Dated: 30-05-2020                                        E Mail Mob +919419134060)

 References:- 1. Bhagat Amarnath’s personal details received from Bhagat Amarnath’s daughter

                                  Smt. Chanchala Bhagat

                               2. Many details are known to the writer as he had association with the National Hero Bhagat  Amarnath Ji          

                                   During his stay at Jammu?  This writer used to contribute articles in the “ Pasmandgi “

                                   Paper on life of Baba Sahib  Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s life and works


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