In the line of duty – Paying back to the society
I am a retired diplomat, back to my roots in Jalandhar after a long 40 years of service. The purpose of my coming back to Jalandhar was to engage myself with the community and the society at large with a sense of ‘paying back’ to the society in a humble way. I engaged
myself in educational and socio-cultural consultative pursuits in helping the common man in their day to day difficulties or work with government and non-government agencies particularly pertaining to the Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Diplomatic Missions abroad. I have a feeling of satisfaction that I could do my humble bit in this regard over the years. I must thank my junior and senior colleagues in the IFS fraternity and my friends otherwise who always extended a helping hand and listened to my, off and on, requests and submissions. I am confident that we would continue, in the line of duty, to mutual satisfaction in the days to come. INSHALLA.
In this process, I would like to mention two of my latest initiatives which I have taken to pay my debt of gratitude to the persons who did a lot for the community towards empowerment of the weaker sections of the society:1. Recognition and honour to Babu Manguram Mugowalia and Gurdas Ram Alam – I wrote to Hon’ble Minister of Education of Punjab, Sardar Pargat Singh to honour the two important icons of dalit communities, both greatest sons of Punjab, by naming
school/college in their respective native places in Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar. My letter dated October 18 is appended below for information and perusal. Babu Manguram Mugowalia, a Ghadrite Baba and founder of the Ad-dharam Movement was a leader by his own right. He stood and fought against social
|Gurdas Ram Alam|
2. Due and much needed support to Dalit Media – There is a saying in Punjabi – “Ganji Ne Naona Ki Te Nichodna Ki” (A bald person not to worry about washing his or her head as there is nothing or no hairs to dry). There is hardly any dalit media as such and dalits are conspicuously absent from the mainstream national media in India. The dalit voices, as usual, go unheard which is a negation of democracy which we boast of rightly or wrongly. Over the last decade or so, I have come across two media organs – The Desh Doaba, a Punjabi Weekly and The Ambedkar Times, an English
Weekly being published from California in the USA. The Editor-in-Chief of these mouth-pieces of the weaker sections of the society conforming to the legacy of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Babu Manguram Mugowalia, Manyawar Kanshi Ram among others and also the flag bearer of the lofty ideals of Guru Ravidass and the great Sikh Gurus, Prem Chumber is the scion of the famous Chumber family of Jalandhar. His elder brother, Late C.L. Chumber, a community activist was an associate of Manayawar Kanshi Ram who launched
|With CL Chumber releasing the Quomi Uddarian|
and run “Qoumi Uddarian” in 1980s in Jalandhar. It is a matter of satisfaction that both the Desh Doaba and the Ambedkar Times, in the face of all odds, could stand up and got accepted by the Indian Diasporas in the Americas and beyond and also in India as secular and free & fair rag-tags without any governmental or administrative support. With a view to support these dalit media mouth-pieces, I wrote a letter to Hon’ble CM of Punjab, Sardar Charanjit Singh Channi for listing these publications for the Punjab Government advertisements not as a special favour but along with others as and when any occasion arises. Unfortunately, till now no government thought of doing this which may be seen as discriminatory. Let us hope someone listens to these submissions with an open mind. My letter dated October 18, 2021 to Hon’ble CM Charanjit Channi may be seen at Appendix -2.
My immediate motivation to write and take these initiatives was informal and friendly suggestions made by one of my close friend, Prof. Ronki Ram of Punjab University, a renowned commentator on
|Dr. Ronki Ram|
3. April 14, birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar as International Day of Equality – I have been writing about the proposed International Day of Equality repeatedly in my blogs. This initiative is still to see light of the day. PM Narendra Modi’s government is blissfully silent on the issue. The SC Members of
Parliament and Ministers are behaving as if they did not hear of Ambedkar though in the run up to grabbing important positions they always claimed that they were the flag-holder of Ambedkar and his legacy. It is a matter of regret. I have no doubt in my mind that Ambedkar himself is such a potent force that the proposal on International Day of Equality will surge on its own sooner than later. Nevertheless, we would do our best to awake the sleeping decision makers from their slumber and honour the greatest son of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar.
अकेले ही चले थे जानिबे मंजिल;
लोग साथ आते गए और कारवां बनता गया।
Appendix - 1
October 18, 2021
Dear Minister Sardar Pargat Singh ji,
I am writing this on a matter of public interest and importance pertaining to Departments of Education under your charge.
You may be knowing about two important and renowned personalities of Punjab – i) Babu Manguram Mugowalia (1886-1980) of Village Mugowal in Garhshankar in the district of Hoshiarpur, a Ghadrite Baba and Founder of Ad-Dharam Movement in the mid-1920s and ii) Gurdas Ram Alam (1912-1989) of Village Bundala (near Gorayan) in district of Jalandhar, a literary personality and a poet of standing and also a social activist. Both these personalities are the icons of dalit communities on not only Punjab but also India and beyond. There is a lingering feeling in the community that these sons of the soil have not been given their due by the ruling dispensations so far. May be the time has come to consider and honour Babu Manguram Mugowalia and Gurdasram Alam Sahib. My proposal in this regard is that schools/colleges in and around their respective villages may be named after them to recognize their contribution to the society. It will be a befitting gesture which would also send a right and positive message to the younger generations of their respective areas under your guidance and stewardship as the Hon’ble Minister of Education of Punjab. More information on these great sons of Punjab, if required, may be provided for your kind perusal.
I am confident, Sir, my humble submissions in this regard will find due and fair consideration.
With personal regards,
Sardar Pargat Singh,
Minister of Education, Sports and NRI Affairs,
Copy to: Shri Krishan Kumar, Secretary, Departments of Higher Education, Sports and NRI Affairs, Chandigarh
Appendix - 2
October 18, 2021
Respected Chief Minister Sir,
I am writing this on an issue of public interest and concern for your information and consideration as the Minister for Information and Public Relations also. You are fully aware, Sir, that media is an important organ of a democratic polity. Unfortunately, due to obvious reasons of caste based discriminations and economic deprivations which require no elaboration, dalits could not get due share in the media setup of the country. It also goes without saying that in the absence of media organs, the concerns and interests of the community are generally ignored or sidelined.
With this brief background of which you are well aware, I venture to request you some help by way of official advertisements to two of the established media organs of the community – The Desh Doaba Weekly in Punjabi and the Ambedkar Times Weekly in English being published by Editor-in-Chief Prem Chumber from California in the USA for the last more than a decade. It is a matter of satisfaction that intellectuals like Prof Ronki Ram of Punjab University Chandigarh, your alma mater, are helping Prem Chumber both formally and informally to carry forward the caravan of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Babu Mangoo Ram Mugowalia, Babu Jagjivan Ram, Babu Kanshi Ram and also Guru Ravidass, Satguru Kabir and the great Sikh Gurus to bring about much needed harmony in the society. I am told that in the past Punjab Government had been giving advertisements to some other publications abroad but not to the Desh Doaba and the Ambedkar Times. More details on these esteemed media organs managed and run by Prem Chumber Sahib, a dedicated professional, may be obtained from their respective websites: www.deshdoaba.com and www.ambedkartimes.com
I am also endorsing copies of this letter to Chief Editor Prem Chumber and Prof Ronki Ram for information and pursuance, if required.
They may also get in touch with your high office. I am confident, Sir, that my submissions will be considered in a positive light and your much needed support will be forthcoming. We count on you. With a view to introduce myself, I am attaching herewith my brief profile for your perusal.
With personal regards.
Sardar Charanjit Singh Channi,
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab
i) Shri Hussan Lal, IAS, Principal Secretary to Hon’ble CM
ii) Prof. Ronki Ram, Punjab University, Chandigarh
iii) Chief Editor Prem Chumber