Thursday, October 21, 2021

In the line of duty – Paying back to the society

 

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
discrimination against dalits and sought ‘distinct identity’ for dalits as ‘Ad-dharmis’ (Moolniwasis) and also supported Babasaheb Ambedkar in his crusade in the Round Table Conferences for gaining due space in the political and socio-economic structures for the depressed and deprived people of India. Babu Manguram Mugowalia fully deserved greater recognition which did not happen. Let us hope the present dispensation in Punjab with well-meaning Ministers like Sardar Pargat Singh under the leadership of CM Sardar Charanjit Channi would listen to the public sentiments in this regard. Similarly, in the case of Gurdas Ram Alam, a people’s poet of the region certainly very much deserved greater recognition as a worthy son of the soil. Alam Sahib’s poetry revolves around life of a common man living in penury and social neglect. The beauty of his poetry lied in the fact, to my mind, that Alam Sahib said and explained high flown political dictums of the likes of Karl Marx in such a simple way which people could understand -  “Asin Vit To Baddu Deende Han; Sannu Lod Mutavik Milda Nahin” – it is the Punjabi version of Karl Marx’s famous dictum - “To each according to his need; From each according to his capacity”. Let us honour and recognize Alam Sahib and give his due before it is too late.

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
political and socio-cultural issues pertaining to dalit communities of Punjab. I take this opportunity to request and urge Prof. Ronki Ram ji and some of my friends who always tend to speak candidly on matters of concern and interest to the community to kindly endorse and support these submissions to honour two of our contemporary icons, Babu Manguram Mugowalia and Gurdas Ram Alam.

 

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,

Yours truly,

(Ramesh Chander)

Sardar Pargat Singh,

Minister of Education, Sports and NRI Affairs,

Chandigarh

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.

Yours truly,

(Ramesh Chander)

Sardar Charanjit Singh Channi,

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab

Chandigarh

 

Copy to:

i)                   Shri Hussan Lal, IAS, Principal Secretary to Hon’ble CM

ii)                 Prof. Ronki Ram, Punjab University, Chandigarh

iii)               Chief Editor Prem Chumber

 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Silent Burial of Affirmative Action – Reservation for Scheduled Castes

 

Silent Burial of Affirmative Action – Reservation for Scheduled Castes

It seems the ruling outfits of the day have decided consciously and rather willfully to give a silent burial to the affirmative measures – reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and also for


the OBCs thoughtfully stipulated and enshrined in the constitution of India by our fore-fathers led by Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Chief Architect of the Constitution. It is a matter of concern and worry. The concerned and affected people are watching it carefully and would tend to react and respond appropriately to check this fraud on the constitution and the social edifice of the society at large. The sooner it is realized the better it would be before it gets too late. The affirmative measures like reservations, of course, are temporary measures and would slowly go away with socio-economic development and progress of the beneficiaries that is SCs, STs and OBCs. The churning process to address the issue, involving the judiciary, executive, legislature, media and the civil society, is underway and would certainly result in amicable and just solution under our democratic polity though the main stream of the society is still lagging behind to understand the challenge and come out with a just and acceptable response. Duplicity of thinking and conduct in this regard, on the part of the currently governing outfits and social setups, is writ large with a wide gap in public pronouncements and equally opposite conduct on ground to address the issues. All the political parties are falling on each other to own the legacy of Babasaheb Ambedkar and Babu Kanshi Ram with an eye on the ‘vote bank’ of dalit communities and as such no one has the guts to oppose the reservation provisions for SC, STs and OBCs openly but on the other hand they are determined to abolish the reservations by administrative fraud and treachery with total disregard to the constitutional provisions and social needs to establish a casteless society and just social order. Obviously, the underlying current in the

affected communities i.e. Bahujan Samaj is of restlessness which is dangerous for the national unity and integrity. Our political and social leadership would ignore these ground realities at their own peril. The ground situation does not justify what PM Narendra Modi says, “Dalit reservation quota never suffered a scratch, yet lies are being spread to mislead people”

My immediate provocation to write this piece is the recruitment of 31 senior officers from the PSU’s etc. of the rank of Joint Secretary. Director and Deputy Secretary setting aside the laid down procedure to recruit through the Combined Civil Services Examination conducted by the UPSC as stipulated in the law and the relevant rules and regulations. This so-called lateral entry in the name of merit and specialization does not conform to the ‘affirmative measures’ of reservation for the socially weaker sections of the society namely SCs, STs and OBCs. It is a sheer, to my mind, fraud on the people. While the marginalized segments of the society demand reservation in the private sector, the administration is taking away the reservation provisions by recruiting to the senior echelons of the bureaucracy from the PSUs and private sector. How many SCs/STs/OBCs could make it to this famous lateral entry? I think not a single one. If it is not a fraud on the constitution and the people, then what is it? Can somebody explain?

Lateral entry means when personnel from the private sector are selected to an administrative post of the government without going through the normal procedure and recruitment norms which entail reservations as provided in the law. Obviously, it negates the provisions made for affirmative action to undo the injustice and discrimination meted out to the socially weaker sections of the society for centuries.

 This is mode of selection and appointment to senior positions is in vogue since the government decided to introduce the new system in February, 2017 as recommended by the Niti Aayog. A Joint Secretary, appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), has the third highest rank (after Secretary and Additional Secretary) in a Department, and functions as administrative head of a wing in the Department. Directors are a rank below that of Joint Secretary. The lateral entry not only defies the regulatory edifice to make to the higher echelons of the bureaucracy but also undermines the relevance and efficacy of the Combined Civil Services Examination of the UPSC.

What is the government’s reasoning for lateral entry? On July 4, 2019, Minister of State for DoPT Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha that “Government has, from time to time, appointed some prominent persons for specific assignments in government, keeping in view their specialized knowledge and expertise in the domain area”. In a separate response to a similar question in the same House, he said: “Lateral recruitment is aimed at achieving the twin objectives of bringing in fresh talent as well as augment the availability of


manpower.” This reasoning is fallacious as Leader of the Opposition Tejasavi Yadav asked, “You should explain whether UPSC selection procedure is failing to ensure ‘willing, motivated & talented’ candidates for ‘nation building’, or hand-picked ones are more so? Isn’t it another ploy to sideline & reduce reservations for deprived sections?” Obviously, the concerned and affected Groups representing SCs, STs and OBCs have protested the fact that there is no reservation in these appointments. The reservation provisions and norms have been willfully and stealthily bypassed by the government by making these ‘appoints as single appointments’ to escape the ’13 point’ formula for ensuring reservations. It is surprising that the SC Members of Parliament are blissfully ignorant and are not opposing these ‘lateral entry’ machinations intended to dilute reservation provisions by the back door. It is further surprising that UPSC, supposed to be an independent and statutory institution, has termed this so-called ‘lateral entry’ as recruitment for “talented and motivated Indian nationals” as if the Combined Civil Services Examination conducted by the UPSC itself tends to recruit ‘untalented and ill-motivated’ young people. MOS Jitender Singh further justified the ill-conceived scheme as “a major step to place the right talent for the right role’. In the Combined Civil Services Examination, 15% for SCs and 7 and a half % reservations are strictly adhered to even if there may be SC or ST candidates topping the list or getting high positions in the merit list. They would still be counted in the fixed quota. This rule does not apply to ‘unreserved’ positions that are for the jobs open to the upper castes. As of now, only 50% jobs are reserved for 85% SCs, STs and OBCs as per the stipulations of the Judiciary. Less than 15% can have remaining 50% and still cry. How many SCs, STs and OBCs applied for jobs under the ‘lateral entry’ and many got selected from these categories? This data has not been made public. I hope that someone in the RSS, one

of the strongest and biggest organizations which professes to bring about ‘Samrasta” listens.  RSS openly pronounced recently that ‘reservations will remain as long inequality based on caste remains’. RSS needs to prove its credentials. As such there is no justification for ‘lateral entry’ without reservations as stipulated in the law of the land and visualized by our forefathers to establish a ‘just social and economic’ order, the lofty ideal enshrined in the Constitution of India.

All said and done, let me conclude by underlining the historical and constitutional perspective of the reservations and affirmative approaches thoughtfully instilled in our polity. These special provisions were won and obtained with great struggle and tireless efforts by Babasaheb Ambedkar and his associates. Nobody, including Mahatma Gandhi or Veer Savarkar, from the so called upper castes gave these special provisions on a platter voluntarily. The Communal Award of PM Ramsey MacDonaled of 1932 set the tone and direction of the emerging scenario. The upper caste Hindus led by Mahatma Gandhi with view to help the Hindu mainstream floated the idea of reservation and coerced Babasaheb Ambedkar to sign the Poona Pact in 1932. Babasaheb Ambedkar as a nationalist from the core of his heart accommodated Mahatma Gandhi in the larger interests of the country and the society at large. These provisions were included in the Government of India Act of 1935 and subsequently, after Independence in 1947, included in the Constitution of India as Articles 15(4) and 16(4) which were further supplemented by relevant legislation and administrative measures. Any willful and fraudulent attempt to dilute or take away these ‘affirmative measures’ will be considered unwarranted and deceitful. We are a part and parcel of a democratic polity under the constitution of India. Any ruling outfit is open to oppose and withdraw the reservations by bringing the relevant legislation or amending the constitution as laid down in the rules of procedure. It is unbecoming of anyone to support the reservations as ‘lip service’ for vote bank politics and try to abolish the ‘enabling measures’ stealthily. Ultimately, the dictum of “Jis Ki Jitni Sankhya Bhari; Utni Us Ki Hissedar” of Manyawar Kanshi Ram would and shall prevail. There is no other way. The sooner it is understood the better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

My Fellow BootanMandian – IAS Babita Kler

 

My Fellow BootanMandian – IAS Babita Kler       

I have been writing in my blogs about such mundane matters like my fellow BootanMandians not that they know me very well or like me or dislike me in my social or civic day to day conduct. Nevertheless, I must confess frankly that whenever some fellow BootanMandian ( a non-descript locality on Nakodar Road now Ambedkar Marg in Jalandhar which is informally said to be the nerve centre of dalits in Doaba and beyond) excels in life, I feel like sharing my joy and wishing he/she all the best in the days to come. There is no other motivation whatsoever. It is a voluntary activity just to keep myself engaged with the community for my own personal satisfaction.

My immediate provocation to write this is the appointment of Babita Kler, my fellow BootanMandian, as the Deputy Commissioner of Fazilka district of Punjab, of course a coveted position. I have not met Babita in person till today. Some years ago when I came back to

Babita Kler IAS

my roots in Jalandhar, I spoke to her on phone with regard to the renewal of my driving license. She was the RTA at Jalandhar. Since then I have been greeting her or sharing my blogs with her, off and on. But this contact mostly remained one sided though her husband Steven Kler, an established businessman and his elder brother former Chief Parliamentary Secretary and MLA Avinash Chander showed some inclination to keep and nurture the connection on social media and otherwise. Babita may also not know that I knew his late father IPS Govind Ram as a passing acquintenance through common friends and his professional colleagues like IPS Joginder Birdi and IPS Sital Ram among others. My friendly concern and interest to felicitate Babita, as a fellow BootanMandian, also emanates from my reverence to Late Seth Kishan Dass, grandfather of Steven and Babita and his family, a pioneer and elite family not only of BootanMandi but also of the community at large. It is a matter of great pride for BootanMandians that one of the greatest sons of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar visited the home, the historic Chubara of Seth Kishan Dass in 1951, and relished Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti, the traditional delicacy of Punjab. With this little backdrop, I take this opportunity to wish Babita Kler, an IAS of 2009 batch, all the very best in her new responsibilities as the DC of Fazilka. It is a matter of satisfaction that earlier Babita adorned many high offices; inter alia, Chief Administrator of PUDA, Joint Commissioner of Jalandhar Municipal Corporation, and Secretary to various government departments in Chandigarh. I am confident that she will go much high in the hierarchy in the years to come as she has many more years to serve in the elite IAS.

Sushil Sheemar ITS
 The honour to be the first IFS from Bootan Mandi fell on your humble friend Ramesh Chander. Babita is the first IAS to hold the flag along with my other fellow BootanMandians;  Sushil Sheemar 
ITS as the first Allied services officer and his wife Jaswinder Sheemar as the Additional Session Judge.  Yet other two daughters of Seth Kishan Dass’s immediate and extended family, PCS Anupam Kler daughter of Seth Mool Raj and Judge Pushpa daughter of Ram Nath Kler also two young PCS Allied officers, Pawan and Sunil sons of yet another Kler, Keshava Nand. Many more among my fellow BootanMandians
Amar Nath Ram Retired GM Coal India 

 
excelled in different professions like Jagdish Maheyand Manohar Mahey in Banking, Sat Paul Mahey and Vinod Kaul in Insurance, Amar Nath Ram in PSU (Coal India), Devender Kumar in PSU (ONGC), Harmesh Jassal PSU (Air India) among others. As I said earlier not that all of them know me very well or I have any in-depth interaction with them but still I feel proud that they are the worthy sons and daughters of my native place, Bootan Mandi.

Friday, October 1, 2021

A False Alarm – International Day of Equality

 

A False Alarm – International Day of Equality

PM Narendra Modi’s address at the UNGA at New York on September 25 instant has prompted me to write again on the


International Day of Equality immediately after my Tweet and Email message to PMO on September 21 on the subject. I quote from the address of PM Modi:-

 

“Respected Chairman

It was India that initiated the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ on 02 October and ‘International Day of Yoga’ on 21 June. Similarly, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and the International Solar Alliance are realities today due to efforts of India. India has always thought about the interests of the whole humankind and not about its own vested interests. This philosophy has always been the driving force of India’s policies.”

While listening to the speech, I almost jumped on the sofa as I thought the moment has come when our proposal on the Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, April 14 as International Day of Equality will see the light of the day and in the next sentence PM Modi would set the ball rolling. But that was not to be. It was a false alarm. Obviously, I was disappointed and decided to continue to persuade the GOI to consider the proposal and respond - Behosh Jo Paden Hain Sayad Unhen Jaga De – Rang Layegi Hamari Fakka Masti Ek Din

The following extract from one of my letters to EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar would explain the ‘false alarm’ and my short lived moments of joy. I wrote to EAM Jaishankar in my letter of April 1, 2021: 

“ You are fully aware, Sir, if this proposal is accepted and taken up at the UN, it will not only provide a sense of recognition to the cause dear to the weaker sections of the society in India but also add to the stature of India’s international standing as did by International Day of Non-Violence and International Yoga Day”.

It is simply not understandable what holds the GOI back in taking the stake holders in confidence and explain the position. We have no mind and intention to give any political color to the proposal on International Day of Equality. Ours is not a proposal to gain any brownie points bur to get the due and just honour and recognition to one of the greatest sons of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar and to flag the lofty ideal of the UN to establish ‘an equitable world order’ of which India has been a staunch votary in pursuance of its ‘soft power diplomacy’ as rightly referred to by PM Narendra Modi in his September 25 speech from the high podium of the world body, the UN.

The only possible or plausible reason which comes to my mind as to why the GOI is sitting tight on the matter is that the promoters of the proposal are ordinary people like me and my associates and likeminded Ambedkarites in India and abroad and do not carry much weight politically, economically and socially. The Scheduled Caste MPs and MLAs and other big-wigs both in the ruling party and


outfits in the opposition are blissfully silent – justifying the assertions of Manyawar Kanshi Ram in his book ‘Chamcha Age’. It is a matter of regret. These politicians and parties are falling on each other to own the legacy of Ambedkar with an eye on the ‘vote bank’ of the followers of Ambedkar. Otherwise, they don’t have any love lost for Ambedkar. It is evident and clear. But I must resister it here for the benefit of decision makers that the followers of Ambedkar, of late, are increasingly becoming conscious of the situation and they are watching carefully as to how to deal with the forthcoming scenario. They are no more interested in accepting the willful indifference on the part of the people at the helm in addressing the issues of concern and interest to the weaker sections of the society. The ruling outfits would ignore this ground reality at their own peril. What Mahatma Gandhi said about Ambedkar long before is equally true as of now too; “You can criticize Ambedkar but cannot ignore him”. On one hand, there is an ongoing hoard among the political classes to encash Ambedkar and on the other there is a willful denial to provide him his due. It is not defendable. I am reminded of an Urdu shair of poet Shakeel Badayuni: 

kabhī yak-ba-yak tavajjoh kabhī daf.atan taġhāful

mujhe aazmā rahā hai koī ruḳh badal badal kar

We will continue
I wrote in these columns before also that Babasaheb Ambedkar could not get anything in life easily. He struggled hard throughout his life. In spite of proving his mettle at the national and international level, recognition and acceptance did not come as late as 1970s after almost 15 long years of his demise in December, 1956. The political leadership of the ruling Congress Party and also other political outfits willfully tried to sideline Ambedkar. The


society, particularly the main stream Hindus, could not accept Ambedkar. The reasons, to my mind, was not only his political acumen and vision for the country and the society at large which did not go well with the so called Pundits or wise men but his belonging to so called low caste in the caste ridden society. But in spite of all odds, Ambedkar’s legacy was so potent that it could not be ignored for long. The polity of India started shaping up under the new Constitution of India of which Babasaheb Ambedkar himself was the chief architect. The life, mission and legacy of the great leader stirred the entire edifice to such an extent that it became difficult to ignore Ambedkar anymore. This fully explains that Ambedkar was such a phenomena which would surge forward on its own. The proposed International Day of Equality under the aegis of UN would not be an exception, I think. I only hope somebody in the Government of PM Narendra Modi listens and act. Sooner the better.  I repeat that it is just not possible to ignore the greatest son of India. Babasaheb B.R.Ambedkar. We would continue till we reach.

 

Friday, September 24, 2021

CM Charanjit Singh Channi – Some candid observations of a novice

 

CM Charanjit Singh Channi – Some candid observations of a novice

It is a matter of gratification that Sardar Charanjit Singh Channi has become the Chief Minister of Punjab – Der Ayat Daroost Ayet. On the day of the swearing in, September 20, of Sardar Charanjit  Channi as the CM of Punjab, I wrote on the timeline of my Facebook: ‘Kuffar Toota Khud Khuda Karke’ and congratulated the new CM. It may be of interest to know that I could see the coming


scenario much ahead than many and sent a message to Channi Sahib in the early morning of September 19 when nobody knew exactly as to what was going to happen and quote from that message, “  Good morning Sir. The political scenario is changing fast and for the better. I see a big role for you in the emerging situation. I wish you become the CM or at least the Deputy CM. I am one of your well wishers from your community, a retired Ambassador of the IFS now living in Jalandhar. ….. With regards. Ambassador Ramesh Chander.”

   Channi Sahib or his Aides opened that message or not, I don’t not know but, nevertheless, I was delighted on the election and appointment of Sardar Charanjit Singh Channi as the CM of Punjab. The things have come full circle. The stipulations of ‘empowerment’ of the weaker sections of the society and also the relevance of ‘one vote – one value’ as visualized by Babasaheb Ambedkar and slogan “Jis Ki Jitni Sankhya Bhari; Utni Uski Hissedari’ given be Manayawar Kanshi Ram saw the light of the day in Punjab after 75 years of our independence in 1947. It was a negation of democracy that the depressed classes or so called dalits with almost 35% share in the population, the largest in any state of India, could not go near the ‘steering wheel of power’ in Punjab. That is why I wrote ‘Kuffar Toota Khuda Khuda Karke’. It was to happen and it has. Now let us see that the vested interests with hegemonic mindsets are not allowed to turn the clock backwards in the days to come. With this in view, I thought of sharing some of my off the cuff observations not as an expert or a competent  analyst but as a novice before the Government of Sardar Charanjit Channi settles down for serious work and meet the challenges ahead after the obvious and visible but short lived euphoria.

1.   We all, both the so called upper castes or king makers and those on the receiving end or so called dalits, must understand that in politics or run up to power, nobody can or would make anybody the CM/PM. One has to be one’s own with one’s own strength and capability. Our democratic credentials are slowly maturing and new realities are emerging. No charities are expected as CM Charanjit Singh Channi asserted in his speech at Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar that we

CM Charanjit Singh Channi at Dera Sachkhand Ballan

were no more interested in ‘atta dal’ but would yearn to educate ourselves, our children and settle for due ‘share in power’ as equal partners and rightly so. It would just be futile to harp on the caste identities – dalits or non dalits. Sardar Charanjit Channi is a fully qualified and capable to hold the reins of power in Chandigarh. Any patronizing behavior should not be tolerated by the leadership and the community at large.

2.   There is no need to be in a hurry to announce undue concessions and freebies. People are more interested in transparent and functional arrangements with good civic services.

3.   There is no need to announce new projects as the time at hand of the new government is short in view of the forthcoming elections early next year. Rather than new projects, the new government should try to finish and handover the ongoing projects to the satisfaction and benefit of the community and the society at large.

4.   It is all the more true with regard to the projects pertaining to the so called dalits, CM Channi Sahib being one from them. Frankly to my mind, there is no need to announce projects in undue haste as has been done in announcing Guru Ravidass Chair at Dera Sachkhand Ballan and a huge project spread over 101 acres of land, Ambedkar Museum at Kapurthala, Ambedkar Management Institute among others. My suggestion to the Hon’ble CM Channi Sahib would be - kindly pay due and much needed attention to the already announced and unfinished projects like Ambedkar College at Bootan Mandi Jalandhar, Minar-e-Begampura at Khuralgarh and many more projects elsewhere in Punjab. Your dalit brethren would understand the limitations and would expect you to be simple and sincere.

5.   The opposition parties and the vested interests in the Congress Party itself would tend to exploit the situation and tarnish the image of CM and his government as it is obvious that it will not be an easy task to deliver with regard to these grand dreams. It is better to be slow but productive and pragmatic. There is no point in befooling the people as “Yeh Public Hai Sab Janti Hai.

6.   CM Channi Sahib should stand on his own with confidence and sincerely try to give corruption free governance in a transparent manner. People are fed up of corruption and high handedness of the official machinery. Any success on this front, may be partially, would go a long way in establishing the credentials of the CM and his administration. I am happy to note that he has already taken the initiative in this regard and spoke to end corruption while speaking at Kapurthala the other day.

7.   There should be no witch-hunting or vendetta politics. These are unproductive and long drawn exercises which would tend o derail the programmes and policies of the government. Kindly avoid unnecessary rejiging of the administration as the time at hand is short in the run up to elections in 4-5 months. Complete the formation of Council of Minister at the earliest possible so that the Ministers start working in right earnest.

8.   The contentious and emotive issues like ‘Beadbi’ or sacrilege etc. should not be allowed to impede the welfare schemes and other positive schemes for the benefit of the people of the state.

9.   Senior officers like DCs, SDMs, Police Commissioners and SPS should be accessible to the public and responsive to their needs and complaints.

10.                     So far the governments have been paying ‘lip service’ to the problems of SC communities particularly with regard to educational facilities like Post Matric Scholarships to SC students. This problem should be discussed with the stake holders and a clear mechanism provided to implement the schemes. The young generation of beneficiary students will appreciate and stand with the CM.

11.                     One last very simple suggestion and advice is – the CMO and senior aides of the CM should see to it all communications to Hon’ble CM and his Principal Secretaries from the public should be acknowledged and responded to. It would send a positive signal to the people that CM Channi Sahib’s government is a ‘Government of the people, for the people and by the people’ as per the dictates of a functional democracy.

These suggestions, though unsolicited, are, of course, simple and entail no high sounding political or administrative mantras. But I am sure, if the government under the stewardship of CM Channi Sahib succeeds to make a good and impressive beginning, in spite of all odds and leg pulling, the new CM would not be a ‘stop gap arrangement’ and would be all set to comeback after the electoral mandate of early next year. Nobody knows as of now as to which party would come to power. But one thing is almost certain. If CM Charanjit Channi could leave a trail of a ‘capable and competent’ leader, all parties would not be able to ignore the claims and due share in the pie of power to the weaker sections of the society - the so called dalits, as visualized by the icons like Babasaheb Ambedkar, Babu Kanshi Ram. My humble request to the people of Punjab particularly the weaker sections of the society, is to kindly extend all due support and strengthen the hands of CM Sardar Charan Singh Channi, a worthy son of the soil. It took more than 70 years to get the coveted job. Let us make all the more difficult or impossible that nobody dares to snatch it on the basis of socio-economic discrimination and considerations. The political aspect may be dealt with democratically at the hustings.  CM Channi Sahib should assert his position with due humility but with authority. He is there because of no one’s charity or magnanimity but for the socio-political imperatives created by the relentless struggle of our political and spiritual Gurus like Babasaheb Ambedkar, Guru Ravidass and the Sikh Gurus as enshired in the constitution of India and the holy Shri Guru Granth Sahib.  I take this opportunity to wish all the best and further success to CM Sardar Charanjit Singh Channi in the days to come. Here I conclude with a couplet:

Tu Pehle Baat; Phir Baat Ka Andaz Paida Kar,

Phir Duniya Mein Tujhe Koi; Nazar Andaz Kar Nahin Sakta

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

It is time to remind – Someone may listen

 

 It is time to remind – Someone may listen

This is the 7th UNGA annual session to be held in New York since June, 2015 when proposal to declare, under the aegis of the UN, April 14, birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar as International Day of Equality, was made to then EAM Sushma Swaraj. Ever since


we have been reminding the Government India through EAMs Sushma Swaraj and EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar and other important and concerned Ministers by keeping the PM and PMO on the loop. But it is a matter of regret to say nothing moved and nobody cared to respond. Everybody is swearing by the name of Ambedkar and trying to own his legacy. I don’t know the reasons behind this indifference. If the GOI does not agree with the proposal or otherwise finds it not possible to carry it forward to the UN, there is no harm in saying so. We are not that foolish that would not understand the position. From the day one, we have been saying that our proposal is suggestive and positive which could be realized only by the GOI.

Anyway, we are determined to keep saying what we feel as true followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the greatest son of India without any political agenda or affiliation. It is time to remind the GOI before PM Narendra Modi speaks in the UNGA with the hope that he might consider and mention something about the proposal on International Day of Equality. We have done the ritual by tweeting and sending an e-mail to PMO on the subject. It is said that PM is only a ‘call away’  from the matters of concern and interest to the citizens of India. Let us hope someone may listen and respond.

 

ramesh chander <rc2345@yahoo.com>

To:pmo@govmu.org,narendramodi1234@gmail.com

Cc:diream@mea.gov.in,somparkash.mos@gmail.com,mos.ml@mea.gov.in,mosathawale@gmail.com

Tue, 21 Sept at 14:02

For Principal Secretary to PM, Dr. PK Mishra 

 Dear Sirs,

Kindly see my tweet of a little while go on the captioned subject - International Day of Equality:-

ramesh chander

@rameshchander50

 “·PM Modi will address UNGA on September 25. Proposal on April 14 as International Day of Equality may find a mention in his speech to address the emerging situation in the wake of Congress stealing the show in Punjab. It is not only my wish but will be a political masterstroke.”

The proposal to declare April 14, birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality is resting with the MEA since June, 2015. We have been pursuing the matter since then. It is time to wake up and use the forthcoming address of PM Narendra Modi to the UNGA on September 25 and send a right and positive

Ambedkar Jayanti at UN at New York in April, 2016

signal to the millions and millions of supporters and followers of Babasaheb, one of the greatest sons of India. The Congress Party has already showed the way by appointing a dalit as the CM of Punjab. Narendra Modi's Government has already done many good things with regard to the empowerment of the marginalized sections of the society. A positive decision and pronouncement on the International Day of Equality would tend to provide good dividends in the emerging political scenario in the country. It will be just not possible to ignore Babasaheb Ambedkar anymore.

I venture to write this as a well wisher of the GOI and a nationalist to the core. My last letter on the subject to EAM Dr. S Jaishankar is attached for ready reference.

With regards,

(Ramesh Chander)     

Before I conclude, I take the liberty of underlining the fact that there could not be more appropriate time to make a demarche to the UN on the International day both to address the political imperatives in India and strengthen the hands of international community to march forward towards the goal of “Equitable world order’. Moreover, India’s ‘Soft Diplomacy’ will get yet another feather in hits turban.

 

Attachment of the Email sent to PMO

 

July 25, 2021

 

Dear Sir,

Ever since you have taken over as the EAM in May/June, 2019, I have been writing to you about the International Day of Equality, my last letter dated April 1, 2021 (copy enclosed for ready reference) refers. The proposal to declare April 14, birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality was first made in June, 2015 to your predecessor EAM Sushma Swaraj ever since the proposal is resting with the esteemed MEA.

I thought of reminding you on the subject in the run up to the forthcoming UNGA in September, 2021. You would appreciate, Sir, Babasaheb Ambedkar is increasingly getting international recognition. It is surprising that our own government, which has taken many initiatives to honour one ofthe greatest sons of India otherwise, is taking time to consider the proposal and take a decision to make an appropriate demarche to the UN in this regard. I may inform, which you may already be aware, that the State of British Columbia in Canada proclaimed to declare April 14 as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Day of Equality in April, 2021. Some days ago in July, 2021 itself the Gray’s Inn in London has named and opened Ambedkar Room and unveiled his portrait to recognize Babasaheb. You may know that ‘Dr BR Ambedkar is the first person of the Indian origin and the very second jurist in the world to have a room dedicated to him at the Gray’s Inn. The Inn, previously had a room dedicated to Rose Heilbronn, England’s first woman queen counsel and judge’ as reported by the Tribune of July 22, 2021

I don’t feel any need to say much, Sir, as you very well know and understand how to go about and what to do to get declared April 14 as International day of Equality. There may not be more opportune time when India will occupy the HeadChair at the UNSC and UNGA -76 in September, 2021 will be presided over by Foreign Minister of our friend Maldives, Abdullah Shahid

I am confident that my submissions would find an urgent consideration and a favourable decision is taken to see that the proposal is sent and taken up at the UN appropriately. It would send a very positive political signal within the country and to the international community in under-pinning the ‘Soft Diplomacy of India’ to move towards establishing a just and equitable world order.

With personal regards,

Yours truly,

(Ramesh Chander)

Dr. S. Jaishankar,

Minister of External Affairs,

South Block, New Delhi

 

Copy to:

1.     Shri Narendra Modi, PM of India, PMO, South Block, New Delhi

2.     Dr. Varinder Kumar, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi

3.     Shri Ramdas Athawale, MOS, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi

4.     Shri Som Parkash, MOS, Ministry of Industry and Trade, New Delhi

5.     Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, MOS, MEA, New Delhi

6.     Shri Vijay Sampla, Chairman, National SC Commission, New Delhi

7.     Shri Dushyant Gautam, MP, New Delhi