Saturday, May 28, 2011



Mahatma Gandhi adopted ‘Satyagraha’ as the modus operandi of his political and social action against the British rulers in the fight for independence and also sometimes political and communal causes like the ‘fast unto death’ against the ‘communal award’ resulting in the Poona Pact in 1932 with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and ‘Satyagraha’ at the time of partition of India in 1947 and so on. India got its independence on August 15, 1947. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathu Ram Godse, a fanatic and fundamentalist. India adopted its constitution and became a Republic on January 26, 1950. The whole scenario got changed giving way to democracy as against civil disobedience, non-cooperation or ‘Satyagraha’.Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, referred the change in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly in November 1949 and said

“If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fac
t, what must we do? The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and Satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us”.

The speech of Ambedkar is the food for thought in the wake of growing tendencies of ‘Satyagraha’ over the constitutional methods as shrined and stipulated in the law. Anna Hazare did it recently and felt vindicated in the matters relating to corruption. Swami Ramdev is set to repeat the methods of ‘Satyagraha’ for the issues of corruption and black money. The outcome is to be watched. The Government, it seems is worried, as Swami Ramdev enjoys huge following. Some more food for thought is the aftermath of Jaiprakash Narain’s ‘ Satyagraha ‘ in early 1970s resulting in Emergency imposed by the then Government of Indira Gandhi. I think it is the ‘Grammar of Anarchy ‘which Dr. Ambedkar talked about in his thought provoking speech in the Constituent Assembly.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The issue of corruption is in the news every day. It will remain so in the years to come as it is an important issue which not only affects our daily lives but also the overall health of the country and the society. Bribes are a fact of life in India. The Transparency International ranked India at 87 out of 178 countries in its Corruption Perception Index in 2010. Corruption is not a new issue but of late it has generated somewhat additional focus in the wake of some huge scams and corruption cases which have come to light in recent times. Some of the activists of the so called ‘ civil society ‘ like Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhusan and social and community activist like Anna Hazare and Swami Ramdev have thrown their weight behind the corruption debate and the questions pertaining to its handling and eradication. The Government has been made to succumb to the demands of fortifying and strengthening the official and legal frame work including statutory and constitutional provisions. It is intended to bring in the desired checks through the system of Ombudsmen, as in some European countries, to control corruption. The Lokpal Bill is being drafted which will be presented in the Parliament in the coming months. Some of the provisions of the draft Bill are appearing in the media. The judiciary is also getting pro-active in addressing the issues related to corruption. The Government and the Opposition is getting vocal as it is a political compulsion for them to speak. The Aam Aadmi (common man) is getting interested but confused. Not only it is a contentious issue but also a long drawn process which requires constitutional amendment.

Notwithstanding the well placed concern on the issue of corruption which certainly needs to be addressed and tackled head on, there is an urgent need to see and examine the issue from historical, constitutional and practical perspective. Undue gratification (corruption or bribe) has been one of the tenants of governance (political/diplomatic expediency) right from the Kautilya (Chanakya) times under the dictum of SAM, DAM, DAND, BHED. It states the obvious. Some discount, in view of the human instincts, is due while making the law and in the process o its implementation. It does not mean that corruption or bribery has to be allowed or legalized. The next aspect is the law or the constitutional provisions... It is very easy to say that the relevant laws are not enough to deal with a particular issue. But, to my mind, the realities are different. Our constitution is a well written and very wisely made instrument. It has already stood the test of time. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried to re-enforce or change some of the provisions. The Swaran Singh Committee suggested the changes and some of them were incorporated in the constitution, of course by the due procedure of the law. Even the nicely worded poetic Preamble of the constitution was amended by adding the words ‘democratic, secular, socialist’. I think it did not make any difference. India was both democratic socialist and secular state even before the amendment and it will remain so as long as the spirit of the constitution remains and prevails. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also appointed a constitution review committee. The Committee could not do anything worthwhile. I am reminded of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who asserted in the Constituent Assembly “As much defense as could be offered to the constitution has been offered by my friends Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar and Mr... T.T. Krishnamachari. I shall not therefore enter into the merits of the Constitution. Because I feel, however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of State such as the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The factors on which the working of those organs of the State depends are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. Who can say how the people of India and their purposes or will they prefer revolutionary methods of achieving them? If they adopt the revolutionary methods, however good the Constitution may be, it requires no prophet to say that it will fail. It is, therefore, futile to pass any judgment upon the Constitution without reference to the part which the people and their parties are likely to play”. I think necessary legal framework is already in place which shall meet the emerging scenario. There is no need to make unnecessary and excessive laws which could not be implemented. The noose shall be tight against the corrupt politicians and beaurocrates. There shall not be two opinions on this. But the question remains that telecom scam; adarsh scam etc. and the likes of Radia and Hasan do not affect and harm the common man directly. The common man is more harassed and tortured by the police constables, electricity, water, telephone, ration card inspectors. How do we propose to control that? They make some additional bucks daily. They are not rich. How one does proposes to attach or confiscate their properties. Corruption at high levels prevails in other countries too but generally the common man is not subjected to these problems on day to day basis. It does not mean that one shall not be flexible but more rules and regulations have not served the purpose. The mind set needs to be changed. The menace of money power in the elections, increasing criminal elements in politics need to be checked. The judiciary needs to be strengthened and made efficient. It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. The legal process needs to be geared up to address corruption particularly the small corruption which is faced by the poor and common citizen.
The existing institutions and mechanism need to be streamlined and strengthened. The constitutional and statutory authorities like the Comptroller and Audit General, the Election Commission, the Vigilance Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, the Union Public Service Commission, and so on. The newly made and introduced provisions of the RTI Act, the RTE Act should be fully implemented. The ‘revolutionary methods ‘referred to by Dr. Ambedkar would be a danger for the democratic edifice of our polity and establishment. I hope the well meaning people like Anna Hazare and Swami Ramdev and the leaders and activists of the ‘civil society’ do not, knowing or unknowingly, would be interested in, as it is said, ‘ eating and not only counting the mangoes’. I reminded of Dr. Iqbal who wrote beautifully:

मस्जिद तो बना दी सव भर में, इमां की हरारत वालों ने;
मन अपना पुराना पापी है बरसों से नमाज़ी बन सका !

Monday, May 23, 2011


Satsangat mil rahee-ai maaDha-o jaisay maDhup makheeraa.

Today, May 25, is the 2nd death anniversary of Sant Ramanand of Dera Sachkhandballan of Jalandhar (Punjab). I had written about Sant Ramanand in this Blog before and also about his tragic death in Vienna (Austria) in the aftermath of a gruesome shoot out in Guru Ravidass Gurudwara on May 24, 2009 by some fanatics and fundamentalists. It was a heinous crime not only against the communal peace and tranquility of the State of Punjab and the Indian society at large but also against humanity and also against the very tenants and lofty ideals of the great Gurus. Sant Ramanad, to my mind, was himself a virtual Sikh who believed not only in the mission and philosophy of the great Sikh Gurus including Guru Granth Saheb but also preached and imparted the knowledge of the Guruwani to the masses through Satsang for the spiritual well-being of the followers. Sant Ramanand was a spiritual Guru, keeping with the great Saints of the Dera Schkhandballan. The Dera has, and rightly so, become the nerve centre of the social and spiritual upliftment of the masses of the region and more so of the dalits and followers of the great Guru Ravidass. Sant Ramanand’s contribution in the process was great. His whole hearted involvement in the social, educational and spiritual emancipation of the poor masses belonging to the weaker sections of the society will be remembered in the years to come. Sant Ramanand was a harbinger of awakening and awareness among the dalits in the true spirit of Guru Gobind Singh’s philosophy “Soora so pehchaniye jo lade deen ke hait “He taught to the dalits and under privileged the Mantra of assertion for their rights. Perhaps these very things which were good for the establishment of an egalitarian society as the Sikh Gurus desired did not go well with the “Thekedars” of the society. Santa Ramanand paid the price by giving his life as he knew that the Azadi and Righteousness would be safe guarded only through fearless conduct and sacrifice. He was acting in accordance with the teachings of Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind, Guru Granth and also Guru Ravidass, the flag bearer of equality, fraternity and justice.

Sant Ramanand’s conduct in his life time and his contribution and sacrifice for the overall well being and welfare of the community and the society at large will be remembered and appreciated forever. But there are a few lessons which are to be learnt and a few questions which would require to be answered, if we are really want that the sacrifice of Sant Ramanand is not lost and is wasted. The lessons to be learnt are, to my mind – i) greater vigilance and sense of security is needed as the mission and programme of the community gains strength ii) the agenda of the community and that of the leaders may not be high-jacked by the self cantered and self appointed leaders who are hanging in and around the ‘ canters of awakening and action ‘ like the the spiritual deras iii) the inherent and resultant energy of the community which got amply demonstrated in the aftermath of the Vienna incident and the martyrdom of Sant Ramanand needs to be directed and channelized before it goes berserk and sense of fatigue sets in. iv) there is an urgent need to create and establish ‘think tanks’ which may provide much needed policy inputs and options before the community to avoid vacuum of direction and leadership which was visible in the wake of crisis after the tragic happenings of Vienna in May, 2009. Similarly, some questions which need to address urgently and immediately – i) what should be done to save and safe guard the much needed unity, particularly to defeat the dirty designs of the opponents who are much stronger and organized? ii) the questions related to cooperation or confrontation, which is likely, about the new sect/religion and of the vani/granth need to addressed keeping in view the overall harmony and peace in the society iii) the questions of spiritual, ethnic, social, legal, constitutional force and sanctions for the creation and propagation of the new sect/religion in the background of the struggle of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Babu Mangu Ram in the contemporary times. I am a humble and ordinary member of the community and a follower of Guru Ravidass and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The views expressed in this write up are personal and are free-wheeling which may serve as ‘food for thought ‘.

If we are able to consider and think on some of the issues raised in the preceding line, I would think that it is my sincere tribute to the memory of Sant Ramanad with whom I had the opportunity to interact and discuss some of these concerns in one of my meetings with him in Vienna itself in February 2008.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Today is Buddha Purnima - the birth anniversary of Gautma the Buddha. It is day to be celebrated not only by the Buddhists all over the world but by all peace-loving and society oriented people. I am one among the lot. I take this opportunity to greet everyone and wish them peace and prosperity in the years to come.
India has a special meaning and significance for the Buddha and his teachings. India is blessed to make and give Prince Gautma as the Buddha and his mission and teachings to us to lead a meaningful life. These teaching are as potent and relevant today as these were before. It is a matter of great satisfaction that, in the contemporary times, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar revived Buddhism in India as the teachings of Mahatma Buddha are increasingly becoming more relevant in these days of tension and strife in the society. It is all the more gratifying that the imprint of Lord Buddha is clearly visible and available on the constitution of India and India's state insignia like the flag (dhamma chakra) and the natational emblem ( lions of the sarnath stupa). The credit goes to Dr. Ambedkar and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for reinstalling the glory of India by bringing back the touch of Buddhism to the land of its origin. Dr. Ambedkar not only embraced Buddhism himself but professed in no uncertain terms ' My social philosophy may said to be enshrined in three words: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. I have derived these from the teachings of my master, the Buddha'. My personal touch and connection with the Buddha and the Buddha Purnima is simple - i) my daughter Vaishali was born on the Buddha Purnima Day. Her marriage ceremony also had an Buddhist input in the welcome ceremony of the Barat at the lobby of the President Hotel in Jalandhar conduct by a renowned Japanese Buddhist priest (Bhikhu ) D.S. Uchida. ii) my small house is located in the IFS Villas in Gautam Buddha Nagar ( Greater Noida ) in UP ( Hon'ble Chief Minister of UP Kumari Mayawat being a follower of Ambedkar also professes to be a Buddhist by mind and thinking and has done some good work in bringing back the legacy of Lord Buddha) iii) I am obliquely connected with the Buddha Vihara at my native place Bootan Mandi in Jalandhar. Infact, I was invited to be the lead speaker at todays ( May 17) function at the Vihara in Jalandhar but, unfortunately, I could not make it.
Let me conclude by recalling the three important aspects of Lord Buddha's teaching i.e. i) Lord take me to the embrace of the learned ( Buddha ) ii) Lord make me profess right conduct (Dhamma) and iii) Lord make me to live a social life in good company ( Sangha). This is basic mantra for ordinary people like us to be followed to live in peace and harmony. May Lard Buddha bless us.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Today's Times of India termed the state elections in India as ' the dance of democracy '. It has been reported that out of the total population of 1.21 billion, with the four Chief Ministers - two incoming in the persona of Jayalalitha and Mamta Banerjee in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively and two currently in position - Sheila Dikshit in Delhi and Mayawati in UP, 374.3 million people will come under the administraion in which the women would call the shorts. The forthcoming elections in UP are going to be important. It is to be seen whether Mayawati is able to retain power in the wake of all odds and pitfalls of caste politics. It will be yet another ' wonder of democracy ', as PM Narasimha Rao had put it when Maywati became the Chief Minister of UP for the first time. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, though adversaries in their life times, would be very happy in the heavens on the changing power scenario in India through democratic ways and means. Yes, it is the dance of democracy.- good for the health of India.
It is gratifying to note that India produced, in the contemporary India, leaders like Sarojni Naidu, Sucheta Kriplani, Indira Gandhi. The threads have been picked up by Sonia , Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Mamta, Dikshit, Meira, Sushma, Shelja and many more. President of India is Pratibha Patil, the Head of State of the largest democracy of the world. It is likely that the next Vice President is also a women. I guess that it could be Meira Kumar, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Some of the important and coveted positions in diplomacy are occupied by women like Foreign Secretary Nriupma Rao, Ambassador to the USA Meira Shankar.
Yet another good thing to note and report is that in the Civil Services Examination, the results of which were declared a couple of days before, the first and the second positions in this arena have been snatched by women. The real empowerment is coming and coming fast and rightly so. Columnist M.J. Akbar as termed it, in one of his columns, ' a burst of feminine power not seen in India since Razia Sultan sat on the Delhi throne in the 13th century. So far so good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I wrote about the share of dalits in the mass media sometime before in this blog The position remains and remains and of concern. Mass Media plays an important role in the process of empowerment – political, economic, social, cultural, spiritual and so on in the over all development of the society. The dalit community does not have this important instrument on its own and also does have an access to the Indian mass media which inherently is prejudiced and biased reflecting the caste based divisions of the society at large. The situation requires rectification. But nobody can do it except the community itself, the dalits themselves, of course with the support of the liberal segments of the society and the establishment.

I am not writing this not on the basis of any research but off the cuff, as I personally know and learnt through the process. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was not oblivious of the importance of mass media. He started a periodical paper “ MOOK NAYAK” in the 30’s. I did not find anything more than this, particularly in Punjab. My father used to mention about the UJALA - an Urdu/Punjabi weekly or fortnightly which was published from Jalandhar in the 50’s. Kartara Ram Madhas, Pritam Ramdaspuri and some other enthusiasts were connected with the publication. The next came the BHEEM PATRIKA an Urdu, Punjabi and later in Hindi too. The publication still sustains, in spite of the fact that it used to be the mouthpiece of the then Republican Party which is no more the case. The Bheem Patrika now has an electronic edition also. The credit entirely goes to Lahori Ram Balley, its founder Editor who could manage to keep the flag flying through thick and thin. Balley is an intellectual and is a man of substance, no matter he could not succeed in politics. Balley Sahib started editing yet another weekly the KIRTI in Punjabi. I distinctly remember that I attended the inaugural function or the KIRTI and relished the palak pakoras and tea. In the 60’s yet another weekly rag-tag Ravidass Partrika appeared. Mangoo Ram Jaspal was its Editor. I understand it still has some presence. It is a matter of gratification that slowly the much needed awareness started dawning on the younger lot of the society. Some young activists of Bootan Mandi, my native place, launched AMBEDKAR TIMES, a weekly in Punjabi. Hans Raj Bhukha, Sagli Ram, Hussan Madhas (now Boudh) took the lead. But the effort could not be sustained financially and otherwise. I understand some other BSP activists like Jarnail Singh and C.L. Chumber also took the initiative and started the JANTAK LEHAR in the 70’s. But I think it was an half hearted effort. The motivation was in place but the requisite wherewithal to run a paper was not available.

The time is changing for the better. The community started growing in strength both educationally and financially. Some of them kissed success and prosperity abroad. Sant Ramanand of Dera Sachkhand Balan played a positive role. He not only started taking recourse to the mass media through cassettes and videos to spread the message of Guru Ravidass but also stated a weekly in Punjabi – BEGUMPUR SHEHAR. The Begumpur Shehar could find its readership among the dalit NRIs. The paper is doing fine, in a limited way, under its new Editor Sant Surinder Dass Bawa. I understand C.L. Chumber, a dedicated activist also edited a monthly KAUMI UDARIAN which is published from Jalandhar.. I don’t know weather it is still being published or no. But I must write and appreciate that Chumber Sahib is active and write regularly on the issues of interest and concern to the community. The more viable and successful venture belongs to Prem Chumber, brother of C.L. Chumber, in the USA. He picked up the threads and re-launched AMBEDKAR TIMES in California (USA). Apart from the e-edition of the paper in English, it has a good 32 page print edition in Punjabi which is available on the news stands and other distribution outlets in the major cities of the USA, Canada and Europe. I wish Prem Chumber and the Ambedkar Times further success.

It is a matter of satisfaction to note that, slowly but steadily, the community is grasping the idea. I have seen, of late, many websites and forums on the social network like the FACE BOOK, TWITTER etc. and also dedicated websites to the community affairs on the Internet. The recent entries, in this regard, which have come to notice are - the APNIMITTI which is edited and published by a young enthusiast Ajay Yadav from Jalandhar. It appears that his main objective is to support the BSP in its political agenda and the website being hosted and run by Roop Sidhu in the UAE. I have found the quite good and well maintained with a wide open community agenda. I wish the efforts of Roop Sidhu all success.

The things are happening. It is time that the community leaders should take a fresh look at the mass media requirements of the community. Any further neglect in this regard would be injurious to the health of the community. Let me conclude with a couplet of Mohd. Iqbal:

नहीं मिनत कसे ताबे सनिदन दास्ताँ मेरी; ख़ामोशी गुफ्तगू और बेज़ुबानी है जुबान मेरी,
यह कैसी ज़ुबाबंदी है सकी तेरी महफ़िल मैं, जहाँ तो बात करने को तरसती है जुबान मेरी !

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Osama Bin Laden is dead The Tribune has aptly captioned the big news " Al - Qaida Loses its head and Pakistan its face ". The news and the reactions have reminded me of the great poet Mirja Ghalib.

The dead body of Osama Bin Laden has been consigned to the sea so that there is no funeral procession and grave which might become a destination for the followers of the dreaded leader of the fundamentalists. Ghalib's following couplet explained:

हुए मर के हम जो रुसवा; हुए क्यूँ गरके दरया,
कभी जनाज़ा उठता; कहीं मजार होता !
The English translation by T.P. Issar:

A funeral, with those comments unkind; An epitaph rueing an affair,
All this ignominy of the one who is dead; I wish I had drowned instead.

Coming to the second aspect of the Tribune caption about the face of Pakistan, Pakistan position in the war against terror and its repeated protestations of innocence reminds one of Mirja Ghalib, in the wake of the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad and other terrorists in our cities of Pakistan earlier and the safe heaven and sanctuaries to the terrorist leaders provided by Pakistan. The credibility of Pakistan has suffered yet another blow.

ये मस्सय्ले तस्सवुफ़ ; ये तेरा बयां ग़ालिब,
तुजे हम वली समजते; जो वादा खुआर होता !
The English translation by T.P. Issar runs like this:
Ah Ghalib, the power of your words and your gift of a seeing eye !
These surely are the stuff of a saint, if only you had abstained.
Is it a co-incident that the death of Adolf Hitler was announced on May 1, 1945 and that of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011. Nevertheless the May Day remains solemn.