Monday, February 27, 2012

THE DALIT CHETNA - A Point of View

ThePrakash Utsab (Birth Anniversary) of Guru Ravidassji fell on February 7 which
was celebrated by the followers of the great Guru with gaiety and solemnity.
The celebrations continue depending on the time and schedule of the various organizations
to pay homage and tributes to Guru Ravidassji. In other words, the dalit chetna
is getting demonstrated. The dalit followers and rightly gladly so are
interested increasingly in associating themselves with the Guru who was the
fore-bearer of the flag of revolt and change against the uncivilized and
inhuman treatment of the poor masses of the lower strata of the society. I
would like to mention about the two such events and celebrations in which I

TheSocial Awareness Forum of Punjab held its Annual Family Day function atPhagwara on February 25. The Day was dedicated to the memory of Guru
Ravidassji. I was the Guest Speaker at the function on the theme ‘Relevance of
the Sant Andolan in the present scenario ‘. It was a well organized and well attended
function which was presided over by the President of the Social Awareness ForumJagdish Chander Virdi, Engineer at one of the Punjab Government Departments atLudhiana and the Chief Guest at the function was Sodhi Mall, Additional
Director of Factories in the Government of Punjab. I found both Jagdish Virdi
and Sodhi Mall gentlemen to the core and amicable personalities fully involved
in the community matters while delivering positively at their respective
important Government positions which they are holding. Being a faceless
diplomat throughout my career, I don’t know whether I could do justice to the
theme of the speech but I enjoyed my presence and inter action at the function.
It turned out to be some fresh air in the routine of such functions. The
present members of the Forum introduced themselves with their families. The
introduction set the mood and direction of the function. The audience comprised
of ‘ who is who “ of the dalit community in and
around Phagwara which included doctors, engineers, bankers, teachers,
retired senior officers, businessmen, recognized state and nation level players
and young and upcoming students. Both President of the Forum Virdi and Chief
Guest Mall spoke informally and briefly unlike the general trend of sticking to
the mike. The young students were honored with souvenirs by the Forum like in
the previous years. I was informed that the Social Awareness Forum apart from providing
the glue and platform to the educated sections of the community to get-together
is also providing medical and financial help to the needy. The second session
of the event was informal and enjoyable from the cultural point of view. The
young lady artist besides singing the spiritual and devotional numbers also did
well in providing a good cultural interlude. Col. Shankar Singh and Dr. Balkar
Chand recited poetry and entertained the audience. It was a good change from
the routine format of the function. The flow of snacks throughout the function
was unhindered and the dinner was good with warm hospitality by the organizers.
I must say that the function was a success and helped in generating much needed
awareness and fresh air - a healthy trend. My congratulations to the Social
Awareness Forum. We need more such organizations.

Thesecond function I attended was the one organized by the Guru Ravidass Sabha of
Deol Nagar in Jalandhar on February 26 to celebrate the Gurupurab of the great
Guru. It was a good and clean function with the kirtan darbar of high rendition
and a well prepared langar. I could see and feel the air of harmony and
brotherhood flowing freely among the residents of Doel Nagar without any
superfluous feeling of caste and creed. The jaikaras of JO BOLE SO NIHAL and JO
BOLE SO NIRBHAY succeeded in clearing the air. It was the real tribute to the
memory of Guru Ravidassji. My congratulations and thanks to President of the
Sabha Malkiat Singh and other organizers who very kindly provided me an opportunity
to speak and pay my humble tribute to the great Guru Ravidassji.

The dalit Chetna is emerging and shall find a due space and place in the society at

Tuesday, February 14, 2012



Today February 14 is the Valentine Day, the day of expressing love to each other particularly to the dear ones and the kith and kin. I don’t know the importance of the Day from historical perspective but I like the day and its celebration. In my personal life, I am not too enthusiastic a man to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and religious festivals but I do like these celebrations as I think one shall deny pleasure and happiness particularly when it involves the society at large. The life, these days is becoming tension ridden by the each passing day. All of us must try and bring in more occasions for cheer and relaxation. I see and value the Valentine’s Day from this point of view. I don’t confine the Day only to expressing love and romantic feelings by the young people. It is a Day, I think, for universal love and wellness. Keeping this in view, I simply tend to convey my wife, Children and other close relations and friends all the best wishes on the day and do nothing more. But again if there is an occasion created and initiated by someone else, I would gladly join and enjoy.

All said and done, I will keep and maintain throughout my life the cherished memories of the Valentine’s Day in 2001 in Tokyo (Japan). I was posted in the Embassy of India Tokyo. I got seriously sick while in office in the afternoon of February 12 with a head stroke (brain hemorrhage). My senior and junior colleagues immediately came to my rescue and got me shifted to the hospital. I was kept in the ICU and the competent doctors and hospitable staff nurses could succeed in plugging the leak without ant surgical operation. On February 14, the Valentine’s Day, I was shifted to my allotted room in the VIP ward. My wife was with me as my daughter Vaishali and son Rupesh had gone to Stockholm (Sweden) to be with my elder son Naresh. The whole Embassy stood by us at this unforeseen emergency. But the climax was yet to come. In the evening after the close of the Embassy, the entire local Japanese staff including 10-15 young ladies came to see me with boxes of chocolates to wish me HAPPY VALENTINE. They came, they sat, they sung, they shared and they CONQURED. I, with my wife Vidya, was overwhelmed by the gesture and VALENTINE LOVE of my Japanese colleagues. God bless them. With God’s grace and the wishes of my friends and dear ones, I stood on my feet again and accomplished greater heights in diplomatic career and retired happily in December 2010.

Let me share a few more line on the Japanese way of celebration of Valentine Day. Japanese women give presents (mainly chocolates) to their men. Traditionally, Japanese ladies are too shy to express their love. The Valentine day is thought to be a great day to express their love and regard. Men respond back by exchanging gifts a month later that is on March 14 and express their love. It is called the White Day. There is a difference between the romantic love and obligatory love and regard to bosses, elders etc. The second kind of chocolate gift is called Giri Choko on the Valentine day. In my case too, it was a GIRI CHOKO by my Japanese colleagues when I was confined to the hospital bed. It was a great day for me.

I take this opportunity and convey my greetings and all the good wishes to all my relations and friends and also my colleagues with whom I have had the chance to interact and work.

Let us exchange love and respect for each other.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Guru Ravidass Prakash Utsav was celebrated with the desired enthusiasm throughout India and abroad by the followers of the great Guru Ravidassji. on February 7. The day is an annual event of note not only at Bootan Mandi in Jalandhar but also throughout in Doaba region where the dalit followers of Guru Ravidass are concentrated and are well placed for the last 80 years or so. For the successive second year, I am in Jalandhar and observed the celebrations first hand.
The Shoba Yatra and the Nagar Kirtan were taken out in the city with all pomp and show on February 6. It was a sea of humanity at loose. The Yatra was joined by all the local dalit organisations and forums in and around Jalandhar city. The entire route of the Yatra was given a festive look with buntings and flags and was punctuated by the podiums with DJs and loud speakers playing glaring music singing the praises of the Guru and spirited numbers like " Hun Sare Kar Lao Eka Beguampura Vasauna aan " etc. It looked as if the whole city has come to streets. It is to be noted with appreciation that the entire route was spread out with Langars of lunch, fruits, sweets, water, tea and other food stuff to serve the moving caravan of the great Yatra. I am happy to observe that for last about 25 years the workers of Soccer International ( a big local company dealing in supports goods) under the stewardship of my younger brother Krishan arrange a big Langar near the Lovely Sweets on Nakodar Road and extend warm welcome to all the participating groups in the Yatra. It is good and healthy tradition. The strength of the community was at show. The energy and awareness which has come, of late, to the fore was clearly demonstrated. But the flip side of the great show was lack of discipline both on the side of the participants, organisers and also the authorities. The followers of the great Guru should consider this and set an example of order and discipline. It will add to their credit and raise their status. Almost all the vernacular dailies carried out the stories and photos of the Yatra and rightly so.
On the Gurupurab day that is February 7, Kirtan Darbars were arranged in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib and the newly established Amritvani followed by Langars in the day time. The entire Bootan Mandi area right from the Wadala Chowk to Abadpura was turned into a great Mela in a total festive mood. From the late evening to the late mid-night, a number of functions were held to sing and promote the mission and philosophy of Guru Ravidass. These functions were well attended where important and known singers performed in the presence of leaders including sitting and former MPs. MLAs, senior Bureaucats etc. The message was clearly emerging. The dalit community is awakened. It is bubbling with energy. It looks for avenues to find its due space and place in the society. As poet Iqbal put it " jara si nam ho to yeh mitti badi jerkhez hai saki ". But unfortunately, the leadership is torn and divided. They are doing a disservice to the whole community on account of their selfish and vested interests. In Bootan Mandi, a few self appointed and self styled Seths with narrow agenda and family fueds are holding the entire society to ransom. They must learn forthwith and stop. The caravan will go on with or without these short sighted individuals. Let us unite for the good of the society as I said in my speech in one of functions on February 7 at Bootan Mandi ' Tum hi tum ho to kya tum ho; Hum hi hum hain to kya hum hain ".
PS; I was one of the Panelists on a discussion on the Jalandhar Doordarshan on the topic " Relevence of the Vani of Guru Ravidass in the contemporary times' telecasted on February 7.