Tuesday, June 26, 2012

AMBEDKAR – The Greatest Indian

I wrote in this blog about the opinion poll being conducted by a TV Channel, CNN-IBN. The nationwide poll is 1 of the 3 modes of selecting the Greatest Indian. The other modes are a Market Research Survey and Jury Selection. All three modes carry equal (1/3rd) weightage. The first mode that is the voting by the public ended yesterday June 25. The first 10 names in the voting would be considered for the other two modes to decide the Greatest Indian. The Leader Board of the voting indicating the ranking out of the 50 shortlisted personalities has thrown a surprising result with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on the top with a good margin, the details of which ((for the first ten) are given below. The total number of votes polled were 71,29,050.


1 Dr. B R Ambedkar 2812494

2 A P J Abdul Kalam 2391374

3 Vallabhai Patel 1091479

4 Kanshi Ram 252728

5 A B Vajpayee 67794

6 Sachin Tendulkar 43625

7 J R D Tata 29484

8 Mother Teresa 29456

9 Rajinikanth 25383

10 Rajagopalachari 25290

The second mode that is the Market Research Survey will start on 1st July till July 20 and the highly distinguished Jury will make the Jury Selection of which the final result will be announced on August 15 for the Greatest Indian. Let us watch this fasinating exercise to identify the Indian Icons. I am confident that the identification and selection of the Greatest Indian will be free and fair from the inherit social bias.

Dr. Ambedkar topping the list is not at all surprising. He deserves to be at the top by his own right. It is gratifying to note that Ambedkar is being accepted and accorded his due place by the society as large as a national leader. The dalits should feel happy and stop considering him only the leader of the dalits. It would be great disservice to the great leader, Ambedkar. As regards Kanshi Ram, I was taken aback when I saw his name in the shortlisted fifty. It means good consideration by the Jury to short list him. I was further surprised when he stood at the second position in the voting for almost the first week of the voting. In the final run, Kanshi Ram stood at number four after Vallabbhai Patel. I am reminded of journalist and columnist M.J. Akbar’s prophetic remarks on the rise of Kanshi Ram in Indian politics in one of the Indian magazines when he wrote “Kanshi Ram has come but yet to reach”. Kanshi Ram gave the dalits and backwards of India a sense of purpose and made their identity vocal. Hope that Babu Kanshi Ram gets a due space and recognition in the days to come.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My fellow BootanMandians

I wrote about my fellow BootanMandians some times before in this blog. I pick up the threads again today. Thanks to my friends Ram Lal Kainth and Darshan Bodhi who provided me some inspiration to do so. Ram Lal telephoned to say that they at the Buddha Vihar at Bootan Mandi were honouring one of the young lads of Bootan Mandi, Sunil. He had passed and qualified the PCS examination the results of which were declared a couple of days before. I was invited me to honour the youngman, Sunil is the son of my old friend and ‘Humumar’ Keshvanand, a fellow BootanMandian. I immediately accepted and felt honoured to do so. It was a brief and solemn function, a good gesture by the Buddha Vihar to recognise the talent in the community and more so from Bootan Mandi itself.

I had lost much contact because of diplomatic duties mostly abroad. I was really impressed by learning that apart from Sunil, Kesvanand’s other two sons were double MA plus and one of the Bahus ( wife of one of the sons) was also an MA & M.Phil. It was a matter of great satisfaction. In my brief remarks, I congratulated Sunil and Keshvanand on doing well bringing much needed honour to the community and the mohalla. Buddha Vihar and its dedicated team with Ram Lal, Darshan Lal, Chanan Ram was doing a good job in culcating the values of good conduct, as per the Buddhist philosophy, in the society and encouraging the young to excell in life. I wish them all the best.

Bootan Mandi had been the hub of business activities involving the community and did well. The focus of leather business has shifted. The traditional business has given way to the modren. Perhaps the community could prepare itself to adapt to the change and lost the emerging opportunities. In politics and public life, my fellow BootanMandians have not done bad. Seth Kishan Dass was an MLA even before independence. Seth Khushi Ram became the Vice President of the Municiple Committee, Kishan Dass’s grandson Avinash Chander is the Chief Parliamentary Secretary of the Punjab Government, Surinder Mahey occupied the coveted position of the Mayor of the city. Narinder Kaur remained a Councillor of the Corporation. Prem Shant is an imporant functionary of the BSP. In the past, BootanMandians did not do well in the services. But, oflate, the trend has changed for the better. The younger generation has come up to the expectations. Jagdish Mahey and Ashok Kler are the Senior Bank Managers. Sushil Sheemar is an ITS ( Director in the Department of Communications). His wife Jaswinder (Lovely) is an Additional Session Judge. Anupam Kler, the daughter of Seth Mool Raj and his daughter in law Babita are PCS officers and maning (womaning) senior positions in the Government. Mahesh Chander and his wife Anju, son and dauhter in law of my brother Kishan, two sons of Keshvanand are engaged in academics. Now Sunil has done wonderfully well in joining the PCS. Though I could manage to become an IFS, Bootan Mandi is yet to produce an IAS/IPS. I wish my fellow BootanMandians aall the very best in the years to come.

अपना मुक़दर आप बनाते हैं एहले दिल;

हम वोह नहीं जीने ज़माना बना गया !

Friday, June 15, 2012

The LIFE goes on

It is 43 years today since I got married to Vidya on June 15, 1969. I was still a student in the final year of university graduation. On my insistence, on account of my economic and educational status, our parents agreed to wait, as per the tradition at that time, for the ‘Muklava’ (compulsory waiting for the conjugation of marriage). I got my first job in the Ministry of External Affairs in March 1970 and shifted to Delhi. Vidya and me started living as husband wife after the ceremony of Muklava on April 20, 1971. We ordinary people and there is not much to write about our life. Still it is a matter of gratification that it is ‘so far so good’.

Generally, we don’t tend to celebrate anniversaries of our birth and marriage etc. I thought of wrting about our marriage today on an unintentional reminder from my friend Ram Lal Kainth. Yesterday, Ram Lal gave me a photograph taken taken on my marriage day at Nawanpind (Jattan), my sasural with my young friends. Since I don’t have any other photograph of my marriage, I would keep the photo given by Ram Lal in my cherished memory and possession.

The long 43 years remained hectic but rewarding time for us. After our Muklava in 1971, we remained almost together in Delhi and various countries to pursue my diplomatic career. In diplomatic career, particularly in the Indian parlence, the lady of the house plays an important role to complement the diplomat. I remained lucky to have Vidya with me who always stood by me. She has also been my strength in my social and family responsibilitis. Thank you Vidya. I count on you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

VIENNA BACKLASH – Compensation Commission

The 3rd anniversary of assassination of Sant Ramanand of Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar was observed by the followers of the Sant and the Dera and also the other concerned on May 25. The tragedy in which Sant Ramanand sacrificed his life and Sant Niranjan Dass the current Chief of the Dera suffered grivious injuries is again in news. The Government of Punjab, as ordered by the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Harayana on the Public Interest Litigation ( PIL) filed by an NGO called General Samaj Manch, has appointed a Commission headed by a retired High Court Judge to decide claims of public and private property got destroyed in the backlash of the unfortunate incidents in Vienna on May 24, 2009.

I have no intention to interfere in the judicial process of the country. I have full faith in the constitutional and judicial set up of the land as I, like majority of the ordinary people , feel that to uphold the democratic eddifice of India, we shall abide by the law and do not resort to violence and unconstitutional methods which were termed as “Grammar of Anarchy” by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. But I have a few questions or daubts in my mind which I will like to get clarified both by the authorities and also the concerned leaders or say the organisers ( if there were some) of the said acts of violence and destruction of property.

i) The PIL has been filed by an NGO called General Samaj Manch. The name of the Manch itself speaks about the bias which it must be holding against the dalits. It is obvious that most of the involved in the said violence or destruction in the aftermath of the assassination of Sant Ramanand were likely to the followers of the Sant and Dera or the dalits who felt outragged by the attack in Vienna. Is it that the General Samaj Manch feels that the dalits ( the special or specified samaj) has no right to protest and give air to their anguish ? Did the authorities counter the petition of the General Samaj Manch or decided to silently side with the Manch in the caste ridden society to teach a lesson to the dalits who tend to assert themselves ?

ii) It has been reported that the Court had clarified to make it clear that liability of the compensation amount will be borne by the perpetrators of violence as well as organisers of the agitation. It is obivious that the so called perpetrators were the affected and pertubed dalits. They shall compensate the loss. Who were the so called organisers of the agitation ? Did they plan the agitation or was it sponetanious? Is it that the dalits shall not agitate and give vent to their feelings ? I think nobody planned the resultant violence. The Dera and the community leaders fully supported the authorities and appealed to the perturbed masses to be calm and peaceful. Otherwise the situation was getting out of hand.

iii) I have no information on the question that- Is it for the first time that such an order has been passed against the perpetrators of mob violence in India ? Who paid the damages in the 1984 Sikh riots ? Who paid for the loss in several communal riots in the country ? We need to look into this.

iv) I have no knowledge of the thinking and reaction of the Dera Sachkhand Ballan and the so called organisers of the agitation of the Vienna backlash. This the time to stop, think and standup to the emerging scenario. It is not an ordinary situation. The vibration of this will be felt in the years to come. Are the concerned leaders both spiritual and political prepared to face the up coming out slaughts on the community ? I think the Dera Sachkhand Ballan shall consider and undertake the follow up on these matters.

We need to think and find answers to to some of these questions, atleast for my own satisfaction as one among you, my fellow brethren.

छुपाकर आश्तीं में बिजलियन रखली हैं गुर्दु नें;

अनादिल बाघ के गाफिल न बैठें आशायनों में !

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


A leading Indian TV channel CNN-IBN has undertaken an opinin poll on the Greatest Indian in Independent India after Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation. A high power and eminent jury has short listed 50 Indian personalities from various walks of life like politics, business, art, culture, education etc. for the purpose. Out of these 50, the opinion poll would zero on on 10 personalities in the final run. It is a good exercise.

It is a matter of satisfaction that out of the 50 short listed personalities two are known dalits ( as far as I know). Obviously, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar figures in the short list and rightly so. The CNN- IBN has , with a view to educate the public, written the following about Dr. Ambedkar:
The Chief Architect of India's Constitution. He challenged the untouchability in a democratic manner and was the most powerful and credible voice against its practice.

As Independent India's first Law and Justice Minister he made progressive, modern laws. He was a great scholar, an electrifying orator, a barrister of international repute and firmly believed that only a true social justice and equal opportunities can hold this vast nation together.

He is as relevant today as he was 60 years ago. He is THE man who made all the differences to the lives of hundreds of millions of Dalits and other exploited communities. His immortal words, ‘They alone rise who strive.

Some of you nurse the wrong notion that you will not rise in this world. But remember that the age of helplessness has ended. A new epoch has set in’ still inspires millions of oppressed.

The second personality is Babu Kanshi Ram. I must congratulate the jury for this thoughtfulness in doing the job. It is a fullsome recognition of his immense contribution to the process of  empowerment of dalits. The Channel has said the following in its citation about Babu Kanshi Ram.

From a little known Dalit organisation, he created a pan India political party that rose to rule the most populous state of India- Uttar Pradesh, a state that still determines the power equations at the Centre.

He turned Dalit anger into votes and directed all his energies to launch a monotone assault on political power through political mobilisation among the Dalits and others under the broader sweep of what he called, after Jotiba Phule, the “Bahujan Samaj. Kanshi Ram created, for the first time in history, a resurgence of the Dalit community in UP where little or no social reform movements have taken place.

His BSP has taken Ambedkar from seminar halls and universities to all over the country and especially where it matters the most - the voting machine. He stands in poor contrast to other great Dalit social reformers including Ambedkar.

His legacy is flawed in many ways and it consists of a one - woman Mayawati dominated BSP. But, one can’t overlook the importance of being Kanshi Ram. Because he created a massive Dalit vote bank by the Dalits, of the Dalits and for the Dalits. The process of political assertion of Dalits which he pioneered looks irreversible.

The purpose of writing this is to inform and enlighten the followers of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Babu Kanshi Ram and the society at large to consider and vote for these dalit and national icons. The salvation of India lies in establishing casteless society and empoerment of the dalits and the weaker sections of the society. Due recognition of the dalit icons would contribute positively towards that end. Let us vote for Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Babu Kanshi Ram in the CNN-IBN Poll as the Greatest Indians. They shall figure in the top 10. One may register ones voteon-line at the www.thegreatestindian.in or by making a missed call on phone: 08082891006 for Babu Kanshi Ram and 08082891002 for Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

हजारों साल नर्गिस अपनी बेनूरी पे रोटी है;
बड़ी मुश्किल से होता है चमन में दीदावर पैदा !