Monday, September 24, 2012


I wrote about Swami Gurdip Giri of Pathankot in this blog. Swami Gurdip Giri added yet another feather in his turban yesterday, September 23, 2012. He facilitated, negotiated and signed an MOU between Dera Swami Jagat Giri Charitable Trust of Pathankot and Manav Samta Sthal Charitable Society of Delhi for the establishment of an educational and knowledge complex – Begumpura International Centre of Spiritual and Human Excellence.  The Centre is to be set up at a 70 acre venue at village Hara Tika, Dhar Block of District Pathankot on Dalhousie Road which has been ear marked and offered by Swami Gurdip Giri for the purpose. The main objective of the Begumpura Centre of Spiritual and Human Excellence is to develop and provide facilities for an overall development of the downtrodden and under privileged sections of the society.  I participated in the meeting to conclude and sign the MOU at Pathankot as a special invitee of Swami Gurdip Giri which was an honour for me. Blessing the MOU, Swami Gurdip Giri underlined the need to creat and offer excellent facilities for the weaker sections of the society not only spiritually but also in all other facets of human development. He said that t will be a true tribute to the great Guru Ravidassji and also the contemporary messiah of the dalits, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

The senior representatives of Swami Jagat Giri Charitable Trust and Manav Samta Sthal Charitable Society including Shri R.L. Pradeep, IAS (Retired), Shri J.S. Badhan IAS (Retired), Shri B.R. Kundal, EX.Minister, MLC and Chief Secretary of J&K (Retired), Shri Banal, DGP of J&K (Retired) Shri F.C. Mall, Deputy Director of MHA (Retired) inter alia participated and signed the MOU in the presence of Swami Gurdip Giri.  The foundation stone of the Begumpura Centre of Spiritual and Human Excellence is like to be laid towards the close of the current year.

I wish Begumpura Centre of Spiritual and Human Excellence all success and further prosperity and good health to Swami Gurdip Giri.
जरा सी नम  हो तो यह मिटटी बड़ी जरखेज है साकी ! 



The anniversary of the Poona Pact of 1932, signed between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, falls on September 24.  Much water has flown in the Ganges in the last 80 years since the Poona Pact was signed but the condition and the fare of the dalits in India did not change much for the better, in spite of legal and constitutional provisions made even in the constitution of India.  The much needed empowerment of dalits remains an issue even after 65 years of independence.  Let us analyze the subsequent developments, after the Poona Pact, which have directly or indirectly affected the empowerment of dalits which was the sole purpose of the Pact.

It is known history that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s intense struggle against the British rulers and the Indian society and its leaders resulted in recognizing for the first time the political rights of dalits in the Communal Award of 1932 given by PM Ramsay MacDonald after the debates and decisions of the Round Table Conferences. Like other communities, dalits were also given separate electorates to send their representatives to the central and provincial assemblies. With this the political and social identity of the dalits got established.  The Hindu society and its leaders led by Mahatma Gandhi were dead against this happening. The manuwadi mindset was at work. They were not interested in the empowerment of the dalits but wanted to keep the dalit community in their fold to serve them as dictated in the scriptures. The ‘oligarchy of the high castes’, as somebody has said, was the riding consideration of the society rather than addressing the problems of caste and untouchability. Mahatma Gandhi termed the Communal Award 0f Ramsay MacDonald as “injection of a poison is calculated to destroy Hinduism and do no good whatever”. . Gandhi strongly opposed the communal award on the grounds that it would disintegrate Hindu society. He began an indefinite hunger strike from September 20, 1932 to protest this award. In view of the mass upsurge generated in the country to save the life of Gandhi, and appeals of orthodox Hindu leaders, Congress politicians and activist, fearing a communal reprisal and genocide of untouchables, Dr. Ambedkar was compelled to soften his stand. He agreed to joint electorates under massive coercion from the supporters of Mahatma Gandhi.  As a result of the agreement, A compromise between the leaders of caste Hindu and the depressed classes was reached on September 24, 1932, popularly known as the Poona Pact signed in the Yerwada Jail where Mahatma Gandhi was on hunger strike. The resolution announced in a public meeting on September 25 in Bombay confirmed -" henceforth, amongst Hindus no one shall be regarded as an untouchable by reason of his birth and they will have the same rights in all the social institutions as the other Hindus have". This landmark resolution in the history of the Dalit movement in India subsequently formed the basis for giving due share to Dalits in the political empowerment of Indian people in a democratic Indian polity.

But it was not to be. Ambedkar and his followers were soon disillusioned. The provisions of separate electorate as envisaged by the communal award were enough to establish political and social identity of the dalits. The opportunity was cleverly denied by the Poona Pact. Ambedkar was disappointed and he made his disenchantment known to Mahatma Gandhi in his letter dated February 11, 1933 bluntly refusing to give a message for the inaugural issue of the Harijan“. . . I feel I cannot give a message. For I believe it will be a most unwarranted presumption on my part to suppose that I have sufficient worth in the eyes of the Hindus which would make them treat any message from me with respect . . . I am therefore sending you the accompanying statement for publication in your Harijan.”



“The Out-caste is a bye-product of the Caste system. There will be outcastes As long as there are castes. Nothing can emancipate the Out-castes except the destruction of the Caste system. Nothing can help save Hindus and ensure their survival in the coming struggle except the purging of the Hindu faith of this odious and vicious dogma.”


Dalits continue to suffer from this disability of having an identity till today.  Babu Manguram Mugowalia and his associates tried their best through the Ad-Dharam Movement to establish dalit identity by stating and pleading that dalits were neither Sikhs nor Hindus. Subsequently Babu Kanshi Ram also rose and disapproved the Poona Pact. He wrote in Preface of his book the Chamcha Age that Chamcha age started from the Poona Pact giving joint electorates instead of separate electorates. The purpose of book was to make Dalit Soshit Samaj of the existence of Chamchas or stooges, and to awaken masses how to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit leadership. The reservation issue is still alive as the dalits could not be empowered as desired. Moreover, the thinking of Mahtma Gandhi in saving the Hinduism has fallen flat otherwise also. Sikhs have asserted their separate identity independent of Hinduism. The Poona Pact it seems was an act of treachery and fraud on the dalits. The point is not to blame Dr. Ambedkar as he had no other option as he was a nationalist to the core. He did not want to create friction with the majority Hindus on one hand and stand against the national movement of independence against the British on the other.

 मस्जिद तो बना दी सब भर में; इमां की हरारत वालों ने,

मन अपना पुराना पापी है; बरसों से नमाज़ी बन सका !

इकबाल बड़ा उपदेशक है; मन बैटन से मोह लेता है,

गुफ्तार का तो यह गाजी बना; किरदार का गाजी बन सका!




Saturday, September 15, 2012

S.R. HEER of Dera Sachkhand Ballan

I have been writing about the contemporary dalit heroes in my blog. Let me carry forward the series with yet another hero, Shri Sadhu Ram Heer, Former Chief Engineer and Head of Jalandhar Doordarshan and currently Chief Aide of the Dera Sachkhand Ballan. I heard about Heer Sahib but as of now did not have the chance to meet and know him. It should not be an obstacle and would like to write and recognize him. The immediate provocation to do so was the 53rd anniversary of Doordarshan which was observed yesterday September 14 with a poetic symposium ( Kavi-Darbar) on DD Jalandhar at which S.R. Heer was the Chief Guest. I could learn more about Heer Sahib from the introduction given by the Master of Ceremonies and also the speech of the Director of DD Jalandhar. Both of them spoke highly of S.R. Heer and informed that his contribution to DD, not only in Amritsar and Jalandhar in the initial years of its operations but also its overall performance and success, was immense and appreciable. S.R. Heer was a pillar of strength of DD Jalandhar in making it number one station. It was duly recognized by the Government and rewarded. Heer Sahib spoke with conviction in his brief but impressive speech and said that the original mandate of DD was to ‘educate, inform and entertain’ which was the correct agenda and vision of the national TV network in spite of increasing commercialization and competition from the private TV channels. I did not know much about Heer Sahib till the Kabi-Darbar of September 14. The stock of S.R. Heer in my mind and estimation has gone up. I salute him as the worthy son of India and hero of the community.

I am told that S.R. Heer is a simple man of spiritual orientation. His post retirement association and engagement with Dera Schkhand Ballan and its activities is well established and recognized. I understand Heer Sahib is the main spokesman and the chief aide of the Dera and various trusts and other socio-religious and educational outfits run and managed by the Dera. As such, Dera being the hub of soico-religious upliftment of the community at large, contribution of Heer Sahib is praiseworthy and shall be commended.

 I take this opportunity to wish Heer Sahib good health and further success and prosperity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



Toda September 5 is the Teachers Day which is observed on the birthday of the former President of India Sarvapalli Radhkrishnan.  The day is dedicated to the teachers keeping in with the lofty tradition of “Acharya Devo Bhav”. I feel like writing on this day almost regularly as I hold my teachers in high esteem and still keep in contact with some of them.  

I had my primary education in the community run school at Bootan Mandi, Jalandhar which was make shift arrangement in the Gurudawara. I will be failing in my duty if I don’t mention the name of Seth Khushi Ram who was the Head of the informal managing committee of the school. He did a good work in providing the basic educational facilities in and around Bootan Mandi. I pay my tributes to Seth Khushi Ram and his associates on the Teachers Day.  I will mention about a teacher whose ever smiling face is deeply ingrained in my memory. She was Sheila Behanji of a nearby mohalla Abadpura.  As I recall she almost a family member of ours and many more like me and participated in our “Dukh & Sukh” apart from teaching us in the school.  In the long summer holidays, we even used to go to her home for additional lessons.  She was a homely lady of dignity. I vividly remember that her husband was working in the Indian army. Today, my heart goes to Sheila Behnji.

 I graduated to the Sain Dass High School in Basti Nau which was considered a good school in the area at that time.  Headmaster Baldev Raj was a much respected personality in the area and was a good educational manager. I recall that his deputy was Dawarka Sass, a saintly figure. Apart teaching English he was engaged in imparting moral and spiritual knowledge.  I must admit that whatever little English I know today it is primarily because of Master Dawarka Dass and Master K.K. Khullar. I realized this much later when I used their notes in my college days. My humble tributes to my teachers at the Sain Dass School

After high school, I joined DAV College in 1966 and graduated (BA) in 1970. I was a mediocre. My main interest, as one of the subjects, was Political Science. I was much ahead of my contemporaries in general awareness which I think remained my one of the assets throughout my service in the IFS and daily life. I will like to remember today Principal BS Behl.  He was not my teacher as such but his administrative skills,  to make DAV College one of the premier educational institutions in north India,  impressed me a lot.  As I mentioned in one of my blogs earlier,  Prof. KC Mahendru and Prof. KK Ghai are two of my teachers of Political Science who contributed a great deal in shaping my personality and career. I have no claims to be brilliant student but my own interest in political science and general awareness, without even they knowing, made them dear to me.  It is my good fortune that, due to a kind gesture of my friend Ram Lal Kainth who reintroduced me to both Prof Mahendru and Prof Ghai, I am in touch with them even after my retirement from diplomatic career in IFS.  Both them are leading a retired but still active life in Jalandhar. My all the best wishes to Prof. KC Mahendru and Prof. KK Ghai for their good health and further success and prosperity in the years to come.


Sunday, September 2, 2012




I wrote about Swami Gurdip Giri of Pathankot in my earlier blogs too. I have had the chance to meet the great Swami again on August 31 at the residence of my brother Krishan Lal who keeps regular contact with the Swami for various social and spiritual activities. Swami Gurdip Giri is a real saint without false assumptions. That is, inter alia, the appealing trait of his personality which I like the most. My first meeting with him happened in Delhi in 1998-99 when he went to the UK for his spiritual and social mission. It was our pleasure to host him for a couple of times in our small flat in Kalkaji. We found him a simple and honest man with high thinking.  My next meeting with him was at the eve of the marriage of my daughter Vaishali in December 2001 at our home in Bootan Mandi when he visited us on our humble invitation to bless my daughter. I vividly remember that he invoked and recited a hymn of Guru Ravidass “ Seh Ki Sar Suhagan Jane “and advised my daughter to respect her husband and his family and abandon false pride and enjoy the pleasures of life. It was an apt message to the young lady to start her life. Swamiji is so humble and down to earth that he has the charm to win over people by his simple and easy demeanor.  Yesterday he immediately recognized my wife Vidya and my son Rupesh and said that we met here itself some years before at a marriage and it was a pleasant coincident that we were meeting again here. Over the years, Swami Gurdip Giri has attained, by his own right, a much larger persona and status in the society by his lofty deeds and message but personally he remained a simple and humble man. Here lies his greatness. I would like to associate myself with Swami Gurdip Giri and his Dera Jagat Giri Maharaj.

I may add that Swami Gurdip Giri is the Head of the Dera Jagat Giri Maharaj in Pathankot.  Swami Gurdip Giri and the Dera is actively engaged in spiritual, social and educational well being of the poor masses in and around Pathankot, Jammu, and also many more cities of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. Swami Gurdip Giri enjoys a considerable following in many countries abroad. He came back only a couple of weeks before for a month long tour of Australia. Swami Gurdip Giri informed that he was much interested in providing facilities for education to the rural masses and weaker sections of the society besides their daily and routine social and spiritual services. In fact, he has invited me to a meeting in Pathankot towards the last week of September for the purpose. It would be my privilege to go and attend. I wish Swami Gurdip Giri all the very best and further success in his mission.


Saturday, September 1, 2012




This week on August 29, I have had an opportunity to visit Sant Baba Bhag Singh Educational Complex at village Khiala near Adampur (famous for an important Indian Air Force base in northern India). Sant Baba Bhag Singh Institute of Engineering & Technology very kindly invited me to speak to the young students of the Institute on any current and relevant theme. On my own, I picked up ‘Emerging India and its Challenges’ as the subject matter of my lecture and interaction with my young audience and members of the faculty and other guests. It was an honour for me to speak at such a prestigious Institution in the area. I only hope I could justice and the lecture and following interaction was useful and mutually benefiticial. I thank Prof. S.S. Saini, Head of Department (ECE) and Prof. Mahesh Chander of the Institute who facilitated my invitation to the speaking engagement.

I was doubly privileged to meet and interact with Sant Baba Malkiat Singh, Patron and Sponsor of Sant Baba Bhag Singh Educational Complex at the lecture. It was an extended honour as I was told that he rarely come for such functions. I found Sant Baba Malkiat Singh an embodiment of humility. He is known as “Bridge Baba” in the area for his tremendous work and strides in doing bridges, roads and other developmental projects in the rural areas in the vicinity of his Dera without any governmental involvement apart from his interest in providing for excellent educational facilities at cost effective basis and also free to the needy and economically weaker sections of the society. I was also informed that Sant Baba Malkiat Singh was equally engaged in providing health care facilities at the grass root level in the region. I salute to Baba Malkiat Singhji and Sant Baba Bhag Singh Memorial Charitable Society which doing excellent work under his stewardship.

It was a pleasure to meet some of the highly placed members of the elite faculty and management of Sant Baba Bhag Singh Educational Complex like Prof Hari Singh, Prof. S.S. Saini, Prof. K.D. Mannan, Principal S.P. Sharma, Lt. General (Retd.) J.S. Dhillon and others. It was gratifying to note that all these highly qualified personnel with considerable experience at their back occupied coveted positions in various institutes of higher education in and around Punjab before their retirement. They are now engaged with Baba Bhag Singh Educational Complex not for material gains but for service to the community. Prof. Mandeep Kaur, a gracious lady, very ably conducted the proceeding of the very well organized lecture. I was informed that the Complex is likely to get the status a university in the near future. I wish Sant Baba Malkiat Singh and his associates all success and further prosperity in the years to come.  It was a rewarding experience for me to be at the Complex.