Monday, October 29, 2012


Today (October 29) is the centenary of ‘Peoples Poet’ Gurdas Ram Alam (1912-1989), was a genius but an embodiment of simplicity and humility. His bio-profile is nothing but poetry of total transformation in the society. I am not a literary critique and may not know the nuances of fine poetry. But the poetry of Alam, to a layman like me, is the language of the poor. It is the spirit of the down-trodden. It speaks of equality. It pleads for a just and equitable social and economic order. Alam was not educated in the formal sense of scholastic classes. He barely learnt the Punjabi language at home but Alam was a born intellectual. His poetry amply confirms this. Alam could easily be compared with Shiv Kumar Balalvi, Pash, Mohan Singh, and Amrita Pritam, all in one. People termed him a communist when he gave an easy Punjabi expression to the theory of Marx “to each according to his need and from each according to his capacity” and wrote “asin bit to waddu dinden han; sanu lod mutabik milda nahin “. Alam became an Ambedkarite when he recited his poem “ ajj kaon ayia savere savere “ in a public meeting in the presence of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in 1952 at Bootan Mandi in Jalandhar.  He wrote about Guru Ravidass in his poem ‘Inqalabi Aaggu’. Alam wrote about Guru Nanak in his poem ‘Patni da Gilla’. He wrote about contemporary politics. Alam gave an altogether new idiom to romance and love when he wrote “mahi mera kale rang da behde badda ta chand chad janda “.  Alam did not know any boundary and practiced the art of poetry for the common good of the society without any dogma of theory and ideology as a universal humanist.

I am fortunate that I met Alam and listened to his poetry from his mouth way back for several years in late 60s in Kavi Darbars in Bootan Mandi in Jalandhar on the Gurupurab of Guru Ravidass. Later I read his poetry books and carried them with me abroad in course of my diplomatic assignments. His poetry is as relevant today as it was before. In recent years, I heard lot about Alam in Glasgow in Scotland when I was the Consul General of India in Edinburgh. He enthralled the audiences in Glasgow when he visited there with Shiv Kumar Batalvi. My admiration for Alam goes higher and higher as the years go by.

 My senior colleague Ambassador Bal Anand prompted me to participate in a function to commemorate Gurdass Ram Alam on October 28 at Jalandhar by Manavwadi Rachna Manch. It was a rewarding attendance. It provided me an opportunity to listen to intellectual poets and scholars who spoke high of Alam and rightly so. The Manch conferred “Gurdass Ram Alam Award” on a recognized poet of Alam's genre, Madan Veera. The function succeeded in paying well deserved tributes to Gurdass Ram Alam on his centenary. Alam and his poetry will remain alive in the years to come.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I am writing this with a great sense of sorrow and a heavy heart. Lalit Angural (Lally), a hale and hearty young man, passed away suddenly in the forenoon of October 6, 2012 with a silent heart stroke. He was to complete 24 on October 9. Lally’s sister Sulekha is our daughter in law, wife of my son Rupesh. But the parents of Lally, Madan and Nimmo, are our family friends of long standing. Madan is a business partner of my brother Kishan and Lally was a business associate of Kishan’s son Brijesh (Bablu).  Lally, as such, was a part of our own family in all respects. Even after, our family friendship turned into close relationship, Lally continued to call us Tayaji and Taiji. The untimely and sudden death of Lally cut down a promising and budding businessman, a great hope and stay of a struggling family to find their feet in the society. The cruel hands of death have snatched that dream and hope. I was in Gurgaon for a few days to be with Sulekha and our little granddaughter Suhani (3 yrs.) as Rupesh was away to Russia on a business trip when the sad news reached us. I brought Sulekha and Suhani to Jalandhar in the night of October 6 itself. It was one of the difficult journeys of my life, Sulekha weeping and crying and Suhani getting curious and sad throughout.

On reaching Madan’s home, the scenario was totally unbearable. The dead body of Lally was kept in a refrigerated box for cremation the next day, October 7. It looked as if he was in a deep sleep. For me it was a different experience. By the quirk of fate or by chance, I did not see death/dead body even at this ripe age of 60 plus. My grandfather died of heart attack in 1972. I could not reach Jalandhar from Delhi before the cremation. My father in law died in 1979. We were in Beijing (China) and could not reach for the rituals. My father died in 1986 after a long illness and we remained with him for a month or so a months before his death. But we could not reach home at the time of death. We were in Kandy (Sri Lanka). My grandmother died in 1990. Again we could reach Jalandhar only after the cremation. My mother died in 2006 after a prolonged illness. We were in Prague (Czech Republic). We could not reach. The reasons for this unintentional absence were partly exigencies of service and partly my non-insistence to wait for me for the rituals. As a simple and ordinary human being, I have tried and lived life as it came. My brothers have been very supportive and respectful. So far so good.

Lally’s death was a shattering experience. I find it difficult to forget his lovely face and charming behavior. Lally was good at studies. After BBA, he was doing MBA from Sikkim Manipal University. He was fully and successfully engaged in a good export business as a self made person. He was a man in a hurry to do many things quickly. He was a social and amicable personality who was engaged in social and extra-curricular activities. It will be difficult to fill the void created by Lally’s sudden departure in the years to come.  May God grant peace to the departed soul of Lally.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012



Today, October 9, is the death anniversary of Babu Kanshi Ram (March 1934-October 2006) who was also addressed with respect as “Manyawar” by his followers and rightly so. Babu Kanshi Ram was a great leader of the dalits and other backward and weaker sections of the society after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. He carried forward the Mission of Joytiba Phule and Ambedkar with great zeal and resultant success. In fact, to my mind, it was Kanshi Ram who could generate and provide a mass base for the dalit movement and aspirations in the contemporary India. He succeeded in encouraging and motivating the dalit youth to stand up and ask for their rightful space and position in the political, economic and social establishments of the polity, economy and society of the country.  He fought for total transformation as against the status quo of the political and social forces at the helm of the affairs. Babu Kanshi Ran in one of his interviews to the media in the early years of his political career said” To my mind, all parties represent the forces of status quo. For us, politics is the politics of transformation. The existing parties are the reason for the status quo. That is why there has been no upward mobility for the backward communities”.

In the early years of his life, Babu Kanshi Ram was a scientist working with a Government scientific laboratory in Kirkee.  Some routine cases of upper-caste high handedness cajoled the sensitive mind of Kanshi Ram. He studied Ambedkar’s writings and embarked upon a mission for the empowerment of the dalits and other backward classes as equal partners in the political and economic structures of the country.  Kanshi Ram launched his first organization called BAMCEF (Backward (SC, ST, OBC) and Minority Communities' Employees' Federation) on December 6, 1978:  Three years later, on December 6 1981, he founded another organization called DS-4 (Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti) and on April 14, 1984, i Kanshi Ram finally formed a political party named Bahujan Samaj Party. Babu Kanshi Ram was a visionary. He was an astute political strategist and a communicator par excellence.

Kanshi Ram disapproved the current dalit leadership and termed them as Chamchas created by the Poona Pact of 1932 signed between Mahtma Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar. He criticized the Poona Pact as it took away separate electorates offered in the communal award of PM Ramsey MacDonald which, according to Kanshi Ram, was a political blunder and tactful defeat of dalits by the Manuwadi forces.

Kanshi Ram’s political vision and his success are clearly visible in the emerging India. BSP is one of the leading political parties of the country. His follower Kumari Maywati occupied the coveted position of the Chief Minister of UP for four terms. The party has an impressive strength in the Parliament and the UP Legislature. BSP is a political force to be reckoned with.  Dalits are getting assertive for their rights and dues. It is all due to the relentless struggle of Babu Kanshi Ram. The contours of the Indian political and social order are changing. I am reminded of Kanshi Ram’s thinking when he said “I tell my followers Ek Eet Ka Jawab, Do Pathron Se (you must retaliate for one brick with two stones), otherwise you are not my followers”.
ऐ खाक नासिनों उठ बैठो वोह वक़्त मुकाबिल आ पहुंचा,
जब तखत गिराएं जांएगे और ताज उछाले जांएगे !