Friday, January 25, 2013


The text of the Preamble of the Indian constitution reads:

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

 JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


The constitution came into force on January 26, 1950.  The January 26 became the Republic Day of India. Let us look back with some sense of introspection and consider whether we have lived up to the lofty ideals of the Preamble of the constitution of the Republic India. It is a mixed bag, to my mind, of good and bad.

The Good – we are prevailing as a sovereign country and are a dignified member of the comity of nations. We are the largest democracy of the world. The words ‘Socialist and Secular’ were added to the preamble were added on the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee later sometime in the early 70s. It could be anybody’s guess or opinion whether we are socialist and secular? The redeeming factor is that the constitution is working. If, somehow, polarization of political forces on the basis of ideology and programme happens, Indian democracy would be the most vibrant and successful.

The Bad – Could we secure for ourselves Justice, Liberty and Equality and promote Fraternity, as visualized by the founding fathers? The answer, most probably, is in the negative. The justice is delayed, costly, lopsided and hard to find. The liberty is discriminatory. The Media is totally commercialized. The intellectual class is self-centered. The Equality is yet to come by in the caste ridden society. We have failed to promote fraternity in the society at large. Communal strife is getting strengthened. Religious bigotry is gaining support. But it is satisfactory to note that we still swear to uphold the constitution. Many positive things have happened and much is underway.Anyway, we have come a long way but still we have to go a long way. We need to work and strive in unison.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar rightly said in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 and I quote “….. 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. “

We the people of India must consider and realize this if we want to see India succeed and prosper. It seems that the constitution has not failed us. And we must not fail the constitution

Monday, January 14, 2013

Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia - A Tribute


The birth anniversary of Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia (1886-1980) falls on January 14. I write this to pay my humble tributes to the memory of the great son of the country particularly of the dalit community. Babu Mangu Ram’s sterling role in the freedom movement of India as a Gadrite leader is well known and documented.  He was an Indian patriot to the core in the Gadar Movement in the US and other countries. Later on coming back to India in 1925, he engaged himself fully in the fight against social and economic degradation of the dalit community at the hands of the caste ridden Indian society. It was a daunting task. But Babu Mangu Ram was a crusader.

In 1926, Babu Mangu Ram initiated and established Ad-dharam Movement to provide the dalit a social and spiritual identity of their own. He started publishing a periodical called Adi-Danka to enlighten and cajole the dalit masses to stand up and fight for their rights. The effort was a great success with the help and joining hands with the other leaders of the community like Master Gurbanta Singh, Seth Kishan Dass, Seth Sunder Dass, and Sant Ram. Gopal Singh Khalsa, inter alia. The Ad-dharam Movement, as my father told me, did a great job, under the leadership of Babu Mangu Ram, during the Round Table Conferences in the early 30s in supporting Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as the sole leader of the dalits of India to represent them in the Conferenes and other fora for the interests of the dalits. With these efforts. Ad-dharam was duly recognized as a different entity in the 1931 census. Dr. Ambedkar’s struggle with the help of the leaders like Babu Mangu Ram resulted in the Communal Awards of the British Government to recognize and ensure separate electorates for the dalits in 1932 which was formally accepted and introduced as the Poona Pact between Ambedkar and Gandhi. Some vested interests tried to create unnecessary controversy about the presumptive differences between Dr. Ambedkar and Babu Mangu Ram on the decisions of the Poona Pact and the agenda of the Ad-dharam Movement. But the prevailing political and social atmosphere in the country left no other option both for Dr. Ambedkar and Babu Mangu Ram to accept the ground realities. Babu Mangu Ram continued to accept Dr. Ambedkar as his leader and respected him accordingly.  The Ad-dharam Movement gained strength particularly in the doaba region of Punjab. Babu Mangu Ram along with others got elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly before independence in 1947.  In the wake of changing political and social scenario, the Movement which was by then converted into a political outfit as Ad-dharam Mandal, fizzled out somewhat. Most of the associates of Babu Mangu Ram either joined the Congress Party or the Scheduled Castes Federation and later the Republican Party.  But the relevance and role of Ad-dhram Movement and the Mandal would remain a historical fact that it played an immensely important role in establishing a separate and distinct identity for the dalits which was a much called for need of the times.

Babu Mangu Ram was a visionary and a leader of the first rate. He contributed immensely to freedom movement of India as a Gadrite leader and also to the emancipation of the dalit community.

हजारों साल नर्गिस अपनी बेनूरी पे रोती है;

बड़ी मुश्किल से होता है चमन में दीदावर पैदा !