Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Ambedkar on India’s China Policy in the early years of Independence

Ambedkar on India’s China Policy in the early years of Independence

India’s China policy is currently in news owing to the standoff on the LAC between the two historically hostile neighbors. Political, diplomatic, strategic analysts are fully engaged in discussing Sino-India relations from their respective perceptions. The government of India and the opposition parties are up in arms on the reported incursions by the PLA of China at the LAC in Galwan Valley in
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Ladakh. The situation took a serious and bloody turn on the night of June 15 with heavy losses of life on the Indian side and reportedly on the Chinese side too. On both sides of the LAC, armies are heaving ball to ball confrontation presenting a dangerous scenario. In the given background, I thought of writing on India’s China Policy from an historical perspective which has a definite bearing on the contemporary scene as thought and visualized by one of the sharpest minds of India in the contemporary times, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, first Law Minister of free India and also the chief architect of the constitution of India.

Though, it is well known, Babasaheb Ambedkar was one of the most educated intellectuals in the Cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru and Nehru used to introduce Ambedkar as a ‘gem of his cabinet’ yet, it is also a strange fact, Ambedkar was not privy to foreign policy, security policy and even economic development policy of the country in spite of his personal inclination to do such work in the larger interest of the country. Good or bad, it is history. I leave it that.

Nevertheless, Babasaheb Ambedkar was a real public man of standing. How could he remain silent on matters of public and national interest? He had been candid and vocal on important issues including the foreign policy of Jawaharlal Nehru. Ambedkar’s views on India’s relations with Pakistan and China were clear and categorical as he thought in the early years of our freedom and formulation of foreign policy to deal with the outside world particularly our neighbours. Considering the current and emerging status of our relations with Pakistan and China, it may be said that Ambedkar was a visionary leader. His views on Pakistan and China and India’s foreign policy in general were pragmatic and candid.

Let us see what Babasaheb thought of India’s policy towards China in the background of the prevailing tense and hostile standoff with China at Galwan Valley in Ladakh. India was first the country, outside of the communist bloc, to recognize China in 1949. It is well documented what Ambedkar said on India’s recognition of China, “Instead of according recognition to China in 1949, had India accorded this recognition to Tibet, there would have been no Sino-Indian border conflict.” He was equally vocal and candid on the issue. While speaking on China at the Lucknow University as early as 1951, he expressed himself clearly as quoted by Prof.
Satish Chandra, HOD of Department of Political Science of the Central University in Haryana in his article,  Ambedkar's Tibet concerns and Chinese threat  “India has failed to develop a strong foreign policy. Tibet has been garrisoned by China; it will have long-term threat to India.” Prof. Satish Chandra further wrote about Dr. Ambedkar’s views on Nehru’s China policy, “He was scornful of Nehruvian foreign policy, especially on China and the erstwhile Soviet Union. He wanted Tibet must remain an independent country. While delivering speech in Kathmandu in 1955, he cautioned the aggressive approach of China to Himalayan states. Almost six decades of Indian foreign policy synchronised itself under the duress of China from a major power to a trivial entity.” Babasaheb Ambedkar was a critique of India’s China policy. He spoke in the Rajya Sabha in 1954 and warned for failing to read the Chinese designs and said “By allowing the Chinese to take possession of Lhasa, the Prime Minister has practically helped them bring their border down to the Indian border… Aggression might well be committed by people who are always in the habit of committing aggression.”  The Panchsheel Agreement was signed with China in 1954. Ambedkar’s take on the subject makes an interesting reading. While speaking in the Rajya Sabha in 1954 on discussion on China, Dr. Ambedkar said, “India accorded recognition to China in 1949. Dr. Ambedkar wished that India should have accorded this recognition to Tibet instead of China and there would be no Sino-Indian border conflict. He further added,  “Our Prime Minister is depending on the Panchsheel which has been adopted by Comrade Mao in which one of the clauses is the No-Aggression Treaty on Tibet. I am indeed surprised that our Hon’ble Prime Minister is taking this `Panchsheel’ seriously. Hon’ble Members of the House, you must be knowing that Panchsheel is one of the significant parts of the Buddha Dharma. If Mao had even an iota of faith in Panchsheel he would have treated the Buddhists in his country in a different manner. Panchsheel has no place in politics. The truth inherent in Panchsheel is that
Morality is forever changing. There is nothing called Morality. You can abide by your promises in accordance with today’s Morality and by the same propriety you may violate your own promise simply because tomorrow’s Morality will have different demands ... in my opinion our Prime Minister will realize the truth in my words when the situation matures further ... I don’t really know what is going to happen. By letting China take control over Lhasa (Tibetan Capital) the Prime Minister has in a way helped the Chinese to bring their armies on the Indian borders. Any victor who annexes Kashmir can directly reach Pathankot, and I know it for sure that he can reach the Prime Minister’s House also.” Dr. B.R. Ambedkar briefly touched these issues of India’s foreign policy in his resignation letter from the cabinet of PM Jawaharlal Nehru in September, 1951 and said that the foreign policy of the country has given him "cause, not merely for dissatisfaction but for actual anxiety and even worry". He opined: "How dangerous it has been to us this policy of doing the impossible and of being too good".  

All said and done, much water has flown in the Ganges and the Brahmaputra and the situation has changed drastically ever since in the last seven decades. We are to live with China, a hostile big neighbor and an emerging world power. India needs to have a fresh look on its China policy. I think simply by kneeling down and being goody-goody would not work. We are to stand up and consider our approach to the Tibet issue and the Dalai Lama and also our approach to the Taiwan issue. Our fresh thinking and approach on these issues, of course, entail our relations with the US, Russia and democratic countries in Europe and elsewhere on one side and our relations with the SAARC countries and also our extended neighborhood, Central Asia on the other hand to begin with. The nexus of China and Pakistan must be broken to bring about peace and stability in the region. It is a big challenge posed to the peace loving world by the expansionist China. It goes without saying that internal cohesiveness and political unity to meet the external challenges is the first requisite. I hope our political leadership, both of the ruling dispensation and that of the opposition would understand this – the sooner the better.

छुपा के  आस्तीन  में बिजलीआ  रख  ली हैं गुरदु ने ;
अनादिल बाग़  के गाफिल बैठें अशिआनो !

Monday, June 29, 2020

Unlocked India – Week – 4

Unlocked India – Week – 4

At the end of week 4 of unlocked India, June 29, the corona virus is spreading its wings. The total of positive cases has reached 5 lakh twenty nine thousand with about 16 thousand deaths and a daily addition of about 20 thousand positive cases. The redeeming feature is that more than 3 lakh cases have been cured with a recovery rate of about 60%. Governments and the public are fully engaged in the fight against the deadly virus but, it seems, the situation is turning out to be serious in Delhi and Mumbai. The experts fear that in Delhi-NCR alone the tally of positive cases will reach 5 lakh by the end of July. Obviously, it is a worrisome situation. We need to be prepared to meet this challenge whole heartedly.

The scientific community and medicos are fully engaged in finding a vaccine for the virus but it is taking time. Meanwhile, it is unfortunate that some of us, skeptically, waste our time and energy in discussing the solutions offered and efforts made by some of our traditional healers like Baba Ramdev among others. He has come out with medicines under the well recognized traditional medical systems like Ayurveda. What is the wrong in that? The onus lies on the manufacturers and promoters like Patanjali Group and Baba Ramdev to prove the research and its results as per the law of the land. Let it be. We don’t lose anything. Rather we should encourage other traditional and modern players to undertake the job and help the suffering masses. Let us not help and encourage the multi-nationals and cartels to exploit the situation. The second caution is to ward of political slugfest internally while addressing the challenge. We would certainly defeat the deadly menace.

The country is passing through a critical phase with many more aspects of our standing as a nation. The immediate big challenge is our relations with China, a wily and unreliable big neighbour. The armies of both the countries are having ball to ball confrontation on the LAC in Galwan Valley in Ladakh. It is a big challenge to our standing as a dignified and peace loving country from a country known for deceit and expansionist agenda in nexus with yet another hostile neighbor Pakistan. Nepals’s uncalled for behavior on the
border has added to the difficulties. PM Narendra Modi’s government is fully alive to the situation. The whole country of 130 crores, we the people of India, is standing behind and with him to defeat the nefarious designs of the enemies against our motherland. We are to be alert and pragmatic, without succumbing to the emotions and short term approaches, to deal with China, a strong neighbor and an emerging power. I am confident that the government is fully prepared to meet the challenge with its well oiled defense and diplomatic arms fully supported by the people of India and also our friends in the comity of nations. Let us not allow the short term political interests prevail and weaken our resolve to safeguard our national and international standing of a dignified and strong Bharat. Considering the ongoing political stance taken by both the ruling outfits and the opposition, sometimes the warnings of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar openly given in his last speech in the constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 come to touch my mental pendulum and give shivers in my spine. He said, “On 26th January 1950, India will be an independent country. What would happen to her independence? Will she maintain her independence or will she lose it again? This is the first thought that comes to my mind. It is not that India was never an independent country. The point is that she once lost the independence she had. Will she lose it a second time? It is this thought which makes me most anxious for the future. What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people.” We should keep this in mind while dealing with the situation.

Now the usual lighter side of the situation to lessen the grimness and prepare ourselves to face it with a healthy and positive mind:
The lighter side of the nexus among Pakistan, China and Nepal:

चीन ने कहा पाकिस्तान और नेपाल हमारे साथ हैं!
तब से दोनों को दस्त लगे हैं सोच रहे हैं "हम खुद जिसके भरोसे बैठे हैं वो हमारे भरोसे बैठा है!"

The petrol diesel prices are being increased almost every successive day. Some ‘Diljala’ has shared the gem:

पेट्रोल के दामों में लगातार बढ़ोतरी!
कोई सरकार को बताये कि बदला चीन से लेना है देश से नहीं!

Pradhan Sevak did “Mann Ki Baat” on radio today, June 28, people are quick to encash the occasion to lighten the situation:

अगला प्रधानमंत्री शादीशुदा होना चाहिए!
जो मन की बात अपनी घरवाली से करे और काम की बात जनता से!

Let us hope for the best in the weeks to come and strengthen hands of our national government to meet the challenges to our border security, economic development, health and wellness of the masses and our social fabric.
As a word of caution, let me quote to conclude:

छुपा के  आस्तीन  में बिजलीआ  रख  ली हैं गुरदु ने ;
अनादिल बाग़  के गाफिल बैठें अशिआनो !

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Engaging with Ambedkarite and likeminded outfits – International Day of Equality

Engaging with Ambedkarite and likeminded outfits – International Day of Equality

Jai Birdi of Chetna Association of Canada
I have been writing repeatedly over the last more than two months since April 14, birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar on the subject of International Day of Equality. Today, June 20, I have had the occasion to participate in a Web Meeting of Chetna Association of Canada where I was invited to interact with their prominent members on the proposal on International Day of Equality. It was a most educative and productive meeting in which I could meet and interact with the cream of the community living in Canada. I thank Jai Birdi and his associates for this wonderful initiative and wish such occasions would be created in the future by other community organizations not only abroad but in India also. It will not be out of place to mention that Chetna Association of Canada is doing a great job and the result is visible in the Proclamation of the City of Burnaby to declare April 14 as “Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Day of Equality.  Chetna Association has also established a separate Cell in the Association to pursue the proposal of International Day of Equality of which I have been honoured to be the lead functionary
Manjit Bains of Chetna Association of Canada
with Manjit Bains, a staunch Ambedkarite and community activist in Canada.  We rededicate ourselves to do our best to carry forward the caravan. Keeping this in mind, I decided to reach out to the leadership of Ambedkarite and likeminded outfits and urged them to consider, support and pursue the proposal on International Day of Equality appropriately as they deem fit. I may request and urge them to mention, explain and solicit support to the proposal in their public interactions as and when possible. They may consider passing resolutions in support of the proposal and sending to the Government of India through the Minister of External Affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar at his official E-mail:

The organizations outside India may submit the passed resolutions through the Indian diplomatic/Consular missions abroad for onward transmission to the concerned offices in India. I take the liberty of suggesting and providing a Draft Resolution to facilitate the matter. The Draft Resolution is appended below.

It is possible that many of the organizations may not know the background and details of the proposal to declare April 14, birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality. For their knowledge and benefit, I give here a link which will give the basic details and necessary background of the matter:

Subsequent to the issue of the said Roadmap, I have written to EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar under intimation to PM Narendra Modi and other senior Ministers followed by a letter to shortlisted MPs and MLAs and also political and social activists. I also approached some of the spiritual Deras in and around Punjab to seek their support. The civic society, students and intelligentsia were also engaged to involve them in the process. The idea is catching up with the imagination of important segments of the community and
the society at large. The much needed support of the Ambedkarite and likeminded organizations will be highly appreciated. Obviously, the job is too big and a concerted approach of all of us would certainly make a big dent in the decision making process of the Government of India where the proposal is resting since June, 2015 in the Ministry of External Affairs. The legacy and glory of the greatest son of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar is scattered all around. It will be difficult to ignore it any more. In the poetic words of Allama Iqbal:

Uthaye Kuch Waraq Lale Ne, Kuch Nargis Ne, Kuch Gul Ne
Chaman Mein Har Taraf Bikhri Huwi Hai Dastan Meri

Some leaves were picked up by the tulip, some by the narcissus, some by the rose
My story is scattered around everywhere in the garden

Urha Li Qumriyon Ne, Tootiyon Ne, Andleebon Ne
Chaman Walon Ne Mil Kar Loot Li Tarz-e-Faghan Meri

The turtle‐doves, parrots, and nightingales pilfered away
The garden’s denizens jointly robbed away my plaintive way

Draft Resolution


We at the_______________________________(Please fill in the name of your association/organization)

Hereby resolve to support the proposal to declare April 14, birth anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality made by Ambassador Ramesh Chander to the Minister of External Affairs of the Government of India in June 12, 2015 which was duly acknowledged by the Joint Secretary (UNES) of the MEA vide his letter No. UII/151/8/2005 dated August 6, 2015 and duly taken up by Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal with PM Nraendra Modi vide his letter dated May 3, 2016 as we consider that the proposal is important and timely not only to honour the greatest son of India but also to contribute positively to the lofty goal of establishing a just and equitable world order.

Hereby urge the Government of India to kindly consider and make an appropriate demarche to the UN to declare the International Day of Equality for the benefit of the international community and the society at large to recognize and strengthen the principles of Equality and Fraternity much needed for the global peace and prosperity.

Done on…………………..             at……………………….

(Seal and Signature)

Monday, June 22, 2020

Unlocked India – Week – 3

Unlocked India – Week – 3

Yesterday, June 21, was the close of week 3 of unlocked India. Corona virus, of course, remained a source of concern and worry as the deadly virus continued abated to take its toll.  India, as you know, has already reached number 4 in the world with regard to the virus with about 4.11 lakh positive cases, more than 13 thousand deaths and 15 thousand adding daily to the total numbers. We need to be careful and prepared to cope with the emerging situation. There is no early and easy solution in sight. More and better coordination among the governments and the authorities is needed with the much needed self control and discipline by the people to meet the challenge. Let us hope for the best.

The week under review remained a hectic and crucial time on many counts. China showed its true colours. I commented on China in my last blog on June 15, “India still hopes that the stand-off at the Line of Control in Ladakh will be sorted out through dialogue. Let us hope so but China is a cunning practitioner of deceit.” Unfortunately, it came true and in the intervening night of June 15-16 China inflicted on our armed forces a bloody assault in which 20 of our brave soldiers were martyred on the LAC in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh. MEA rightly asserted in its statement on June 17, “While this became a source of dispute, the Chinese side took pre-meditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties.” We are to deal with this nuisance and highhandedness of China with a firm resolve unitedly. Both the government and the opposition should behave sensibly to support and strengthen our armed forces and practitioners of diplomacy to handle the hostile and unreliable and also a cunning neighbor, China.  It was a matter of satisfaction that India was elected to be a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a tenure of two years for the 8th time with a thumping majority. Obviously, with this, India will have a better say in the world body. It is gratifying to observe that today, June 21, is the International Yoga Day, a fine demonstration of India’s ‘soft power’ in addition to the International Day of Non-violence on October 2, birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. On these lines a good proposal on April 14, birth anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality is resting with the Ministry of External Affairs of the GOI. It will only be appropriate for the GOI to consider and get
April 14 as International Day of Equality. It will add to India’s ‘soft power’ and also yet another feather in the diplomatic cap of India during the tenure of India’s membership of the UNSC and a seat at the coveted ‘Horseshoe Table” in New York. As PM Narendra Modi in his message on International Yoga Day said, “Yoga enhances our quest for a healthier planet. It has emerged as a force for unity and deepens the bonds of humanity. It does not discriminate. It goes beyond race, colour, gender, faith and nations. Anybody can embrace Yoga.” It is equally true for the proposed International Day of Equality. India’s leadership ought to play a crucial role not only to address internal issues economic and social cohesiveness but also external issues of cross border terrorism, threatening postures of our hostile neighbours, international trade and also issues of national security. Unity in diversity is our inherent strength. Let us preserve and maintain it to our advantage and benefit.

This piece will not be complete, if I deviate from the usual path and don’t touch upon the lighter side of the Unlocked India:

We are to deal with China on diplomatic front. One of us has a gem of this tactical approach to that end:

आज मैंने बीजिंग की एक लड़की को फ्रेंड रिक्वेस्ट भेजा है।
चीन को घेरने के लिए ये मेरा पहला कूटनीतिक कदम है!

Yet another one to touch the funny bone as a commentary on the current relations with our neighbors:

एक पड़ोसी टिड्डी भेज रहा है!
एक पड़ोसी कोरोना भेज रहा और लद्दाख में टेंट भी गाड़ रहा है!
एक पड़ोसी मन मर्जी के नक्शे छाप रहा है!
श्रीलंका, भाई तू क्यों शर्मा रहा है। आजा तू भी रावण की मौत का बदला ले ले!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Miles to go before I sleep – International Day of Equality

Miles to go before I sleep – International Day of Equality

Keeping with the roadmap drawn on April 14 to pursue the proposal, made to the then EAM Sushma Swaraj in June 2015, on International Day of Equality, the matter was revisited with a letter dated April 15 to EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar under intimation to PM Narendra Modi.  It was further pursued with the Forum of Scheduled Caste MPs and MLAs through Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal under intimation to important Ministers namely Thawar
Chand Gehlot, Ram Vilas Paswan, Som Parkash, Rattan Lal Kataria, Ramdass Athawale and short listed MPs/MLAs of various political parties were urged to take up the matter in and outside the parliament/assemblies appropriately. The intelligentsia of the civic society was approached to extend their due support to the idea. The spiritual Deras in and around Punjab were engaged to consider and bless the proposal. The social and political activists were requested to facilitate the matter and take up appropriately with the GOI. With a view to invite and engage the younger generation to understand and support the idea, an open letter to students and teachers was addressed. The point which is intended to be made is that no stone will be left unturned in making our agenda reach home with the Government of India and others abroad. The interlocators and supporters abroad namely; Chetna Association of Canada, Federation of Ambedkar and Buddhist Organisations of UK, AICS of Canada, the Ambedkar Times Group of California (US) among others are fully involved in the process and doing their best in generating awareness of the proposal both in political and social circles in their respective places. But we need to learn and contend ourselves as stipulated in the poetic words of Robert Frost:

The Woods are Lovely Dark and Deep;
Miles to Go before I sleep.

The Government of India is yet to respond. We will remind them. We will continue to motivate and engage the civic society and political class to support the idea. Let the schools and colleges open, we would duly engage the youth in the process. The media is so far blissfully ignorant of the matter. We would make them understand and solicit their support. As we shared with you in write ups on the subject that slowly and steadily the idea was getting all due attention from the general public, intelligentsia, political and social activists, educationists and civic society, there is nothing which will deter us to proceed further. The government and political class, it seems, is yet to rise to the occasion. Let us hope they wake up and carry forward the proposal to the UN to honour the greatest son of India, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar by declaring April 14, birth anniversary of the icon as International Day of Equality. It is a matter of gratification to note that India is all set to get a non permanent seat at the UNSC for the next two years. It would be an opportunity for the GOI to carry forward the proposal with relative ease and comfort. I hope that GOI would get yet another feather in its hat by getting the proposal on
International Day of Equality approved by the UNGA and April 14, 2021 is celebrated and observed to pay a befitting tribute to Babasaheb Ambedkar and flag the international stature of India under the stewardship of PM Narendra Modi. The need of the hour, in the wake of the current racial turmoil in the US, is to support and bring about a sense of Equality and Fraternity in the world. These developments have presented a grim reminder to wake up. The increasing relevance of International Day of Equality has been explained in the link below which may be of interest to understand the matter in its right global perspective:

We are to do a lot and go a long way. Governments have their own considerations and positions. The political class generally remains sitting on the fence and waits for whips from their bosses. But I must warn with hindsight that so far nobody could ignore Ambedkar and anybody who might try willingly or otherwise will be disappointed with penalties to be suffered.  We would continue to do our bit. I share here a Hindi couplet sent by Motivational Consultant Jagat Shah to close my submissions:

जिस दिन से चला हूं मेरी मंजिल पे नज़र है,
आंखों ने कभी मील का पत्थर नहीं देखा.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Unlocked India – Week – 2

Unlocked India – Week – 2

The second week of Unlocked India in the fight against the deadly corona virus has ended with a scary note; if we simply go by the figures of positive cases and deaths – 3 lakh twenty thousand and 10 thousand respectively. Now India stands at number 4 in the world only after Russia, Brazil and the USA. The position in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi is disturbing. On a single day on June 13-14, the count of additional cases was 12 thousand, so far the biggest in one day. The governments are doing their best. The reassuring aspect is that the number of recovered cases is also
almost half the detected positive cases with a good recovery rate of about 50%. But we need to be alert in the come weeks. It is a matter of gratification to note that more and more people from the general masses are getting aware of the need for segregation, social distancing and cleanliness etc. Governments are needed to be more attentive, responsible and sensitive in dealing with the emerging scenario as, suo motu, advised by the Supreme Court too. The glimmer of hope in getting a vaccine to stop and kill the virus is getting strong both of modern and traditional steams of medicine. Let us pray we get the antidote to the virus as quickly as possible.
Life goes on as Faiz Ahmed Faiz said:

और भी दुख हैं ज़माने में मोहब्बत के सिवा
राहतें और भी हैं वस्ल की राहत के सिवा 

The governments are, as visible from the print and electronic media, trying their best. But they are to cater for the problems of politics and vested narrow agenda besides fighting the deadly menace. It seems we are more obsessed with these negative aspects. It is dangerous and we must be careful and mindful of these trends. The father of the Indian constitution, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s warning given in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 comes to my mind. He, while commenting as to how we lost our independence in the past said, “Will history repeat itself? It is this thought which fills me with anxiety. This anxiety is deepened by the realization of the fact that in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably will be lost forever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood. ” Both the ruling outfits and the opposition must consider these words of Dr. Ambedkar and mend their policies and approaches accordingly. The country is, as you all know, passing through a difficult time. Economy is badly affected. Production is down. Exports have dwindled. Unemployment is
becoming a big problem. Our borders are not calm. Our detractors, particularly China and Pakistan and now a new ally of them, Nepal, in a neighborhood are trying to fish in the troubled waters as per the professed policy of Chinese leader Mao – “China undertakes negotiations to ‘buttress its position’ and to ‘wear down the opponent’.” as quoted by a renowned geostrategic analyst Brahma Chellaney in an article in the Hindustan Times. India still hopes that the stand-off at the Line of Control in Ladakh will be sorted out through dialogue. Let us hope so but China is a cunning practitioner of deceit.

All said and done, India is a big country with big problems. So far so good but we are to go a long way to retrieve and save our position and honour – with cheer and ease, bearing with the mood of the joke manufacturers.

पप्पू: पापा मेरा बोर्ड का रिज़ल्ट गया!
संता: लाओ दिखाओ!
पप्पू: एक शर्त पे दिखाऊंगा! रिज़ल्ट देखने के बाद आपको सोशल डिस्टेन्स रखना पड़ेगा!

Yet another gem floating around – a corona virus affect on the Pradhan Sewak’s Jumla – Sab Ka Sath, Sab Ka Vikas and Sab Ka Vishwas:

सबका साथ, सबका विकास;
अपनी अपनी बोतल अपना अपना ग्लास!

Let us see what is in store for us in the third week of the Unlocked India?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Ad-Dharam Movement and Dalit Identity

Ad-Dharam Movement and Dalit Identity

It was June 11-12, 1926 when, under the stewardship of Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia,  a two day meeting was held at the village Mugowal in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab to discuss the ‘Dasha- Condition’ and ‘Disha – direction’ of the downtrodden, suppressed, depressed and under-privileged of India, now in general parlance, called “Dalits” and chalk out the programme and agenda to
establish, protect and preserve their identity as the ‘Moolniwasi -  native inhabitants of India, separate and distinct from the Hindus. It was an historic meeting which established the Ad-dharam Mandal under the leadership of Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia, a Ghadari Baba and a social and political activist who addressed and challenged the social and political structures which undermined the fundamental and human rights of Dalits of India. It took no time to turn the Ad-dharam Mandal into a full blown Ad-dharam Movement in north India and beyond. The Ad-dharam Mandal startd asserting it separate identity from the Hindus and others and professed that Dalits were the Moolniwasis i.e. the original inhabitants of India. The dalit masses were, obviously, fed up of the oppressing behavior of the high-caste Hindus and the caste system of Manuwadi social hierarchy. They jumped the bandwagon of the Mandal and started asserting for their rights. Babasaheb Ambedkar was already available on the scene who provided the intellectual muscle to the agenda of the Ad-dharam Mandal on the high-tables in Delhi and London while pursuing his own agenda for the rightful and due space for the depressed classes both in the polity and the society. Both Babasaheb Ambedkar and Babu Mangu Ram were contemporaries and complementary to each other. The Ad-dharam Mandal succeeded in persuading the British rulers to accept and recognize the separate identity of dalits in the census of 1931. As a result, a large number of dalits, in spite of vehement opposition from the caste-Hindus including the Congress Party and Mahatma Gandhi, registered themselves as “Ad-dharmis” in the census register. The Mandal whole-heartedly supported Dr. Ambedkar at the Round Table Conferences in London in 1930-32 which resulted in Communal Award of PM Ramsey MacDonald in 1932, granting separate electorates to dalits amond others. It was a big success for
strengthening of Dalit identity as visualized by Babu Mangu Ram and Babasaheb. But, unfortunately, it was not to be. The machinations of Mahatma Gandhi and other staunch caste-Hindus supported by the Congress Party with their
Author with Sant Satwinder Hira, Chairman of All India Ad-dharam Mission
narrow and nefarious agenda defeated and negated the big achievement of Separate  Electorates for Dalits provided in the Communal Award of Ramsey MacDonald by the Poona Pact of 1932 signed between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Many of the analysts have termed the Poona Pact as a ‘sheer fraud and an act of blackmailing’ perpetrated by the caste Hindus to keep dalits in the Hindu fold to perpetuate their exploitation as per the Manuwadi mindset. The rest is history. I wrote about the Ad-dharm Movement and Babu Mangu Ram in my blog on June 11, 2014 in more detail which may be seen at the link:

The situation underwent a drastic change with the independence and partition of India in 1947 and with the adoption of the constitution in 1950. Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia tried to revive the movement for the identity of dalits after 1947 as well but could not make much dent in the changed circumstances. I vividly remember that in my younger days in the 1960s, the Shobha Yatra, then called Jaloos, on the eve of Guru Ravidass Jayanti which – as of now also - used to start from Bootan Mandi in Jalandhar, will invariably stop and halt near the then Sant Cinema near Kishanpura Mohalla and a delegation of a few seniors would go and host the flag at the first office of Ad-dharam Mandal after its inception in 1925-26 to register their affiliation and appreciation of the Mandal and Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia. Let us leave it to the historians to make a good study of the matter and give their appraisal and verdict on the role and contribution of  Ad-dharam Mandal and Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia in establishing a separate identity of dalits as distinct from the Hindus. The concept of separate identity of dalits has not died down and, it is evident, it would not in the years to come as long as the oppressing regime of caste system and sense of racial superiority is not completely eradicated from the mindset of the society at large. The constitutional stipulations of Equality, Justice and Fraternity have not been completely realized. Babasaheb Ambedkar rightly said that the political democracy would be meaningless if it was not transformed into social and economic democracy. Manyawar Kanshi Ram further asserted dalit identity and made a mark both politically and socially. The followers of Ambedkar, Ramaswamy Periyar, Mangu Ram and Kanshi Ram are carrying the flag of dalit identity as Bahujans and Moolniwasis as their just and democratic right, and rightly so.

Let us remember and recognize, on these days of June 11-12, the sterling role of the Ad-dharam Movement and the dalit icons particularly Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia in establishing dalit identity to rectify the wrongs done by the caste-ridden social order to their dalit brethren. I close this piece with a quote from an article written by Retired PCS Gian Singh Bal in a souvenir to remember Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia published in 1985 by C.L. Chumber to set in perspective the role of the great icon of dalits, Babu M.R. Mugowalia and the early leaders of the Ad-Dharma perceived their first task to be the creation of a new religion. In their initial meetings, even before they developed an organizational structure, they labored over a basic ideological theme upon which they could build a system of religious ideas & symbols. Its central motivation was novel: the idea that untouchables constitute a qaum, a distinct religions community similar to those of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs, and that the qaum had existed from time immoral. It was a myth of power addressed to the people without power. It was intended to communicate the sense of strength that Babu M.R. Mugowalia felt belonged to his Caste fellows by right. As he explained, partly stating a fact, partly expressing a hope, "The untouchables have their powers: communal pride (qaumiat), religion (Mazhab), and organization (mazlis), "The hope was that these powers could be fostered and splintered through force of ideology.” (sic)

आंधियों के इरादे तो अच्छे ना थे,
ये दिया कैसे जलता रह गया,