Monday, July 27, 2020

Dalit Identity Issue – United We Stand and Divided We Fall (Rejoinder to Some of the comments)

Dalit Identity Issue – United We Stand and Divided We Fall
(Rejoinder to Some of the comments)

I wrote this blog: Dalit Identity Issue – United We Stand and Divided we Fall on July, 2020 which may be perused at link: I am happy that many of my friends read it and came out with any

considered and meaningful comments as “flowers and brickbats” which I take in my stride as a humble but alive follower of Guru Ravidass and Babasaheb Ambedkar and also as a social activist with regard to the community matters.

I forwarded my blog to cross sections of the society including the principals of both the Dera Sachkhand Ballan proponents of Ravidassia Dharam and All India Ad-dharam Movement, promoters of Ad-dharam. There is no detailed comment from either of them so far except some stray observations like – Jai Gurdev – Dhan Gurdev (as I wrote in the blog most of us limit our involvement to these salutations, regrettably)  from some of their supporters or followers. Some of my friends made serious comments which I would like to share here and respond as I promised to them on Facebook.  Before I do that I would like to register my thanks and gratefulness to Chief Editor of The Ambedkar Times, Prem Chumber who very kindly gives me all due support by carrying my blogs on community matters of interest and concern in the Ambedkar Times religiously and regularly.

Sunil Raju
Sunil Raju of the UK is my good friend who interacts with me quite regularly on Facebook. He is a well-meaning and considerate person. We agree on many things while disagreeing on many in the process and to put in a diplomatic jargon ‘We agree to disagree’ on many issues. Nevertheless, we continue. He did not like my brief reference to the role played by Banta Ram Ghera in exploring and identifying the holy site of Guru Ravidass’s birthplace at Seer Govardhanpur in Varanasi and termed it as “one of the fallacious statements. For the benefit of my friends, I reproduce a relevant excerpt from Sunil’s lengthy comment: “Bhaisaheb, thanks and went through your article and one of the fallacious statements that you have made is about Mr. Banta Ram Ghera. I am wondering what proof do you have that he was founder of Varanasi Temple and what proof do you have that Varanasi temple was snatched from Mr. Banta Ram Ghera by Dera Ballan ? On the contrary, it was Mr. Banta Ram Ghera who had unjustly taken control and it had to be taken back.” I also reproduce what I said about Banta Ram Ghera in my blog which Sunil Raju could not stomach, “As regards Ad-dharam, the idea had exhausted its utility with the new constitution of India. Banta Ram Ghera, a tireless community activist who was instrumental in searching and establishing the birth place of Seer Govardhanpur in Varanasi, picked up the flag of Ad-dharam to counter Dera Sachkhand Ballan who gained control of the holy site and condemned Banta Ram Ghera to die as an ‘unsung’ hero. This feud between the All India Ad-dharam Movement under the stewardship of Sant Satwinder Hira of Khuralgarh Sahib in Hoshiarpur, Punjab and Management of Dera Sachkhand Ballan on the issue of identity may be seen in this background. It is just a coincident that I knew Banta Ram Ghera personally and Sant Satwinder Hira, a qualified Engineer by profession, is also known to me as are the high-ups at the Dera Sachkhand Ballan. I informed Sunil Raju that I would explain the position to the best of my knowledge and belief in due course.

First of all let me reiterate my position that I respect and regard with due reverence Dera Sachkhand Ballan as explained in my blog under reference. Unfortunately, some people without understanding the core issue tend to criticize and oppose those who express views which may not be seen as supportive of the Dera and its management consciously or otherwise. It is not correct. I did not say that Banta Ram Ghera built the Seer Goverdhanpur site, the holy place at Varanasi. There is no point in repeating that the site has been built, developed and brought on the map of India as a place of significance and reverence by Dera Sachkhand Ballan under the blessings of Swami Sarwan Dass and his successors. The Dera and the concerned Trust are the rightful and legal occupants and trustees of the site. There is no question about it. But this does not minimize or discount the role and contribution of Banta Ram Ghera in exploring, searching, identifying and establishing the site as the birthplace of Guru Ravidass. As far as I know he enjoyed support of and good rapport with Swami Sarwan Dass ji not only with regard to the site at Seer Goverdhanpur but also Swami Sarwan Dass ji as a staunch Ad-dharmi and a founder of Ad-dharam Mandal in 1926-27 in collaboration and cooperation with Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia and others. I will not like to mention about the later developments which soured the relations between Banta Ram Ghera and the Dera. Unfortunately, as I know and understand, the situation came to such a pass that Banta Ram Ghera was condemned as a villain and his role and contribution was completely negated. There is no point in specifying as to who did it. Now I come to my personal humble involvement and cursory knowledge of initial details which are relevant to counter the alleged “fallacious statement” decreed by my friend Sunil Raju. It was, if my memory does not fail me, sometime in 1967-68 when Banta Ram Ghera, as a one man army, was fully engaged in establishing the site of Guru Ravidass’s birthplace at Seer Govardhanpur and was fighting tooth and nail with the local goons and opponents, he, obviously, needed financial, physical and moral support to carry forward his agenda and mission. It was but natural to look towards Dera Sachkhand Ballan and the followers of Guru Ravidass in the Doaba region. He did so while living in Delhi because of his job with the Railways. I was the young General Secretary of Guru Ravidass Welfare Association of Bootan Mandi, an undeclared and informal capital of the Chamar/Ad-dharmi community. Banta Ram Ghera got in touch with us and briefed us about his work and agenda at Seer Govardhanpur and requested for help and support, particularly financial support as Bootan Mandi was considered as the nerve centre of economic and financial prosperity and wellness of the community. We, together with our young brigade of dedicated youth namely Hardial Banger, Manohar Mahey, Sat Paul Mahey, Prem Shant among others, in turn approached our seniors and elders namely Seth Khushi Ram, Seth Raju Ram, Seth Dhanu Ram, Seth Mela Ram Rikhi and their associates like Durga Dass and Mool Raj, inter alia, and gathered support for the worthy project initiated and undertaken by Banta Ram Ghera at Seer Govardhanpur. It was a humble but important support to the project extended by the youngsters of Bootan Mandi towards follow up of the project. I recall that a good amount of money was collected and the land at Seer Govardhanpur was purchased. The fact that many of us may not know remained that the registry of the land of the holy site at Seer Govardhanpur was done in the name of the Seths of Bootan Mandi. I was away from Bootan Mandi as a faceless diplomat in pursuance of my career since 1970. Later I was told that the registry of the holy site at Seer Govardhanpur was duly transferred in the name of the concerned Trust or the Dera Sachkhand Ballan only in late 1990s by Mayor Surinder Mahey and Seth Sat Paul among others, my fellow Bootan Mandians. Manohar Mahey, one of my associates in the late 1960s in gathering support to Banta Ram Ghera, also played an important role as the General Secretary of the Trust to manage the site at Seer Govardhanpur. It was just a coincident that Banta Ram Ghera and I bumped into each other in Delhi again and renewed our acquaintance to exchange notes on the project at Seer Govardhanpur. In this background, I think the role and contribution of Banta Ram Ghera in getting our identity at Seer Govardhanpur cannot be ignored. Anyway, the core issue is not Banta Ram Ghera but the Dalit Identity Issue which is the subject matter of the ongoing debate. 

Chaman Lal
It will not be out of place if I share with you get another pertinent comment made by one of friends, Chaman Lal, Retired Senior Executive of the PIB and the Editor of the Identity being published from Chandigarh. Chaman Lal wrote, “Very interesting dear Ramesh Chander ji! Very pertinent issue rose which requires a logical and reasoned debate! I shall like to comment sometime in the near future! But to put it briefly - we are, as a community, lost in the quagmire of selfish interests, ignorance and lost in our own created webs! Never disheartened, I look forward to a very considered and rational debate without being influenced by pulls and pressures on the issue of Identity or no identity and 'socio-economic' status of our people as a class which you have touched towards the end of your very sagaciously done write up! I feel honoured that you counted me among the individuals deserved to be addressed on a very sensitive point concerning our community/people! I presuppose that we take into account our pre-independence state of affairs vis a vis our social and economic status in the post independence era! With the best regards.” 

Joginder Baghe with Sukhdev Baghmare
Yet another friend, Retired IRS Joginder Baghe of Mumbai who is privy to, I understand, the thinking of the Dera Sachkhand Ballan on the subject wrote and I quote him in full as he has added to the debate meaningfully, “Thanks Ramesh Chander saheb for a precise wonderful piece of article on as to what ails our unity and what needs to be done. On certain points I would like to give my opinion.

1) Ambedkarism & Ravidassia Religion are not mutually opposed (exclusive) to each other. In fact, real Ambedkarism, what we see today is not a result of efforts of those who converted to Buddhism with & after Ambedkar. But this countrywide wave of Ambedkarism is brought by ever progressing powerful Chamar (Ravidassia) Community. Maharashtra account for 90% of the Buddist (Neo-Buddhist) in India and I am a resident of Mumbai for the last 37 years. My experience has been that Mahars (Neo-Buddhist) have maintained a distance from Chamar Community in Maharashtra. Its only after 2010, when Chamars of Punjab declared Ravidassia Religion from 31/1/2010, after the shahadat of Sant Rama Nand in Vienne, Austria that Buddhist have now started propaganda to ask all chamars to come under Buddhism.
2) Adi- Dharma was a great concept from our revered and respected Mangu Ram Mugowalia, from Hoshiarpur Punjab. In fact this concept was ahead of its age. In spite of its Recognition as a Religion in 1931 Census, it failed because of Poona pact under which the rights of Scheduled caste/tribe given in the shape of separate electorate were converted to the whims & fancies of Political Parties. In Punjab, those rights were high jacked by Congress party and we are aware how we have been handed over to one family, in spite of fact that we are 32% of the population. This is another matter of research, why Baba Saheb could not add Adi Dharma in Article 25 of the Indian Constitution along with Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhist. Further no efforts appear to have been made from 1931 till date from those who claim to inherit Muggowal Saheb's Adi Dharm movement & now strangely come out of slumber after declaration of Ravidassia Religion in 2010.

3) Ravidassia Dharam was declared by Dera Ballan Sants in the presence of other sants on 31/1/2010 at Banaras UP. People may be able to find many faults with Dera Ballan but its a fact that Dera is in existence for over 100 years, became a central point for Chamar Community, particularly after establishing & running Guru Ravidas Janam Sthan Temple at Seer Goverdhanpur, Banaras. The Dera further connected with NRI Chamar community, mainly from Doaba Punjab in foreign countries. Dera was able to create identity for Chamar Community by establishing palacial Dera at Ballan and many places in India & abroad. Dera Ballan was able to provide single meeting point at Banaras where on the occassion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti, about 15-20 Lakhs people take Langar, free food organised by Dera Ballan. The declaration of Ravidassia Religion in 2010 is a result of constantly emerging power of Dera Ballan.
Reason why Adi Dharma could not spread is due to the fact that it was confined to Doaba, leave aside Punjab and there was no machanism to spread it in different parts of India. Whereas after declatation of Ravidassia Dharam in 2010, Dera Ballan appointed Sant Sukhdev Waghmare of Pune as National President Akhil Bhartiya Ravidassia Dharam Sangathan who spread it in all states of India from Gujarat to Assam and from Jammu to Andhra/Karnatka. In a short span of 10 years, Sant Sukhdev Waghmare took it to all corners of India & made it a national Religion.

In view of above, I feel that all need to associate with Dera Ballan, hammer out differences if any amongst other Deras & Buddhist & present a unified picture to the world. What we still struck is in the rivallary of various Deras in Punjab & fail to see it as a National Ravidassia Religion.

Further I want to add here that great concept of Saheb Kanshiram of joining together 85% of our population under the banner Mool Niwasi, has if not altogether failed, appears nowhere progressing. Whereas Ravidassia community (under different castes), with 90% population of SCs has already emerged as the most enterprising, brave, committed and financially strong to take the lead & become the pivot for getting justice for all. Let’s see the reality & think nationally & not confine to Dera Politics of Punjab.”

The debate continues and it is good for all of us to consider the matter dispassionately and decide before it gets too late. We should avoid foul mouthing and acrimony among ourselves i.e. the Ad-dharmis, Ravidassia Religionists and the Buddhists. The question of identity and due space and share in the polity and society of India, to my mind, has the following broad options in the given situation. I take the liberty of sharing it here without any intention of ruffling the feelings of any of the stake holders in this process:

Possibilities of getting separate identity as non-Hindus and Non-Sikhs as Ad-dharmis and/or Ravidassia are bleak in the present statutory and constitutional arrangements. We will remain what we are – a divided lot that is what our tormentors and oppressors want. We are to formulate and shape our responses to defend and protect our interests and concerns while following the missions and teaching of Guru Ravidass, Guru Granth Sahib, Satguru Kabir, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Periyar Ramaswamy. Manyawar Kanshi Ram while remaining with the main stream of Hindus and the Sikhs. It also goes with the old dictum that ‘one remains as one is’ i.e. in whatever religion one is born; he/she retains that identity. In this case, the tyranny of the Manuwadi system is bound to stay for a long time to come. The option of Ravidassia Religion and Ad-dharamis are not viable and tenable in the prevailing dispensation and situation. Moreover, the proponents of these proposals both the Dera Sachkhand Balland and All India Ad-dharam Movement neither have the requisite strength and wherewithal to take the proposal to its culmination. Merely raising the dust will not do to justify their own projections and ego. Above all, these proposals are divisive and go against the agenda of power sharing as equal partners in the polity and society.

Acquire separate identity as Buddhists as advised and followed by our icon Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar after an in depth study and deep contemplation. Buddhism is a rational and liberal religion. Ambedkar was dead against any dogmatic fundamentalism. Under the over-all umbrella of Buddhism, one may remain informally a Ravidassia/Ad-dharmi/Balmiki, Kabirpanthi/Mazhabi and so on, if they feel there is any need to do so. Coming to the advantages and disadvantages of the above mentioned options, let me add – the first option of harping on Ravidassia Religion/Ad-dharam identity will keep us divided and marginalized segments of the main stream of the society as Hindus or Sikhs. There will be no spiritual and political salvation to redress our age old grievances and redeem our social dignity. There is no light visible at the end of the tunnel of Manuwadi social system. It will remain so for a long time to come in spite of legal and constitutional provisions made in this regard. It is a hard ground reality which has to be accepted. The second viable option is conversion to Buddhism. It will provide a dignified and internationally recognized and also indigenous identity as very cogently and convincingly explained by Babasaheb Ambedkar at the time of embracing Buddhism in October, 1956 and in his various sermons and speeches on the subject. This suggestion is based on the existing formulations and practices in the Indian society – Hindus and Sikhs are Nirankaris, Radha Soamis, Namdharis, Insans of Ram Rahim Singh, Arya Samajis etc. – Christians are Protestants, Catholics, Evangelists, Jehovas etc – Muslims are Syeds, Ahmedias, Tabliqis, Debbandis etc. Frankly, most of the Buddhists, as in the main stream of the society already follow this entrenched social pattern in their daily lives consciously or sub-consciously while confessing their Buddhist identity. There is no harm in that as religion and its practice is a personal matter in a multi-cultural and secular society of India. Both Buddhist Identity and Ambedkarite Agenda are potent enough to take care of our unity to vouch for our political concerns and aspirations as visualized by our icons and forefathers both spiritual and political.

We need to consider these humble submissions with all sincerity. I intend no ill will and acrimony against anyone and take the liberty of sharing my thoughts as clearly as possible as a humble and small cog in the wheel of the community.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Dalit Identity Issue – United We Stand and Divided We Fall

Dalit Identity Issue – United We Stand and Divided We Fall

Sant Niranjan Dass and Late Sant Ramanand
Of late, the issue of dalit identity as Ad-dharmis or Ravidassias is currently making waves in the social media. Sometimes, new Buddhists, it seems, also get tempted to jump on the bandwagon of ‘Identity’ zealots or they are unnecessarily dragged by the stakeholders. Occasionally, I have also joined the debate and commented on various posts floating on Facebook or other social media organs like WhatsApp etc. First of all, before I come to the real issue, let me add with some satisfaction that more and more dalit youth are getting access to the social media though they are yet to realize the full impact of this very important tool to express themselves in the situation where they don’t have the luxury of enjoying the attention of the mainstream media both print and electronic. I wish more and more dalit educated youth join and avail of facilities like Twitter, Youtube etc. and express their view point. We need to be more serious and involved in the process and should not limit ourselves to “Jai Gurdev – Dhan Gurdev or Jai Bhim – Jai Bharat. Say more and be full-fledged stakeholders in this important issue. Only then your views will count in the corridors of power in Delhi and the State capitals. It is a matter of some gratification that in the ensuing debate the national media has
shown some interest. I have seen detailed stories in the Times of India and the Indian Express, of late, besides the vernacular media. It is a good development but the purpose and motivation of the media, generally found aloof or unconcerned, is yet to be understood. It seems, as usual, many forces, both genuine and vested, are interested and working on the issue and obviously. Of course, it is an important issue, Identity of Dalits, has a direct bearing on the social and political edifice of the country. I am saying this not as an expert but an interested layman and an ordinary citizen of the country with an open mind.

Sant Niranjan Dass ji with PM Narendra Modi an CM Adityanath Yogi
Before I proceed to discuss the meager details and cursory information I have on the issue, let me, with all humility, share my views on the ongoing debate on ‘Dalit Identity’ in the larger interests of the community and the society at large, knowing well that these may not find favour with the Principals of both the camps i.e. Ad-dharmis and Ravidassias and even the Buddhists. The ‘Dalit Identity Issue’ being discussed currently is an unnecessary debate which will bring no benefit and dividend and even advantage to the community in the given social and constitutional background. The assertions of both the Ad-dharam Movement and the Dera Sachkhand Ballan with regard to their proclaimed religious identity as Ad-dharmis and Ravidassias are fully, to my mind, laced with ‘divisive tendencies’’ which will further divide dalit communities. It will be detrimental to our overall interests in the run up to get a due space and share in the polity and society of India. My gut feeling is that this avoidable debate has been purposely instigated by the vested interests who directly gain from the situation in which dalits remain divided. I stop here and will, if need be, specify these inimical forces who follow the age old dictum of ‘Divide and Rule’ at some later date as I don’t intend to add to existing unfortunate social animosity. The premise of both the stakeholders i.e. Ad-dharmis and Ravidassias on the issue is based on fallacious and unfounded understandings on the issue. The Ad-dharmis rely and stand on the thoughts of Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia under the umbrella of Ad-dharam Mandal of yesteryears and the fact of the census of 1931 and 1941
Sant Satwinder Hira with RSS Activists Banveer Singh and Dr. Varinder Garg
in which Ad-dharam was accorded some sort of recognition as distinct from the Hindus and Sikhs as a pre-cursor to the Communal Award of 1932 of PM Ramsey MacDonald. The Poona Pact of 1932 between Gandhi and Ambedkar followed by the India Act of 1935 and finally culminating in the constitution of independent India changed the entire scenario and the Ad-dharam Movement became dormant and was made irrelevant. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s embracing of Buddhism, an epoch making event in the history of India, in October, 1956 further eroded Ad-dharam’s base and rationale. I need not go beyond this. The Ravidassia Dharam floated by Dera Sachkhand Ballan of Jalandhar is comparatively a recent development of 2010-11. The genesis of it lays in the gruesome and cold blooded murder of Sant Ramanand of the Dera Ballan in May, 2009 in Vienna the capital city of Austria. The present Principal Sant of the Dera Niranjan Dass ji was also grievously wounded in the murderous attack by some Sikh hardcore militants. Till then the Dera was faithfully following the Guru Granth Sahib and lofty tenets of Sikhism and Sant Ramanand himself was one of the known and revered preachers of Gurbani enshrined in the great Guru Granth Sahib. The Ravidassia Dharam, to put it briefly as a matter of fact, was a spontaneous and half baked reaction which came to the fore in anger and with a sense of retaliation against the Sikh culture and society, if not against the Sikh religion. Otherwise, the daily ritualistic routine at the Dera and also the conduct of the Sants there remained the same minus the exalted presence of Guru Granth Sahib which was replaced by the hurriedly compiled Amritvani, a new holy book dedicated to Guru Ravidass ji. It will not be out of place to mention that it was a mysterious tragedy, soon thereafter, that the motley group of Sants and other senior functionaries at the Dera who were instrumental in floating the new religion i.e. Ravidassia Dharam, were shunted out of the Dera by the current dispensation in control of the Dera. The political outfits and their leadership - Congress, BJP, Akalis, BSP, as and when convenient placate the Dera including the establishment and control of the holy sites at Seer Govardhanpur at Varanasi in UP for their political axe to grind owing to the Dera’s considerable clout among the Chamars/Ad-dharmis in and around Doaba region of Punjab and dalit Diaspora abroad.  The Dera and its leadership take it, I think, mistakenly, as support to their new venture, Ravidassia Dharam which is, in fact, not the case. It is, to my mind, an ill-conceived idea having no social and constitutional background and backup. I may appear to be candid and frank in expressing my opinion on the subject but I do it in all good faith as a humble Ad-dharmi or Ravidassia with utmost respect and
Ambassador Ramesh Chander with revered Sants of Dera Ballan at Vienna
reverence for the Dera Sachkhand Ballan and its leadership including Sant Niranjan Dass ji whom I had met a couple of times in Vienna and at my humble abodes in Delhi and Jalandhar, besides my personal good rapport with Sant Ramanand and that of my brothers with Sant Garib Dass of the esteemed Dera. As regards Ad-dharam, the idea had exhausted its utility with the new constitution of India. Banta Ram Ghera, a tireless community activist who was instrumental in searching and establishing the birth place of Seer Govardhanpur in Varanasi, picked up the flag of Ad-dharam to counter Dera Sachkhand Ballan who gained control of the holy site and condemned Banta Ram
Ambassador Ramesh Chander with Sant Satwinder Hira
Ghera to die as an ‘unsung’ hero. This feud between the All India Ad-dharam Movement under the stewardship of Sant Satwinder Hira of Khuralgarh Sahib  in Hoshiarpur, Punjab and Management of Dera Sachkhand Ballan on the issue of identity may be seen in this background. It is just a coincident that I knew Banta Ram Ghera personally and Sant Satwinder Hira, a qualified Engineer by profession, is also known to me as are the high-ups at the Dera Sachkhand Ballan.

Now coming to the crux without further prolonging the background, I would like to share the likely fallout, to my mind, of this ‘Dalit Identity” with the concerned and interested in both camps i.e. the proponents of Ad-dharam and Ravidassia Dharam. The immediate and definite fallout is further division in the society which will do much harm to the overall interests and concerns of dalit communities at large. It will also adversely affect the social cohesion and harmony with the mainstream of the society. There is no constitutional provision, as of now, to accommodate the submissions, proposals, demands made to the government in this regard. If the government tends to accept these demands, let us believe so hypothetically, a constitutional amendment would be needed. Do we have that strength, support and wherewithal to take forward the matter? I don’t think so, given the state and mode of our representations, memorandums and letters to President, PM and other authorities – lacking in good and flawless drafting, lacking in content and intent, bereft of thrust and goalpost to say the least. It only shows that we are not serious. But nevertheless we wish to stand on ego and ceremonies to carry on the limited agenda to be seen as the flag-bearers of the community.

Given the current and forthcoming scenario, we need no separate identity distinct and separate from Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. Currently, almost all Ad-dharmis, Ravidassias are either Hindus or Sikhs or Buddhists in accordance with the social and legal framework under the constitution of India. Our greatest icon in contemporary times, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, after deep thought and in-depth study and also due consideration embraced Buddhism in October, 1956 to shed the yoke of uncivilized, unbecoming, inhuman and exploitive behavior of the caste Hindus with their fellow human beings belonging to the so called lower strata of the repressive caste system. More than a million of his followers embraced Buddhism in a few days of the epoch making historical decision and action of Babsaheb Ambedkar. The history of religious renaissance in India would have been different had Dr. Ambedkar not passed away in December 1956, barely in less than two months of his reviving in India the great religion of the world, Buddhism. I am confident that the question of seeking new identity as Ad-dharmis or Ravidassias would not have risen. But that was not to be. Now, it seems, we are to content ourselves with our religious and cultural identity and affiliation with the main stream religions with identified with India that is Bharat. Generally as a common tendency and tradition one remains in the same religion in which one is born. Conversion to another religion remains a viable option which is legal and desirable as many of us did on the call of our leader Babasaheb Ambedkar. Still those who feel suffocated and marginalized in the Hindu or Sikh fold are free to adopt Buddhism or any other as they like. Moreover, India is a secular country. Religion is our personal choice and it should remain personal and private to our personal satisfaction.

Babaseheb Ambedkar
The question of identity still remains. I take the liberty of quoting from my recent interaction and exchanges on Facebook with one of my friends, Sunil Raju who is an ardent supporter and follower of Dera Sachkhand Ballan and also the idea of Ravidassia Dharam as much needed identity.  While we disagree on the question of religious identity as explained in this piece, I agreed with him when he wrote, “Our pain is common. Our struggle is common. Our challenges are common.”  Yes, we are to redress and remove the pain. We are to take our struggle to the next phase and we are to face the challenges together with grit and determination to identify, secure and preserve our due space in the society as dignified human beings as ordained by great Guru Ravidass and the greatest son of India Babasaheb Ambedkar. With a view to face the future challenges in a concerted way, to my mind, Ambedkar and Ambedkar alone, who enjoyed acceptance and recognition not only all over India but beyond in the international community, could be our Identity – Ambedkar Identity  as Ambedkarites to take care of our political and socio-economic aspirations while retaining and maintaining our religious identity as Hindus or Sikhs or Buddhists. There is no other way. We would ignore this reality at our own peril. Forces inimical to our interest are sitting close by. They intend to divide us and continue
Manyawar Kanshi Ram
to oppress and exploit us to their advantage. The mission of Guru Ravidass, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy , Manyawar Kanshi Ram could only be realized if we remain united under the Ambedkar Idenity. The dreams of Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia of Ad-dharam Movement and Sant Sarwan Dass of Dera Sachkhand Ballan, who collaborated and cooperated with each other for the empowerment of dalits would find echo in our unity to carry the caravan of the community forward to common advantage and benefit.

United we stand and Divided we fall

I conclude with a poetic rendition of Allma Iqbal:

Hawaida  Aaj Apne Zakhm-e-Pinhan Kar Ke Chorun Ga
Lahoo Ro Ro Ke Mehfil Ko Gulistan Kar Ke Chorun Ga

(I will surely exhibit all my hidden wounds today
I will surely change assembly to a garden with blood
mixed tears)
Parona Aik Hi Tasbeeh Mein In Bikhare Danon Ko
Jo Muskhil Hai, To Iss Mushkil Ki Asan Kar Ke Chorun Ga

(If stringing these scattered pearls in a single rosary
Is difficult, I will surely make this difficult task easy)

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Laughter – Spice of Life

Laughter – Spice of Life

The Covid 19 pandemic has affected our routine and life style in one way or the other. The resultant fallout is – depression, anxiety, loneliness, monotony etc. We are to think seriously how to come out of these negativities of our day to day life. Laughter, I think, could be one of the curative remedies. Someone has rightly said, “Laughter is the language everyone understands.” I thought of writing to lighten the tense atmosphere by picking up some jokes, narrations, cartoons etc. from here and there and share with my friends for mutual benefit to make our routine somewhat relaxed – Fun is intended but with malice.  A Jewish proverb gives a right message – “A good laugh is a mighty good thing, rather too scarce a good thing. ... As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”

On becoming the PM for the second term in May last year, PM Narendra Modi reiterated his agenda of Sab Ka Sath, Sab Ka Vikas, and Sab Ka Vishvas and rightly so. The word “Vikas” often caught the imagination of people but connotations changed with the police encounter of dreaded gangster Vikas Dubey. The politically motivated fertile minds put the phrase or terminology used by the Pradhan Sevak as – Vikas, of which PM Modi was talking about for the last 6 years was finally found in Kanpur. Yet another gem which is in circulation – Bhaiyon aur Behno, Ab Desh Mein Vikas Ki Baat Mat Karna, Uska Encounter Ho Chuka Hai. The gangster Vikas Dubey enjoyed deep connections and clout with all the political parties and the top echelons of Police and Administration, it is a known fact. The UP government has instituted an enquiry to prove the alleged ‘Police Encounter of Vikas Dubey and his connections in police and bureaucracy but not politicians. The politicians, it seems, are considered ‘Holy Cows’ in the Indian establishment. One cannot help but laugh on this notion. Mera Bharat Mahan.

Somebody has rightly said, “Politics is the only art whose artists regularly disown their masterpieces.” PM of Nepal, K.P. Sharma Oli was lately in the news for a strange reason. He all of a sudden realized that Ayodhya was not in India but in Nepal.  Somebody, ridiculing the PM of Nepal, commented sarcastically

Napolean was born in Nepal.
His real name was Nepalian.

Santa-Banta Jokes
The Mahanayak of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan and some members of his immediate family were found Corona infected. Obviously it was big news and media, as usual, was over-hyped. Somebody tried to give a right message to the great Indian media. Hope the Media takes it as it came:

Trump: Kya Hua Bhai, Tumhara India Se Matter Solve Hua?
Xi Jinping: Pata Nahi, Abhi Amitabh Bachchan Ko Corona Hua Hai, Indian Media Wahan Busy Hai, Amitabh Sir Theek Ho Jayein Fir Dekhte Hain!

Yet another one:

सुबह का नाश्ता करने के बाद अमिताभ बच्चन साहब ने अपनी हालत जानने के लिए ख़बरें सुनी!

Life is like a Badminton match.
If we wish to win, we must:
Serve well, return well and remember, the game starts with 'Love All'.
Good morning and have a blissful day!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Ki khateya Ki Gavaya Parvasi Hoke - Book Review (What We Gained and Lost as being an Immigrant)

Ki khateya Ki Gavaya Parvasi Hoke - Book Review
(What We Gained and Lost as being an Immigrant)

Ki khateya Ki Gavaya Parvasi Hoke , as the author Gurdeep Singh Puri of Glasgow in Scotland (UK) himself said that it was a “Self Analysis” of ‘What we gained and lost as being immigrants. The book is a collection and compilation of essays (from page 9 to 120) and poems (from page 121 to 148) of some of our writers and poets who went to greener pastures in Europe and other developed countries. The book was presented to me in November, 2008 when I was the Consul General of India in Edinburgh (Scotland) by Gurdeep Singh Puri, a prominent and vocal member of the prosperous Indian community living in Glasgow. Gurdeep was a writer and a poet of sorts who also dabbled in journalism occasionally. I have said more about him in my letter which is available at the back cover of the book under review.

I could not read the book earlier partially by oversight and partially due to other preoccupations. Apart from Gurdeep himself, many from other places have contributed to the book from their respective perspectives of their coming to foreign lands to earn their bread and butter. It is a matter of gratification for me to observe that some of the contributors like Balwant Singh Sagoo who has written a piece to introduce Gurdeep Puri – ‘Anokhi, Sunakhi e Bahu-mukhi Sakhshiat – Gurdeep Singh Puri’ – in his typical literary style, Noor Bharti, Gurdev Singh Virha, Swaranjit Kaur, Bebe Nand Kaur among others were known to me as leaders of the Indian community in Glasgow. I vividly remember Noor Bharti recited good poetry laced with nationalistic fervour at one of our National Day Receptions at India House in Edinburg. I will also not forget when I along with my wife Vidya was honoured at the Central Gurdwara at Glasgow and Bebe Nand Kaur, one of the oldest members of the community, did the honours to felicitate my wife with tons of emotional love and affection.

Shivcharan Singh Gill in his introductory essay – Bartania wich Punjabi (Sikh) Parvasi–gives his notion from historical perspective. He wrote that first the Sikh who came to Britain was the last Sikh ruler, Maharaja Duleep Singh, not of his own volition but as a sort of forced stay imposed by the British rulers. A renowned architect, Ram Singh was invited by Queen Victoria in 1864 for building some important palace at Isle of White. Ram Singh returned after two decades in Britain and later designed and built the historical building of Khalsa College Amritsar. Gurdeep Singh Puri, in the prologue of the book – Savey-Kathan “Ki jana Mein Kaun?’ wrote about his humble origin in a remote village of Moga. This brief narration speaks loudly about his down to earth literary approach –

Asin Lena Ki hai Mahlan Te Munarian De Kolon
Sanu Changian Ne Jhugian Chubarian De Kolon !

Gurdeep Puri in one of his essays – Paise Da Rajiya, Nindre Da Bhukha – Amrika-  wrote that life in America was not easy. He said that America was a land of selfish people. It is the land of people who push each other aside to make way for themselves. On the other hand, Puri appreciates that personal liberties were much respected and protected in America. And about Britain, his home of choice, Puri writes that ‘British people are thirsty of love – Pyar De Trehay’. He concludes that Britain is a beautiful country of good people. The essay of Sarvjit Kaur Sanghera is good. She reveals the inner feelings of the young ladies back home when their husbands leave for foreign lands to earn their bread and butter –

 Mere Sohne Mohne Sajna Bai; Tain Walait Jake Ki Laina,
Dil Ch Vasda Reh Sajna; Mithi Jail Ch Jake Ki Laina !

The essay – Mitti Na Phrol Jogia – written by Gurdev Singh Virha of Glasgow is also interesting. He was a well-placed trained teacher back home in Punjab in the early 1950s. His shifting to the UK reveals the mindset of people who wanted to go to foreign lands just for the heck of it. The narration of Charan Boparai of Birmingham touches yet another aspect of their life. How their kith and kin or other land grabbers swindled their properties or their share of properties in their ancestral fortunes. Balwant Singh Sagoo, an octogenarian in Glasgow, was still young in mind and heart when I met him a number of times in community functions in Glasgow and Edinburgh. His write up in the book traces his family history of traversing foreign lands in the 1940s. His father migrated to Basra in Iraq and later to Kenya in East Africa. His conclusion is, it seems, truthful. He frankly admitted that it was difficult for him to understand as to what he gained or lost on being an immigrant. He lived a contented life, full of struggle with matching achievements.

The second part of the book is a collection of poems. Dr. Gurdev Singh has aptly described the personality of Gurdeep Singh Puri in his Gazal

Je Jitke Sare Mamle Hona Hai Surkhuru
Tan Guftugu De Wich bhi Tun Ba-dalil Ban !

Dr. Noor Bharti, a good friend of mine in Glasgow, was a talented and dedicated community activist. In his poem, he lamented that our prosperity in foreign lands resulted in increased jealousy back home:

Rakhdi Di Than Saman Puj Gaye;
 Bair Virodh Da Ghera Badh Gaya,
Band Badai Te Barse chal Gaye
Kot Kachehri Da Fera Badh Gaya.

The book makes an interesting reading particularly for those who even after spending formative years of their lives abroad still yearn to go back to their roots in India. I have no attention and mind to be a literary person. I intended to share with you the book of a good person and a leader of the Indian community, Gurdeep Singh Puri, posthumously, as he died a few years ago at a comparatively young age. I cannot forget him and always carry with me the cherished memories of my association and interaction with the Indian community in Glasgow. Just to give you the flavor of their love and affection, I quote here a couple of lines of Gurdeep Singh Puri’s poetry which he recited at the farewell they accorded to me at Glasgow on my transfer from Edinburg:

Thandi Thandi Thand Ch Mere Yaaro;
Kose-kose Pani Da Ishnan Hai Mera Dost, Ramesh Chander.
Pata Nahin oh Kinj  Dushman Nu Bhi Dost Bana Lainda;
Sehnda Nahin Per Kise Di Kand  Mera Dost, Ramesh Chander

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Staged Police Encounters – Extra Judicial Killings

The Staged Police Encounters – Extra Judicial Killings

Sahir Ludhianvi’s famous poetry (Nazam) – Jine Naaz Hai Hind Per Woh Kahan Hain (Those who are proud of India, where are they) and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s warning in the Constituent Assembly in which he used the terminology of “Grammar of Anarchy” came alive in the wake of the serial killings  over a few of days time by the UP police in allegedly fake and staged encounters in the run up to apprehending  a dreaded gangster Vikas Dubey after he committed an heinous crime of killing 8 police personnel in Kanpur on July 3. The climax of the sordid matter came today, July 10 when the main culprit Vikas Dubey was also killed in a police encounter on the way to Kanpur after his arrest/surrender in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh yesterday, July 9. It is a matter of regret and worry that these events are unbecoming of a civilized society and a democratic polity which India professes to be. The very edifice of our constitutional framework is threatened by these condemnable and shameful behavior and actions and that too allegedly by the authorities of the state like the police on the bidding of their political masters. I wonder where our supposedly active and alive judiciary is sleeping. Why are they not taking a suo motto note of these happenings, as custodians and protectors of the constitution, and give necessary advice and direction to the government as they deem fit. The governments and the political players may have their vested political interests but, I believe, the judiciary should not have such compulsions. Some immediate action by the judiciary and the civil society is called for to save the very fundamentals of the “Rule of Law” which is the perquisite of a democratic set up like we profess to have in India.

There is no point in wasting time as to how Vikas Dubey and the members of his gang were eliminated by the police in said to be encounters. The media reports of the police version and the reaction of those who don’t agree with the police version are open to study and scrutiny. It seems that there was no police, no administration and no political decision to check-out Vikas Dubey and his cohorts before July 3 when he killed 8 policemen in cold blood and for 6 days could not be apprehended. All of a sudden Vikas Dubey became one of the most wanted criminals. The most wanted criminal is arrested or taken into custody in Ujjain. Without any police or judicial remand he was being shifted to Kanpur without hand-cuffs or any other modus to disable him from doing any untoward action in transit. Anyway, there is no point in arguing over this point. But the circumstances and outcome of police action are clearly evident that police and the government “do not care two hoots” for the procedure laid down to handle such cases as asserted by Journalist Rahul Kanwal of Aaj Tak. They are, it seems, following the dictum “show me the face and I will show you the rule”. It is also well known that Vikas Dubey enjoyed unstinted political support from all parties and their leadership and the police at all levels of its hierarchy were fully hand in glove with the gangster and his gang. The tragedy of our polity, unfortunately, is that we are not ready to accept these ground realities. It is a shameful negation to our democratic set up. What to do? The things are getting bad to worse. It sends shivers to my spine when I am reminded of the warning of the father of our constitution when he posed a question in his last address to the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 ‘Will we lose our freedom again’ due to the treachery of our own people. For this, it seems, the nefarious nexus among the “khadi – Khaki and the Steel Frame” to support and nurture the goons and gangsters to serve their vested interests must be broken. We are to bring back the rule of law to book the gangsters and anti social elements in the society. Fake or staged encounters are not the answer. It seems nobody is ready to take the lead to stop this nonsense. That is why I have taken the liberty of suggesting a Suo Motto action by the Supreme Court to hold the sanctity of the law of the land and ward of the dangers of pushing the country to “Grammar of Anarchy”.

It would be foolish on the part of any sane citizen to support the history-sheeters, gangsters, anti social elements. But if we are to live in a civilized society in a democratic set-up, we are to conduct ourselves under the “Rule of Law” to deal with these elements who are challenging the system. Retired Supreme Court Judge Markandey Katju termed such fake or staged encounters as “extra-judicial killings. The Article 21 of our constitution stipulates, “No person will be deprived of his life or personal liberty accept in accordance with the procedure established by law.” Accordingly, Supreme court in a case observed that fake “encounters” by the police were nothing but “cold blooded murders” and those committing these must be given death sentence placing them under the category of “rarest of the rare” case.

I am no expert on the subject and have written this as a law abiding common citizen of India. We ushered ourselves into a democratic system on January 26, 1950 under the constitution but, unfortunately, even after 70 long years could not change the feudal mindset to deal with the social and legal aspects of our living. We must adhere to the principles of “Rule of Law” to save our country and its democratic edifice.

Masjid To Bana Di Shab Bhar Mein Iman Ki Hararat  Walon Ne
Mann Apna Purana Papi Hai, Barsoun Mein Namazi Ban Na Saka

Though the mosque was built overnight by the believers
Our heart being old sinner for years devout could not be

Monday, July 6, 2020

Remembering Babu Jagjivan Ram

Remembering Babu Jagjivan Ram

Babu Jagjivan Ram
Today, July 6, is the death anniversary (Punia Teethi) of Babu Jagjivan Ram. He died in 1986 after contributing a great deal to the politics, governance, and social transformational aspects of the country and the society at large. Babu Jagjivan Ram was a leader with his own position and stature both in the polity and society of India with about 5 decades of parliamentary life and many important positions in the governments since the interim government of Jawaharlal Nehru. As a young student in Jalandhar in the 1960s, what I knew about him was that he was a propped up nominee of the Congress Party to counter and undermine the influence and position of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Good or bad, it was a hard reality also. But at the same time, it is also a hard fact that Ambedkar remained what he was and stood his ground in spite of all odds against him created by the machinations of his opponents. Nevertheless, today is the day to remember Babu Jagjivan Ram. He was an alumnus of the Presidency College of Calcutta (Kolkata) and Banaras Hindu University in the good old days. Babu Jagjivan Ram made it to the interim government of PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 1946 as the youngest Minister. Ever since, he remained an important member of all the governments with coveted portfolios and positions till his
Interim Government of India 1946
death in 1986. Obviously, after Babasahib Ambedkar’s demise in 1956, Babu Jagjivan Ram became the sole leader and voice of dalits in the country. He was an able and competent politician and an able administrator and got due space and recognition both in the government and otherwise with considerable mass appeal and base.  With the challenge of feeding millions amidst food scarcity, Babu Jagjivan Ram played an important role as Minister of Food and Agriculture to bring about the Green Revolution. He was the Defense Minister of India in 1971 who oversaw the resounding defeat of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh by our valiant armed forces. My first hand visual encounter with him pertains to that time in 1971-72. My office in the Interpreter’s Cell of the MEA was located in South Block (Defense Ministry/Army Hdqs. side where the offices of Defense Minister and Chief of the Army Staff are located) and many a times I got the chance to see him from a close distance. Meanwhile, my mental faculty was getting, gradually, a wide view of the things on ground. The stock of Babu Jagjivan Ram went high in my mind and thought and rightly so. More was yet to come. On my career progression in the MEA, I was posted in the PMO in April 1974 as Protocol (Hospitality) Assistant to work closely with the office of PM Indira Gandhi and the Committee/Conference Rooms where important meetings, including Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings are generally held. There I got more acquainted with the demeanour and persona of Babu Jagjivan Ram, as a junior official hanging around the corridors of power, where he came often and regularly to meet PM Indira Gandhi and participate in the Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings. I found him a man of quite charm and confidence. He was a much respected Minister not only with his colleagues but also with the elite bureaucracy. His weight in the government was clearly visible. PM Indira Gandhi respected him with due reverence. As oral history, I may narrate here what I personally saw. Indira Gandhi would not come from her office to the Cabinet meetings in the Conference Room without checking whether Babuji, as she usually called him, had come. I also saw many a times in the Cabinet meetings, when Babu Jagjivan Ram came late somehow, PM Indira Gandhi would get up and make Babuji sit. She always extended and observed these sweet niceties to Babu Jagjivan Ram being a senior and able colleague.

I witnessed the momentous events pertaining to emergency and movement of leaders like Babu Jagjivan in the corridors of the PMO and the ante-rooms of the personal office of PM Indira Gandhi in South Block. I vividly remember Babu Jagjivan Ram’s coming to meet PM Indira Gandhi sometimes in February/March, 1977 before he parted company with her and forming Congress for Democracy and joining hands with the opposition to contest historical elections which defeated PM Indira Gandhi. The rest is history. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an astute politician. In spite of his administrative acumen and political standing, he was still a dalit leader. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for him. He aspired to occupy the top slot in the hierarchy and rightly so and played his cards accordingly. Babu Jagjivan Ram very well knew that nobody can or will recognize his experience and talent and would offer him the top job. It was to be done by him alone. He did his best with the strategy to hold the balance in his hands with 30-35 odd seats in the Lok Sabha. It was a well considered and thought of strategy to join the election campaign under the leadership f Jai Prakash Naryanan and other leaders in the opposition. The forces of change got a much needed boost with Babu Jagjivan Ram’s plunge against PM Indra Gandhi. During the election campaign and just before results, it was almost evident that Jagjivan Ram will be the next PM of the country. His whirlwind tour of the breadth and length of country set the direction and the Congress Party led by Indira Gandhi was squarely defeated. Jagjivan Ram could get about 30 seats, as expected, for the Congress for Democrocy, his newly floated political outfit but Jagjivan Ram never thought and imagined that Congress will be defeated that badly. The overwhelming support to the bandwagon of change with a huge majority in the Lok Sabha disturbed and changed the scenario. Charan Singh and company, belonging to the Manuwadi mindset - “Shoe is meant to be worn on the foot and not kept on the head” and “How come a brick meant for the gutter would be fixed in the gallery” – came to the fore and spoiled the chances of Jagjivan Ram to occupy the top slot which he richly deserved. Babu Jagjivan Ram felt cheated but what could be done. He was defeated politically by forces of status quo. Again when Charan Singh government could not face the parliament and seek vote of confidence in 1979-80 and fell, Jagjivan Ram made yet another bid and was ready to prove his majority in the Lok Sabha but again President Sanjiva Ready, it seemed, preferred to settle old scores against Jagjivan Ram rather than upholding the constitutional provisions and values and denied that due chance to Jagjivan Ram to hold the coveted post of PM of India. It would have been a game changing development, had Jagjivan Ram become the PM of India in 1977 and again in 1980. The contemporary political history of India would have been different. But that was not to be and Jagjivan Ram died a dejected man, sadly. Before I end this narration, let me add yet another fact which is generally not mentioned. It goes to the credit of BJP (then Janta Party) leadership like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishan Advani, Nana Deshmukh among others that they did not oppose, rather supported Jagjivan Ram’s unannounced or unproclaimed bid for the top job of the country. Historians will analyse and record these events in the right perspective.

I did not intend to be lengthy in this narration but oral history tends to be lengthy. It is said Babu Jagjivan Ram was a jovial and confident man. One interesting anecdote narrated by an army General in a social event may suffice to register that fact. Defense Minister Jagjivan Ram was hosting a dinner for his visiting counterpart from a friendly country. Tandoori chicken came as a snack/starter. Jagjivan Ram started eating with his hand while the foreign guests were struggling to eat with knife and fork. Seeing this, Jagjivan Ram observed, in a lighter vein, Excellency, please see how we eat Tandoori chicken and enjoy and added “Eating Tandoori chicken with knife and fork is like making love through an interpreter” It added to the bonhomie on the dining table.

My humble tribute to the memory of a leader – Prime Ministerial stuff – who could not become PM, Babu Jagjivan Ram

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Unlocked India – Week – 5

Unlocked India – Week – 5

I have been writing on the lighter side of the corona virus coupled with some serious inputs on the subject just to do something positive in the confinement at home in the general lockdown. With this, 35 blogs, I will close this chapter as we reach a stage where we are compelled to live with the situation. There is no other way. I take this opportunity to wish all the best to all my friends and the society at large. We will succeed in the fight against the deadly Wuhan virus, it is my solemn belief.

It seems that virus situation in India is under control in spite of the fact that number of positive cases are increasing every day. In the last 24 hours about 25 thousand cases has further swelled the figure which stood at 6 lakh seventy five thousand with 20 thousand fatalities as of July 5. The redeeming feature is that more than 4 lakh infected cases have been cured with recovery rate of more than 60%. Yet another matter of relief is that it has been reported that the Indian companies have developed the requisite vaccine to counter the virus, of course a big feat, and the vaccine, as announced by the ICMR and Bharat Bio-Tech, might be formally launch on August 15. It will be a good gift to the nation and the humanity on our national day, Independence Day of India. Let us hope for the best.

Government is determined and fully geared up to meet the challenge. PM Narendra Modi spoke to the nation for the 6th time since the lockdown and gradual opening up and addressed the concerns of the marginalized sections and unemployed with regard to ward of hunger and resultant pangs at the grassroots. More needs to be done and, it seems, the government is not oblivious of these ground realities.

Apart from fighting the virus and controlling the damage done by it to the economy and social fabric of the country, there are other problems which need attention and action immediately. The biggest threat in this regard is the developing situation and standoff at the LAC with our hostile
Santa - Banta Jokes
neighbour, China. Other two players Pakistan and Nepal, in nexus with China, are trying to fish in the troubled waters. PM Narendra Modi by visiting the forward posts in Ladakh on July 3 has given a much needed stern message to China that India means business and will not be found wanting in defending our territorial integrity and sovereignty, in case of any mis-adventure by anyone. The entire country of 130 crore people are standing behind the government and our valiant armed forces. We are to, let me add, fight on our own to defend ourselves, of course with the understanding of friends in the international community. Any uncalled for and misplaced bravado should be avoided as a peace loving country – the land of the Buddha.  I think the opposition led by Congers Party, particularly Rahul Gandhi and his associates, must be mindful of the sensitivities of the situation. They have made their point with regard to their varying perceptions of the
situation as a functional and effective opposition. They should leave it that and stand with the government to face the external challenges to the country. The ruling outfits and the media should immediately stop trolling the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family in the larger interests of the country. But unfortunately, sane voices are getting muted in this regard. If we continue this internal bickering for short term political gains, we will do so at our own peril.

This, the last blog on the subject, will not be complete if I don’t touch the lighter side of the situation to lessen the grimness around.

The opposition and the government are busy in finding faults with each other. Somebody has tried to register his or her point in a lighter vein

For the benefit of the opposition -

Without freedom of speech, we would never know who the idiots are!

For the benefit of the government and spokes persons of the ruling parties - 

This government is amazing. It talks about the future, and when asked about the present, it goes into the past!

Some sarcasm on the increasing prices of petrol –

पेट्रोल 85 रुपये लीटर और चने 66 रुपये किलो!
सोच रहा हूँ घोडा खरीद लूँ एक, सस्ता पड़ेगा!

All the best wishes again. Jai Hind Jai Bharat

बेझिझक मुस्कुराएँ जो भी गम है,
ज़िन्दगी में टेंशन किसको कम हैं,
अच्छा या बुरा तो केवल भ्रम है,
ज़िन्दगी का नाम ही कभी ख़ुशी कभी गम है।