Saturday, April 8, 2017

Mahatama Jyotirao Gobindrao Phule (Tribute on the eve of his 190th birthday falling on 11th APRIL 2017)

By:-   Er. H. R. Phonsa (   Contact 9419134060  )

Image result  Ever since the Caste system was invented it has brought only  hate related miseries to the  the people of the  fourth Hindu Verna. They were/are addressed as Untouchable,Shudras, Ati Shudras present day called Mulnivasies, aboriginals, Dalits(Scheduled Castes(SCs), Scheduled Tribes( STs), Other Backward Classes( OBCs) etc). They were degraded even below the level of animals. They were denied all decent ways of life. They were  not only debarred to entre Schools, drinking water sources, temples, barber shops but their cremations  places were also separated. Their rights to progress, social, economical, educational, property rights including cultural were denied for them. Religious law codes like Manusmriti were written and  given divine sanctions ..  Divisions among Hindu castes were made permanent.  Untouchable were divided in as many as  6743 Castes, sub castes, Gotras etc. to ensure that they never get united and create any problem for the  Brahmins and Brahminical thinking . Hindu way of life was not only to divide work but workers. This also gave birth to caste war. The Hindus offered milk to snakes; rice with sugar to ants; worshipped tress like Tulsi, Pipal, and animals like cows but got polluted by the very shadow of a Dalit. Dalits are non-else but the creation of the Omnipresent Almighty God. Although for God  realization Hindus observe extreme austere   like living in lonely forests, undertake long journeys to 68 places of pilgrimage, observing fasts, celibacy  etc.. How could such external acts be divine when these cause division among humen?  It is said when excesses cross all limits the Divinity  sends messengers of  humanity.  These men of vision, convictions and strength show the masses the just path of love for all and hate to none. Lord Budha, Lord Mahaveera, Mohammad Sahib, Jesus Christ, Kabir, Guru Nanak ,Guru Ravidas,Chokhamela, Narayana Guru  and many more who  rose above pretty  caste prejudices.  After  2390 years of Mahatama Budha’s birth another friend to Deprived Section of Indians was born. He was Mahatama Phule. Mahatma Phule, a contemporary of KARL MARX(1818-1883), of the Indian social revolution and the first leader of peasants. In his time there was a conflict between the rationalist and the orthodox. His period can, therefore, be a aptly described as the dawn of revolution in the history not only of Maharashtra but of the country as a whole. This brought revolutionary changes in the social, economic, Education, Caste Systems, Agriculture, Women and widow upliftment , Human Rights, Untouchbility ,Social Equality.
           Mahatama Jyotirao Gobindrao Phule was born  on 11th April,1827 to revered couple Gobindrao and Chimnabai in village Khanbari of Poona. He earned the title of Mahatma and title of Bukar T.Washington (American President and a great leader against acts of slavery & apartheid).Since Gobindarao and his two brothers served as florists under the last Pashwas, so they were called Phules. Chimnabai died when Jyotiba was 9 months old.  So his childhood was not very pleasant. He was brought up in the care of Sagunabai Khersagar ( Daughter of Gondabai maternal aunt ,Moussi  of Jyotirao). Gobindrao wanted his son to get a higher education so as to spread the Gyan Jyoti for the humanity at large and Dalits in particular. But all relatives of Gobindrao were against the education of Jyotiba pleading that his son would get spoiled by studying English and could lend no help to him in his job as florist.  So  Jyotiba was taken out of school after he passed his primary school at the age of 9 years. Despite this Jyotiba continued working in fields during day and reading at night. Good hearted Goffar Beig Munshi ( A Muslim )and Latiz Sahib(A Christian) had good influence on Gobindarao. They insisted Gobindrao to get his son readmitted in school to complete his education .On their persuasion Gobindrao  got re- admitted his son in Scottish Mission High School at Poona in  January, 1841. It was in this school that he met Sadashiv Ballal Govande, a Brahmin, who remained a close friend throughout his life. Both Jotirao and Govande were greatly influenced by Thomas Paine's ideas and they read with great interest Paine's famous book ' The Rights of Man' Jyotirao alias Jyotiba  completed his secondary education in 1847 and decided not to accept any government job but work for the upliftment of downtrodden and deprived section of society by spread of education to all with special emphasis for women and untouchables. 
 Jyotiro was convinced and often proclaimed “ Lack of education leads to lack of wisdom, which leads to lack of morals, which further  leads to lack of progress  which leads to lack of money, which leads to the oppression of the lower classes”. See what state of society one lack of education can cause!
 Jyotiba got spine shivering experience of caste hate, when he was invited by his Brahmin friend to join Barat( Marriage party procession) of his brother. But in the Barat Jyotiba although wearing good  ress was noticed by the other Brahmin Baratis.  Jyotiba was abused, insulted and finally turned out of the party for his low caste. Jyotiba discussed this with his father who advised his son to avoid such invitations in future as the high caste Hindus shall not compromise on their religious superiority complex.
This incident changed the life concept  of  Jyotiba, who made up his mind to defy the caste system and decided to serve the shudras and women who were deprived of all of their human rights due to  the caste system. Jyotiba met at Ahmadnagar Miss  Farar,a teacher  in Girls Missionary School. Miss Farar explained Jyotiba and his friend Sahashiv Govande the importance of women education. Jyotiba was greatly impressed by advice of the Missionary teacher. He decided to work for women upliftment by spread of their education and other social welfare measures.
Jyotiba was married in 1840 to Savitribai.Savitribai Phule.She worked as the true disciple and co-missionary of her husband. They changed the Indin history by opening a school on 1-1-1848 for girls in Poona where Savitirbai was admitted as first Student along with four Brahmin girls, one Maratha girl and sixth a shepherd family girl.  Jyotirao Phule continued this school despite opposition form orthodox Hindus, who considered this act against their religion, as Hindu scriptures considered educating girls & Dalits as a great sin. Savitirbai received more education at home from his husband, and was appointed as Headmistress of one of his schools by Jyotiba. Even parents of Jyotiba did not co-operated & they turned him along with Savitribai out of their parental house. It was said by Brahmin priests that by by educating women and Dalits,a sin, forty generations of sinner shall be put into  Narak (hell) fire. But Phule  couple remained steadfast on their chosen path. They opened 18 such schools including some having co-education.
          Feeling pity on the condition of orphans Jyotiba Phule opened   orphanage, perhaps first such
 Institution by a Hindu. Jyotiba Phule gave protection to widows & assured them that orphanage shall take care of their children.  It was in this orphanage that a Brahmin widow  Kashbai gave birth to a male child in1873 and Jyotirao Phule adopted him as his son naming him Jaswant Phule & educated him to become a qualified doctor.
To earn his livelihood & to run his schools & other institutions he worked as contractor in PWD. Some of the structures including  a bridge are still standing in Pune and in its surrounding.  He termed PWD department as hotbed of corruption. He also supplied building materials required for the construction of the first masonry dam in India at Khadakwasla near Pune in the 1870s. One of Phule's businesses in 1863, was to supply metal-casting equipment. Jyotirao owned 60 acres of farmland at Manjri near Pune. In 1882 memorial, he styled himself as a merchant, cultivator and Municipal Contractor.
                      He published his book “Slavery,” in 1873, in which he declared his manifesto that he was willing to dine with all irrespective of their caste, creed, or country of origin. This book was also temed as  controversial The opening words of Slavery  are” Since the advent of rule of Brahmins for centuries( In India), the Shudras and Ati Shudras are suffering hardships and are leading miserable lives.------ Shudras  should think over their misfortune and they should eventually set themselves free from this tyranny of Bhats( Brahmins)”. Jotirao dedicated this book 'to the good people of the Unites States as a token of admiration for their sublime, disinterested and self-sacrificing devotion in the cause of Negro Slavery'. The book is written in the form of a dialogue.
 Jyotirao Phule  formed “ Satya Shodhak Samaj(Society of Seekers of Truth)  on 24 th September 1873 with Jotirao as its first president and treasurer. In 1876 this Samaj had 316 members. The main objectives of this organization were to liberate the Shudras, Ati Shudras & to prevent their exploitation by the Upper caste Hindus. He refused to regard Vedas as sacrosanct & denounced Chaturverna & instead published his book “Satya Dharma Pustak in 1891.  According to him all men & women were equal & entitled to enjoy equal rights & it was a sin to discriminate between human beings on the basis of sex or caste or creed . Widow bearning( Sati) was common those days. Widow remarriages were banned and child marriage was very common among the Hindus Society Jyotirao opposed these all social ills & worked for the benefits of sufferers. He  got re married one Shayani caste widow on 8th march 1890 against  strong protests. From the beginning of the year 1879 Krishnarao Bhalekar, one of his colleagues, edited a weekly called Deenbandhu which was the organ of the Satya Shodhak Samaj. The weekly articulated the grievances of the peasants sand workers. Deenbandhu defended Jotirao when Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, a powerful spokesman of the conservative nationalists, attacked Jotirao's writing in the most vitriolic style. Bosom  Friends Lokhande, Bhalekar and  Jyotirao addressed the meetings of the textile workers in Bombay and tried to organise the peasants and the workers. No such attempt was made by any organization  earlier to redress their grievances. This move infused a sense of awakening towards their rights, in the peasants and the workers.
Mahatama Phule opposed the evil customs so on the death of his father he did not call his caste people for meal instead he distributed meals in beggars, distributed pencils, writing wooden planks ( Patties )  & books to children which became annual function to remember his father.  He opposed the tyranny of landlords & money lenders , so he organized a protest Dharna in Poona District where  farmers joined in large number & burnt the records of the money lenders. He got a marriage ceremonised on 25 th December 1873 without the participation ob any Prohit. In the marriage feast the was only Pan & Supary nothing else. He edited  a weekly news paper “ DEEN BANDU ,” from 1st January 1877. Jyotirao Phule helper getting released in1881 from jail Lok Manaiya Ganga Dhar Tilk & Goda Adkar who were sentenced for writing in their papers “ The Kesri & the  Maratha ,”  against the policies of the British Govt.
On 2nd March, 1888,  Rao  Bahadur Hari Raoji Chiplunkar( 1842-1896) an Honorary Magistrate and President of the Association of Landlords has arranged a banquet in the honour of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. Hari Raoji Chiplunkar  was also a friend of Jotirao and had invited Jotirao too. Jotirao dressed like an Indian peasant, attended the function and made a speech. He commented on the rich invitees who displayed their wealth by wearing diamond-studded jewellery and warned the visiting dignitaries that the people who had gathered there did not represent India. If the Duke of Connaught was really interested in finding out the condition of the Indian subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of England, Jotirao suggested that he ought to visit some nearby villages as well as the  areas in the city occupied by the untouchables. He requested the Duke of Connaught who was a grandson of Queen Victoria to convey his message to her and made a strong plea to provide education to the poor people. Jotirao's speech created quite a stir( Wikipedia).
               For the life long service to the Dalits & other deprived section of the society Jyotirao Phule was awarded the Title Of MAHATAMA.  On 19 th May 1888. The function was attended by dignitaries like Justice Ranade, Dr. Bhandarkar , Tukaram Tatiya , Lokhande, Dholey & Bharkar besides . Jyotirao Phule was addressed by  Saya Ji Rao Gaikwardas Bukar T Washington in his letter to the president of the function.
               Jyotirao Phule’s  his right hand got  incapacitated in an illness, so he stated writing with his left hand & wrote a book titled as “ SARIVJANIK SATYA DHARAM , “ After ceaselessly working for over 63 years Jyotirao Phule passed away on 28 th November 1890 about 138 days before the birth  of Dr. BR Ambedkar another Dalit Maharashtrian  luminary, Father of free India’s Constitution , who also lifelong worked for the emancipation of Dalits , depressed, weak  & women. Jyotirao Phule shall be remembered for the centuries to come for the  good work he did for the Dalits & Depressed peoples of society including women.
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  Dated 07-04-2017                                          Er. H. R. Phonsa ( Jammu)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

SAHIB SHRI KANSHIRAM’S –A great Mass Mobilizer (Revised and enlarged)

                                     ( Remembering  Sahib Ji on His 86th birthday fall  on 15th March, 2017)
Image result for Kanshiram  Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram came on the Indian political scene in mid Eighties  of Twentieth century nearly two decades after the sad demise of Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the Father of Indian Constitution and a great democrat  the oppressed world have ever produced.  The most important factors providing field for Kanshi Ram were P.V. Narasimha  Rao’s go ahead orders to Dr.Manmohan Singh his Finance Minister to initiate the new economic order coupled with Sang Parivar’s assault on the secular order. These along with ignoring Constitutional and human rights of Minorities provided enough grounds to take the cause of the majority population, consisting of poverty ridden Mulnivasi Dalits and minorities, who were eager to find solution to their hard ships. Had Kanshi Ram not provided resistance against the politically motivated policies of Congress and BJP the Secular Democratic fibber of Indian Constitution might have been damaged beyond repairs? Kanshi Ram met these challenges by pure democratic means.  He carved a space in the Indian polity purely by dint of his hard labour, clear vision by becoming one with the common man. Since Kanshi Ram had personally experienced poverty and religious hatred , so he wanted to apply solacing balm on Dalit wounds of inhuman treatments to ignored population on Indian soil. Kanshi Ram was convinced that existing status quo was against Dalits empowerment   and the best way to smash it was democratic means as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. For this ,political enlightenment of the Dalit masses was needed in a big way.  So he  used Democratic tools provided in the Indian Constitution by Baba Sahib Ambedkar for empowerment of Dalit masses including poverty ridden Indian population.          
          Kanshi Ram knew well that the struggle for equality of status & opportunity for the Shudra, Ati Shudra, and Untouchables is as old as the history of Hinduism, claimed to be one of the oldest religions of the world.  He was convinced that the inter religious, inter country and inter society domination struggle & hate   is seen world over. But hate with in a religion for their own religion people is practiced only in Hindus. The Hindus were divided into four segments under the Hindu Religious laws each having no meeting point, despite the facts that they belonged to the same religion. The Hindus laid claims to possess most ancient knowledge books of the world, but show no mercy towards their religious downtrodden brethren. The fourth segment of the Hindus named Untouchables were forbidden to mix with other upper segments called Brahmins (Learned), Khatriyas (warriors) and Vaishs ( Business, farming persons).  Each set of segregated peoples belonging to Hindus were governed by different set of rules having strict religious sanctions under Hindu Religious code “ Manu Smiriti”, proclaimed to have Devine sanction. In these codes& stories devised from time to time to suit needs of Upper castes, untouchables were degraded to standards even below than that of animals. The dogs, the cats, the snakes, the crows the crows could enter houses of the Upper Caste Hindus but not Untouchables. Birds and animals could take water from the village tanks and bathe there but not the untouchables humans. This continued for centuries and all Merciful Hindu Gods & Goddesses equipped with all types of dreaded weapons did not come to the rescue of the helpless and weak Untouchables, although untouchables too worshiped them with full devotion. The Hindus show lip service to all humanity but practically worked for the welfare of the dominating upper castes only. If any body raised any alarm against this in- human treatment to their fellow men, he is not tolrated. He  was convinced that solution to these problems lay in Democracy and not in religion based  reforms organizations. As the religion based organizations strengthen religion fiber which works against the democratic spirit. Dr. Ambedkar the father of Indian Constitution has said  that for  the success of democracy in India religious demon will have to be tamedfirst. The Constitution Of India granted right of Adult Franchise i.e. right to vote irrespective of religion, race, caste, creed, sex.  This mantra of “One vote, One adult Individual” To every Indian adult was found by Kanshi Ram as a missile to achieve his goals of equality and fraternity.
          Revered Kanshi Ram belonged to Hindu untouchable caste named Chamar. Chamars the  who worship and follow ideals of Sri Guru Ravidas  follow the Principle of  “ Hath Carr Vall tey Dil Yaar Vall” meaning  remain  attending your duty or work while your attention is attached to God Almighty.  So no body from Chamar caste has been seen as a beggar . Non Schedule languages in India  has CHAMARI Language .In India the chamras had nearly 1156 sub castes in 1891AD who were spread all over India. As per the 1911 Indian censes the population of Brahmins stood at number one & Chamars at number two, where as Rajputs stood at number three.  Chamars are largest in number in all Scheduled Castes. They live  in all parts of India. As per estimates Chamars are nearly 17 crores in India.    
 Saints like Guru Ravidas,  Guru Maluk Das,Guru Ghasidas  Chokhamela,  brave martyrs of Sikh History like Bhai Jiwan Singh Rangreta, ,Bhai Sant Singh Bhai Dharam Das Amar Shaheed Udham Singh, great politicians like Babu Jagjivan Lal Behan Mayawati,Seth Kishan Das<Choudhari Devi Lal,S Devi Singh,L.R.Bali and many more belong to Chamars. In J&K State Babu Milkhi Ram, Babu Parmanand, Jagjivan Lal, Tilak Raj Atri, Chaman Lal Banal, B.R. Kundal IAS  are prominent among many eminent doctors, engineers, social, political & administrative peers  are born as Chamars. In Indian Parliament &State Vidhan Sabhas Chamars are present in large number even now. Present day saints from Chamar communities Baba Ji  Soami Gurdeep Giri of Patahankot, Baba Narinjan Das of Ballan( Jalander).  have large followings Many Chamar have spread all over world countries proving their worth of head& heart.             
Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram was born on 15th March, 1934, to revered Shri Hari Singh & mother Shrimati Bishan Kour of village Khawaspur in Ropar District of Punjab State. He was one of the seven children of his parents. In his family, he was the only graduate. He joined service in Poona Defense Lab. Maharashtra. Here he came in contact with one Dheema Vana ( Now deceased), a suspended class IV Dalit employee of his office, who demanded Holiday on the birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar. Dheema Vana had a stanch faith & love for Dr. Ambedkar. After getting inspiration from Dheema  , Kanshi Ram studied literature on & by Dr. Ambedkar It is said he read “Annihilation Of Caste” several times in single night. Here he came in contact with great Dalit luminary D.K.Khaparday (1939-2000) who was also serving in the Defence establishment . Sh. Kanshiram then resigned from service to carry forward, the mission of uniting millions of Dalits, bond them  through brotherhood bonds  reminding them of their centuries old  slavery &  suffering  He shook them to wake  from their deep slumber so as  to consolidate them into a force to be reckon with. He along with D.K.Khaparday  and Dheema Vana awakened in Dalits a sense of empowerment .After resigning from service Kanshiram declared Dalit Samaj his family, all Dalit women his sisters & all Dalit men his brothers, he vowed to remain  bachelor through out his life & not to acquire any property in his name For pay back to society he  bade   good bye to his family, family life, family comforts for the sake of cutting slavery chains of his fellow brethren. This he kept as a Buddhist Monk’s word. He got converted to Buddhism to achieve the goal of making Dalit masses a united electoral force to acquire political power, he traveled through out the length &width of India on his bi- cycle along with his trusted lieutenants.
       Kanshi Ram was a great political, social mobilizer; he understood values of self-respect &   collective wisdom of Dalit communities to gain political power to use it to their advantage. During record breaking Bahujan Rally in Brigade ground Kolkata, the Bahujan participants were beaten mercilessly by the West Bengal Police under the command of Jyoti Basu then Chief Minister. Sahib instructed on telephone at 2 in the morning to his workers of different state to stop all trains marching towards Kolkata. Soon trains were reported stopped at different stations in different States by Bahujan volunteers, many trains reached Kolkata late by hours. Mr. Jyoti Basu telephoned Sahib in the evening at Delhi, where Sahib had returned after the rally, and begged pardon for the brutal incident, in which several Karyakartas were injured, some seriously. There after Mr Jyoti Basu  arranged special trains for the Bahujan Rally participants for their return journey.
            He coined value based slogans from time to time to give directions to Dalit masses; one such was “Jiski Jitni Sankhaya Bhari, uski utni Bhagidari”. Once he was asked to explain ,why he devised the slogan of “Tilak ( Mark on fore head used by Brahmins), Traju ( weighing scale used by business community) aur Talwar ( sword, used by Rajputs ,warriors), enko maro jutey char ( Give then four shoe beating)|” He explained that elite class which spreads hatred, ignorance for their personnel ends, business persons ,who indulge in undue profiting, adulteration, less weighting and warrior who  use force against weak and helpless need be treated with shoe beating not the one who work for the welfare of the society.  He explained to his fellow men to be strong and courageous as “Only lambs are made sacrificial animals not lions”
         When Kanshi Ram observed that falsehood and corruption are eating up  the democratic fiber of India ,he vowed to keep his image free of it. He lived and died as a commoner.   He was perhaps one leader, who kept his promise, proved true to his words. He lived & died as a leader, with out any immoveable or moveable property, any bank account, house, land plot or flat in his name. To achieve his set goals, he lived as an ordinary Dalit, took meals in small hutments, wayside tabhas (  paid community kitchens), slept on floor.  On the night of 3rd & 4th April 1984, he was found sleeping uncovered broken stone metal at Nagpur, where he had gone to inaugurate the Marathi daily newspaper “Bahujan Times” his dream project. Sh. Kanshi Ram was convinced that to capture  Delhi’s political crown the seat of power, much has to done to strengthen the 85% Bahujan Samaj   To achieve this they should own a strong media, as present vested interest median can only suppress and confuse his downtrodden masses. He used to keep awake for days & nights to equip him with literary knowledge, assimilate it into practical thoughts & to devise ways to use it for the advantage of his peoples, many of whom were ill fed, ill dressed, naked, illiterate, exploited and miss guided. Many vested persons and politicians leveled him as a leader of a small section of people, but Kanshi Ram worked for the well being of all. Since his tools for change lay in the downtrodden masses, so he had to organize them in a big way.
        Those close to him tell how hard he worked to built up his first social & educative organization of  employees of all SC’s, ST’s, OBC’s & minorities named BAMSEF  on 6th Dec. 1976  along with D.K. Khaparday and Dheema Vana  But  later Kanshiram brokeaway from the other two .He got registered BAMCEF on 6th Dec. 1978 & then prepared to launch   His Youth’s Sangarash SimitiDS-4” on 6th Dec. 1981.   To prepare solid ground to get rightful share in political power, he launched his Bahujan Samaj Party on14th April, 1984.Kashi Ram shook the conscious of those who are under represented in our Parliamentary system and were craving for a change. There by he consolidated masses to work for their own political organization BSP,  many volunteered to work for BSP as  “Mission Ka Kaam” His message was so inspiring to his peoples, that once a BSP volunteer  was always so.  Due to Kanshi Ram’s political vision soon BSP became a National Party & attained third position, leaving far behind many political parties, who were formed decades earlier.  The election winning spree flourished & in UP assembly it won 66 seats out of 162 it contested in 1993. Kanshi Ram’s political maneuverability made Behan Mayawati Chief Minister of UP thrice in coalition with other parties, but he did not yield to undue pressure from other coalition partners even at the cost of loosing CM’s. Gadi  The graph of winning seats in Lok Saba elections also rose dramatically from zero in ( 8th  ) to 04 ( in 9th); 03 (in 10th ); 11( in 11th ); 05 ( in 12th) 15nos( in 13th & 14th ) Lok Saba His continuous efforts in  this direction  bore fruits  of winning clear majority in 2007in UP  Assembly elections with 208,in remaining 10 seats, standing Second and out of lost 111 seats 60 seats with a margin of less than 5000 votes. Behan Mayawati, now National President BSP was sworn in as Chief Minister of UP State with clear majority, but alas after the sad demise of Sahib.
          During the period of 22 years of BSP under Kanshiram, the INC Govt programs of multinationals & New Economic order under late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, or Rath Yatra Of Sh. LK Advani culminating in demolishing of Babri Masjid on 6th Dec 1992, could not sway away Dalits from Kanshi Ram’s Programme of gaining political power to have share in running the affairs of union of India.  Credit goes to Kanshi Ram that Dalits having over 80 % Indian  population forming SC’s, ST’s, OBC’s and other Minorities, did not challenged the Constitutional arrangements, avoided violence against the  state or other ethnic groups. Kanshi Ram’s formula that numbers, not violence work in democratic India is a great Nationilst’s doctrine for which Kanshi Ram shall be long remembered.
        Sahib Kanshi Ram’s  love for the Nation is reflected in his love for the deprived section of the society which constitute over 85% of Indian population. He was not against any caste or class but against “ism” which spreads ill will among persons by their ill conceived techniques. Sahib was simple but unpredictable personality, he could go to any length to safeguard the interests of his Bahujan Samaj.
      Like every one else, he had to leave the mortal frame of body, although it is painful for those who were left behind to bear the unbearable shock . Destiny player the same with Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram Ji . He was not keeping good health for quite some time, but the brain stroke he suffered in Hyderabad during a meeting on 15th March, 2003 proved fetal. He was shifted to New Delhi Batra Hospital and remained under expert treatment for over three years. Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram declared Behan Mayawati as his political heir & National President of BSP on 18-09-2003
          The unfortunate end of Sahib’s worldly journey came on Monday the 9th October, 2006 at 12. 20 at 11, Hanuman Road New Delhi, the official residence of Behan Mayawati. National Personalities like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, leader of opposition in the  Lok Sabha L.K. Advani. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Lalu Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan and other paid their homage to the Messiah of Dalits. His funeral was attended by lacs and he was cremated at Nigam Bodh Ghat New Delhi on 9-10-2006. He left behind his wish that his mortal remains be not immersed in any river but kept in BSP Party HQ’s at Delhi & Lukhnow.
            He qualified his death as per the hymn of Kabir Sahib “Jab Ham Aye Jagat Main, Jag Hansa Hum Roay, Asi Karni Kar Chaloo, Hum Hansain, Jag Roay” (On child’s birth, child cries but locality celebrates birth with joy, One must work for the good of the society, so that at the time of death the locality mourns but the person dieing feels joyous so sayeth Kabir.)      
      But by loosing UP miserably in the just concluded2017  Vidhan Sabha Elections and making no political  headway else where  the  BSP political comrades who claimed heir- ship of Kanshi Ram  have miserably failed  to keep the Dalit masses united. They have failed to realize the dreams of sahib who achieved it with lifelong labour of sufferings. Sycophancy or Chamchagiri  most  disliked by Sahib Kanshiram have entrenched his comrades in a big way. Politics of Chamchagiri shall bring ruins to the Dalit cause, so said Sahib. In a span of 10 years  after the death of Sahib Kanshiram BSP has lost its National Character,  due egoistic behavior of those who claimed to be the sole   saver of the ideology of Kanshi Ram
         Sahib Shri Kanshi Ram shall be long remembered for his visionary saying “ NUMBERS, NOT VOILANCE SHOULD RULE IN DEMOCRATIC INDIA” Dalits should win race to New Delhi Gadi by democratic means only, leaving no space for violence against any political or ethnic group. Dalits should live with spine up, so were the dreams of Sahib. As per the doctrine proclaimed by Guru Ravidas,Guru Kabir Sahib Shri  Kanshi Ram qualified as  a practical  Darwesh,  Sanyasi Gyanashwer, Tyagi, Yogi, Pundit ,a crusader for peaceful political ,social change and above all a human.
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Dated 14-03-2017
 Jammu                                                       Er. H.R.Phonsa
                                                           Retd. Executive Engineer

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Importance of February Month for Dalit Movement

 Come February and the memory of a number of Dalit personalities, Saints and freedom Fighters is afresh again in  the minds of Dalit Samaj. As the circle of birth and death is continuing since the man was born on the earth planet. So people born and die daily. Unbiased historians record the contribution of dedicated persons of vision for the welfare of the society as a whole and the sect in which a particular person is born. It is a well recognized fact that since the past historians were from the higher Hindu Castes, so they ignored writing about the historic contribution of Dalit personalities. In respect of Dalit men and women of vision, the past historians have shown utter contempt. With the dawn of 19th century some education institutions, particularly of Christian missionaries started parting education to all including poor, low caste, and untouchables. With this a change was brought in the whole education and writing history. Many Dalits also not only started churning out history books and consolidated truth out of existing literature but many challenged the inhuman treatment met out to them and their ancestors. Out of the limited material available I have tried here to find out the importance of February month in the Dalit history.
The following Dalit personalities, who contributed for the welfare of all in general and Dalits in particular were born in Feburary.
1 Jagdeo Prasad’s 95th  birthday falls 2-2-2017
 Shri Jagdeo Prasad the Lenin of Bihar was born on February 02, 1922 at Kurtha of Jehanabad district of Bihar. He belonged to Kushwaha caste who are vegetable growers. The Kushwaha have richly contributed to the struggle for social justice and democracy. The born radical that he was, JP prevailed upon his grandfather to not perform ‘Shraddh ’ of his father. Instead of ‘Shraddh’ rituals, there a condolence meeting and a small meal was held, all without any Brahmin priest. This was not the only incident of caste-based exploitation. In 1950 he graduated. He along with 6 of his collegues won  Bihar Stae Assembly  Bye Elections-1969 on –Shoshit Dal Party. Shoshit means oppressed and exploited. His efforts elevated  Kapoori Thakur  as Dy Chief Minister in an OBC leader in 1967. Credit goes to Jagdeo Prasad for breaking the monopoly of upper castes on the post of Chief Minister of Bihar. Bihar saw first non-Congress government in 1967 under the leadership of Mahamaya Prasad Sinha. Subsequently Kapoori Thakur was chief  Minister of Bihar(1970-71 & 1977-79).Shri. Satish  Prashad Singh and shri B.P.Mandal  another OBC Leaders was also chief Minister of Bihar in 1968. This practice is continuing intermittently. Jagdeo Prasad a master politician pulled down government of Mahamaya Prashad Sinha run with the support of Jansang and CPI for making space for Backward class Chief Minister. This brave son of Bihar was shot at and killed on September 05, 1974 in a conspiracy had been hatched by the feudal lords to kill him His funeral was attended by lakhs and condolence meeting on 7th Sep,1974 was attended among others by JP Narayan, Kapoori Thakue,and R.S.Verma .
Jagdeo Prasad’s coined slogan sums up many ideals.
“ We the exploited are ninety, ninety is our share in land, wealth and power, the ninety will not allow the rule of the ten.”
     ( Guru Ji’s 603rd  birthday falls on 10th Feubary,2017  )         
  “So purifying is Guru Ravi Dass, that the dust of his holy feet is worshiped by all.” Said Guru Nabha Dass.
Since in majority cases not much was written down about the lives of the saints, by saints themselves or their educated devotees. Saints never wanted anything in their glorification and there was wide spread illiteracy among their devotees. Many things about their life events are carried orally through ages.  So confusions and contradictions mixed up later about their parenthoods, places of birth, family details, religion or castes, dates associated with their life facts including births and deaths. Later writers collected different clues from different sources forming their own views, at times varying with one another. In case of Dalit saints this version had more relevancies. After long discussions and comparison of different research works by different scholars, some facts were churned out to be most acceptable. The largely accepted facts about the life of revered Goru Ravi Das are given here. Whereas differences in different writers still persists.
Guru Ravi Dass was born on Magh Purnima (Sunday)in Samvat  1471 ( 1414 AD ) to Shri Raghu & Shrimati Mata Karma Devi of Chamar caste at Mandiva Thein ,now called Goverdhan Pura  near Banaras  Some scholars give the names of his parents as Sh. Santosh Dass & Shrimati Mata Kalsi Devi . Guru Ravi Dass lived an exalted `life span of 126 years & left his mortal frame in 1540 AD to join back into the supreme ocean of Bliss or the Creator of Universe.  However, some scholars quote his life span of 151 years. But for want of authentic information such things are bound to happen.
     Guru Ravi Dass was born at a time when the orthodox and superstitious Hindu & Muslim priests had adopted rituals, Exterior body decorations, scarifying animals, visiting different places, bathing in different rivers, recitations of their Holy religious books etc. as sole methods of salvation from the circle of births & deaths. The Hindus had closed all their places of worships (temples), schools, entry into Government services or honorable services in private sectors for Shudras. ,Instead Shudras assigned to them most dirtiest duties for the Brahmans , Khatriyas & Vaishayas as per Rules framed by Manu All decent living were ruled out for them. Keeping richness of Guru Ravi Dass’s verses in view, 40 of them were incorporated into Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Guru Arjun Dev ji,
 Guru Ravi Dass denounced caste system which is based on un-natural laws & upheld Virtue by saying ;
 “If a Brahmin is virtue less, Offer him no worship ‘O ‘Ravi Dass,
Worship instead the feet of a Chandal, If he is Found full of virtue.”
Guru Rravidas further said “If thou are born to Brahmin (Superior by birth ) mother , why you have not born through a different route .”
Guru Ravi Dass advised the rulers to provide equal & decent means of livelihood to all their subjects & he said,
I want kingdoms where every one is well-fed,And all should live in harmony, Ravi Dass is happy only then”.
Guru Ravi Dass preached the rule of Almighty, that He has created everybody equal and there cannot be any
difference between persons of different castes. He said,
                    “Ask not caste “o” Ravi Dass, What is there in clan or caste?
 Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaish, or Shudra, All belong to the same caste”
 Guru Ravi Dass preach to the world true message of God realization, Love & devotion to Lord, through loving His creations he didn’t denounce other religions but dogmas & rituals. Guru RaviDass said,
Those who are not dyed internally in love, But merely make an outer display,
They will go to the world of death, Truly doth Ravi Dass state”.
Sri Guru Ravidas, preached that God realization can only be through devotion to a  true Naam dyed or realized saint and , not through Persons who preach dogmas, animal scarifying, roaming in jungles ,observing austerities, etc. He said those who are not dyed internally in love, but merely make an outer display shall not find peace after death. God becomes accessible only when He takes human form & come to the level of human in this world, as idols are lifeless, the animals & birds cannot communicate with us, the past respectable Saints and Noble persons/ Souls are as far away as God, so a living Saint or Master can only guide us.  This human form of pure spirit is called Guru by the saints. So Guru is God incarnation. Sain Bulleh Shah Said “God (Molla ) has taken the form of man (Guru)”  Sat Guru Kabir Said “Worship thou the true worshiper of the Lord .”
Guru Ravi Dass Said “God, Guru & Saint, Are the same in consciousness.” Among guru Ravidas’s disciples were Meerabai, Raja Peepa ,Rana sanga many more. Guru ravidas is said to have Three meetings with Guru Nanak.
Guru Ravidas advised his disciples to lead a clean life, refrain from animal killing for eating or scarifying before gods & Goddesses, never take wine or any other intoxicants. Guru Ravi Dass said,
“Those who eat meat, they in fact cut their own throat,
 For whosoever is meat eater, he will have to go to hell “sayeth Ravi Dass.” He further said,
 “Even ,if wine is made with Holy water of Ganga ,Saints drink it not.” 
Guru Ravi Dass spread the message of love for all, devotion to Lord, universal brotherhood, honest earning for livelihood & to discard all that does not help in God realization. By doing so he became one with Lord. Said, Ravidas. Guru Ravi Dass’s 639th birthday is falling on03th Feb. 2015 and the same shall be celebrated throughout India besides in many foreign countries with reverence. The best way to remember Guru Ji is to follow his ideals.
3.Mata Ramabai Ambedkar( Her 119th  birthday falls on 7th Febuary,2016)
  Revered Mata Ramabai Ambedkar wife of  Bharat Ratana  Baba Sahib Dr.B.R.Ambedkar was born on 7th Febuary 1898 nearly 11 months after passing away of Mata Savitribai Phuley a great social and educational revolutionary. It is rightly said, “There is a lady at the back of very successful man”.it was so in the case of Goswami Tulsidass, Shatrarpati Shiva Ji Maharaj, Tilak, Gandhi Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Baba Sahib B R Ambedkar and may other personalities, who made history of sorts. The success of Dr. Ambedkar had incalculable contribution of his noble wife Smt. Ramabai Ambedkar, She was intelligent, kind, poise, obedient, chaste, religious, possessing high character, besides having simplicity of style and taste. This saintly lady although lived in extreme poverty but without a whisper of complaint on her face. Always turning her eyes towards God for the safety and prosperity of her husband. She was gentle by temperament, sober in manners, weak in constitution but modest in speech. Revered Ramabhai a sober and good girl came of a good but poor family. She was the second daughter of Bhiku Walandkar, a resident of Walang village near Dapoli in Konkan in central India. He worked as porter at Dopli. He used to carry fish loads on his head from sea side to the bazaar. His earning was so meager that he could hardly make both ends meet. Rama bhai was born on 7th Febuary 1898. Her childhood name was Ramibhai and she has two sisters Gorabhai and Meerabhai and one brother named Shanker Dhutrey. Shanker Dhutrey also called Shanker Walangkar  who worked in a press. These unfortunate children lost first their mother & after some time their father too in childhood so were brought up by their maternal and parental uncle in Bombay (now Mumbai). Bhiva later called Bhimrao Ramji Dass Ambedkar and Ramibhai (later Ramabhai) were married when they were 16 years and 9 years old respectively: The marriage was ceremonised shortly after Bhim had passed his matriculation examination. The marriage pandal was an open shed of the Byculla Fish market in Bombay, after the days market was over. At night the bridegroom and his relatives were lodged in one spacious corner of the open shed and that of with her relatives in another corner. The small stone plate forms in the market served as benches, where a small gutter of dirty water flowed underneath their feet. The marriage place was vacated in the early morning before sunrise to enable the merchants to carry their daily business. The marriage was ceremonies with religious rites and jollity. Ramibhai was renamed Ramabhai after marriage and later earned the distinction of being called Mata Ramabhai Ambedkar.
          Rambhai Ambedkar was initially  illiterate but her husband later taught her simple reading and writing. Educationally there was world of difference between the two but they loved and respected each other from the core of their heats. Love, faith, sincerity, sacrifice and understanding links, between the two persons formed unbreakable chain to live happily, despite both being educationally poles apart. Bhim used to call his wife affectionately as “Ramu” and she called him “Sahib”. She was deeply proud of her husband and Bhim respected here immensely. As Dr. Ambedkar was always busy in reading & could devote very little time for house hold affairs. At times she used to press here sahib’s feet in the evening, when he was reading & slept on the floor under his feet. But Ramabhai ensured that nobody disturbed him during this study or working. She cared for the health and welfare of her husband by all means.
          When Ambedkar was in America, she lived a life of destitute but without any regret. It is rare historical example of courage & conviction of a wife (Ramabhai) who used to make cowdung cakes and carry the same on her head, to use them as cheap household fuel, despite taunting remarks from neighboring women folk, when her husband (Dr B R Ambedkar), also in acute financial crisis was struggling to obtain world’s highest Academic degrees including Doctorate of Science in foreign lands. Despite financial crisis for studies and at home. Dr Ambedkar became Barrister reinforced by a London Doctorate of Science, an American Doctorate in Philosophy and Studies of Bonn University, which reflected immense sacrifices of his wife. When Ambedkar was preparing to go to America for higher studies, the neighboring women advised Ramabhai to stop her husband from going abroad, as he may marry a Mem (English lady) and desert her. But Ramabhai had unflinching faith on her sahib and replied to those ladies that’ she knew her husband well and he cannot do so”.
          Despite Ramabhai‘s little education she was an expert housewife and knew well to run her house hold affairs. On getting money for monthly household expenses from Ambedkar she used to divide the money into 30 parts keeping each part separately. Daily she opened one part and used it, so as not to run penniless on last dates of the month. Her economical habits and faith in her husband, enabled the couple to get constructed their palatial house namely, Rajgrih in Bombay. But even after moving into Rajgrih, it did not affect her simple habits.
          The wedlock of this ideal couple was blessed with four sons and one daughter, Out of his four sons namely, Ramesh, Gangadhar, yashwant and Rajratna and one daughter Indu only one son namely Yashwant Ambedkar (Father of Sh Parkash Abmedkar MP) survived, and others died mostly in fancy. This gave the couple great pains and sorrows. On the death of his youngest son Rajratan on Ist July 1926, Dr Ambedkar wrote on 16th August to one of his friends, “There is no use pretending that I and my wife have recovered from the shock of our Son’s death and I don’t think that we ever shall. - - - - - - - with the loss of our kids the salt of our life is gone - - - - “ After a long period of mourning & on the insistence of his well wishers, Dr Ambedkar settled down on the work for emancipation of down trodden but Ramabhai Continued in grief. This acted upon here health badly and she fell gravely ill. She being highly religious even during illness, she continued observing fasts on Saturdays took only water and black gram, worshipped God for His blessing on her husband. Her thoughts, mind and eyes were devoted to the service of her Sahib. At this she would say,’ Sahib what is there in having so many Degrees, cannot we live happily with lesser education , perhaps she did not know that the emancipation of million of untouchables was possible only with knowledge of order which Dr Ambedkar acquired before plunging into the war to break the age old chains of slavery of his brethren.
          On Ramabhai’s insistence and life long Dr Ambedkar took Ramabhai to Pandharpur for pilgrimage of Vethal Ji Maharaj, in whom she had lot of faith. But being untouchables they were not allowed to go near the temple, so they had to stand at a distance from the temple idol to offer prayers. It irritated the self-respecting Dr Ambedkar and he said “What of that Pandherpur, which prevents its devotees from seeing the image of God, by our own virtuous life, selfless service and spotless sacrifice in the cause of downtrodden humanity, we shall create another Pandharpur. Another Pandharpur! He kept his promise by leaving Hindu religion and embracing Buddhism and re-establishing Buddha in His motherland after centuries. Illness at last over power the weak body physique of Rama Bai Ambedkar. She was even taken to Dharwal by Dr. Ambedkar for change, but this to did not help in improving her health. No medicine could give her relief and at last on 27th May 1935 unfortunate happen. She passed away at her residence.
Thus came the end of the nobility of mind and purity of heart. But fortunately Dr Ambedkar was by the side of her death bed. About 10,000 people rich and poor, educated and illiterate, important and common attended here funeral procession. Her son Yashwant Ambedkar preformed all Hindus rites at the bidding of a Maha priest Sambhoo More, who was Baba Sahib’s colleague since their school days. After the death of Ramabhai, Baba Sahib was a completely broken person. Over a week he kept weeping like a child and it was difficult to console him. He put on a dress of a hermit and got his head tonsured. The saintly saffron robe indicated a hermit with world negating attitude. On the repeated requests & advice of his trusted friend and well – wishers he again took in his hand the oar to sail across his suffering fellowmen and to cut their age old chains of slavery.
4. Sri Sri Guru Chand Thakur ( His death 120th Birth Anniversary falls on 9th February ,2017)
       Photo here is of his father sri sri Hari Chand Thakur
 Sri Sri  Guru Chand Thakur  son of Sri Sri Hari Chand Thakur a  social reformist of Bengal  ( Now Bangla Desh)  reportedly  passed away on 9th February 1897. He was born in Namasudra or Namassej(also called Chandal ).From early age he had inclinations for reformist. His father Sri Sri Hari Chand Thakur  who founded “Matua Mahasang”was born on 11March,1811 and passed away in 1877 .The Matua believe that male and female are equal. They discourage early marriage. Widow Remarriage is allowed. Both men and women can be religious teachers.Main principles Namasudra were: (1) No necessity of entering the temples of higher castes for the purpose of worship, (2) Discarding Brahmin priest for any ceremony, (3) Worship on Shri Hari, (4) Not to worship idols and not to visit pilgrimage centers of Hindus and (5) Maintain good moral conduct and lead an ideal family life. The sect became popular in East Bengal (now a part of Bangladesh) and he led the untouchability movement called the Chandal movement in India. He built an English high school at Orakandhi ( now in Bangladesh ) for the people of lower  community called Nama Shudra (untouchable community). He united the people of this community, but was against religion conversion. However some Bengali Brahmins have made him a Maithili Brahmin. Harichand’s doctrine is based on three basic principles-truth, love, and sanctity. The doctrine treats all people as equal. Shri Shri Harichand Thakur and his son Guruchand Thakur were great social reformers who worked to  reform the society of chandal (charal). Guruchand Thakur started Namasudra Welfare Association.He called an all Bengal Namasudra Conference  in 1881 at Duttadanga in Khulna district( Now Bangladesh). He united the people of lower community people, and protect them from religion conversion. Guruchand Thakur appealed to the then Governor of West Bengal and Assam to give employment to Namasudra in Government services.He also worked to get removed Chandal,a disdraceful name  by a new name. In the censes of 1911 Chandal word was substituted by  four different clans or Gotras.(  Source:-Wikipedia)
5. Shri Sant Ram B.A. ( His birthday130th birthday falls on 14th Feb,2017  )                      
      Shri Sant Ram B.A. a Dalit (Megh) by caste was born on 14th February 1887 at Puranni Bassi Hoshiarpur ( Punjab).He had studied up to B.A. and there after devoted himself for Dalit upliftment social work. He was also a devoted Arya Samaji sect of Soami Dayanand Saraswati. To abolish caste system he worked to establish his own organization “Jat-Pat- Todak Mandal”. One of the plank of his organization was to promote inter caste marriages and to get abolished caste system from with in the Depressed classes. Since Arya Samaji’s did not co-oprate with Jat-Pat Todakl Mandal ideals, so Sh.Sant Ram  made it an independent organization to continue his efforts for  achieving  his set goals.
Shri Sant Ram invited Dr.Ambedkar to preside over  1936 annual convention  of the Jat-Pat Todak Mandal to be held at Lahore and also deliver his presidential address.. Dr.Ambedkar wrote the Presidential address, but the Mandal  committee wanted some changes in it,to which Dr. Ambedkar did not agree. The convention was cancelled and the presidential address was published by Baba sahib as “Annihilation of Caste” in 1936 itself and this book is considered as one of the best books written by the author. It has gone into so many reprints since then. Sant Ram himself translated into Hindi and published in the Kranti  an Urdu monthly magazine. Sant Ram authored many books as well. He breathed his last on 5th June 1988 at an age of 101 years.
6.Mahatma Jyotirao Phule ( His 190th  birthday falls on 20th Feb,2017  )                      
Mahatma Jyotirao Phule was born on 20-2-1827 to revered couple Gobindarao and Chimnabai in village  Khanbari of Poona. He earned the title of Mahatma and title of Bukar T.Washington (American President and a great leader against acts of slavery & apartheid).Since Gobindarao and his two brothers served as florists under the Pashwas, so they were called Phules.Chimnabai died when Jyotiba was 9 months old..Gobindrao wanted his son to get a higher education so as to spread the Gyan Jyoti for the humanity at large and Dalits in particular..Jyotirao completed his secondary education in 1847 and decided not to accept any government job but work for the upliftment of downtrodden( Women included ) and to spread education among them.
                         One day when Jyotirao accompanied the Barat of his Brahmin friend, but was insulted and abused as to  how a Dalit dared to take part in Barat (Marriage Party) of a Brahmin. After this incident Jyotiba made up his mind to defy the caste system and decided to serve the shudras and women who were deprived of all of their human rights under the caste system.Jyotiba was married
in 1840 to Savitribai. Savitribai Phule, worked as the true disciple and co-missionary of her husband. They changed the history by opening a school on 1-1-1848 for girls in Poona where Savitirbai was admitted as first Student along with four Brahmin girls, one Maratha girl and sixth a shepherd family girl.Jyotirao Phule continued this school despite opposition form orthodox Hindus, who considered this act against their religion, as Hindu scriptures considered educating girls & Dalits as a great sin , defying the Hindu scriptures & Orthodox preaching of Caste proudly Brahmins , they opened 18 such schools including some having co-education. Thus the Phuley couple  became father & Mother Women Edfucation in India.
                      Feeling pity on the condition of orphans Jyotiba Phule opened   orphanage, perhaps first such institution by a Hindu. Jyotiba Phule gave protection to widows & assured them that his orphanage shall take care of their childrenirrespect of casteor colour..  It was in this orphanage that a Brahmin widow gave birth to a male child in1873 and Jyotirao Phule adopted him as his son & educated him to become a qualified doctor.
                         He published his controversial book “Slavery,” in 1873 ,in which he declared  his manifesto  that he was  willing to dine with all irrespective of  their caste, creed, or country of origin Jyotirao Phule  formed “ Satya Shodhak Samaj on 24 th September 1873. The main objectives of this organization were to liberate the Shudras, Ati Shudras & to prevent their exploitation by the Upper caste Hindus. He refused to regard Vedas as sacrosanct & denounced Chaturverna & instead published his book “Satya Dharma Pustak in 1891.  According to him all men & women  are equal  so are entitled to enjoy equal rights & it was a sin to discriminate between human beings Widow remarriages were banned and child marriage was very common among the Hindus Society Jyotirao opposed both & worked to benefit them and  got re- married one Shayani caste widow on 8th march 1890 against  strong protests He opposed the evil customs too.
 He edited a weekly news paper “DEEN BANDU,” from 1st January 1877 Jyotirao Phule got his right hand incapacitated in an illness, so he stated writing with his left hand & wrote a book titled as “ SARIVJANIK SATYA DHARAM , “ After ceaselessly working for over 63 years Jyotirao Phule passed away on 28 th November 1890 about 138 days before the birth  of Dr. BR Ambedkar another luminary, Father of free India’s Constitution , who too worked lifelong for the emancipation of Dalits , depressed, weak  & women Jyotirao Phule shall be remembered for the centuries to come for the  good work he did for the Dalits & Depressed peoples of society.
  7.GADGE JI MAHARAJ( His 138th birthday falls on 23rd Feb,2017  )                      
A great social & religious reformer of 19th century was born on 23 -02-1879 in the village Ron of Maharastra, to respected Sh. Singraji Janorkar & Mata Shrimati Sukhbai of Preet caste, a watermen’s community. He was married in childhood to Shrimati Kunnabai & both parented one girl child. Dabuji was his childhood name. Once Dabuji dared to take meals in a community function along with his community persons in the same row where upper caste Hindus were taking meals, but he was turned out. This incident made unforgettable dent on his tender mind, so in later years he opposed caste     System with all his might. He used to say that there are only two castes created by God namely man& woman. We are all human & Dalits or untouchables have nothing different than upper Caste Hindus. The superiority claims of upper Caste Hindus is nothing more than cheating & deception .He advised all to take lessons from the Sun, the Fire, the Trees the Animals, the Birds , the mother Earth , who provide equal services to all irrespective of caste, creed, sex , religion or place of birth of a person. He always wore rags & carried a Garwa (Water pot with a curved short, spout ) ,so he was called as Gadge Ji Maharaj . He said, “God realization is not in observing fasts, worshiping idols, undertaking long journeys to identified religious places,, listening to religious sermons but in service to humanity, particularly those who are poor, deprived , sick & needy .” he preached not to slaughter animals  to please gods & goddesses, do not waste money on pilgrims , do not drink wine , but serve your parents & poor’s well,  do not indulge in untouchability , do not be under the inferiority  complex , cut your expenditure on marriage functions and do not take or offer  dowry. He decried / cursed those who took the services of animals like cows, goats, horses, donkeys; buffalos etc during their youth but did not care them in their old age.
In  1949  when Dr. BR Ambedkar, the then Law Minister of Indian Union met Gadge ji ,  he advised  his Visitor to leave the Hindu religion, which is resistant to reforms, but also not to embrace Christianity or Islam. Dr Ambedkar followed advice of Gadge Ji & converted to Buddhism in 1956.  Gadge Baba dedicated Sant Chokhamela Dharmashala, Pandharpur to Dr Ambedkar for his love for Dr Ambedkar.
          On way to Amravati Gadge Baba ji passed away on 20th December 1956 on the Bridge of Perry River.   On the Tappi river between Khandla & Nagpur is situated his Samadhi named Shri Gadgeji Maharaj, “ GYANI DHAM ,” .In his Samadhi here  an  Asti-kalash or a pot  containing  Gadgeji’s ashes is stored in the basement of the memorial . Gadge Baba ji shall be remembered as a great emancipator & true guide of Dalits, who preached to live with dignity, compassion,love and mercy His main teaching are as;- Give food to the hungry
                                    Give Shelter to the needy
                                    Protect the environment.
                                    Protect Animals.
·         The Indian postal deptt issued a memorial postal stamp “ Baba Gadge” on 20th Dec.1998 to mark 42nd Death Anniversary  Baba Ji.The Government of India has instituted  a national award’ sant Baba Gadge Swachata Abhiyan”in 2000-01.
sant Baba Gadge Swachata Abhiyan” should be adopted by Indian Prime Minister   in his crusade for cleanliness.
                       This saint shall be remembered as a great emancipator & true guide of Dalits, who preached them to Live with dignity.
Justice Raja Ram Bole 9 his 104th birthday  13th February, 2017).
      Shri Rajaram Bhole belonging to Mahar caste and was a close confidant of Baba Sahib Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Shri Rajaram Bhole’s father Shri Ramji Bhola lived in Bolaram near Hydrabad in Andhara Pradesh. Bolarum is one of the major suburbs of Hyderabad, India. Geographically, a part of Bolarum is in Hyderabad district while another is in Ranga Reddy District. It comes under Secunderabad Cantonment Board. Shri Rajaram Bhole was born on 13th February, 1913. Shri Rajaram Bhole passed his matriculation from high school at Secundrabad and B.Sc from Furguson College Pune. He continued his studies with keen interest and passed his LL.B.
  In his early youth at Solapur he listened Dr. Ambedkar speeches and also to meet him Shri Rajaram Bhole   got very much influenced by these speeches and decided to lend his helping hand in Dr. Ambedkar’s crusade against exploitation of the untouchables by upper caste Hindus. Dr. Ambedkar even helped him to get scholarship for his proposed engineering course from the Nizam’s government. But due to the prolonged illness of Shri Rajaram Bhole, he could not complete his engineering studies. Earlier he had a chance to stay for one year at Gandhi Ji’s Sewa gram ashram at Wardha. Wardha is a city and a municipal council in Wardha district in the state of Maharashtra. It is the administrative headquarters of Wardha district. Wardha gets its name from the Wardha River which flows at the North, West and South boundaries of district. The town is now an important centre for the cotton trade. It was an important part of Gandhian Era.  Here Sh R.R Bhole was also treated for his illnes At Wardha Shri Rajaram Bhole even met Mahatama Gandhi and gained nearness to him. Mahatama Gandhi gave a recommendatory letter in the name of Dr Ambedkar to keep him with him as Shri Rajaram Bhole was faithful and trustworthy person.
  Observing pitiable poverty ridden conditions of his Dalit brethren, he decided to work for their welfare. Therefore he organized a conference of Dalit youth and requested Dr Ambedkar to preside over it. Dr Ambedkar presided over the conference in Pune in 1935, where a call was given to Dalit youth to work for their betterment and for the betterment of their brethren. Shri Rajaram joined  the Independent Labour Party founded by Dr Ambedkar and contested elections in 1937 for the Bombay Legislative Assembly from Pune ( West) and won it. He worked very actively in the Assembly. He also contested for the first General Elections in 1952 on SCF Ticket for Kohlapur- Satara double member constituency but could not win.
 Since Shri Rajaram Bole had earned nearness to Dr Ambedkar during his life time. Dr Ambedkar had founded the Peoples Education Society in 945 and he remained its Chairman till his sad demise on December 6th, 1956.Therefore after the sad demise of great Dalit emancipator Dr Ambedkar the responsibility of   running the affairs and management as Chairman fell on the shoulder of Justice Rajaram Bole. He carried effectively the responsibilities of running the affairs of the Peoples Education Society. He was elected its Chairman in 1959 and continued to hold the responsibility till 1985.
  In 1955 he also joined the judiciary as District Judge. He was subsequently appointed by Govt. Of India in 1962, as one man Commission to inquire into firing in Port Blair in Andaman Islands. He also earned the distinction of getting elevated as Bombay High Court Judge from among the Scheduled Castes. He retired from service on 11th February, 1975 at the age of 62 years. There after Justice Rajaram Bhole was appointed by the Government as Chairman of the Commission for revision of the pay scales of the Maharashtra Government employees.
 He had the proud privilege to get appointed as a member of the Backward Classes Commission constituted under the Chairman ship of Justice B.P.Mandal constituted on 20th December, 1978. The Backward Classes Commission submitted its report called “Mandal Commission Report” on 31st December 1980. This report formed the basis for granting Reservation in Services to the Other Backward Classes candidates in Services.
   To continue his commitment to work for the welfare of the Dalits, he joined Congress Party and contested for Lok Saba Elections from Bombay in 1980.  Justice Rajaram Bole proved to be an able Dalit leader, trusted lieutenant of Baba Sahib Dr Ambedkar, a reputed judge, out spoken parliamentarian and as an educationist.  He was a great follower and protagonist of Buddhism and served as Chairman of the Buddhist Council of India.
Justice Raja Ram Bole passed away on 24th August, 1993 leaving behind his only son.  Justice Rajaram Bole shall be long remembered for his services in different fields, particularly for the welfare of Dalits.
Naik Devrao Vishnu ( His 123rd birthday falls on 9th February 2017)
          Naik was born on 9th February 1894 at Aalewadi (Taluka Palghar). He joined the Ambedkar movement of untouchables for Human Rights in 1927 when Mahad Satyagraha was launched by Baba Sahib to taste water from Chavdar Tale.  He the Editor of the newspaper Brahmin-Brahminetar and of Samta. Dr. Ambedkar launched the Samta on 15th March 1929 with a view to highlight existing conflict between the Brahmins and non-Brahmins.   Devrao Naik was one of the front runner organizers of the Kalaram Temple Satyagraha at Nasik organized by Dr Ambedkar on 3rd of March, 1930. This Satyagraha was organized to waken the Untouchable and test the Hindu Mind towards their religious brethren. Devrao V. Nail was also entrusted the editorship of the Janta fortnightly news paper started by Dr. Ambedkar on 24th November 1930. The publication of the paper was also helped by Bhaiya Sahib Jaswant Rao Ambedkar besides Bapu Sahib Sahasrabuddha, B.C. Kamble, R.D. Bhandare .He was dedicated to work as very active volunteer of the Samaj Samata Sangha ( League for Equality) founded under the leadership of Dr.Ambedkar. He edited The Samata a fortnightly news magazine of the Samaj Samata Sangha. Shri Naik died in Mumbai on 27yh August 1982. He was stanch trusted follower of Dr.Ambedkar the Dalit em Nanak Chand Rattu  (His 95th Birthday falls on 6-2-2017)
   Nanak Chand Rattu was born on 6th February 1922, in village Sakruli, in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab. He is best known as the most closely associated and loyal Private Secretary to Dr.Ambedkar who served him, sacrificing personal gains, his family,  official career, ambitions and inspiration for over 17 years, from January 3, 1940 up to Dr.Ambedkar’s death on December 6, 1956.
           Sh. Nanak Chand on passing his Matriculation Examination in 1938, came to Delhi in November 1939 in search of a job. After facing many difficulties he got a job in the Government of India, in 1941. While in service he worked his way up and passed the B.A degree Examination. He came in contact with Dr Ambedkar and abandoned his studies before taking his M.A.examination to, serve Dr.Ambedkar with exemplary dedication.
          He has carved such a place of Honour – undergoing sufferings, carping humiliations, troubles and tribulations, for a great cause of the oppressed millions – and living so dominantly in the sweet hearts of Dalit masses / Buddhists, that they held him high esteem as being the reflex of their savior, the Great Dr. Baba Sahib Ambedkar. Like a shadow he remained in the sacred service of his Messiah Dr.Ambedkar.
          He was awarded Bheem Medal, Bheem Rattan Award, Ambedkar Centenary Award, Anand Award, Ambedkar Rattan Centenary Award, Vishvrattan Dr.Ambedkar Bhushan Award and Letters of Appreciation, grandly and befittingly presented to him by Dr.Ambedkar organizations in India, United Kingdom and Germany, in recognition of his unique services to Dr.Ambedkar and a reputed social worker of outstanding qualities. The felicitations and honors that he received are uniquely superb and ceremonious. After the untimely death of his master Dr Ambedkar Dr. Savita Ambedkar also known as Mai sahib called first to Nanak Chand Rattu and he was perhaps the first person to see Dr Ambedkar as dead after Mai sahib. He accompanied the dead body to Bombay now Mumbai. Nanak Chand Rattu had embraced Buddhism with Baba Sahib. 
          In Dr.Ambedkar’s heroic, great, glorious history of liberating battle, he is assigned a golden chapter by reputed biographers, research scholars, eminent writers and journalists who have produced volumes of literature on Dr.Ambedkar, from the material and information readily given by him, gratefully acknowledged in their writings.  He also has written some books on the life, Last days, and Mission of Dr Ambedkar. Nanak Chand Rattu’s writing give vivid description of events related with Dr. Ambedkar, including last days neglect by his wife, family dispute and many such heart rendering events.  He is said to have started the first games in the open naming the place as Dr Ambedkar Stadium, which now holds world level games events in Delhi.
          With his restless endeavors, Ambedkar Museum, set up by him at Nagpur, is going to be the historical monument and the world famous Buddhist Pilgrimage Centre. Apart, his effort to build “Ambedkar Guest House” for the convenience of the visitors is laudable.
           Nanak Chand Rattu retired as under secretary from Central Government on February 29, 1980. . He breathed his last on 15th September 2002. But till his last days he was actively associated with the spread of Dhamma and the noble mission of Dr. Baba Sahib Ambedkar.
Varale , Balwantrao Hanmantrao  ( His 90th Birthday falls on 2-2-2017)
          Balwantrao Hanmantrao Varale an active participant of the Mahad Satyagraha of 1927 was closely associated with the movements of Baba Sahib. He was born on 2nd February 1901 at village Benadi in Belgaum and passed away in Mumbai on 9th August 1977 working with dedication for the cause of Dalits. He was a trusted lieutenant of Baba Sahib Ambedkar’s Dalit Emancipation progremmes. He had personally very closeness with Dr.Ambedkar. When Baba Sahib formed the Independent Labour Party (ILP) on 15 August, 1936, He was called to contest on ILP ticket for the Mumbai Legislative council election in 1937 and he got elected. In all fourteen candidates of IPL won for the held on 17th February 1937 along with Dr. Ambedkar. He got elected He won from Belgium. He was also a die hard volunteer of the scheduled Castes Federation founded by Dr.Ambedkar in 1942. When the Peoples Education Society (Registered in1945-46) established a college at Aurangabad in 1950. The college premises were named as Nagsen Van. Shri Varle was present at college premises when Bodhivrisha (Buddha tree) was planted there by Baba Sahib. This college was renamed by Baba Sahib as Milind College, Aurangabad   He became the first Registrar of Milind College, Aurangabad, opened by Baba Sahib. It is said Shri Varale insisted Dr Ambedkar to get sculptured his bust from Mr. R.B. Madilgekar in 1950 which the latter accepted.  He accompanied Dr Ambedkar to attend the fourth Katmandu World Buddhist Conference. Sh.B.M Varale was the President of the people’s Education society from 1975 to 1977. Although he lived only for 50 years, he made un- matching contribution for the welfare and well being of the Dalits.
17th February 1937,Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar won Bombay Vidhan Sabha election  on his Independent Labour Party( IPL) ticket.) In all 17 candidates of IPL Party won the election making a history of sorts when untouchable got the mandate in any recognized Law making Body of the country. Although Baba Saheb entered the Bombay Legislative Council in 1927as nominated member. He was re-nominated in 1932 .He was its member for 12 years. Bombay Legislative Council  had 140 members.  Baba Saheb moved  Abolition of the Khoti System Bill in the Bombay Legislative council, which proved a land mark in  the Land Reforms Legislation in Post Independence India. Dr. Ambedkar also made forceful speeches with value based suggestions on Mahar Vatan, Industrial dispute, Prohibition , Education, University Act Amendment Bill, Small holdings, Maternity benefits for women employees, Birth Control  and many more.
Words 6880                                                              Er. H. R. Phonsa
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Source material References:-
1. Wikipedia
2. Dalit Movement In India and Its Leaders by;-R.K. Kshirsagar

3. Dr Ambrdkar and His Associates by “ Er.H.R.Phonsa”.