Thursday, July 10, 2014

Veerangini Jhalkari Bai Kori, Story of courageous Dalit warrior woman in colonial India


                    
  This is the story of a courageous woman who came from a humble background but rose to the occasion to fight for her people and country.  Like any other Dalit heroes who attained martyrdom in any war she had no ambition  to own a palace, become a queen to rule a kingdom,  become a heir to the throne , earn fame but sacrificed for the freedom of India may be 1857 freedom struggle or any other movement for motherland’s freedom.
            The history of India is full of rulers -- both men and women -- who combined bravery with a strategy to repulse attacks by foreign invaders down the ages. Members of ruling families fought for the sake of gaining control over others territory or to defend their kingdoms, but for Dalits it was their commitment to their country with no personnel ambitions to full fill.
Jhalkari Bai Kori’s story is a saga of courageous and selfless sacrifice for her mother land Jhansi. She was the 'double' of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, the legendary warrior who fought the invading British army in the first War of Independence, when her kingdom was annexed by the British as her husband Ganga Dhar Rao had died heirless. A little known figure in Indian history, Jhalkari Bai lives on in the folklore of the Bundelkhand region. Bundelkhand was once a Buddhist region and also called Budha-khand.
             Jalkari Bai was born on 22nd November 1830 in village Bhojalla on Balaji Marg. His father was Sadova Singh and mother named Dhania but some authors say her father was named as Mool Chand & mother Jamuna Devi. They were agriculturists, belonging to Kori Caste of Untouchables having  Laria Gotar.  Kori Caste has a glorious history and Kories are said to have been rulers of this country . Shamba Asur  Maharaj  was a Kori ruler as also revered  Yashodhara wife of Gotam Budha was too from Kori Caste. How this so warrior and prosperous Kori peoples were reduced to a unknown position is a mystery. Jalkari Bai also nicknamed as Chaloria was the only child of her parents and she lost her mother at a very young age. So she was brought up by her father with utmost care, love and affection. Jalkari Bai grew into a strong, courageous, beautiful girl. At the age of 12 years when she went to bring wood for cooking in forest area she was attached by a panther. She also attacked it with her axe but missed and the axe fell from her hands. Then she courageously caught the animal from its both jaws and tore them apart. In this she also got scratches, some wounds on her self and her clothes were torn. This news spread in the Jhansi town like wild fire and adjoining areas , all praised her bravery. On another occasion, she challenged a gang of dacoits who raided the house of a village businessman and forced them to retreat.
            This was also heard by Pooran of Namapur Jhansi, himself from Kori caste, a courageous and famous  wrestler, had experience in archery besides having gained expertise in horse riding, fire arms, sword yielding. Pooran asked his mother that he wanted to marry brave Jalkari Bai .This idea was accepted by father of Jalkari Bai, and their marriage was ceremonised with religious gaiety in 1843.  Pooran was  an ordinary solider, canon  operator at main gate of Jhansi. Jalkari Bai learnt the art of cloth weaving the job carried by her in-laws. This union of two healthy bodies & souls impressed Jalkari Bai to have military training and Pooran supported her idea .He stated training her in all types of martial arts both defensive & offensive. This was not liked by the elders from their society, as for them women had no choice of out door  military activities, but to serve their husband gods, rare children and confine to house hold duties only. But this new couple did not bother to this type of criticism.  She also  used to go to Raj Darbar with her husband. Rani used to invite women from the area on Gouri Pooja  day & putting Turmeric-saffron marks on fore heads day. Jalkari Bai also went to palace wearing new clothes as new bride along with her mother- in -law and other women to pay obedience to Laxmibai the Rani of Jhansi.  On conversing with Jalkari Bai the queen found her fearless and enquiring further Jalkari Bai put forward her desire to join army. Jalkari Bai‘s pleasing & stout body contours impressed the  queen . Laxmibai was struck by Jhalkari's uncanny resemblance to her, Rani felt as if Jalkari Bai was her separated sister. After being told about her courage tales by other women Rani ordered Jhalkari's induction into the Durga Dal or women army of Jhansi. Jhalkari Bai was asked to see the Rani daily. Jalkari Bai was trained by Rani herself into the art of archery, horse ridding, shooting, wrestling and other physical exercises. Jhalkari, along with the other women, was trained in shooting and igniting the cannons at a time when the Jhansi army was being strengthened to face any British intrusion. Jhalkari was subsequently made its commander. The Durga Dal recruits repeatedly foil attacks by the British army. But for the betrayal by one of Laxmibai generals, the Jhansi fort would have remained invincible for at least some more time.  
   On the death of Rani’s only son at the age of 4 months her husband king Gangadhar Rao  fell ill due to shock  and he  adopted Damodhar Rao aged 5years , King’s distant cousin, On November 19, 1853  as their heir and  applied for heir ship in his favour along with Rani as Regent to Major J.M Ellias  an Assistant Political agent at Jhansi.   King Gangadhar Rao died on 12 November 1853. Despite Rani’s strong arguments for accepting Damodhar Rao, her adopted son as successor, Rani‘s request was declined by Lord Dalhousie despite it being supported sub-ordinate officer.   A new captain Alexander Skene was ordered to take over the charge of Jhansi under the Doctrine of Lapse1848. This Doctrine was made applicable with effect from7thMarch 1854 merging Jhansi into the East India Company’s dominions in India. Rani was sanctioned annual Pension of Rs, 60,000 with instructions to keep the palace as her personnel residence and pay her husbands debits from it. Damodhar Rao inherited king’s personnel estate but neither his title nor kingdom. On 13th March 1854  Major John Malcolm Ellias presented this order to Rani and Rani said “I shall not surrender  Jhansi to  any body on any conditions” so Allis went back quickly. All the petitions of the Rani to retain power were rejected by early 1856. Thakur Laxmin Singh  a famous historian  writes that Rani of Jhansi ruled Jhansi  in 1855-56 on behalf of British.
        When the Mutiny erupted in 1857 in Meruit and subsequently its spread in Jhansi .Sepoys of the East India Company took up arms against the British, Rani continued to remain loyal. She aided the rebels only at the point of their guns, and immediately informed the British of events. The British appointed her as their agent and gave her full authority to govern, which she did without wavering in her duty despite the foul blow dealt to her infant son by the British.
  On 8 June, 1857 Between 72 and 92 European men, women, and children were ruthlessly massacred by the rebellious troops who had promised them safe passage from Jhansi. The British pinned the responsibility on Rani though she was said to not involve.  The British, however, did not trust her and soon it became evident to Laxmibai that when law and order was restored in Central India, including Bundelkhandincluding Jhansi, they would come for her to arrest as a traitor. 
        Faced with the imminent likelihood of execution, Laxmibai then – and only then – revolted against the British. To call this astonishing woman a fighter for Indian freedom, and to posthumously bestow on her the highest laurels as one of the main rebel leaders, is not accurate. Non except Dalits in rebellion were fighting for an “independent India”, because such a concept did not existed then.
       So Laxmibai decided to fight back the British. Her generals and the people of Jhansi rallied round the queen and resolved to take up arms against the British instead of surrendering to them.  On March 22,1858 Sir Hugh Rose opens the siege of Jhansi.The cannonade of Jhansi fort begins on March 25 but the Rani’s troops respond in kind, refusing to give way.
   Nathe Khan too invaded Jhansi with 20,000 strong army from Orshey side to help British forces. Pooran Kori, Bhau Bakashi, Jhalkari Bai, Jawahar Singh, Gulam Goas were fighting from Rani Jhansi side.  A fierce fight was going and at lost Nathe Khan lost and was forced to run leaving behind lot of ammunition. Peer Ali joined hands with British and asked them to attack Jhansi from Jar hill side. Tantya Topey was advancing towards Jhansi with his army to help Laxmi Bai. He was forced to move  to another side from Kalpi front resistance of British army. Like Peer Ali Dewam Dulha also deserted Rani & joined enemy force and opened Orsha Gate of Jhansi Fort. The British army got entry into th fort, Rahi asked Pooran Kori, Bhau Bakashi,  Jawahar Singh ,Gulam Goas and Bhopatkar to resist entry of enemy from outside the fort. Soldiers were being killed in large number. Meanwhile Jhalhari Bai Kori  a close confident of Rani ,  along with Bhopatkar asked Rani to escape from the fort with her adopted son, as survival of Rani was important to continue the fight for Jhansi’s freedom. Rani  Laxmi Bai escaped from Jhansi fort in the darkness of 4th April 1858 night on horse back  through  Bhanderi Gate under the charge of Pooran Kori ,carrying her son along.
    Jhalkari Bai being a close resemblance of Laxmi Bai wore Rani’s robes and went on fighting & leading Jhansi army. On reaching Bhandari gate she found her husband Pooran Kori attained martyrdom while fighting. She was shocked to see her husband dead. She saluted his body and with out mourning much she stated fighting with greater fierceness. Her sole aim was to get engaged enemy forces till Rani escaped to some safe distination. She worked out a plan to deceive the British. She dressed up like Laxmibai and took command of the Jhansi army. She asked some women soldiers to follow her with loudly sloganeering “Rani Jhansi Ki Jai”.
  There after she marched out of the fort towards the camp of British General Hugh Rose. On reaching the British enclave, she shouted that she wanted to meet the general Sir Hugh Rose.  She was captured. Besides capturing Jhansi, the British thought they had caught the queen alive. When the general Sir Hugh Rose -- thinking she was the queen -- asked Jhalkari what should be done to her, she firmly said, ‘‘Hang me.'' But Dulha Joo identified and  said she was not Laxmi Bai the queen but Jhalkari Bai Korin
Bundelkhand legend has it that her reply stunned the general, who said on 4th June, 1858 that if even one per cent of Indian women were like Jhalkari; the British would soon have to leave India.The British had to vacate India nine decades there after,in 1947.
 This is in brief the saga of bravery of one of the rare courageous women soldiers of Indian forces. She made way for the safe escape of Maharani Laxmi Bai, sacrificing her life along with life of her Husband. But alas the discourteous caste infected historians for long did not mention the contribution of Dalit women & men who laid their lives purely for the freedom of their mother land despite being treated even worst than animals in their mother land. Dalit martyrs did not have any personnel axe to grind in the form of kingdoms, titles, estates etc. but love for the freedom of the country .The recent research work by independent writers is trying to dig out truth from the debris of the one sided history materials written by self interested persons.

                                                                                      
   Bibliography:-

1)     Veerangana JhalkariBai (Hindi)by Mohnash Namishry Samyak Prakashan32/3,Club Road Pashachim Puri NewDelhi-63
2)      1857 KiKrantiMeinDalitonKaYogdan(Hindi)by Satnamsingh Samyak Prakashan32/3,Club Road Pashachim Puri  New Delhi-63 
3)       Sawtantra Sangram Mein Ashutoyan Ka Yogdhan( Hindi) byD.C. Dhenkar Gotam Book Centre,Chandan Sadan,C-263-A,Gali No-9 Hardev Puri Shahdara
            Delhi-110093
4)         History Net, Window Internet Explorer( Weikipedia)
5) The photograph given here is from “Veerangana JhalkariBai (Hindi)by Mohnash Namishry Samyak Prakashan”


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Amar Khalsa Shaheed Baba Jeevan Singh Rangreta Ji(



Amar Khalsa Shaheed Baba Jeevan Singh Rangreta Ji( His144th   birth day falls on November 30th, 2012
Let me start with the greeting dear to Shaheed Baba Jewan Singh Ji.
Vaaheguroo jee kaa khaalsaa
Vaaheguroo jee kee fatheh !!
                     
Baba Jeevan Singh jee was born with the name Jaitha (First son of parents).  In the untouchables there was a caste called Ranghar
(Raigar, Rehgar, Rehgarh (Engaged as Safai Karmcharies or scavengers). In Latin: first-person singular future passive indicative of regō "I shall be ruled, I shall be governed" ·"I shall be guided; I shall be steered, In India Regar is also used for those who are made for people born from the union of a Hindu and Muslim. Literally, the word Regar means dyeing in Rajasthani. The community is involved in the dyeing of leather, and is distributed throughout Rajasthan. They are said to members of the wider Regar community that took dyeing. The community speaks Marwari. There are many sub caste of Regar.....just like Aartiya, Mundetiya, verma etc. Here to add that Regar people in India are of different living standard. in some parts of India they have good wealth like Delhi, Jaipur and the number of people having land is increasing day by day on the other hand in remote villages they made no progress so  they are doing labour work at the fields of zamindars. Many Regars are now successful shoe manufacturers. In the present days Regars of Delhi have good approach to their life they are educating their children well. They are prospering in all aspects of life and contributing in Delhi progress. Their ancestors were brought to Delhi for construction work as a labour for Lutyans Delhi.  They are now fighting their cause well. Some of them show sign of wealthy like Jat, Yadavs. People in the Ranghar caste were effectively outcasts from both communities. Furthermore, Bhai Jaitha was from the scavenger or choohra class, which was looked down upon by people of the society. In the Sikh Religion they are called Mazhabies . In Punjab alone the Mazbies are 30% of total Scheduled Caste population which account for70,28,723 persons or 28.9% of total State population divided into 37 Sub Castes as per 2001census.
     Bhai Jaitha was born on November 30th, 1649 to mother Mata Kanno Ji and father Bhai Sada Chand. It is written that he was actually born with the name Jagat Chand alias Jag Chand, which was shortened to Jagu or Jota, and eventually Jaitha. Bhai Jaitha had a brother named Bhag Chand, or Bhagu, and they were Sikhs of Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji. At this time, Bhai Jaitha Ji and his family lived at Kiratpur Sahib where Guru Ji was staying.
For some time, Bhai Jaitha Ji and his family moved to the village of Jhanda Ramdas, and lived alongside Bhai Gurditta, the great-grandson of Baba Buddha Ji. This was probably during the Gurgaddi of Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji.
When Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib ji was on the Gurgaddi, by this time Bhai Jaitha Ji was probably in his early twenties. After the plea for help from the Kashmiri Pandits, Guru ji went to Delhi with Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Udho Ji, Bhai Dyala Ji, Bhai Gurditta Ji and Bhai Jaita ( Chima) Ji (  See:-Jiwan  Das Guru Sahban by Sondhi Teja Singh Ji). At this time, Bhai Jaitha( Rangreta) was sent to get news about Bhai Gurditta Ji and Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji. Bhai  Mati Das was sawn with a Saw and Bhai Dayala Ji was got  martyred by emersion in boiled water  in Chandni Chowk Delhi to frighten 9th Master Guru Teg Bahadur Ji  so that He embraces Islam. Bhai udho and Bhai Jaita( Chima) were sent back to Anand pur Sahib  leaving behind with 9th Master Bhai Gur Ditta. This was as per the wish of the 9th Master Himself.
   As is well known, the tyrant but  coward Moghuls martyred the three Gursikhs and the Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji. The scared Head and Body of Guru Teg Bahadur were thrown  in the open in Chandi Chowk of Delhi, so as to spread terror in the minds of devotees of the great martyr to suppress any protest from them. It was sad spine shivering shocking incident A gale storm was experienced in the evening, Bhai Lakhi Shah Banjara( Businessman) and his son, Bhai Naghaiya( Decedents of Makhan Shah Labana), took the physical body of the Guru  Ji and respectfully cremated the body during lighting their entire house so as be- fool world of showing their joy on the incident, but actually they put house on fire to perform last rights of their beloved Master. The present location of Gurdwara Sahib Rakab Ganj in Delhi stands on the same location. Bhai Jaitha Ji – when saw the scared  Head lying before  him  he took the physical possession of it.                                                                                                                              Bhai Jaitha Ji lovingly wrapped Guru ji's head and started on a long journey to Anandpur Sahib. There are so many Sakhies( Religious stories)of Bhai Jaitha's experiences in this journey - meeting other Gursikhs on  is way back and offered them the opportunity to have Darshans( Glimpses) of the Relic . These Guru Sikhs were longing to have darshan of the Guru, and  Bhai Jaitha Ji full filled their wishes of having darshans of Guru Ji’s sees (head). The treacherous path, the long and arduous journey that Bhai Jaitha took is only known to him and to God Almighty, Waheguru After risking his own life Bhai Jaitha Ji took respectfully his Master’s served head to Anandpur Sahib.
    Upon arriving in Anandpur Sahib and meeting the child - Bala Preetam - Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji, Bhai Jaitha jee was honoured. That caste, which was denounced by both Hindus and Muslims --- that class, which was considered lowly and dirty -- was exhalted and given the highest honour. Guru Jee said "Rangreta, Guru ka Beta." Jaitha, of the Ranghar caste, is the son of the Guru.
Bhai Jiwan Singh, the son of the Guru, by the 10th  Guru's own declaration, is a gift of infinite bliss, immortality, emancipation and honour beyond comparison. At this time, Bhai Jaitha jee was around 26 to27 years old.
In Anandpur Sahib, Bhai Jaitha jee became the first Nagarchi, or the drummer for the Ranjit Nagara, the battledrum of victory, in the army of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Bhai Jaitha Ji was a highly skilled in warfare techniques. In fact when Sahibzada Baba Ajit Singh Ji, and Sahibzada Baba Jujhaar Singh ji, the two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji, were growing up, Bhai Jaitha Ji taught them about the art of warfare. In 1691, Bhai Jaitha jee got married to Bibi Raj Kaur ji, daughter of Sujan Singh, in the village of Riar near Amritsar,                       they had four children.
On Vaisakhi of 1699, at the age of 50, along with his wife and the thousands of other Gursikhs, Bhai Jaitha jee was blessed to take khande-ke-pahul and became Bhai Jeevan Singh Jee. As is evidenced in history, the Khalsa forces had to abandon Anandpur Sahib and amidst attacks from the Moghul armies, many of Guru Ji’s army and family were attacked and martyred in the battles that followed.
In the battle of Chamkaur, this amazing Gursikh, who by the standards of the cruel society would have been an outcast, a low class scavenger, became a devout Sikh of the Guru, a humble servant of the Guru, a strong warrior in the Guru's army, and above all a true Son of the Guru, who became a Martyer ( Ammar Shaheed) for the cause of the Guru. Fighting bravely alongside the Khalsa army, this warrior general got the blessing of martyrdom in the battle between truth and falsehood.
If any Gursikh wants to know how to be a True child of son of Guru Gobind Singh ji he is advised to look at the self less loyalty, devotion, and love of Baba Jeevan Singh jee towards 9th and 10th Sikh Masters..
 Also the Sikh Sangat should not forget their loyalty for standing by the Sikh Masters with their might. So the decedents of Regar community should be shown practical love and affection by Sangat and should not segregate them when intermarrying cases arise. The relation of both Rooti( Bread) and Beeti (Exchange of daughters in marriages) should be adopted which shall strengthened their historical relations.  Sikh Sangat was given one common name as “SINGH or LOIN” by the 10th Master discarding all old caste tags, which one observes after the names of the present Singh’s as surnames. This trend needs be arrested by the religious heads.


DALIT Mukti MOVEMENT IN J&K STATE

                                              DALIT MOVEMENT IN  J&K    State                                                                                                                        From                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         C  H  H  A  N  N   R  O  R  I  A  N   to  Martyrdom of Bhagat Amar Nath
                 Tenth Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh  Ji  said “ Koyi Kisi  Ko Raj Na Dehi, Jo Lehi ,Nij Ball Lehi ” means The Kingdoms are won by force and not got in charity” Also Shri Guru Ravidas Ji Sayeth “ Aisa Chahun Raj Main, Yahan Meley Sabhi Ko Ann,Shoto Bado Sam Vasain, Ravidas Rahyo Parsan” meaning Ravidas desired to have kingdoms, where every body is fed well, all live in harmony, irrespective of his/her caste, creed, sex or economic affiliations. He further stressed his people to be strong to  to use all possible means to have share ingovernance. Guru Ravidas Ji advised his disciples to remove their poverty and dependency on others as poor subjects do not have any religion. In Guru Ji’s words “ Pradeen Ka Deen Kya,Paradeen Bin Deen. Ravidas Pradeen ko Sab Hi Maney Heen”. This laid the foundation of democracy in India; shaking age old religious dogmas of only Upper Caste Hindus were worth being called humans. Pandvas had to wage war on their kith & kin to get their share in property & power caring less for the death of over 20 lacs knights, many of whom were their blood brothers and relation .The history is full of such stories, when legitimacy failed  it  paved way to   fierce struggle.  A Hindu Bhangi  native of Surashtra Gujrat,due to caste hatred of upper caste Hindus, got converted to Islam. He was renamed as Khusrau Khan. He became a medieval Indian military leader, and ruler of Delhi as Sultan Nasir-ud-din for a short period of time. When the poor organized under unified umbrella, they gained kingdoms. The main slogan or philosophy of Marxism is “Workers organise, you have nothing to loose but your chains”. These universal thoughts and historical facts have been repeated time and again during history of struggles for freedom.  The Naxilite struggle  of North East India is indicator that if rules are ignored in dealing with poor and  depressed,they will revolt . In the present times only legitimacy is the safe way out.
          Although India won freedom by forcing out the British Crown with united efforts of all Indians. Here too saga of influential persons from upper castes found mention in the history books. Bravery tales of many  Commoners  who lost their every thing including their lives but  were ignored.  The real freedom from the socio-political forces remained to be won despite being freed from British yoke.  The religious tyranny continues even after years of political freedom The Hindu Religious Texts did not change even an iota of their sanctions against their own religion brethren classified as shudras and now clubbed as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes & Other Backward Classes or commonly as Dalits orMul- Niwasies ( Aboriginal Indians) . Their rights as per the Constitution of the Free India adopted in January, 1950 are being systematically denied even after over six decades of freedom. The situation in the country was worst before Independence and the Dalits had to wage political struggle to gain the legitimate rights as per the cannons of law.  Since priority for the majority Hindu leaders was political freedom from the British yoke of suppression, but they never recognised suffering of Dalit on all fronts as their problem. They were the same very peoples who were in British employment to cause atrocities on the Indian masses. They shared power with British. Dalits wanted political share in  free India besides other safeguards, but Hindu leaders including Mahatma Gandhi believed it as the internal problem of Hindus and not  a problem arisen out of political, religious, education, economic suppression of this major chunk of Hindus segregated centuries ago and classified as  shudras, ati shudras etc.
           So to achieve their goal of real freedom in India, Dalits organised them selves under as many as 83 different organisations between 1857 to 1956. In Maharastra alone they had 29 organisations during this period.  With the rise in the awareness graph in Dalits the number of these Organisations rose to 60 in 1956 from mere 5 in the years 1857--1890.
          A strong wave was raised by Dr Baba sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar against the prevailing inhuman treatments to his people. This inhuman treatment to poor downtrodden people had sanctions of Hindu religious law Codes like Manusmiriti, Ramcharitamanas and others.  As per Manusmiriti the fourth Verna had only right to work with out asking for any remuneration. Even Lord Krishna, said to be incarnation of Lord Vishnu proclaimed in Geeta “Work, work, selfless work, with out desire for any fruit” But the religious preachers did not follow these by themselves and instead gave sermons to others on humanity, ethics, morals, characters, human values etc.  
These ideals are good as sermon but harsh to follow.  The grouse of Dalits against the teaching of Hindu Shasta’s preaching hate against shudras convinced Dr Ambedkar and his followers to hold public bonfire of the Manusmiriti in 1927. Dr Ambedkar even wrote a book on “Riddles of Hinduism” The wave of resentment in Dalits against the ill treatment mated out to them by their religious brethren of higher castes spread in whole of India and J&K state was no exception.   
         Since 1846, J&K state was under a Hindu Rajput monarch with religious domination power in the hands of Brahmin prohits, Dharamaacharayas or religious gurus. The condition of Dalits was no way better as compared to many other Indian kingdom subjects. All Hindu religious Laws were applicable on Untouchables.  But no school admitted their wards. Separate water sources like wells and tanks, cremation grounds, System were enforced by state agencies for the Shudras. Untouchability a human curse was prevalent in the worst form for Dalits. The majority Dalits were farm labour with out their own land and they were poverty ridden.  Open revolt by Harijans gathering of over one lac at Kir-Pind- RatianTehsil Ranbhirsinghpura in 1935 to get them converted to any other religion from Hindus due to unabated atrocities forced High Caste Hindu leaders. This Harijan meeting was arranged by Mahasha Nahar Singh ( Later MLA) Bhagat Chhajju Ram( Later Minister),  Choudhary Rangila Ram and many more. On this open revolt the  Upper Caste Hindu leaders approached Maharaja Hari Singh who was crowned in 1925 and apprised him of Dalit problems. So Maharaja Sahib initiated certain Dalit welfare measures against stiff opposition from the powerful religious Brahmin prohits.  Maharaja Hari Singh also became interested in Harijan welfare measures, particularly after attending Round Table Conferences, where Dr. Ambedkar  logically and forcefully  explained to  the British  dignitaries, the Indian leaders and  Kings to take welfare measures for the Dalits. As per Dr. Ambedkar every fifth Hindu was an untouchable and with out empowering Dalits politically, educationally, economically and socially, the Indian Freedom shall carry no meaning for them. Dalits were slaves to British slaves. The Arya Samaj movement of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati (1823-1883) did a good work for Dalit education, removal of untouchability but with their limited motto of stopping Dalit conversion to other religions. They never struggled to get political empowerment for the Dalits. In J&K State, no united Dalit front existed prior to 1935, except Sat sang societies on the teaching of Guru Ravidas and Guru Kabir Maharaj ji . Ever since the control of governance by the upper Caste Hindus; the untouchables were kept away from the seat of power. Deceit, hate, rebukes religious, cultural and social exploitations fell in their share, for none of their faults.
        As per the report prepared in 1932 by Mr. J.Galancy, President Constitutional Reform’s conference (J&K) said that deputation of the Megh community met the conference. He wrote, “In the evidence given to us at Jammu we have heard with great interest and sympathy the claims of the Megh Community, and our conclusion is that the Meghs have real grounds for being specially considered, without  -  -  -  --howeve”. We also observe that the great majority of the Meghs are localized in Jammu and Udhampur Wazarats”. There after Two seats in the Praja Sabha in  1934(then as the assembly was known in J&K) were also made available to Harijans on which two Harijan Meghs contested and got elected. The Dalit empowerment struggle continued inside and out side of the Praja Sabha with good awakening but no power sharing.  In the Praja Sabha proceedings, Shri Jagat Ram Aryan is recorded to have cited many examples of atrocities on Harijans in the State.
                To protect their interests, the Harijans floated a political party of their own named "The All Jammu and Kashmir Megh Mandal", It was mostly a pro establishment organization, representing only Megh/ Bhagats  or Kabir Panthies. Jagat Ram Ariyan ( later MLA), Bhagat Daulat Ram (MA B.Ed LL.B) Bhagat Mangat Ram,Member Praja Sabha, IAS officer who retired as Addl. Chief Secretary J&K Govt, Bhagat Chhajju Ram( later MLA,MLC& Minister , and  also J&K State unit President of the INC) were the fore front leaders of Megh community being founding fathers too. But this organization had influence in and around Jammu and RSPURA Tehsils. The leaders were either under the influence of National Congress or Arya Samaj movement. As per the Praja  Sabha Reports. September 1936, the seventh annual session of the Mandal was held at Ranbir Singh Pura towards the end of June, 1936. Presenting his address of welcome, Bhagat Chhajju Ram, President of the Reception Committee, said:"Harijans have been placing their demands before the Government now for a very long time but, on government part, the Government has turned a deaf  ear and there has been no slowing down in the unbroken chain of the injustices perpetrated upon us". Bhagat Mangat Ram, President of the Mandal said in his presidential address:"Harijans can no longer tolerate the innumerable tyrannies inflicted by the caste Hindus. How can Harijans adept a society and religion in which there is no respectable place for them? Caste Hindus do not treat them as human beings. Four lakh Harijans have been given only two seats in the Assembly (Praja Sabha) which is a glaring injustice. The caste Hindus, instead of representing their point of view, in fact tried to suppress them. Other communities also resented the ill treatment meted out to Dalits. So a united organization representing all untouchable communities was thought of.
            With thinking of Harijan unity as a whole, in Jammu one such organization with the name of “Harijan Mandal” was founded in 1940 by dissolving existing pro establishment organization called Megh Mandal .This new organization was broad based with giving representation to all Sub Castes of J&K Untouchables. These efforts brought to gather all sections of Scheduled Castes and their unity started showing results. Harijan Mandal succeeded in organising all sections of the Scheduled Castes. Elite, thinkers social, religious and political personalities belonging to all sub castes( 13 in number) of the Scheduled castes who took part in the unified Harijan struggle in the J&K state.  When Scheduled castes strived for their political, economic, education, social rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Free India, the Dalit oppressors also got alerted. So at times open struggle stated between the two.
          India attained freedom in 1947. Harijan struggle took violent form with the enactment of new revolutionary laws by Sheikh Mohd. Abdulla (1905-1982), a mass Kashmiri leader, then Prime Minister ( later re- designated as Chief Minister)of J&K. He took historic decisions of “Abolition of Big Landed Property or land to tiller and one time Settlement of debits  of Private money lenders”. Over night changes were effected in the history of the state in July,1950 .
Officially the State working class peoples got ownership right on the land under their cultivation, and also their chains of private money lenders were broken. The powerful lobby of land lords, private money lenders coupled with their Upper Caste pride did not compromise. The caste Hindus could not digest new democratic measures initiated by the new government.  This process awakened Harijans although in minority so resisted the continuing of the methods of their suppression. In  district Kathua, & Jammu having a substantial Harijan population percentage aligned around their leaders and ruling political party.  Small groups were formed at village, tehsil and District levels to resist any un law full act of Land lords or money lenders towards Dalits. A sense of brotherhood in Dalits caused worries the circles of protagonists of pro status quo.
             For further  fostering unity among them selves a meeting was called by the Harijans at village Marheen in Hira Nagar Tehsil of Kathua district on 25th July,1956.  Pandit Chhano Ram from Diaye Chak, belonging to Chamar community was the main organiser. Over 300 delegates are reported to have gathered there.  In the meeting speeches were being delivered to suggest ways to organise mass Harijan protests to get their constitutional rights, including reservation in  government services, government scholarships for their school going children, removal of stigma of untouchability , action against illegal evection of Harijan farmers etc. Suddenly a unruly mob from the Upper castes Hindus reached  Harijan meeting place. Some government officials from the Dalit community under the influence of local caste Hindu leaders were also said to have joined disruption activities. A very heavy stone pelting was made on the Harijans in the meeting and bamboo sticks( Lathies)were freely used to beat  and terrorize the peaceful participants The participates in the meeting  got injured and so confused, as to why this had happen when meeting was all peaceful. Some Harijans even ran away from the venue. However with the efforts of Pandit Chhano Ram   and others a delegation meeting was again held to decide the future action plan to counter such uncalled for action of the disrupters.  This group again headed by Pandit Chhano Ram decided hold a protest meeting the next day followed by hunger strike by Harijans, if their point of view was ignored by the state authorities. A delegation led by him went to meet same day Babu Milkhi Ram (1926-1989), a Dalit leader  . Babh Milkhi Ram an B.A.B.T was a prominent Dalit leader hailing from Chamar sub caste. He had alredy unsuccessfully contested for the State Constitution Assembly election in 1952 for Marh Constituency. The delegation met Babu Ji same after noon, at the house of Bhagat Munshi Ram at Samba, the venue of the meeting. After hearing the tale of ill treatment met out to their persons at Mareen, a decision was unanimously taken to hold a big conference the very next day on the side of National Highway at Chhan Arorian tehsil Hiranagar.  On the intervening night of 25th&26th July 1956 an emergency meeting was held at chak Dayala Tehsil Hiranagar. Volunteers attending this night deliberation accepted to perform different duties. Master Gian Chand ( later Dy Director Education) took the responsibility of laying down the Jute matting, Mr. Anant Ram to bringing the Public Address System. S/shri Bhag Ram, Sunder Dass ,Sh. Chatru Ram of Ghagwal , sh.Khakhru Ram, sh.Anant Ram, Sh.Sukh Raj,Sh. Pukhu Ram,Sh. Fatta Ram,  Sh. Amir Chand, Sh.Kura Ram,Sh Bajo Ram,Sh.Dhani Ram,Sh.Gareeb Dass and many others promised to spread out to surrounding village to  inform  Harijans of the area  about the next course of action and request them all along with  area Namberdar ( Headman) Fatora Ram to reach Chhan Arorian. The organisers spread out in different directions. They moved from village to village to make the conference a big success. Duties for the various jobs of organisation were also distributed. The preparations were as if to re-act the Maharastra Mahad Tank water Satyagraha( agitation)1927 launched by Baba Sahib B.R.Ambedkar.
          In the morning of 26th July, 1956, participants stated reaching the venue.  Babu Milkhi Ram along with many of his followers from Jammu, Samba, Akhnoor, Marh area also reached the site. By the noon a big crowd of Harijans assembled at Chhan Arorian canal bank. The meeting started and speeches by different senior participants were being keenly listened by the audience with apt attention. All of a sudden again a mob of Caste Hindu miscreants and some mislead Harijans equipped with long sticks, sharp edged weapons and drum beating appeared at the venue of the meeting. Majority of the attackers were drunkard and dancing on the drum beating singing Bhanga ( Punjab folk dance) songs. On reaching the venue of Harijan meeting they started beating peaceful gathering. The miscreants were raising slogens “Beat them, kill them.  The public address system was broken, jute mat torn, meals spoiled. The conference came to sudden halt. After the melee, Harijans reassembled, resolved to fight to finish deciding to adopt Gandhian way of protest of “Fast unto death”.   Havaldar Sh.Tej Ram Dogra of Chhan Arorian and Pandit Chhano Ram of Malani volunteered to lead the hunger strike . Those ten persons  who resorted to Hunger Strike are named below..
          1.                Pt. Chainnu Ram S/o Sardha Ram R/o Daya Chak, Hiranagar.
          2.                Tej Ram Dogra Havaldar S/o Harya Ram R/o Chann Rorian .
          3.                Lachhu Ram S/o Punnu Ram R/o Daya Chack .
          4.                Mahatma Kantho Ram R/o Chandore, Hiranagar.
          5 .               Saran Dass R/o Patiari, Hiranagar.
          6.                Mahant Feru Ram R/o Gurah Piyarian, Hiranagar.
          7.                Lajjur Ram S/o Thakur Dass R/o Nayal Pura, Kathua.
          8.               Bhagat Bodh Raj, Samba Tehsil.
          9.               Bhagat Surjan Dass R/o Samba Tehsil.
         10.              Mejra Singh (Army Personnel Retd.) R/o Gagore ( vijaypur)Tehsil Samba.
  With this hunger strike a strong sentiment to struggle through self help by the Dalits for the benefit of the Dalit society to get Constitutional rights. The people decided that for attaining freedom, they may were prepared even to die. Kathua to Udhampur and beyond ares Harijans of all castes united to finish for thie legitimate rights. This news spread like wild fire in the region. The women also came forward in this unique and historic movement.  The Dalits in villages stopped their routine activities and unitedly worked for the success of the action undertaken.  They would collect the money and other items from the villagers and presented them to the organizers’ of the hunger strike.  Management Committee started getting the langar (Food) prepared for the outsiders.  Bus fares were being paid for the workers deputed to different areas to muster support in favour of the Hunger Strikers.   Babu Milkhi Ram used to write and get printed the posters for different corners of the areas for cultivating the public opinion in favour of the cause of the Dalit Samaj and everyday attendance at the venue increased.  The loud speakers were being used day and night at the venue of the Hunger Strike.  Day started with sat-sangha (Spiritual prayers) and passed off with speeches, Bhajan, poems recitations, meeting.  Sant Rasila Ram Ji( Now later Head of Radha Soami  Dera Said Pur Punjab),then having his residence near by the hunger stike venue used to deliver his sat sang daily.                             
The Dalits from Samba, Jammu, Kathua, Billawar, Basohli, R.S. Pura , Reasi and Udhampur were participating.  Jago-Ram from Akhnoor also participated.  The visitors were bringing small bags of rice, wheat along with financial contributions with them.   I saw my father shri Gillu Ram carrying  on foot food items collected from my village  Pakhri Tehsil Samba to Chhan Arorian at a distance of over 40kilometrs . I organised my village school going Harijan boys and  elders for a protest march in my village. I was beaten by the village Namberdar and others. A fight between Harijam elders and others was averted by some good hearted persons. Such was the atmosphere surcharged in the favour of the hunger strikers. After some days, when the physical condition of the Hunger Strikers started deteriorating, then Tehsildar Hiranagar visited the Hunger Strike place advising them to with draw the hunger strike. He promised to forward their demands to Deputy Commissioner Kathua for sympathetic considerations. But his proposal was rejected and the organisers demanded rules amended before they withdrew their unified action. Next came to the venue the Deputy commissioner Kathua to persuade the hunger strikers to break their fast, but in vain. This way ten days passed and the condition of the hunger strikers deteriorated. Doctors certified blood loss of 14 to 16 lbs each of strikers with condition of one of the strikers turned critical. This created more strength in the masses to continue with their under taken pledge till the matter is not taken to a logical conclusion. This strike also laid foundation for winning of Assembly seat to Harijan Mandal candidate Babu Milkhi Ram in 1957. One of the confidant lieutenant of the organisers was Assar Chand of ( Diaye Chak) who later joined as Range officer in the State Forest department.He passed away at Radha Soami Dera Beas in 2011. Sh. Tej Ram Dogra of Chhan Arorian also worked with great zeal. The contents of this article were gone through and approved by Shri Assar Chand during his life time.
      Finally Bakshi Ghulam Mohd then Prime Minister accompanied with Mr. Girdhari Lal Dogra (Finance & Law Minister) came to the venue of the agitation to talk to the Hunger Strikers.  Bakshi Sahib said, “Do not worry!  Your all demands will be conceded”. On this hunger strikers along with their organisers and workers agreed and so the decision was taken unanimously to end the fast.  Zenab Bakashi Sahib offered juice to the hunger strikers. So the firm foundation to get reservation rights implemented in the J&K. Harijans had lost about 165 lbs of blood of the  hunger strikers.This was result of hard unified action of Harijans. Implementations in true spirit of the Land Reforms were also promised. Illegal eviction from land of Harijans farmers was also accepted to be stopped.   Bakashi Sahib even offered a ministerial berth to Babu Milkhi Ram in his cabinet of ministers, if Babu Ji joins the National Conference. Babu Ji declined the offer to remain available to his people to educate and guide them freely. The scholarships to students, employment to educated youth in isolated conditions was undertaken. But still no rules were amended in the statue books.
         To deliberate on the offer of Minister Ship to Babu Milkhi Ram, a large workers conference was held in Karan Park Jammu on 15th November 1956. Many participants advised Babu Ji to join the cabinet, which shall equipped  him better chances to look after Dalit interests  in J&K. Babu Milkhi Ram declined the offer again arguing that this shall make his voice dead and he may be forced to toe the anti Harijan line of the government. He wanted to avoid it.  On this some of his trusted lieutenants left him saying he was non compromising and stiff.  Those who disassociated with Harijan movement were rewarded by government by various means.
   When state government failed to honour the promises made with Dalits at Chhan Arorian it was again decided to go on hunger strike at Prade Ground Jammu with following hunger strikers,
1. Jago Ram of Samailpur
2. Sant Ram of Gajansoo
3. Sardar Megra Singh( Ex. Army Serviceman) of Gagore Samba.
4. Mahatma Gujoor
5. Sant Ram of Barori.
6.  Bawa Sadhu Ram of Jammu
7. Malook Ram of Krishna Nagar, Jammu
8. Giani Punnu of Jammu
9. Basant Ram of Barori
10.       Bua Ditta of Swankha
11.       Mahatma Feroo Ram
Again government promised to implement the agreed demands, but failed to honour its commitments in letter and spirit.So a third hunger strike was organised with the folloing hunger strikers in Azaib Ghar(  Now  State Assembly Complex)           1.  Bawa Sadhu Ram
2.  Malook Ram of Krishna Nagar, Jammu
3.  Giani  Punnu Ram of Krishna Nagar, Jammu
4.  Bua Ditta of Swankha
5.  Mahatma Feroo Ram
6.  Mahasha Sant Ram of Gajansoo
            To suppress the strike of Dalits, harsh measures were adopted. Some leaders and workers were arrested and government used undesired acts instead of giving due to the Dalits as a matter of right.All these efforts paved way for adoption in the J&K Constitution the right of Reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the Legislative Assembly under Art.48. Babu Milkhi Ram won from Marh as MLA.
         He won on the agenda and programmes of Harijan Mandal. Harijan Mandal was alloted “Standing loin” as election symbol? Election song was “Uth Jag Harijan Shera , Hun Tere Jagne Da Wella” meaning awake and stand up  Harijan loin, now is time for you to awaken from your deep slumber.   Besides elected members as MLA (3 in 1957 to 7 in 1996) MLC’s were also nominated, share in the Cabinet of Ministers was also made available. But Reservation in services was systematically denied to the Scheduled castes.
       A Circular of  July, 1966 was issued by Sh. E.N. Mangat Rai then chief secretary of the State and fixed  Scheduled Caste population the J&K State at 7.96% ( Jammu Divisio18.07%) agreeing  that government was contemplating to reserve certain posts for S/C so all recruitment agencies should know their population  in State /Division /District.  Even Gajendra Gadkar Commission of 1968 stressed that all reservation facilities in services and in education institution admissions including technical education in respect of S/C candidates as applicable country over be extended to J&K as well.  Still no worth while action was taken or clear policy framed by the government to give Reservation to Scheduled Caste of the State as their population. The spirit of Art.370 of the Constitution of India  to  safe guard the interests of the  state residents was used to  delay and deny the Scheduled Castes their share in services as per the Central Government orders.     
              Therefore the resentment in the minds of Dalits was but natural .  This simmering got strength with formation of a unit of The Depressed Classes League in 1968 in Jammu. The Depressed Classes League was actually formed some time in 1935. A very big rally was held in Parade ground where Babu Jagjivan Ram National President of this all India Organisation. Babu Jagjivan Ram was taken from Air Port to Parade grounds Jammu in an open jeep. The organisers had arranged a very big public gathering. Bhagat Amar Nath (1928-1970) was then the State President of The Depressed Classes League, who was also editor of organization’s Weekly Urdu “ Pasmandgi”. Choudhari Guran Ditta Mal( MLA and Vice Chairman SC  welfare  Board) was the General Secretary of this all India NGO.  Article in“ Pasmandgi” paper on Baba Sahib and his teachings was contributed by the writer of this article.  State Cabinet Minister Pandit Trilochan Dutt while addressing the large gathering promised to get implemented all welfare measure including Reservation in services in the state for the Depressed Classes. But this time also promises made with Dalits were not honoured and fulfilled by the government. I was then deputed to make sitting arrangements for the participant in the Parade Grounds. Besides others Bhagat Amar Nath Ji also addressed this historic conference of Harijans in Jammu.
         Since the state Govt was still not framing or implementing the reservation in services Rules in the state. Bhagat Amar Nath took it very serious and a comprehensive note on  the ill-conceived intention of the state Government  was submitted with a warning  to intensified his non stop agitation in the entire Jammu province. So he started whole heartedly leading many processions, demonstrations, public meetings for the expeditious redressing of core issue of reservation in services for the Scheduled Castes. An ultimatum with deadline was given to state Govt to take remedial measures fast otherwise he shall under take fast unto death. Mean while Government issued notification No 37-GR of 1970 dated 28th April, 1970.This notification with out any legal teeth was titled as “ The J&K,SC’s and BC ( Reservation) rules 1970”. This also landed into trouble by writ petition in SC of India.
         Sensing that the state government was not taking his threats seriously he under took fast unto death to get conceded the major demand of reservation implementation along with certain other core issues.  On the day of taking the extreme step of  stating fast unto death by Bhagat Ji, this writer met him in Karan Park and discussed  some apprehensions of peoples not prepared  fully for such an extreme step and requested him to work in the field for some more time to prepare the masses for such a step. While addressing my apprehensions he  quoted  lines from Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s poem “Chalain  Ge Mere Naal Dushman Be Mere, Eh Bakhari A Gal ke muskra ke chalangey, jazon  mere Arthi utha ke chalan Gay” meaning after my death, when I shall be carried for cremation, even my adversaries shall accompany it, may be with joy in their hearts”.
            Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath voluntarily offered himself for the supreme sacrifice and resolved to observe silence and subsequently sat on fast unto death on 21-05-1970 in Karan Park in front of civil secretariat.  His health condition deteriorated so he was shifted to SMGS Hospital Jammu. But despite efforts by prominent physician of that time Dr. Manhas, his condition continued to worsen. Bhagat sahib refused to take any medical treatment and this son of the soil Bhagat Amaranth achieved martyrdom on Ist June 1970 and became “Martyr of Reservation".
After the Martyrdom of Bhagat Amar nath notification No 60 GR of 1970 dated 8-8-1970 for “Reservation of appointment by promotion” was issued. After the Judgement of Hon’ble SC of India  J&K Government  issued  GO No 174-GD of 1973 dated 17-01-1972.
            The supreme sacrifices made for the cause of the reservation culminating in martyrdom of Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath, forced the government  to take consorted efforts issue G.O. No 174 of 1973 Dated 17-1-1973  for reservation in services for the SCs . In respect of persons of ST’s and OBC’s catagories subsequent orders were issued. So this Notification was earned by paying the precious life of Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath besides loss of 165 lbs of the blood was lost in Chhan Arorian in 1956 and other numerous sacrifices.
         The struggle by Dalits for implementation of the existing Reservation Rules with out legal teeth continued in one form or the other till issue of SRO 294 Dated 21-10--2005. But alas despite all these efforts by the Dalits their representation in the State services is yet below 4% against rules for 8%. The unity among the Dalit Castes is the only remedy to all road blocks in their progress.
 

                                     Er. Hem Raj Phonsa, Jammu

Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath J&K Reservation Struggle Hero



After Aryan invasion the aboriginals were made Dalits and forced  to live out side the human habitations and lead a life of extreme poverty. They were debarred from schools and worship places. They were not allowed to draw water from wells or, tanks and, wear clean cloths.”Juthan” the discarded food and clothes were the food and clothing of Aryans   Although the Dalits contributed immensely in making history but biased writers put a blanket ban in their writings about Dalits contributions. So they became history less peoples. In the past 150 years or so, effort by some writers particularly from among Dalits themselves including foreign writers have put in efforts to dig out right historic facts in their writings. The undertaken effort is a small step to keep on records the contributions made by the Dalits of J&K in their efforts for their own progress and for the empowerment of their brethren in their mother land. This shall give in site of the testing times the Dalits have gone through to climb the progressive ladder by dint of their sole efforts. The persons on whose life and contributions, I have been in a position to lay hand show that Dalits if given chance are no way inferior to any other in the society. They have proven their worth in all fields of life on the basis of their intelligence and hard working. I am reminded of Baba sahib Dr B.R. Ambedkar saying “Those who do not know their history, cannot make history”.
         Thus upper caste induced illiteracy ruined untouchable of every thing. Getting a little respite from these men made hurdles, the untouchables have tried to show their worth in all fields and this article demonstrates it amply. These people have proven their worthiness of being worthy off springs of  great Epic Writers Bhagwan Valmik, Ved Vaisa, and  Father of Indian Constitution Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar. One among the glaxy of Dalits who offered their every thing to make their fellowmen and women to live a life of dignity was Bhagat AmarNath
 While describing conditions of Indian Dalits Jyotiba Phule (1827-1890) the political Guru of Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Dr. Ambedkar said:-
       Lack of education impairs wisdom, Lack of wisdom impairs moral,
       Lack of moral impairs motion;   Lack of motion impairs financial status,
        Lack of finances impaired status of untouchables. 
 This short but great meaningful capsule narration, summed up the man made hurdles in the  path of Dalit progress for  very long time. For centuries Dalits (Shudras, Ati-Shudras abd women) were not allowed to read and write under the authority of Hindu religious texts like Manusmiriti. Even the Ramcharit Manas,the Epic storey of Lord Ramma by Goswami Tulsidas proclaims in SundaKanda(Sloka58-3) “ A drum,a rustic,Suhdra,a beast and a womam” all these need beating .The Hindu texts carried many obnoxious unfounded imaginary things about Dalits, who were rulers prior to the Aryan invasion in this land of ancient culture. History shows that First Magdha King, a Shudra ,Mahapadma Nanda (450–362 BCE) founded the Nanda dynasty, claimed to be “EKRAT”  the sole sovereign who destroyed all the ruling princes. He even conquered Kilinga much before Ashoka the Great re-conquered, when it was independent state. Dalits had given rich cultural heritage, wisdom, agriculture and many other progressive measures to Bharat.       
            Tenth Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh Ji said “ Koyi Kisi  Ko Raj Na Dehi, Jo Lehi ,Nij Ball Lehi ” means The Kingdoms are won by force and not given in  charity” Also Guru Ravidas desired to have kingdoms, where every body is fed well, irrespective of his/her caste, creed, sex or economic affiliations. He further stressed his people to be strong to get their just rights. Guru Ravidas preached forcefully “Pradeen ko Deen Kaya, Pradeen bin Deen” meaning the slaves have no religion, they are religion less people. Pandavas had to wage war on their kith & kin to get their share in property &power caring less for the death of over 20 lacs knights, including their own kith & kin. The history is full of such stories, where legitimacy did not work and gave way to   fierce struggle.
            Dr Ambedkar advocated for Democratic methods to achieve goals. But when administration proved deaf to the urgent public interest problems, he too advocated the method of Revolutions to solve the problems but in rare of the rarest circumstances. Only when there is no way left to Constitutional methods for achieving economic & social objectives, there was a great deal for the unconstitutional methods. Baba Sahib B.R Ambedkar believed that without economic & social justice, political independence will not give national integration and social homogeneity. He advocated liberty, equality and fraternity a must ingredients for achieving national integration.
           Although India won freedom in August, 1947 by forcing out the British Crown, but the real freedom from the rigid religious fundamentalists & autocratic mind set forces remained to be won. The Hindu Religious Texts did not change even an iota of their sanctions against their own religion brethren classified as Shudras now clubbed together as Scheduled Castes & Scheduled tribes & Other Bach ward Classes. Their rights as per the Constitution of Free India adopted in January, 1950 are being systematically denied even now. The situation in the country was worst before Independence with little change even after political freedom gained in 1947 so the Dalits had to wage political struggle to gain the legitimate rights as per the cannons of law. Basically these deprived sections of the Hindu Society were slaves to the British slaves. The British slaves got freedom in 1947 & their slaves are still striving to gain it. 
            Such a strong wave was raised by Dr Baba sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar against the prevailing inhuman treatments to his people. This inhuman treatment to poor downtrodden people had sanction of Hindu religious law Code like Manusmriti.  As per Manusmriti fourth Verna had only right to work with out asking for any remuneration. Even Lord Krishna proclaimed in Geeta “Work, work, selfless work, with out desire for any fruit, a way to salvation”. Many Dalit luminaries like Mahatma Jyotirao Phuley, Revolutionery Mata Savitribai Phuley, Mahatma Periyar, Birsa Munda Sahib Kanshi Ram, Chokhamela, Guru Ravidas, Guru Gadge, Guru Ghasidas Ji, Babu Milkhi Ram ,Amar Saheed Bhagat Amar Nath (J&K) and countless others have sacrificed themselves for the sacred cause of Indian Dalits and made indelible mark in history.
            The reservation in services for the S/C’s, S/T’s was effected with the enactment of the Indian Constitution but this remained illusive in J&K state as long as 1970. So in J&K state revolt against this was raised. Babu Milkhi Ram was one among the sate subjects who organized fast unto death twice, first at Chhan Rorian in 1955 in & second time in Karan Park Jammu in 1957, where a large number of peoples participated. It is said 165 pounds of Dalit Blood was lost for the noble cause. Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath blew the bugle in May 1970 which created a strong wave in J&K forcing the J&K State to issue Reservation in services SRO in 1970. This struggle continued  for  63 years in one form or the other & finally J&K Legislature passed law in 2010 giving legal teeth to the Rules of Reservation in services.
            The son of soil, Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath(1928 to-1st june1970), was born in 1928 at village Champa near Batote Tehsil/Disstt. Ramban in a megh family of Scheduled Castes. His parents were respected Shri  Moti Ram and Shrimati Janki Devi. After completing his school education upto Middle standard, he joined service in NAC Batote and later in the Health department. He got married to Shrimati Shanti Devi at  a young age. He  was blessed with a sonand a daughter. His family still lives at Champa .He resigned from the Govt. job and joined social service. He joined Congress party and was elected as Cogress Block Presedent and later was made the Secretary of this party. He shifted to Jammu to play a wider roll for the Dalit Samaj  so he dedicated to devote himself for social cause exclusively for down trodden. Since from his childhood, he was deeply and highly concerned towards the worst plight of the oppressed and exploited people denied human rights. He was very much committed and determined to even sacrifice his life for the welfare of persecuted, victimized, discriminated, deprived, suppressed, oppressed, exploited and neglected downtrodden masses. 
            In order to upliftment and emancipation of the depressed classes, he came to Jammu  from his native place with an explicit motive, and objective to secure justice for Dalit Samaj of J&K in  particular and country over in general. He worked for the Bhartiya Depressed Classes league, an all India Origination founded by Babu Jagjivan Ram a union Minister and later Deputy Prime Minister. The organization had spread its wings all over India for the welfare of the Depressed classes peoples. Bhagat Amar Nath was made President of this Organization in J&K with Chodhary Guran Ditta  Mal an MLA and Vice Chairman of S/C’s Welfare Board as the General Secretary. All other Dalit leaders of J&K were its members. A Weekly Urdu News Paper named “PASMANDGI” was started from Jammu to raise a forceful voice against denial of the just rights of depressed Classes peoples in J&K State.  The write ups in Pasmandgi  paper helped in uniting the  Dalit masses. An All India one day convention of the Bhartiya Depressed Classes league was held in 1968 in Prade ground Jammu which was presided over by Babu Jagjivan Ram and was attended by over 20,000 peoples. Among others Babu Jagjivan Ram, Bhagat Amarnath,Pandit Trilochan Dutt addressed the gathering. Bhagat Amarnath spoke forcefully pleading  for granting of due rights to the Depressed Classes  persons in recruitments, promotions, in services , grant of scholarships to the deserving students up to all levels of education including university level.
        He was already in contact  with some Jammu based Dalit leaders i.e Babu Parmanand, Babu Milkhi Ram, Bhagat chajju Ram, Pashori lal and Mahasa Nar Singh , Jagat Ram Aryan ( Kishatwar) and others.  But the government was not acceding to the just demands of the Dalit leaders. He had gained close association & friendship with Ayub Khan, then Health Minister of J&K State. Bhagat Amarnath was earlier follower of Kabir Pant and later  was initiated as  follower of Radha Soami Satsang Beas. He was a complete vegetarian and abstained from all intoxicants.
            Since the state Govt was still reluctant to implement the reservation in services in the state. Shaheed Bhagat Amar Nath took  it very serious and comprehensive note on  the ill-conceived intention of the state Govt and  so he intensified his non stop agitation in the entire Jammu province by leading many processions, demonstrations, public meetings for the expeditious redressal of core issue of reservation. An ultimatum with deadline was given to state Govt to take remedial measures fast otherwise he shall go for fast unto death. Seeing that the state government was not taking his threats seriously he under took fast unto death to get conceded the major demand of reservation implementation along with certain other core issues.  On the day of taking the extreme step of  stating fast unto death, this writer met him in Karan Park and discussed  some apprehensions of peoples not prepared  fully for such an extreme step and requested him to work in the field for some more time to prepare the masses for such a step.
While addressing my apprehensions he  quoted  lines from Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s poem “Chalain ge mere naal deushman be mere, eh bakhari a gal ke muskra ke chalangey, jaddo mere Arthi utha ke chalaney gey” meaning after my death, when I shall be carried for cremation, even my adversaries shall accompany it, may be with joy in their hearts”.
            Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath voluntarily offered himself for the supreme sacrifice and resolved to observe silence and subsequently sat on fast unto death on 21-05-1970 in Karan park in front of civil secretariat.  His health condition deteriorated so he was shifted to SMGS Hospital Jammu. But despite efforts by prominent physician of that time Dr. Manhas the condition continued to worsen. Bhagat sahib refused to take any medical treatment and this son of the soil Bhagat Amaranth achieved martyrdom on Ist June 1970 and became " Martyr of Reservation". 
            His supreme sacrifice for the cause of  the reservation  forced the government  to take consorted efforts and the First Notification No 37 GR of 1970  for reservation in services for the Sc’s , ST’s and OBC’s was issued on 28th April 1970 So this Notification was earned by paying the precious  life of Amar Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath . Also 165 lbs of the blood was  lost in Karan  Park in the under taken fast unto death in 1957 and at Chhan Arorian in 1955. After the  agitations, fast unto death in 1955 and 1957  dalits  succeeded  to win on their own Assembly Election in 1957 under the banner of Harijan Mandal & martyrdom of Bhagat Amar Nath in 1970   proved final  blow to Reservation in Services  hindrances in J&K State.
            As per his wishes the   funeral of Amar Sheed Bhagat Amarnath was attended by a large number of Dalits peacefully, despite the facts that the government has made elaborate arrangement to control the protest marches in Jammu city on that day. His sacrifice was no way less than the sacrifices made by hundreds of Indian to win freedom from the British yoke. Some people make out that Harijan leaders like Bhagat Chhajju Ram and Babu Parmanand were made Ministers on the condition that they shall not  help Bhagat Amarnath’s agitation for reservation to SC’s and ST’s.  It is afalse claim as these two persons were Ministers since 1967,  where as Bhagat Amar Nath under took Fast unto death in May,1970. However Dalit leaders lost their strength in 1932 due to signing of Poona Pact  under duress by Dr. Ambedkar  to save life of Mahatama Gandhi, who had undertaken fast unto death against the terms of Communal Award or Simon Commission agreement.
           Shaheed Bhagat Amarnath was a great visionary, emancipator, revolutionary socialist of Dalit samaj. He was a political personality with a spotless image. He is no doubt a hero of reservations as well as Martyr for social justice. But  he goes unsung by those for whom he gave his life. His family needs care and rehabilitation besides erecting of a suitable memorial in the memory of Amar Shaheed Bhagat at a prominent place preferably in Karan Park Jammu.
 Still the worst suffers of the selective application of rules passed by the Parliament in J&K are the  poor Reserved Categories people such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBC’s particularly in matter of Reservation in  recruitments  and promotions. These rules came into force in Union of India except in J&K even before Indian independence. A number of hunger strikes, dharnas, agitations, resolutions by scheduled caste peoples have failed to get their rightful share in services or promotions. Even Bhagat Amar Nath Laid his life for the denied rights of the SC’s in the state particularly reservation in services. The first government SRO in 1971 was issued 25 years after India got independence. This has now been given the shape of an act after lapse of another 35 years. But practically against 8% fixed quota in services has not crossed even 4% mark. Recently nearly a lakh of recruitments were made in different department under the garb of Rehbere Talim and other such flimsy names throwing  share of Reservation claims of SC’s  to winds. Even in the matters of nominations in the Legislative Councils from 1952-1996, out of 172 nominations only 6 were members of SC’s. In the Indian Parliament from 1952-1998 as many as 78 MP’s ( RS30 &LS48) were elected or nominated but  none from the SC’s. Since 1952 not even a single person belonging to SC communities have seen the Parliament from with in as its member. Host of Govt. department including Education universities being run on the Government funds do not bother to give practical effects to the reservation rules. These universities have either H.E. the Governor of the State or the Chief Minister as Vice Chancellor.  Recently  the promotion of S/C employees  have been denied ( Catch up Rule)by the J&K High Court on the pretext that rules  as emended by virtue of 77 th amendment of Indian constitution as incorporated Article 14(4A) is not applicable  to J&K State  by virtue of Article 370 barrier. Reservation rules are only applicable to a limited service grades.  The jurisdictions of many  National Commissions set up by Parliament  to over see welfare measures of different sections of society are yet no extended to J&K State. The un abated   miss use of Special component funds for S/C’s S/T’s and OBC’s  has become no concern of the state Government. These issues yet are wanting solutions.


      Let us all strive hard to keep the sacrifice flame lit with blood of Amar Saheed Bhagat Amar Nath, burning for the good of deprived sections of the society.