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Dalit Visionary

Ravidas, proclaim all Vedas are worthless

The Legacy of Guru Ravidas on his birthday (Gurpurb)

Chaudan saai tetees ki magh sudi pandras,
Dukhion ke kalyan hit pargte Guru Ravidas
Guru Ravidas Ji
As per this couplet Guru Ravidas was born on 15th of Magh Saudi, full-moon day of 1433 at Seer Govardhanpur at Kashi (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh). His father’s name was Santokh Das and mother’s Kalsa Devi. Guru Ravidas married to Mata Loona, a very humble woman who supported him throughout his life.
During the times of Guru, the large section of society was tottering heavily under brutal enforcement of caste system and untouchability practices, the then Untouchables bearing the most. Socially ostracized and put under strict caste-based restrictions they were living a life worse than animals.
In such environment, Guru Ravidas, a cobbler and an untouchable himself, emerged as a formidable challenge to Brahminical hegemony and spoke for the rights of downtrodden. He openly denounced all he brahminical scriptures like Vedas, Puranas, Smritis, Upanishads etc as these promoted the hegemony of Brahmins and justified the social inequality and exploitation of masses. As he says –
Charon ved kiya khandoti, Jan Ravidas kare dandoti
(I, Ravidas, proclaim all Vedas are worthless)
His was the direct attack on the spiritual hegemony of Brahmins that sprang from their claims of Vedas and other brahminical scriptures being infallible and repositories of Truth and Knowledge. While exposing the fallacies of the brahminical propaganda, Guru Ravidas made enormous efforts to provide a simple socio-religious alternative to the labouring masses that would seek equality for all human beings and require no religious rituals.
Guru Ravidas is one of the country’s foremost socio-religious revolutionary who not only attacked the socio-religious inequalities but also preached for liberty, equality and fraternity for all. He was a great poet whose couplets still reverberate among the toiling masses of this country.
He is also known as the one who invented Gurumukhi language against Sanskrit that was monopolized by Brahmins and declared as taboo even for other caste-Hindus. The impact of Guru Ravidas on the Indian society can be well understood by the fact that the entire Sikh Bani (Sikh teachings) are written in Gurumukhi.
We all are well aware of how Babasaheb Ambedkar exhorted us to “Educate” likewise, many centuries before, Guru Ravidas was saying –
Avidya ahit keen, taatay vivek deep bhava maleen
(Ignorance, no education has done much damage; it has eclipsed our rationale)
 Stop Attacking Dalit Statues of Dalit Pride
Guru’s Guru:
If you want to destroy a society, destroy its history and the society will get destroyed automatically. – Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Hindu fundamentalists have always taken a keen interest in destroying Dalit-Bahujans history so as to make them disable mentally. Historians as usual here also played with the truth and misled the people for centuries. As Buddha is projected as 10th avatar of Vishnu, same way Brahminical forces tried their best to project Guru Ravidas as one of their 33 crores fake gods. Many scholars tried to show Swami Ramanand as Guru Ravidas’s Guru. We all need to think logically, how could it have been possible for Swami Ramanand to accept Guru Ravidas as one of his student? Shudra rishi Shambuk was murdered by king Rama just on doing meditation/worshiping god. Daronacharya had forced Eklavaya to cut thumb of his right hand as ‘Guru Dakshina’. Time when Casteism, discrimination was on peak, when Dalits were murdered, their ears were cut down if they ever tried to hear praise of god, or they tried to worship, when the touch or even a shadow could impure so called upper caste people, how could it have been possible for Swami Ramanand (who was follower of king Rama’s ideas) to accept Guru Ravidas?
Some others tried to show Guru Ravidas as a Brahmin or Brahmin in his previous life, because they were not able to digest the humiliation of being thrashed by Guru Ravidas’s open challenge to caste system. They could have tolerated this shame if any Brahmin would have been talking against the caste system or challenging their supremacy as they had tolerated Char-wak. Many so called scholars have given false claims that Guru Ravidas was Brahmin in previous life and he ate meat so couldn’t reach the god (attain truth) and he was born in lower caste in next life.
In Rigveda it’s clearly mentioned that cows, horses, goats were killed and were eaten by not only non-brahmins but Brahmins also.
The food according to Valmiki consisted of all kinds of delicious viands. They included flesh and fruits and liquor. Rama was not a teetotaller. He drank liquor copiously and Valmiki records that Rama saw to it that Sita joined with him in his drinking bouts ( Uttara Kanda Sarga – 42 Sloka – 8 (Reference: Riddles in Hinduism by Dr B R Ambedkar)
We need to question how many of these Hindu gods were born in lower caste after eating meat, or after not getting god (attaining truth). In no religious book of Hindus there is any such incident where after eating meat person would have  born in lower caste, then why Guru Ravidas? (Let me clear Guru Ravidas never ate meat, rather than he opposed the killing of goats, cows on Bakrid and other Hindu religious ceremonies)
All the times Manuwadi failed miserably as Guru Ravidas claimed himself as ‘Chamar’ (Kutbandhla a sub-caste in Uttar Pradesh) in many of his saloks and in his bani.
Kahi Ravidas khalaas chamaaa,
(Says Ravidas, the emancipated shoe maker)
In another hymn Guru Ravidas writes:
Meri jaat(i) Kutbandhla dhor dhowanta nith(i) baanaarsi aas paasaa,
(My caste is Kutbandhla; I deal with leather and live near Banaras)
In one another hymn Guru Ravidas says:
Meri Sangat poch soch din (u) raati,
Mera karamu kutilta janam kubanti,
(It keeps him in anxiety that his associates are low; my actions are considered evil and birth is lowly)
All this is just another game-plan/conspiracy of Brahmins to keep Dalit-Bahujans away from Guru Ravidas’s philosophy. Guru Ravidas’s teachings can lead Dalit-Bahujans break caste barrier and emancipate them because Guru Ravidas was among first people who talked about equality, ‘raaj’ (own rule) and Begumpura  – City without sorrow. (It seems like Dr B R Ambedkar wrote constitution of India keeping ‘Begumpura’ in his mind.) Guru Ravidas also said:
Aisa chahu raaj main, jahan mile saban ko ann,
Chhot baade sam basse, Ravidas rahe prasan.
As far as question of who was Guru of Guru Ravidas, Guru Ravidas never worshiped any of the 33 crore fake god, but he meditated/worshiped on one and only one almighty God. Guru Ravidas said:
Tohi, mohi, mohi tohi, antar kaisa: kanak katik jal tarang jaisa.
(There is no difference between you (god) and me as there is no difference between the gold and its ornaments, between water and its waves.)
Bhagat or Guru Ravidas:
Few years back, on the gurpurb of Guru Ravidas Rozana Spokesman newspapers published article that (‘Bhagat’ as stated by newspaper) Guru Ravidas was not familiar with Sikh Gurus’ teachings & teaching/sakhis (birth tales) of Guru Ravidas were misquoted by author in ridiculing manner. The article erroneously stated that no historical facts are present about the life of Guru Ravidas. It’s madness/ridiculous to give such statements as Bani (shaloks, teachings) of Guru Ravidas are there in Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of Sikhs) itself and 10th Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh had asked to follow Guru Granth Saheb as ‘Guru’ after him, so the bani of all the ‘Gurus’ (including Guru Ravidas) which is included in the Guru Granth Saheb should be treated equal, why to give someone names like ‘Bhagats’ and others ‘Gurus’? This time mischiefs are played by Sikhs scholars under the affect of Brahminical forces, those have forgotten that Sikhism is separate religion which came into picture for equality, to counter the evils of Casteism in Hinduism.
Who is a ‘Bhagat’ and who is a ‘Guru’? Till the time a person is worshipping/meditating/trying to achieve the state of perfect-ness, is in search of truth of life, till the time person hasn’t got ‘gyan’, up-to that time you can say a person as ‘Bhagat’, but when that person have achieved truth of life, got ‘gyan’ and starts giving sermons, starts preaching, he becomes ‘Guru’ and he doesn’t remain as Bhagat then. A large number of kings and queens became Guru Ravidas’s disciples and they accepted him as a ‘Guru’, not only Guru but ‘Raj-Guru’. Prominent among them were Raja Pipa, Raja Nagar Mal, Rewa Naresh, Rani Jhalan Bai, and Meera Bai (it’s wrongly projected by people that she was fan of king Krishna, but in reality she was follower of Guru Ravidas).
Meera ne gobind milya ji,
Gur milya Radas.
(Meera Padawali – 4)
Kings had built many temples dedicated to Guru Ravidas and there were later either demolished or converted to Hindu worship places.
Guru Ravidas, Guru Kabir with Guru Nanak Dev
As recorded by Dr. Lekh Raj Parwana at Page 116-117 in his book ‘Shri Guru Ravidas- Life and Writing’, Guru Ravidas visited northern India twice. Firstly, he was accompanied by Kabir Ji, Tarlochan Ji, Sain Ji and Dhanna Ji and met Guru Nanak Dev at ‘Chuharkana’, now known as ‘Nankana Sahib’ where Guru Nanak Dev served them food with Rs.20/- which had been given to him by his revered father Mehta Kalu for some profitable business. At his second visit to Punjab, Guru Ravidas met Guru Nanak Dev at Sant Ghat of Kali Bein in ‘Sultanpur Lodhi’. At third time he met at Guru Nanak at ‘Guru Ka Bagh’, Banaras and exchanged their views on several topics pertaining to religion, social system and liberty of human beings. Guru Ravidas gave gift of his bani of 40 hymns and one couplet to Guru Nanak Dev as desired by him.
Many a times, Mardana (he used to live with Guru Nanak Dev) used to sing hymns of Guru Ravidas in-front of Guru Nanak Dev, as asked by Guru Nanak Dev. It was the Guru Ravidas who gave the right direction to the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev. So, today’s Sikh scholars don’t have any right to raise any question over who was the real Guru or whom they want to call Guru or Bhagat.
Till 1920, Dalits’/Untouchables’ ‘Prasad’/Religious offering wasn’t accepted at the Darbar Saheb/Golden Temple and no ‘ardas’/prayer was done on the name of Dalits/untouchables. (Reference: ‘The Heritage of Amritsar’ by S S Johar). This all shows how much these Sikh scholars were/are following Sikhism’s teachings. Sikhism was the another religion which  Dr Ambedkar considered for conversion, but the Sikh leaders were full of hatred/hostility towards Dalits so Dr Ambedkar changed his plans.
Jathedars (Sikh leaders/scholars) those are becoming puppets in the hands of Manuwadi people will lead to the end of Sikhism & if such things continued the day won’t be far away when idols of Hindu deities will be seen in the ‘Darbar Saheb’ (Golden Temple). Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) created his offshoots like PRERNA, Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, and Guru Granth Sahib Vichar Sanstha as under the name of RSS as it was difficult for them to meet Sikh leaders & to misguide them. And now everyone can see Sikh scholars visiting their activities and supporting them full heartedly.
Jathedars & many others are forgetting that;
1. Sikh Gurus believed in one and only one god, whereas Hindus worship quite a number of gods, goddesses, and deities.
2. The Hindu Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – is altogether rejected by Sikh Gurus.
3. The worship of any carved statues, images or idols is completely forbidden in Sikhism although it is allowed in Hinduism.
4. Cow is not considered as a sacred animal by Sikhs; hence it is not worshiped at all.
5. The supremacy of the Vedas, Gita and other Hindu scriptures is not recognized or accepted in Sikhism. Sikhs have their own holy book – the Guru Granth Sahib – compiled by the fifth Guru himself and completed by 10thGuru.
6. Sikh Gurus, Guru Ravidas had rejected the caste system and all men/women are reckoned equal irrespective of their caste, colour or creed, does Hinduism do all this?
7. Sikh traditions, customs, and ceremonies of death and marriage are completely different from the Hindus.
Many Sikh scholars claim that in Guru Granth Saheb its written ‘Bhagata di bani’, but then you need to concentrate that for Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh, there is nothing written as ‘Guru’ word for them, but ‘Mahala I’, ‘Mahala II’ etc is written not ‘bani of Guru Nanak Dev’ or ‘bani of Guru Gobind Singh’. (‘Mahala’ means ‘Aam Admi’/’common person’.) Will Sikh scholars accept Guru Nanak Dev as common person? At many places in the ‘Janam Sakhis’/’Birth tales’ of Guru Nanak Dev; Guru Nanak Dev is recorded as ‘Baba’, ‘Tapa’, and ‘Pir’ etc. Guru Nanak Dev himself claimed at many places as Mahala/common person, Shayar, Nieech. Are Sikh scholars ready to accept Guru Nanak Dev as Shayar, Nieech and Baba?
People those don’t want to accept Guru Ravidas as ‘Guru’ and don’t want to write ‘Guru’ in-front of Guru Ravidas’s name are only those people who don’t want to take any lesson from the teachings of Guru Ravidas. Those people are full of hatred, are not supporter of equality and practice discrimination.
Murder of Guru Ravidas:
Torture of Dalit-Bahujans is not new, Manuwadi people have always tried to suppress, depress, torture, tried to kill, murder, and loot Dalit-Bahujans. Who so ever had/have tried to raise his voice against the cruelty; evils of Hinduism was either murdered or burnt alive. Guru Namdev was tortured and was forced to leave Maharashtra, Guru (Sant) Tukaram, Sant Chokha Mal was murdered, Sant Naat Naar was burnt alive, same way Guru Ravidas was murdered at Chittorgarh by people who were opposing Guru Ravidas all the times. Guru Ravidas lived for about 151 years. (Reference: ‘Guru Ravidas Ki Hatya Ke Parmanik Dastawez’ by Satnam Singh)
In his entire life, Guru Ravidas kept fighting for equality, against social, political, economical bullying and composed many hymns and Shaloks, which were burnt down, destroyed by so called upper caste people of that time. 40 hymns and one couplet composed by Guru Ravidas are inscribed in Guru Granth Saheb. Guru Ravidas was among first people who used ‘Ek-Onkar’ – god is one. His teachings are relevant even today as were in 15th century and may everyone takes inspiration from Guru Ravidas’s teachings and come out of darkness.

Bhagya Reddy Varma 

Madari Bhagaiah

Bhagya Reddy Varma
Bhagya Reddy Varma
Bhagya Reddy Varma founded around 26 schools in around Hyderabad region for Dalits. He established Dalit panchayat courts to settle disputes among dalits. He chaired All India conference of Schedules castes held at Lucknow on 27, 28 December 1930, to support send delegation to Round Table conference. Babasaheb Ambedkar was present in this meeting.
In 1906, he started Jagan Mitra Mandali to educate Dalits through popular folklore. Mandali worked on the social consciousness among untouchables. Later in 1911, he founded Manya Sangham, which tried to create awareness among untouchables through literature and lectures.
Bhagya Reddy Varma had launched a movement against devadasi system, forcing the Nizam to declare it a crime.

20th May in Dalit History

 Birth Anniversary of Iyothee Thass – Great Social reformer and Buddhist Scholar


Iyothee Thass was an intellectual and social critic of 19 – 20 century Tamilnadu. In the primordial collective consciousness of the Dravidians he sensed the Buddhist values of equality and compassion. Working them out he severely criticized the brahminic hegemony that brought in estrangement and caste division among the people. Though a man of secular credentials he upheld the ethico-rational sensitivity that genuine religion can cultivate in promoting justice, righteousness and truthfulness. In this paper a brief attempt is made to construct the reformistic work which done by Iyothee Thass Pandithar.
Who is Iyothee Thass?
Born on 20 May 1845, Thass’s original name was Kaathavarayan. His grandfather had served as a butler to Lord Arlington. Kaathavarayan gained expertise in Tamil literature, philosophy, Siddha and had good knowledge of English, Sanskrit and Pali. After organizing the tribal people in the Nilgris in the 1870s, he established the Advaidananda Sabha in 1876. He launched a magazine called ‘Dravida Pandian’ along with Rev. John Rathinam in 1885. He issued a statement in 1886 announcing that the so-called untouchables’ are not Hindus. He established the Dravida Mahajana Sabha in 1891 and during the very first Census urged the so-called untouchables to register themselves as casteless Dravidians. This in fact makes Tamil Dalits the true descendents of the anti-Brahmin legacy which is today claimed by non-Brahmin non-Dalits. Iyothee Thass’s meeting with Olcott was a turning point not only in his life but also for the Tamil Dalit movement. In many ways, Thass was a forerunner of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. 

Iyothee Thass and Buddhism
He led a delegation of prominent Dalits to Olcott and pleaded for his help in reestablishing Tamil Buddhism. With Olcott’s help Thass visited Sri Lanka and got diksha from Bikkhu Sumangala Nayake. On his return, he established the Sakya Buddhist Society in Chennai with branches in many places including Karnataka. Returning from his sacred pilgrimage to Colombo, Iyothee Thass issued a pamphlet in Tamil, entitled, Buddha: The light without distinction of day and night. In this, he systematically stated his project “Tamil Buddhism” a brief statement of Sakya Buddha’s life was followed by an exploratory survey of the Tamil epical-ethical literary tradition to explain the past glory, the fall and the present degradation of the Tamil lower caste and the antagonism between Brahmins and Sakya –Valluva (Parayar) Tamils; the emancipatory future for the original Tamils was sought to be projected as the modern rediscovery of the earlier Buddhist traditions through construction of Buddhist Temples, maintenance of Buddhist medical halls, Buddhist college, Buddhist young men association, celebration of Buddha’s birthday anniversaries and establishment of Buddhist charity fund to feed the poor. The pamphlet closed with an appeal to join these effort by singing the apprehend forms. The coming together of the initial group to implement project Tamil Buddhism was, thus, based on a common understanding of a collective-historical rationale and a social consensus in the modern sense of the term. However, not all the founding members of the society took ‘pancha silam’ and became Buddhist. The Sakya Buddhist society started its activities in 1898 with religious meetings on Sundays, semi-public lectures on socio-religious issues by learned men of all faiths and confessions and conversions to Buddhism that is, taking of pancha silam and enrolling as members, though in small numbers, yet continuously. Soon the Sakya Buddhists were recognized as an independent entity by other international Buddhist bodies and a flow of visitors, monks and lay people started and increased with passing years. Writing about those early years, Iyothee Thass says: “lectures are delivered every week in the hall of the society in addition to the occasional lectures delivered here and there in the city of Madras. Thus a great interest is aroused in the minds of people in the life and teaching of our Lord Buddha. And not a few have been the conversion to the faith of the master… Some 260 Buddhist visitors, bhikkus and lay men and women from Holland, china, Japan, Burma, Ceylon, Siam, Singapore, Chittagong, Benares, Calcutta, Bodh Gaya and other places have called and stayed here on different occasions”.
The followers of the Buddha were accused of godlessness, anti-religion customs and tradition, defiance of Vedas and Vedic authorities and, in general, of abetting anarchy and chaos in the society. But such opposition and obstacles, apparently were not new to the founding – father of the society, Iyothee Thass. His generally calm and courteous behaviour, particularly his gentle persuasive language, worthy of disciple of the compassionate polemics was to continue for long as part and parcel of the subaltern religious movement. Men from all walks of life and entire social spectrum began to gather around the erudite Pandit Iyothee Thass to hear him, expound his views supported with extensive and numerous reference to Tamil literature, history and religion.
Oru Paisa Tamilan
Iyothee Thass launched “Oru Paisa Tamizhan”, a weekly newsmagazine, from his Royapettah Office and printed it at the Buddhist Press of one Thiru Adimoolam. The journal’s statement of intent explains; “….some philosophers, natural literateurs got together and published this Oru Paisa Tamizhan in order to teach justice, right path, and truthfulness to people who could not discriminate between the excellent, mediocre and the bad”. However, Swapneswari Ammal, an early colleague of Iyothess Thass, publisher and editor of a magazine called Tamil Woman, put down the objective of the paper simply as ‘to explain and propagate Buddhism’. Of the two, it was probably the editor Iyothee Thass’s view that was more accurate. Oru Paisa Tamizhan was, also indeed, a Buddhist weekly as Swapneswari Ammal put it; it served as a newsletter linking all the new branches of the Sakya Buddhist Society. It instructed the neophytes in the tenets, traditions and practices of
Tamil Buddhism, gave information and reports of the new developments in the buddhist world, sought to interpret the subcontinent’s history, in general, and tamilakam’s in the particular, from the Buddhist point of view, etc. But it was note national-moral discourse against all forms of brahminism that had gained ascendancy under the colonial regime.
Oru Paisa Tamizhan came out week after week without fail for the rest of Pandit Iyothee Thass’s life, carrying a wealth of information on current events, interpretation of Tamil history, religion and literature and polemics, against the dominant and oppressive religio-cultural discourses of the time. The influence and significance of this modern vehicle of thought went far beyond the narrow confines of religious Buddhism. Along with the creation and nurture of a religiously united community cutting across caste barriers it undoubtedly sowed the early seeds of social revolution, cultural renaissance and political movement in colonial tamilakam as a whole.
The role of Iyothee Thass in wielding this double-edged sword was clearly primary and his initiative certainly bore the marks of charisma. Soon, the eidtor-publisher was able to gather around himself progressive elements from all over the Tamil land men and women no less erudite and committed to the emancipatory cause of the sub-alternised communities. Regular writers in the opening years of the journal included C.M.E.Murthy, Swapneswari Ammal, T.C.Nayarana Pillay, A.P.Periasswami Pulavar and others. The intellectual contribution of these combined with the material support by scores of others. Thamizhan was shortly transformed into a centre and an institution with a distinct religio-cultural ideology and strategy for social action.
Dravidian Upsurgence: Iyothee Thass and the Justice party
Iyothee Thass, a Dalit by birth and a Buddhist by conviction, was an outstanding figure in the socio-cultural awakening which preceded the spectacular rise of a non-brahman movement in Tamil land. An ideologue and a cultural crusader, Iyothee Thass’ novel ideas and activities broke new ground in the subaltern struggle for identity, human dignity and justice. Realizing the liberatory potential of Buddhist tradition and drawing o the Tamil-Buddhist connection in the past, Iyothee Thass was the first to interpret the history, religion and literature of the Tamils from the view point of a Buddhist presence in the region. His writings taken together with the work of some of his associates like Masilamani comprise a corpus which represents a Buddhist vision of the Indian past. Part history and part polemic, their writings anticipated, in many ways, the historiographical writing of Ambedkar.
Iyothee Thass who led this movement from the front also spearheaded a campaign for education among the untouchables. Along with his colleagues he set up several schools in lowered caste enclaves in urban centers. A Tamil scholar and Siddha medical practitioner, he ran a popular weekly, ‘Tamizhan’, for years. Besides, he published scores of pamphlets and tracts by him and his associates which were widely circulated among Tamils every where. The articles he wrote for Tamizhan give an idea of the astounding range of his concerns: caste hegemony, untouchability, indigenous medicine, agricultural rituals, folk deities, issues involved in a census and conversion, Buddhism and Jainism in the Tamil land. His writings are remarkably modern not only for their insight into the nature of society, but also for espousing the cause of social emancipation, Buddhism, rationalism and the new egalitarian Dravidian identity.
Iyothee Thass was among the earliest non-brahman, Adi Dravida intellectuals who presented a systematic and sharp critique of brahmanical power, the brahman’s role in the modern society and polity, and above all, the brahman’s espousal of a problematic nationalism. He drew attention to rampant civil injustices and various acts of social and ritual discrimination that ensured Brahman exclusivity. He cited several instances of prejudice and discrimination practiced by not only Brahman proponents of nationalism, but by the largely Brahman owned press and the Brahman publicists who mediated and engineered public opinion. It is remarkable that he located the power of the modern, secular Brahman in the control he excercised over the construction of public opinion. On many occasions, he pointed out the caste bias and rancour prevalent in the orientation and presentation of events or opinions in the brahman-dominated nationalist press.
Led by a host of civic leaders and social critics like Iyothee Thass, the southern people began a battle for the recovery of their past as well as establishment of their rights in the present. The intellectual ferment thus generated unleashed forces that led to the Madras Presidency consisting of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra and Malabar Kerala. The south Indian Liberal Federation, commonly known the Justice party was formedin1916, on an anti-congress, anti-brahmanical plank with the objective of radical redistribution of socio-political power. Thyagaraya Chetty and T.M. Nair played a pivotal role in the shudra movement by issuing in December 1916 the Non-Brahman Manifesto against the overwhelming preponderance of brahmans in the fields of education, public service, and politics.
Leading Justicites hammered home the point that the brahmans had usurped all real power, while the toiling masses, cultivators and others who constitute 97 per cent of the population had not even a semblance of power in their hands. Demanding democratic representation fro non-brahman castes in the fields of education, administration and legalization, Justice leaders lashed out at the brahman-dominated Congress nationalism, and claimed that the non-brahman movement cherished very different ideas about Indian nation-building and national representation.
Presenting the Justice road-map, leaders like Thyagaraya Chetty and Nair exuded confidence that the non-brahmans could attain a unity and wholeness, both in their resistance to the Brahman power and through assertion and practice of an alternative culture and community with their own values and conventions.
In 1920, the Justice party won a remarkable victory in the elections to run a diarchic government in the Madras Presidency. On assuming office, it passed a Government Order on 16th September 1921 directing an increase in the proportion of posts in government offices held by non-brahmans. During its tenure the Justice party also brought in progressive legislation pertaining to intermarriage, franchise for the common man, abolition of devadasi system, throwing open temples to depressed classes, regulating temple administration and bringing it under the control of the state, and educational facilities and reduction of fees for weaker sections. Above all, it did a splendid job in promoting primary education, women’s education and a more viable technical, industrial and agricultural education.
The thoughts of Iyothee Thass orbit around sole trait, reinterpretation. That means, reinterpreting the history, religion, literature, tradition, etc. In this context, his illustriousness in literature, linguistics, and history supports him in the construction of a grand discourse called Tamil Buddhism. His expertise in languages like Pali and Sanskrit other than Tamil dispenses radically interesting vestiges for this project.
Therefore the disgusting socio-cultural reality of dalits in present day Tamilnadu is not because of their origin as perplexed by Brahminic traditions, but through the political annoyance as well as the cowardliness of Brahmins, the dalits were inscribed as untouchables. Iyothee Thass spent most pages in his writings for arousing the consciousness of being transgressed. Similarly he desired to cognize the dalits about their Buddhist antecedents. Once the historical fallacy is reasoned out by the ‘ancient Buddhists’, he visualized the reinvention of tradition that affects the rescue from the castiest context. Despite Iyothee Thass accomplished as a multifarious personality till his unanticipated demise on May 5th 1914, mysteriously the modern historians forgot him.
Source- Krantijyoti (Written By Mr. Ashish Jiwane)

Communism, as it is, is a sugar coated poisonous pill. Beware! – E. V. R. Periyar

The leader of the Congress party is a Brahmin. The leader of the socialists is a Brahmin. The leader of the communists is a Brahmin. The leader of the Hindu Maha Sabha is a Brahmin. The leader of R.S.S is a Brahmin. The leader of the Trade Union is a Brahmin. The President of India is a Brahmin. They are all one in the heart of hearts.
Periyar on Congress, Brahmins
The communists have their office at a foreign place like Bombay or Delhi, they are only interested in exploiting us like the other foreign controlled parties. Janaskthi’s [CPI journal] editors are Brahmins and wherever Brahmin goes he is likely to support caste differences.
Periyar's Views on Communism and Communists
Talking Communism, without eradicating caste, is like discussing higher education without the rudiments of learning.
Periyar's views on Communism
There can be no scope for communism in a country, where there is absence of common ownership and rights. If attempts are made to bring in communism in a country, which does not have common ownership and rights, it will only give room for those who already enjoy more rights to reap the benefits of communism.
Periyar on Communists
One day or other the co-operative spirit will reign supreme making the society march on towards progress. It is not necessary that communism should be fostered for that. Without talking a word about communism, you can make the society progressive with the help of mere co-operation.
Periyar on Communism and Co-operation
All the talks on communism in our country is bogus. Our youths must keep away from such talks. What is the work they do? Their eyes are always on the leaders of the Justice Party (In 1944, Periyar transformed the Justice Party into the social organisation Dravidar Kazhagam and withdrew it from electoral politics). Their work is to criticise the Muslims and rich people. They are not worried about the evil casteism or reactionary propaganda of Gandhi. They are not worried about Rajaji (he was Brahmin Congress leader who opposed Periyar throughout life) who wants only the Brahmins to live happily. They are not worried about the Congress party that upholds the Varnasrama Dharma. They are not worried about khadhi being symbolic of barbarous age. The communists are dominated by the evil forces cited above. So I appeal to the youth to be aware of these communists. Communism here, as it is, is a sugar coated poisonous pill. Beware! (Speech delivered by Thanthai Periyar E. V. Ramasami at Trichy on 21-2-1943)
Periyar on Communism, Ganghi
Periyar on Communism, stay away from communism
Source – Veeramani, DR. K. (2014-01-30), COLLECTED WORKS OF PERIYAR E.V.R.

What Mahapran Jogendranath Mandal had Said

“On battlefield sword is Powerful. On the battleground of Philosophy Pen is mighty. On the battlefield of Democracy Vote is almighty. In democracy Rights of every creature is Safeguarded because it is based on Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice. Individual Rights and Duties are democracy in it lays the peaceful progress of Entire Humanity. To survive Democracy voting is essential behind imagination. Pledge from very moment to cast your Vote. I entreat you to cast your Valuable vote to maintain Democracy…Therefore Dr. Babasahab Ambedkar hold the Nation on the point of Pen. Let try to get Social & Economical equality”.
Jogendernath Mandal

Banda Bahadur 

The next struggle in that part of India would be led by Banda Bahadur, another "mysterious Vairagi", and the leader of the Sikhs after the Tenth Guru.
Banda arrived at Narnaul in 1709. There he saw the complete destruction of he Satnamis with his own eyes. His blood boiled on learning that the entire sect of the Satnami men, women and childern, one and all, had been wiped out of existence. It was here that Banda made up his mind to retaliate upon Muslims.
Banda of course had many untouchables and other so-called low-castes in his army.
The Satnami movement did not die without leaving a trace. It was revived again, but in a different form, by one Jagjivan Das of Barabanki District in the United Provinces in 1682. Satnamis in the Chattisgarh district in the Central Provinces trace their origins to Jagjivan Das and Ravi Das or Rohi Das as they call him.
Perhaps the struggle of the Satnamis can still be useful in educating and mentally training the Glossary Link Dalit masses in their militant tradition.

In a typical fashion of denying Dalits even their own history and claiming all the credit for themselves some Sikhs claim the Satnamis to be as some sort of offshoot of Sikhism. See for a very confusing Sikh idea of what a Satnami was.

              Babu Mangu Ram Mugowalia, the Prophet of Dalit Struggle in Punjab in the early 1920s. He was one of             the very few Dalit visionaries who correctly realized that the real salvation of the downtroddenlies in theirtotal         social and cultural transformation.For that only liberation from the colonial masters would no besufficient. He was of the firm opinion that unless and until a systematic and all embracing struggleagainst the Brahmanical orthodoxy based on the Hindu Shashtric principle of purity/pollution is launched, the national struggle against the British rule would not serve the real interest of the millions of the Dalits, who had been subjected to all kids of marginalities and oppression for centuries. In fact, Dalits were the double victims: of the British rule as well as of the Upper castes of their own country. It was this thinking that looks him to organize the Ad-Dharm Movement in Punjab at a time when Mahatma Gandhi was also getting actively involved in the national liberation struggle in India. Babu Ji gave his people a new religion (Ad-Dharm) to believe in, Gurus (Rishi Valmiki, Guru Ravi Dass, Maharaj Kabir, and Bhagwan Sat Guru Nam Dev) to worship, a symbol (Soham) to display, and a slogan (Jai Guru Dev) to greet each other. He and his movement inculcated a sense of dignity and confidence among the Dalits of Punjab who since have been actively pursuing the cause of Dalit liberation both within the country and abroad wherever they havesettled.
    I once again congratulate you and the entire <> tribe for celebrating this GreatDalit Revolutionary of the20th century.

    Jyotirao Phule

    From Wikipedia
    Jyotirao Govindrao Phule
    Other namesMahatma Phule. Jyotibao Phule / Jyotiba Phule
    Born11 April 1827
    Katgun, Satara, British India(present-
    day Maharashtra, India)
    Died28 November 1890 (aged 63)
    Pune, British India (present-day Maharashtra, India)
    Era19th century philosophy
    ReligionSatyashodhak Samaj, Deist,Humanism
    Main interestsEthics, religion, humanism
    Mahatma Jyotirao Govindrao Phule (Marathi:जोतिराव गोविंदराव फुले) (11 April 1827 – 28 November 1890), also known as Mahatma Jyotibao Phule was an Indian activist, thinker,social reformer, writer and theologist from Maharashtra. Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule were pioneers of women's education in India. His work extended to many fields including education, agriculture, caste system, women and widow upliftment and removal of untouchability. He is most known for his efforts to educate women and the lower castes as well as the masses. He, after educating his wife, opened the first school for girls in India in August 1848.
    In September 1873, Jyotirao, along with his followers, formed the Satya Shodhak Samaj(Society of Seekers of Truth) with the main objective of liberating the Bahujans, Shudras and Ati-Shudras and protecting them from exploitation and atrocities. For his fight to attain equal rights for peasants and the lower caste and his contributions to the field of education, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of the Social Reform Movement in Maharashtra. Dhananjay Keer, his biographer, notes him as "the father of Indian social revolution".
    Early life
    Satyashodhak Samaj Jotirao Govindrao Phule was born in Satara district of Maharastra in a family belonging to Mali (Fulmali). His father, Govindrao, was a vegetable vendor. Originally Jotirao's family, known as Gorhays, came from Katgun, a village in Taluka- Khatav, District- Satara. His grandfather Shetiba Gorhay settled down in Pune. Since Jotirao's father and two uncles served as florists under the last of the Peshwas, they came to be known as 'Phules'. (Reference- P.G. Patil, Collected Works of Mahatma Jotirao Phule, Vol-II, published by Education department, Govt. of Maharashtra). His mother died when he was 9 months old. After completing his primary education Jotirao had to leave school and help his father by working on the family's farm. He was married at the age of 12. His intelligence was recognised by a Muslim and a Christian neighbour, who persuaded his father to allow Jotirao to attend the local Scottish Mission's High School, which he completed in 1847. The turning point in Jotiba's life was in year 1848, when he was insulted by family members of his Brahmin friend, a bridegroom for his participation in the marriage procession, an auspicious occasion. Jotiba was suddenly facing the divide created by the caste system. Influenced by Thomas Paine books Rights of Man (1791), Phule developed a keen sense of social justice. He argued that education of women and the "lower castes" was a vital priority in addressing social inequalities.
    On 24 September 1873, Jotirao formed 'Satya Shodhak Samaj' (Society of Seekers of Truth) with himself as its first president and treasurer. The main objectives of the organisation were to liberate the Shudras to prevent their 'exploitation' by the upper caste like Brahmans. Through this Satya Shodhak Samaj, Jotirao refused to regard the Vedas as sacrosanct. He opposed idolatry and denounced the chaturvarnya system (the caste system). Satya Shodhak Samaj propounded the spread of rational thinking and rejected the need for a Brahman priestly class as educational and religious leaders. He was an aboriginal of India and established Satyadharma and never renounced his faith. He was against those Brahmins who were using religion and blind faith of masses for their own monetary gains. But Jyotiba had many Brahmin personal friends and he even adopted a Brahmin boy as his heir. He made a will giving his large property after his death to this Brahmin boy.


    Phule established the Satya Shodhak Samaj, Savitribai became the head of the women's section which included ninety female members. Moreover, she worked tirelessly as a school teacher for girls. Deenbandhu publication, the mouthpiece of the Satya Shodhak Samaj, played an important role in SatyaShodhak Samaj's movement. After Jyotirao's death in 1890 his spirited followers went on spreading the movement to the remotest parts of Maharashtra. Shahu Maharaj, the ruler of Kolhapur moral support to Satya Shodhak Samaj. In its new incarnation party carried on the work of superstition removal vigorously. Many times it degenerated in hate sprouting against Brahmins as a caste.
    Jyotirao firmly believed that if you want to create a new social system based on freedom, equality, brotherhood, human dignity, economic justice and value devoid of exploitation, you will have to overthrow the old, unequal and exploitative social system and the values on which it is based. Knowing this well, Jyotirao attacked blind faith and faith in what is given in religious books and the so-called god's words. He tore to pieces the misleading myths that were ruling over the minds of women, shudras and ati-shudras. Yielding to god or fate, astrology and other such rituals, sacredness, god-men, etc. was deemed irrational and absurd.
    He also led campaigns to remove the economic and social handicaps that breed blind faith among women, shudras and ati-shudras. Jyotirao subjected religious texts and religious behaviour to the tests of rationalism. He characterised this faith as outwardly religious but in essence politically motivated movements. He accused them of upholding the teachings of religion and refusing to rationally analyse religious teachings. He maintained that at the root of all calamities was the blind faith that religious books were created or inspired by god. Therefore, Phule wanted to abolish this blind faith in the first instance. All established religious and priestly classes find this blind faith useful for their purposes and they try their best to defend it. He questions " if there is only one God, who created the whole mankind, why did he write the Vedas only in Sanskrit language despite his anxiety for the welfare of the whole mankind? What about the welfare of those who do not understand this language?" Phule concludes that it is untenable to say that religious texts were God-created. To believe so is only ignorance and prejudice. All religions and their religious texts are man-made and they represent the selfish interest of the classes, which are trying to pursue and protect their selfish ends by constructing such books. Phule was the only sociologist and humanist in his time that could put forth such bold ideas. In his view, every religious book is a product of its time and the truths it contains have no permanent and universal validity. Again these texts can never be free from the prejudices and the selfishness of the authors of such books.
    Phule believed in overthrowing the social system in which man has been deliberately made dependent on others, illiterate, ignorant and poor, with a view to exploiting him. To him blind faith eradication formed part of a broad socioeconomic transformation. This was his strategy for ending exploitation of human beings. Mere advice, education and alternative ways of living are not enough, unless the economic framework of exploitation comes to an end.

    Religion and Caste

    The Indian society at Jyotiba's time, was deeply enmeshed in caste politics. The debate is still current whether the Brahmins of India belonged were indigenous to the land or whether they migrated from somewhere else. Despite this it can be stated that the stratification of the society was based on caste. As such, Jyotirao Phule could be classified as indigenous to the land. His akhandas were based on the abhangs of Indian aboriginal saint Tukaram (a Moray Shudra.)
    He was a subscriber to Maharishi Vitthal Ramji Shinde's magazine, Dnyanodaya (Maharishi Shinde was a Harijan or "untouchable" and a member of the reformist Prarthana Samaj.)
    He did not like the casteist of Tamil Nadu using Lord Rama as a symbol of oppression of Aryan conquest.

    Merger into Congress party

    After Jotiba's death in 1890, there was a period of lull, when the flame lit by Jotiba waned. The Satya Shodhak Samaj movement was totally a social movement and nothing to do with the politics, but the members of Satya Shodhak Samaj dissolved Satya Shodhak Samaj. Phule had a favourable opinion about the British Rule in India at least from the point of view of introducing modern notions of justice and equality in Indian society and taking India into the future. Phule admired the British because at that time Indian people except the Brahmins were far from education and were not getting any social benefits. In the British Government, the situation was better for them.

    Social activism

    He was assisted in his work by his wife, Savitribai Phule, and together they started the second school for girls in India in 1848, for which he was forced to leave his home. He initiated widow-remarriage and started a home for upper caste widows in 1854, as well as a home for new-born infants to prevent female infanticide. Phule tried to eliminate the stigma of social Untouchability surrounding the lower castes by opening his house and the use of his water-well to the members of the lower castes.
    He formed the Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth) on 24 September 1873, a group whose main aim was to liberate the social Shudra and Untouchables castes from exploitation and oppression.
    Phule was a member of the Pune municipality from 1876 to 1882.

    Connection with women activists

    Some of India's first modern feminists were closely associated with Phule, including his wife Savitribai Phule; Pandita Ramabai, a Brahmin woman who converted to Christianity. Panditia Ramabai who was leading advocate for the rights and welfare for the women in India;

    Tarabai Shinde, the non-Brahmin author of a fiery tract on gender inequality which was largely ignored at the time but has recently become well-known; and Muktabai, a fourteen-year-old pupil in Phule's school, whose essay on the social oppression of the Mang and Mahar castes is also now famous.
    The celebration of "Shiv Jayanti"(Birth day of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj)for the first time in India has been attributed to him. He also discovered the "Samadhi" of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on Raigad Fort which had disappeared in creepers and climbers. He wrote "Shivajicha powada" an epic poem.

    Title of 'Mahatma'

    According to D.J. Keer,  Jotirao Phule was bestowed with the unique title of 'Mahatma' on 11 May 1888 by another great social reformer from Mumbai, Rao Bahadur Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar. As the history goes, Jyotirao Phule had completed 60 years of his age and 40 years of social service fighting for the rights of the 'bahujans'. To mark this achievement, it was decided by the bahujans and satyashodhak leaders and workers to felicitate Jotirao Phule. Rao Bahadur Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar, Narayan Meghaji Lokhande were in the forefront for arranging this function. Rao Bahadur Vandekar and his fellow workers decided to bestow the title of 'Mahatma' on Jotirao Phule for his dedicated service in the cause of humanity. Hon. Sayajirao Maharaj of Baroda, who also was invited for this function, could not attend the function. He had sent a message that Jotirao Phule be bestowed with the title of ‘Hindustan's Booker T. Washington’. However, Rao Bahadur Vithalrao Vandekar explained the reasons for bestowing the title of 'Mahatma' on Jotirao Phule justifying it to be apt for the great work and sacrifice of Jotirao Phule for the downtrodden. On 11 May 1888, a function was arranged in the meeting hall of ‘Mumbai Deshastha Maratha Dnyati-Dharma Sanstha’ at Mandvi, Koliwada, Mumbai for felicitating Jotirao Phule. As the function began, Rao Bahadur Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar explained in detail about the work and sacrifice of Jotirao Phule and his struggle for the rights of the downtrodden bahujans. He then garlanded Jotirao Phule and declared that ‘we people present here, with swasphurti, are bestowing the title of Mahatma upon Jotirao Phule!’. Thus Jotirao Phule came to be known as Mahatma Jotirao Phule thereafter. Information of the above historic event has been given in detail in the Hindi book 'Yugpurush Mahatma Phule' published by the Government of Maharashtra on 11 May 1993 to mark the 105th anniversary of the above historic function. This book has been written by Murlidhar Jagtap and published by Mahatma Phule Charitra Sadhaney Prakashan Samiti, c/o Higher & Technical Education Dept., Government of Maharashtra, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032. The then Hon. Chief Minister, Govt. of Maharashtra Shri Sharad Pawar & Co-ordinator, Mahatma Phule Charitra Sadhaney Prakashan Samiti, Govt. of Maharashtra Shri Hari Narke etc. have written foreword/introduction for this book. he had 40 years of social service


    • The full length statue inaugurated at the premises of Vidhan Bhavan (Assembly Building of Maharasthra State), by the auspicious hands of then the Chief Minister and other dignitaries.
    • The Crawford Market in Mumbai is officially named after him and is known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai.
    • Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth in Rahuri, Ahmednagar District, Maharastra.
    • Mandai (Pune) officially known as Mahathma Phule Mandai is the biggest vegetable market in Pune City, India.
    The wholesale vegetable market in Nagpur, Maharashtra (India) is also named after him.Subharti College of Physiotherapy was formerly named after him Jyotirao Phule physiotherapy college. Noted playwright G.P. Deshpande’s biographical play Satyashodhak(The Truth Seeker)was first performed by Jan Natya Manch in 1992.


    Krantisurya Phule has many followers. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the first minister of law of Republic India and the architect of Indian Constitution was inspired by his noble work towards humanity. Noted freedom fighter and Gandhian Leader like Mukundrao Bhujbal Patil who is Ex. President of Bombay Pradesh Congress Committee was the one who tried to bring the work done by Jyotirao Phule, into a limelight. There are many followers of the work done by him, one among those is Hon. Minister of Maharashtra Chhagan Bhujbal founder of Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, an organisation works for social upliftment of dalits and OBCs and M.S.Chandramohan,writer,he is very much inspired by the work done by Phule especially creating social education system. V.G.R Naragoni is an OBC leader in andhra pradesh got inspired by Phule and followed him and conduct deep research on Phule movements and wrote several books on Phule like "Bahujana Vudhyama Radha Saradhulu.Vijay Tilekar(S.E.M.) a social worker & follower of Jyotirao Phule Ex.President of Mahatma Phule CO-OP.Credit Society. Mumbai Mahrashtra. Today entire family of Saini,Maurya,Shakya,Kushwah consider Mahatma Jyotirao Phule as their 'Ideal' and are following his teachings.

    Published works

    His famous published works are
    • Tritiya Ratna, 1855
    • Brahmananche Kasab,1869
    • Powada : Chatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle Yancha, [English: Life Of Shivaji, In Poetical Metre],June 1869
    • Powada: Vidyakhatyatil Brahman Pantoji, June 1869
    • Manav Mahammand (Muhammad) (Abhang)
    • Gulamgiri [full name in English: Slavery: In The Civilized British Government Under The Clock Of Brahmanism],1873. Literally meaning slavery, this book was inspired by the American civil war. He gave a message to the lower castes to take inspiration from America
    • Shetkarayacha Aasud (Cultivator's Whipcord), July 1881
    • Satsar Ank 1, June 1885
    • Satsar Ank 2, October 1885
    • Ishara, October 1885
    • Gramjoshya sambhandi jahir kabhar, (1886)
    • Satyashodhak Samajokt Mangalashtakasah Sarva Puja-vidhi, 1887
    • Sarvajanik Satya Dharma Poostak, April 1889
    • Sarvajanic Satya Dharmapustak, 1891
    • Akhandadi Kavyarachana
    • Asprashyanchi Kaifiyat

    Dr. Joseph D'souza

    Dr. Joseph D’souza Speaks about Dalit Issues on TV

    International President
    Dr. Joseph D’souza leads multiple organizations both in India and internationally. He is the International President of the Dalit Freedom Network and is particularly concerned about human rights issues in India and other parts of Asia. He has spoken at both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong Human Rights Conferences. He has spoken at the Human Rights Commission meetings in Geneva and has had discussions with Mary Robinson, the previous United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). In addition, he has been a delegate at meetings with members of Parliament in Switzerland, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and Congressional leaders in the United States. He has been interviewed and quoted on Dalit freedom issues in the Asian News Service, the BBC, National Public Radio, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
    Dr. D’souza founded DFN USA in 2002. Today there are DFN offices in Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, and partner offices in nearly 25 nations. Dr. D’souza is also the President of the All India Christian Council, one of the largest interdenominational coalitions of Christians in India that deal with national and human rights issues**.
    In 2005, Dr. D’souza published his first book, Dalit Freedom Now and Forever. It traces the history of the Dalit quest for emancipation and the response of the Indian church.
    In 2007, Dr. D’souza published his second book, On the Side of the Angels, a seminal text for all persons interested in justice, human rights, and Kingdom mission.
    Dr. D’souza lives in India and operates out of London and Washington, D.C.
    His heroic, courageous cry to all the world: End Dalit Trafficking——Make Slavery History in India!
    Email Dr. D’souza:

    Lankapalli Bullayya

    Lankapalli Bullayya (1918–1992) was an innovative Indian educator and vice-chancellor of Andhra University, Andhra Pradesh. He was the first Dalit to be appointed vice-chancellor of an Indian university.Bullayya born in 1918 in Peravali, near Vemuru, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. He had to travel long distances to receive his education. Bullayya received a B.A. degree with honours from Andhra University, and served as principal of a B.Ed. college in Kurnool. He later became a Distric Educational Officer in Kurnool, Krishna and other districts and served in the Education Department as a senior-level officer. After the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1953, Bullayya was appointed Director of Public Instruction. As Director of Higher Education for the government of Andhra Pradesh, he was instrumental in bringing about educational reform.

    He considered the 10+2+3 plan in Andhra Pradesh before it was recommended by the Kothari Commission, and was given the responsibility of strengthening the educational system from primary to university level. In November 1968 Bullaya was appointed vice-chancellor, continuing in that post until December 1974. He sympathised with socially- and economically-disadvantaged students, and was concerned about their welfare. Academic, curricular and examination reforms (among them the introduction of the semester system), abolition of external examinations and the detention system, and continuous assessment marked his tenure. During this period the departments of education, geography, biochemistry, human genetics and physical anthropology were established along with foreign-language courses (German, French and Russian).

    Six affiliated colleges were permitted to establish postgraduate departments in select subjects for the purpose of decentralisation. Coaching classes for civil-service examinations and the Continuing Education Scheme were introduced. For the first time in South India, a School of Correspondence Courses was established due to Bullayya's efforts. He was an able administrator and maintained a rapport with the central and state governments, directed toward the betterment of the university. When university buildings were badly damaged after the 1970 cyclone which struck Visakhapatnam Bullayya showed photographs of the damage to University Grants Commission authorities in New Delhi, seeking grants for the repair of the buildings. The UGC granted funds not only for repairs, but for constructing new buildings.

    Bullayya later served at the Union Public Service Commission in an advisory capacity on behalf of Telugu-speaking candidates at the UPSC Interview Board. He was chairman of the Andhra Pradesh and all-India units of the Boy Scouts and a director on the Andhra Bank Board. Bullayya's wife, Samyuktha, was also an educator and former chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Housing Board. His nephews Lankapally Ramesh Babu and Suresh Babu are public servants in Sanjeeva Reddy Nagar, Hyderabad. Dr. Bullayya College at Visakhapatnam was named for him. He founded the Dr. V.S. Krishna Government College in remembrance of his predecessor as vice-chancellor Vasireddy Sri Krishna, and was more concerned about that school than the one named after himself. A bust of Bullayya has been installed in the School of Distance Education in Visakhapatnam.

    Tarabai Shinde

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Tarabai Shinde
    Buldhana, Berar Province, British India
    Occupationfeminist, women's rights activist, writer
    Notable workStri Purush Tulana (A Comparison Between Women and Men) (1882)
    Tarabai Shinde (1850–1910) was a feminist activist who protested patriarchy and caste in 19th century India. She is known for her published work, Stripurush Tulana ("A Comparison Between Women and Men"), originally published in Marathi in 1882. The pamphlet is a critique of upper-caste patriarchy, and is often considered the first modern Indian feminist text. It was very controversial for its time in challenging the Hindu religious scriptures themselves as a source of women's oppression, a view that continues to be controversial and debated today.

    Early life and family

    Born in 1850 to Bapuji Hari Shinde in Buldhana, Berar Province, in present-day Maharashtra, she was a founding member of the Satyashodhak Samaj, Pune. Her father was a radical and head clerk in the office of Deputy Commissioner of Revenues, he also published a book titled, "Hint to the Educated Natives" in 1871. There was no girls' school in the area. Tarabai was the only daughter and was taught Marathi, Sanskrit and English by her father. She also had four brothers. Tarabai was married when quite young, but was granted more freedom in the household than most other Marathi wives of the time since her husband moved into her parents' home.

    Social wor

    Shinde was an associate of social activists Jotirao and Savitribai Phule and was a founding member of their Satyashodak Samaj ("Truth Finding Community") organisation. The Phules shared with Shinde an awareness of the separate axes of oppression that constitute gender and caste, as well as the intermeshed nature of the two.

    Stri Purush Tulana

    In her essay, Shinde criticised the social inequality of caste, as well as the patriarchal views of other activists who saw caste as the main form antagonism in Hindu society. According to Susie Tharu and K. Lalita, "...Stri Purush Tulana is probably the first full fledged and extant feminist argument after the poetry of the Bhakti Period. But Tarabai's work is also significant because at a time when intellectuals and activists alike were primarily concerned with the hardships of a Hindu widow's life and other easily identifiable atrocities perpetrated on women, Tarabai Shinde, apparently working in isolation, was able to broaden the scope of analysis to include the ideological fabric of patriarchal society. Women everywhere, she implies, are similarly oppressed."
    Stri Purush Tulana was written in response to an article which appeared in 1881, in Pune Vaibhav, an orthodox newspaper published from Pune, about a criminal case against a young Brahmin (upper-caste) widow, Vijayalakshmi in Surat, who had been convicted of murdering her illegitimate son for the fear of public disgrace and ostracism and sentenced to be hanged (later appealed and modified to transportation for life). Having worked with upper-caste widows who were forbidden to remarry, Shinde was well aware of incidents of widows being impregnated by relatives. The book analysed the tightrope women must walk between the "good woman" and the "prostitute". The book was printed at Shri Shivaji Press, Pune, in 1882 with 500 copies at cost nine annas but hostile reception by contemporary society and press, meant that she did not publish again. The work however was praised by Jyotirao Phule, a prominent Marathi social reformer, who referred to Tarabai as chiranjivini (dear daughter) and recommended her pamphlet to colleagues. The work finds mention in the second issue of Satsar, the magazine of Satyashodhak Samaj, started by Jyotiba Phule in 1885, however thereafter the work remained largely unknown till 1975, when it was rediscovered and republished.


    From the introduction:
    "I'm just a poor woman without any real intelligence, who's been kept locked up and confined...But every day now we have to look at some new and more horrible example of men who are really wicked, and their shameless lying tricks. And people go about pinning the blame on women all the time, as if everything bad was their fault. When I saw this, my whole mind began churning and shaking.. I lost all my fear, I just couldn't stop myself writing about it in this very biting language."
    "So is it true that only women's bodies are home to all the different kinds of recklessness and vice? Or have men got just the same faults as we find in women?"

    Moses Parmar

    With more than 25 years experience in holistic, transformational work, Moses Parmar is DFN’s North India Director. He oversees a staff of more than 1,000 Indian national workers serving among north India’s Dalit communities, bringing high quality English-medium education to Dalit children. Additionally, Moses and his team focus on empowerment for Dalit women, and indigenous expressions of freedom of conscience for Dalits. Moses also serves as the North India Public Relations officer of the All India Christian Council (AICC). Moses has traveled extensively internationally and spoken to groups ranging in size from of 50 to 50,000. He is an excellent storyteller as he relates what is happening in India and around the world in a manner in which all audiences can relate.

    To contact Mr. Parmar, please email or call 202-375-5000.

    KC Das


    Nobin Chandra left his legacy to his worthy son Krishna Chandra Das (1869-1934). A chip off the old block, Krishna Chandra enlarged his inheritance of his father’s genius in the art of Bengali sweetmeats. What is more, he implanted in his family a spirit of exploration that keeps on seeking new vistas outside the beaten track. It is owing to the pioneering efforts of the Das family that today the “Rossogolla” may be fairly regarded as the national sweet of India.

    Besides being privileged to have a great father, Krishna Chandra inherited a legacy of inspiration from his mother’s family. His mother Kshirodmoni, was the granddaughter of Bholanath Dey, better known as “Bholamoira” in the history of nineteenth century Bengal. Bholamoira holds a place in Bengali folklore and culture, not just as a professional confectioner but as a legendary poet-minstrel.

    ROSSOMALAI- Invented by K.C.Das

    Krishna Chandra was married to Swetangini Devi who was known to be a great beauty. They had five sons and one daughter. In 1930, Krishna Chandra started his first shop, “Krishna Chandra Das Confectioner” with his youngest son Sarada Charan. Sarada Charan Das had started his career as the research assistant under the eminent scientist, Nobel Laureate Dr. C.V. Raman between 1926 and 1930. Krishna Chandra also created the “Rossomalai”, another perennial favourite. To popularize the “Rossomalai”, Krishna Chandra opened a new sweet shop at Jorasanko in 1930. From there he also introduced the canned Rossogolla, which was the first and only canned dessert manufactured in the country at that time. Unfortunately, Krishna Chandra died within four years of the opening. He left the reins in the able hands of his son and successor, Sarada Charan (1906-1992). In 1946, K. C. Das was incorporated as a private limited company under the Companies Act, with Sarada Charan as its founder Governing Director.


    - The first Indian dessert to be canned for global market

    Today there is immense scope for the Indian dairy industry to exploit the market for indigenous dairy-based sweetmeats (e.g.,“channa” and “khoa” based sweets) using new technologies for mass production. Fully aware of this, K.C.Das (P) Ltd. has long been involved in introducing mechanical production of high quality indigenous sweets. Their products have carved for them a valuable niche among sweet-lovers across the globe. The cottage technology of Nobin Chandra’s 1866 shop has morphed into an industry today through the development and growth of K.C.Das Private Ltd. and with the introduction of modern methods of production. The products have carved a valuable niche among the sweet-lovers across the globe. Despite hurdles, the K.C.Das organization has been untiring in its drive for newer, more scientific and hygienic methods of production and packaging. The steam-based, environment-friendly production technology, entirely designed by Sarada Charan, operates in all the factories of the company. It is this technology that has enabled the company to meet and even surpass all national standards and equal the standards of international trades in such foods.
    On the occasion of Sarada Charan’s birth centenary and the Platinum Jubliee of the “K.C.Das” name, the company is pledged to continue its fourfold vision. First and foremost, it will go on broadening the consumer’s awareness of traditional sweets and savouries of India. It will standardize the ingredient mix of indigenous sweetmeats and snack foods upgrading and automating the production. It will control quality at every stage, from raw-material procurement to the packaging of the product, significantly increasing the shelf-life of indigenous sweets and savouries produced by mechanised processes.
    Finally, it will establish worldwide a reputation and a vibrant market for Indian sweets and snack food. The company thus continuously strives to meet not just domestic demand for sweets but also the responsibilities that accompany a presence in global markets. 
    Birsa Munda

    Birsa Munda, photograph in Roy

    15 November 1875

    Ulihatu, Ranchi

    9 June 1900

    Ranchi Jail
    Birsa Munda  (1875–1900) was a tribal leader and a folk hero, belonging to the Munda tribe who was behind the Millenarian movement that rose in the tribal belt of modern day Bihar, and Jharkhand during the British raj, in the late 19th century making him an important figure in the history of the Indian independence movement.
    His portrait hangs in the Central Hall of Indian Parliament, the only tribal leader to have been so honoured. Birsa Munda is named with great respect as one of the freedom fighters in the Indian struggle for independence against British colonialism. His achievements in the freedom struggle became even greater considering he accomplished this before his 25th year. 

     Early Childhood

    Birsa Munda was born on 15 November in the year 1875 on a Thursday, and hence was named after the day of his birth according to the then prevalent Munda custom. The folk songs reflect popular confusion and refer to both Ulihatu and Chalkad as his birthplace. Ulihatu was the birthplace of Sugana Munda, father of Birsa. The claim of Ulihatu rests on Birsa’s elder brother Komta Munda living in the village and on his house which still exists albeit in a dilapidated condition.

    Birsa’s father, mother Karmi Hatu, and younger brother, Pasna Munda, left Ulihatu and proceeded to Kurumbda near Birbanki in search of employment as labourers or crop-sharers (sajhadar) or ryots. At Kurmbda Birsa’s elder brother, Komta, and his sister, Daskir, were born. From there the family moved to Bamba where Birsa’s elder sister Champa was born followed by himself.
    Soon after Birsa’s birth, his family left Bamba. A quarrel between the Mundas and their ryots in which his father was involved as a witness was the immediate reason for proceeding to Chalkad, Sugana’s mother’s village, where they were granted refuge by Bir Singh, the Munda of the village. Birsa’s birth ceremony was performed at Chalkad. As a Munda, he was very respectable in the society and also it was said that Birsa had the strength of 100 elephants as he was seen bending British rifles by his own hands and also he was seen tearing machines made by the British in the factories that they attacked.

    After childhood

    Birsa Munda had a very nice and joyful childhood. He was a boy living with Britishers. Birsa’s early years were spent with his parents at Chalkad. His early life could not have been very different from that of an average Munda child. Folklore refers to his rolling and playing in sand and dust with his friends, and his growing up strong and handsome in looks; he grazed sheep in the forest of Bohonda. When he grew up, he shared an interest in playing the flute, in which he became adept, and so movingly did he play that all living beings came out to listen to him. He went round with the tuila, the one-stringed instrument made from the pumpkin, in the hand and the flute strung to his waist. Exciting moments of his childhood were spent on the akhara (the village dancing ground). One of his ideal contemporaries and who went out with him, however, heard him speak of strange things.

    Driven by poverty Birsa was taken to Ayubhatu, his maternal uncle’s village. Komta Munda, his eldest brother, who was ten years of age, went to Kundi Bartoli, entered the service of a Munda, married and lived there for eight years, and then joined his father and younger brother at Chalkad. At Ayubhatu Birsa lived for two years. He went to school at Salga, run by one Jaipal Nag. He accompanied his mother’s younger sister, Joni, who was fond of him, when she was married, to Khatanga, her new home. He came in contact with a pracharak who visited a few families in the village which had been converted to Christianity and attacked the old Munda order.

    He remained so preoccupied with himself or his studies that he left the sheep and goat in his charge to graze in the fields covered with crops to the dismay of their owners. He was found no good for the job and was beaten by the owner of field. He left the village and went to his brother at Kundi Bartoli, and stayed with him for some time. From there he probably went to the German mission at Burju where he passed the lower primary examination.He also studied at Chaibasa at Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Mission school run by German missionaries. Birsa was a man mostly seen roaming in the forest and village of Chota Nagpur in Bihar.He died in 1900 on June 9 because of hajaa.

     Formative Period (1886-1894)

    Birsa’s long stay at Chaibasa from 1886 to 1890 constituted a formative period of his life. The influence of Christianity shaped his own religion. This period was marked by the German and Roman Catholic Christian agitation. Chiabasa was not far for the centre of the Sardars’ activities influenced Sugana Munda in withdrawing his son from the school. The sardars agitation in which Birsa was thus caught up put the stamp of its anti-missionary and anti-Government character on his mind. Soon after leaving Chaibasa in 1890 Birsa and his family gave up their membership of the German mission in line with the Sardar’s movement against it.
    He left Corbera in the wake of the mounting Sardar agitation. He participated in the agitation stemming form popular disaffection at the restrictions imposed upon the traditional rights of the Mundas in the protected forest, under the leadership of Gidiun of Piring in the Porhat area. During 1893-4 all waste lands in villages, the ownership of which was vested in the Government, were constituted into protected forests under the Indian Forest Act VII of 1882. In Singhbhum as in Palamau and Manbhum the forest settlement operations were launched and measures were taken to determine the rights of the forest-dwelling communities. Villages in forests were marked off in blocks of convenient size consisting not only of village sites but also cultivable and waste lands sufficient of the needs of villages. In 1894, Birsa had grown up into a strong and handsome young man, shrewd and intelligent. He was tall for a Munda, 5 feet and 4 inches, and could perform the feat of repairing the Dombari tank at Gorbera damaged by rains. His real appearance was extraordinary pleasant: his features were regular, his eyes bright and full of intelligence and his complexion much lighter than most of his people.

    During the period he had a spell of experience typical of a young man of his age and looks. While on a sojourn in the neighbourhood of village Sankara in Singhbhum, he found suitable companion, presented her parents with jewels and explained to her his idea of marriage. Later, on his return form jail he did not find her faithful to him and left her. Another woman who served him at Chalkad was the sister of Mathias Munda. On his release form prison, the daughter of Mathura Muda of Koensar who was kept by Kali Munda, and the wife of Jaga Munda of Jiuri insisted on becoming wives of Birsa. He rebuked them and referred the wife of Jaga Munda to her husband. Another rather well-known woman who stayed with Birsa was Sali of Burudih.

    Birsa stressed monogamy at a later stage in his life. Birsa rose form the lowest ranks of the peasants, the ryots, who unlike their namesakes elsewhere enjoyed far fewer rights in the Mundari khuntkatti system, while all privileges were monopolized by the members of the founding lineage the ryots were no better than crop-sharers. Birsa’s own experience as a young boy, driven from place to place in search of employment, given him an insight into the agrarian question and forest matters; he was no passive spectator but an active participant in the movement going on in the neighbourhood.

     The Making of a Prophet

    Birsa’s claim to be a messenger of God and the founder of a new religion sounded preposterous to the mission. There were also within his sect converts from Christianity, mostly Sardars. His simple system of offering was directed against the church which levied a tax. And the concept of one God appealed to his people who found his religion and economical relig healer, a miracle-worker, and a preacher spread, out of all proportion to the facts. The Mundas, Oraons, and Kharias flocked to Chalkad to see the new prophet and to be cured of their ills. Both the Oraon and Munda population up to Barwari and Chechari in Palamau became convinced Birsaities. Contemporary and later folk songs commemorate the tremendous impact of Birsa on his people, their joy and expectations at his advent. The name of Dharti Aba was on everybody’s lips. A folk songs in Sadani showed that the first impact cut across the lines of caste Hindus and Muslims also flocked to the new Sun of religion. All roads led to Chalked.

     Birsa Munda and his movement

    The British colonial system intensified the transformation of the tribal agrarian system into feudal state. As the tribals with their primitive technology could not generate a surplus, non-tribal peasantry were invited by the chiefs in Chhotanagpur to settle on and cultivate the land. This led to the alienation of the lands held by the tribals. The new class of Thikadars were of a more rapacious kind and eager to make most of their possessions.
    In 1856 the number of the Jagirdars stood at about 600, and they held from a village to 150 villages. By 1874, the authority of the old Munda or Oraon chiefs had been almost entirely effaced by that of the farmers, introduced by the superior landlord. In some villages the aborigines had completely lost their proprietary rights, and had been reduced to the position of farm labourers.

    To the twin challenges of agrarian breakdown and culture change, Birsa along with the Munda responded through a series of revolts and uprisings under his leadership. The movement sought to assert rights of the Mundas as the real proprietors of the soil, and the expulsion of middlemen and the British. He was treacherously caught on 3 February 1900 and died in mysterious conditions on 9 June 1900 in Ranchi Jail. Though he lived for a very short span of 25 years,he aroused the mind-set of the tribals and mobilised them in a small town of Chhotanagpur and was a terror to the British rulers. After his death the movement faded out . However the movement was significant in at least two ways . First it forced the colonial government to introduce laws so that the land of the tribals could not be easily taken away by the dikus. Second it showed once again that the tibal people had the capacity to protest against injustice and express their anger against colonial rule. They did this in their own way, inventing their own rituals and symbols of struggle.

    Birsa Munda in popular culture

    His birth anniversary which falls on 15 November, is still celebrated by tribal people in as far as Mysore and Kodagu districts in Karnataka, and official function takes place at his Samadhi Sthal, at Kokar Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.Today, there are a number of organizations, bodies and structures named after him, notably Birsa Munda Airport Ranchi, Birsa Institute of Technology Sindri, Birsa Munda Vanvasi Chattravas, Kanpur, Sidho Kanho Birsha University, Purulia, and Birsa Agricultural University. The war cry of Bihar Regiment is Birsa Munda Ki Jai (Victory to Birsa Munda). In 2008, Hindi film based on the life of Birsa, Gandhi Se Pehle Gandhi was directed by Iqbal Durran based on his own novel by the same name. Another Hindi film, "Ulgulan-Ek Kranti (The Revolution)" was made in 2004 by Ashok Saran, in which 500 Birsaits or followers of Birsa acted Ramon Magsaysay Award winner, writer-activist Mahasweta Devi’s historical fiction, "Aranyer Adhikar" (Right to the Forest, 1977), a novel for which she won the Sahitya Akademi Award for Bengali in 1979, is based on his life and the Munda Rebellion against the British Raj in the late 19th century; she later wrote an abridged version Birsa Munda, specifically for young readers


    He is commemorated in the names of the following institutions: Birsa Institute of Technology Sindri, Birsa Agricultural University, and the Sidho Kanho Birsha University. The Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium, Birsa Munda Airport, and the Birsa Seva Dal also pay homage to his name..

    Kanshi Ram - Founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party
    (founded on 14 April 1984, On Lal Quila,Delhi)
    2006) was an Indian politician. He founded the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a political party with the stated goal of serving the traditionally lower castes of Indian society (that historically also included untouchables). He transferred the BSP's leadership to Mayawati. His leadership brought the party to power in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh in 1995, at that point Mayawati became the state's Chief Minister.

    Early life

    Kanshi Ram was born to Bishan Kaur and Hari Singh, of Dalit Ravidassia/Ramdassia/Chamar  Sikh background, at Khawaspur village in Ropar district of Punjab.
    He completed his Bachelor's degree in Science (B.Sc) from the Government College at Ropar affiliated to The Punjab University.


    Kanshi Ram joined the offices of the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), then part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in Pune, through a reserved quota for Scheduled Caste.
    During his tenure in the DRDO in 1965 he joined the agitation started by Scheduled Caste Employees of Government of India to prevent the abolition of a holiday commemorating B.R. Ambedkar's birthday.

    Political career

    In 1978 he formed the, BAMCEF-Backward(SC/ST & OBC) and Minority Community Employees Federation. The BAMCEF was purely non political,Non Religious & Non Agitional organisation. Later on he formed another Social organisation known as DS4.He started his attempt of unifying the Dalit vote bank in 1981 and by 1984 he founded the Bahujan Samaj Party.

    He represented the 11th Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur Constituency, Kanshiram was also elected as member of lok sabha from ETAWAH (UP) . In 2001 he publicly announced Kumari Mayawati as his successor.

    On October 9, 2006, he died of a severe heart attack in New Delhi. Ram, who suffered from multiple ailments such as stroke, diabetes and hypertension, was virtually bed-ridden for more than two years.

    According to his wish, last ritual were performed as per buddhist tradition, the pyre of Kanshi Ram was lit by his soul heir Kumari Mayawati.His ashes were placed in Urn and kept at Prerna Sthal, with huge procession accompanied by lakhs of supports.,
    Retrieved from ""

    B. Shyam Sunder

    B. Shyam Sunder
    BornDecember 21, 1908
    Aurangabad, Maharashtra
    DiedMay 19, 1975 (aged 66)
    Cause of deathMassive heart attack
    Resting placeHyderabad
    Years activeFour decades
    OrganizationBhim Sena
    Political movementEradication of Unaccountability,
    Bhim Sena founder Sri B. Shyam Sunder (21 December 1908 – 19 May 1975) was born in Aurangabad district in Maharashtra St
    ate, India. His father was Sri B. Manicham, a railway employee, and his mother Smt Sudha Bai. He was a political thinker, jurist, prolific writer, parliamentarian and a Revolutionary leader. In 1937, he founded the Dalit-Muslim unity movement at Parbhani in Aurangabad, Maharashtra and urged his people to join hands with Muslims.He was a Legislator representing Andhra Pradesh and Mysore State.

    In 1956, He established "All India Federal Association of Minorities" at Hyderabad and finally organised a movement for Bahujans in 1968 at Lucknow district in Uttar Pradesh State and formally declared that Minorities slogan "India is ours." He inaugurated Bhim Sena a voluntary corps force, at Gulbarga in Karnataka State which later spread to all parts of India. RajshekharVT an eminent Dalit schlor, writer and editor Dalit Voice credited him as Father of Dalits Movements in India.

    Shyam Sunder was born on 21 December 1908 in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra State which was then part of Nizam of Hyderabad princely state. He completed his early schooling at Aurangabad. He was greatly moved by the caste ill-feelings and practice of untouchability and his agitated mind took him to Buddha's Ajanta Caves to seek solace. When his family moved to Hyderabad, he enrolled in the Osmania University Hyderabad, graduating in Political Science, Economics and went on to earn a law degree. He could speak Urdu, English and Marathi. He was popular among the student community and he was elected Senate and Syndicate member of the Osmania University. He entered active politics and joined the student wing of Depressed Classes Association; he was chosen General Secretary and later became its President in 1947.Early life and educationHe practiced law briefly and joined the Swadeshi movement under the leadership of Smt Sarojini Naiduand served as its General Secretary to Andhra Pradesh. He was elected the President of Literary Society of Hyderabad. He accepted the membership of Exhibition Society to Hyderabad. He was elected unopposed from Graduate Constituency, to Hyderabad Legislative Assembly and later served as its Deputy Speaker www.sikhvicharma

    He was a part of Nizam's delegation to UNO. Sri PR Venkat Swamy, who authored Our Struggle for Emancipation, says "the entry of Shyam Sunder is a red day in the history of Depressed Class Movement" and mentions he was fondly addressed as Queid-e-Pusthakhome [Leader of Depressed Class]. The Nizam of Hyderabad conferred Khusro-e-Deccan, highest civilian award, on Shyam Sunder for his yeoman service. Mr Rajsheker VT editor Dalit Voice, an eminent Dalit writer, gives a graphic picture of Shyam Sunder and achievement of Bhim Sena.

    Missions of life

    Shyam Sunder was a social-political and ideological leader of the Mool Bharathis during pre- and post-independence period. He was able to alleviate the conscience of his brethren by making them realise they are not Untouchable but they Mool Bharathis of India; they are born Buddhist and builders of Harappan civilization and heir apparent to rule this land. He strove hard to provide education facilities and fought for land reforms for his brethren. He spearheaded a movement to federate Minorities and Bahujans to fight for their legitimate constitutional rights.

    We are not Hindus, we are born Buddhist

    Hinduism has a practice of "untouchability", wherein certain people are Untouchable. The Father of Nation, Sri Mahatma Gandhi, fondly said they are Harijan, meaning sons of God. The Constitution of India declared they are Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and Human Right activists say they are Dalit. Shyam Sunder, from the beginning of his political career, bluntly refuted this, saying "We are not Hindus, we have nothing to do with the Hindu caste system, yet we have been included among them by them and for them."

    Dalit-Muslim unity movement

    Change! Change swiftly; if you do not change now you will nevr change!" said Shyam Sunder at the "All India Depressed Classes Association" Conference on 30–31 May 1941 at Parbhani in Aurangabad District held under his Presidentship. He laid the foundation for Dalit-Muslim Unity Movement. It was decided in the conference that the untouchables should abandon all the traditional activities and get themselves freed from untouchability and caste system. He read sixty-four pages printed presidential address known as Khutbe-e-Sadarat and asked his people to raise a banner of militant revolt against caste system and join hands with the Muslims. He was a fiery pro Muslim leader. It turned out to be a social-cultural movement and has contributed to the sociology of development He was the apostle of Dalit-Muslim unity movement in India. Sheetal Markan's Blog it has contributed for political awareness between both communities.

    Contribution to education

    In 1932, His Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad set up the "One Crore Scheduled Caste Welfare Fund". Shyam Sunder was a trustee member for three years To avoid caste ill-feeling among students, the trust opened Madarsa-e-Pushthkhome schools, residential hostels and to combat school dropout, it distributed monthly scholarships and even clothes to the students. This kind of education scheme was not found elsewhere in India. Dr. Ambedkar started the People's Educational Society at Aurangabad; aforementioned trust gave twelve lakhs rupees as a grant and the Nizam of Hyderabad personally gave two hundred acres of land to the Society With these donations, Milind College, the first PES institution at Aurangabad, was established. Shyam Sunder served as Executive Council Member to the Society from 1964-66.

    Land Reforms

    Shyam Sunder realised that land alone could bring a qualitative-quantitative change in the lives of his brethren. PR Venkat Swamy recalls that he organized a mammoth rally of landless peasants at Hyderabad. He demanded land reforms from Nizam's State government, asking his followers to encroach on government-held “Gairan” land and even surplus lands of landed gentry. Dalits occupying agricultural lands belonging to the Government and privately held properties were first noticed in this part of India.He proposed many amendments to land reform bills in the Karnataka Assembly and his contributions are hailed. But the feudal mentality were stumbling blocks for successful land reform; thus he went to the extent of demanding a MoolBharathi State Dalitsatan Land distribution.

    Addressed UN Security Council

    He was part of Nizam's delegation to the UN Security Council. He is the first post-independent untouchables leader who addressed the UN security council. He as a sole representative of the ninety lakh Depressed class people formed a part of the delegation took advantage of his presence among the representative of world nations. He gave the Security Council a clear picture of the embittered strife between groups and inhuman conditions of the suppressed masses of independent India. His comparison of the pathetic plight of the depressed Classes of India to the segregation of Negros in the United States created an indelible impression in the world diplomatic parlors. He was given a place of honour everywhere, as the true representative of sixty millions "untouchables", "Unapproachable", "Unseeable" and "Unshadowable" people.
    The Indian governments Operation Polo where in Nizam signed an accession treaty with government and Shyam Sunder cut short his European tour and returned to India. He was kept under house arrest at his sisters house in Pune and later freed. He renewed his political activities and contested first General Election from Chanchal Guda constituency from Hyderabad and he lost the election. But, he was later elected to Mysore Legislative Assembly from Bhalki constituency in Bidar district.In 1962 He contested for an Assembly seat from Aland constitutiency in Gulbarga district and Lok Sabha seat from Bidar district and lost both election. After the demise of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia he became the president of Praja Socialist Party.

    Minorities Movement

    With the blessings of Sardar Master Tara Singh, on 13 October 1956 Shyam Sunder formed "All India Federal Association of Minorities" at Hyderabad. Shyam Sunder also wrote the pamphlet Federation is a must for Indian Minorities; his demands for Minorities included enforcement of their Constitutional rights, preservation of culture, electoral reforms, and even nationalisation of Administration Problems of India Minorities. His main objectives were to undertake a nationwide educative campaign in favor of secularism, to ensure that minorities were not denied their constitutional rights, and a fair deal in recruitment for civil and military appointments and admissions to educational and technical institutions. Articles 29 and 30 of the constitution of India (part III) were implemented in letters as well as in spirit so far as the minorities are concerned. He warned minorities that "the alternative before the minorities is federate or face a lingering death.". National Integration and Problems of Minorities" He specifically suggests safeguards such as effective representation of minorities in Parliament and Legislature, safety of their life and culture and re iterates the re-organisation of states and further he says prejudice and discrimination against minorities hurts the country more than its victims.

    Four Immediate Needs of 12 Crore Suppressed Human beings in India

    On 26 January 1968 a conference of "All India Scheduled Caste Federation" conference was held at Nanded District in Maharashtra State under the Presidentship of Shyam Sunder. He thundered that the practice of Apartheid is a racial one and untouchability is religious in nature. The "ghetto apartheid" has been operation for three thousand years in India in spite of India’s Constitutional provisions for Scheduled Caste has made no differences in the practice of untouchability and they are living in burning furnace and conference also decided to co-ordinate all political parties.
    The federation put forth Four Demands: Separate settlement, separate election for them, establishment of a separate University at Milind college in Aurangabad or Siddharth College at Bombay and lastly, form an education trust funded by the government of India.

    Bhim Sena

    He created Bhim Sena, a voluntary corps force, on 29 April in Gulbarga district in Karnataka on the seventy-seventh anniversary of the birth of Dr. B.R. Ambedker. Bhim Sena is a self-defense movement based on truth and non-violence. Shyam Sunder wished to create Dalitastan, a country for Untouchables, and desired an alliance between the Dalits, the Muslims and the Untouchables. For this reason, Bhim Sena became popular. The Bhim Sena movement was a caste struggle rather than a class struggle, to confront Hindus militarily. The main objectives of Bhim Sena were three-fold: twenty five percent villages to be surrendered to them, a separate electorate, and separate elections and a separate University for them.

    Father of Bahujans Movement

    Shyam Sunder held a conference concerning Scheduled Caste, Minorities, Backward Classes and other Minorities Convention at Lucknow district in Uttar Pradeshon 12 and 13 October in 1968. Periyar E. V. Ramasamy,Dr.Fareedi, Bhante Bhadat, and Anand Kausalyayan attended. In his Presidential address he put forth several demands. He demanded remodeling of para military forces, division of bigger states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra and Bihar into two or more states. He advocated that Minorities should be treated as corporate entities and be given autonomy to conduct their affairs.

    An Appeal to UNO

    He sought UNO’s intervention to form separate settlements for untouchables, and appealed for a plebiscite to elucidate the desires of members of Scheduled Caste in regards remaining in Hinduism, and similarly in his book They Burn.
    The Mool Bharathi B. Shyam Sunder Memorial Society® was formed after the demise of Shyam Sunder. The society has published his books and assisting research students in various universities.

    Books by B. Shyam Sunder

    Mool Bharathis

    1. They burn: the 160,000,000 untouchables of India
    2. The four immediate needs of twelve crores suppresses human beings in India : resolutions passed unanimously
    3. Veda Mecum for Mool Bharatis
    4. Bhim Sena kya Chahati hai (Urdu)
    5. Problems of Scheduled Caste
    6. Harijans and General Elections
    7. Neo-Buddhist Claims as Scheduled Caste
    8. The Plight of Scheduled Caste in India Petition to Lok Sabha
    9. National Integration and Problems of Indian Minorities
    10. Danger Ahead for Minorities let us Unite and Face them
    11. Federation is a Must for Indian Minorities
    12. Problems of Indian Minorities

    On Bahujans

    1. Presidential Address Uttar Pradesh Minorities and Backward Classes Convention (English, Urdu and Hindi)
    2. Khutebe-e-Sadarat, Parbhani Presidential Address in (Urdu)
    3. Deeksha (Hindi, Urdu and English)
    4. Bhoodevataon ka Manifesto (Hindi, Kannada and Urdu)
    5. Educational conference at Hyderabad (Urdu)
    6. Zionist Plot to Dominate the World
    7. Today’s Muslims are Tomorrows Harijans
    8. Interview to Meherab Urdu Digest

    On Hinduism

    1. Bhudevataon ka Manifesto (Hindi and Kannada)
    2. UDHR Must be Honored in India
    3. The Menace of the Dragon

    Rettamalai Srinivasan

    Rettamalai Srinivasan
    Born(1859-07-07)July 7, 1859
    Madras Presidency
    September 18, 1945(1945-09-18) (aged 86)
    Madras Presidency
    lawyer, journalist

    Diwan Bahadur R. Srinivasan (1860–1945), also known as Rettamalai Srinivasan (Tamil: இரட்டைமலை சீனிவாசன்) was a Dalit activist, politician and freedom fighter from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is a Dalit icon and Mahatma Gandhi’s close associate, remembered today as one of the pioneers of the Dalit movement in India.

    Early life

    Rettamalai Srinivasan was born in 1860 in a poor Dalit (Paraiyar) family in Madras Presidency. He was a brother-in-law of the famous Dalit activist Iyothee Thass. He worked as a translator in a South African court when Gandhi was practicing there as an advocate; he was instrumental in the father of the nation putting his signature in Tamil as ‘Mo.Ka. Gandhi’ (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Tamil).

    Srinivasan established and led the Paraiyar Mahajana Sabha in 1891 which later became the Adi-Dravida Mahajana Sabha. He founded a Tamil newspaper called Paraiyan in October 1893 which started selling as a monthly with four pages for the price of four annas. However, Paraiyan experienced great difficulties in its early days.

    Srinivasan was a participant in the freedom movement and an arrest warrant was issued against him claiming that he was fleeing the nation. In 1896, a case was filed against the newspaper and Srinivasan was dragged to the court citing a letter to the editor. The editor Srinivasan was fined Rs. 100 for his writings.

    Front page of the Tamil magazine Paraiyan launched by Rettamalai Srinivasan in 1893

    Round Table Conference

    Rettamalai Srinivasan memorial building, Gandhi Mandapam, Chennai

    Rettamalai Srinivasan represented the Dalits in the first two round table conferences happened in London(In 1930,1931) along with Dalit leader Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. In 1932, Ambedkar, M. C. Rajah and Rettamalai Srinivasan joined the board of the Servants of Untouchables Society established by Mahatma Gandhi. However, shortly afterwards, the three of them withdrew from the Board. In 1939, with Ambedkar's support, he established the Madras Province Scheduled Castes' Federation.


    Statue of Rettamalai Srinivasan, Gandhi Mandapam, Chennai

    Commemorative stamps have been issued in memory of Rettamalai Srinivasan by the Department of Posts of the Government of India. Cadres of the Viduthalai Siruthaigal party claimed to have discovered the remains of the Dalit leader in Otteri and constructed a memorial over his mortal remains and named it Urimai Kalam. On July 6, 2011, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had directed that his birth anniversary on July 7 be observed as a government function and ministers to honour him by garlanding his statue located inside Gandhi Mandapam, Chennai. Chief Minister Jayalailthaa has given a direction to this effect, according to an official release stated, The birth anniversary of Dalit leader Rettamalai Srinivasan (1859-1945) will be observed every year on July 7 by the State government.

    His grandson B. Parameswaran became a minister in the Government of Tamil Nadu and a member of the Indian parliament.

    Annie Namala

    Annie Namala
    OccupationEducation activist
    Annie Namala is an Indian social activist and has been working for dalit rights. She is head of Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion. She is a vocal voice in the fight of untouchable movement. She was appointed as a member of the National Advisory Council for the implementation of the RTE act in 2010.

    CareerAnnie Namala also worked with Solidarity Group for Children Against Discrimination and Exclusion (SGCADE)

    Annie Namala

    P. Kakkan

    Minister for Home Affairs (Madras state)
    In office
    3 October 1963 – 5 March 1967
    Minister of Agriculture (Madras state)
    In office
    13 March 1962 – 3 October 1963
    Member of Madras Legislative Assembly for Samayanallur
    In office
    Minister of Public Works (Madras state)
    In office
    13 April 1957 – 13 March 1962
    Member of Madras Legislative Assembly for Melur
    In office
    Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for Madurai
    In office
    Succeeded byK. T. K. Thangamani
    Member of Constituent Assembly
    In office
    MonarchGeorge VI of the United Kingdom
    Prime MinisterPandit Jawaharlal Nehru
    Preceded byNone
    Succeeded byNone
    Personal details
    Born18 June 1908
    Nagercoil, Madras Presidency, British India
    Died23 December 1981
    Madras, India
    P. Kakkan (sometimes Kakkan) (Tamil: கக்கன்) (June 18, 1908 – December 23, 1981) was a Dalit leader, freedom fighter and Indian politician who served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, Member of Parliament, President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee and in various ministerial posts in Congress Governments in the erstwhile Madras state between 1957 and 1967.

    Early life

    Kakkan was born in a Scheduled caste family on June 18, 1908 in Village called Thumbaipatti In Melur Taluk, madurai district of Madras Presidency. His father Poosari Kakkan was a "Poosari" in the village shrine.

    Indian Independence Movement

    Kakkan was drawn to the independence movement from an early stage in his life. While in school, he joined the Indian National Congress. When the Rajaji Government brought forth the Temple Entry Authorization and Indemnity Act 1939 which removed restrictions on Dalits and Shanars entering temples, Kakkan led the temple entry at Madurai He also participated in the Quit India Movement and was sent to Alipore jail In 1946, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and served from 1946 to 1950.

    Politics of Free India

    Kakkan served as a member of the Lok Sabha from 1952 to 1957 When K. Kamaraj resigned as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee in order to take office as the Chief Minister of Madras state, Kakkan was elected as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. Following the 1957 elections when the Indian National Congress was re-elected to power in the Madras state, Kakkan was sworn in as the Minister for Public Works (excluding Electricity), Harijan Welfare, Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes on April 13, 1957 From March 13, 1962 to October 3, 1963, Kakkan served as the Minister of Agriculture. On April 24, 1962, he was appointed as a member of the Business Advisory Committee and as Home Minister on October 3, 1963  and served till 1967 when the Indian National Congress was defeated in the Assembly elections.

    Later life and death

    In the 1967 Assembly elections, Kakkan stood for elections from Melur (South) constituency and lost to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate O. P. Raman. Following his defeat in the 1967 elections, Kakkan retired from politics.


    Some of Kakkan's achievements as Minister have been the construction of the Mettur and Vaigai reservoirs and the formation of the Harijan Seva Sangh for the upliftment and welfare of Dalits. As Minister of Agriculture, he established two Agriculture Universities in Madras state. In 1999, the Government of India released a postage stamp commemorating Kakkan and his contributions to the nation.


    Being the son of a priest, Kakkan was deeply religious. He was also a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi. When Periyar, the leader of the Self-respect movement publicly declared his intention to organize a Dravidar Kazhagam procession to the Marina in order to burn pictures of the Hindu God Rama, Kakkan warned Periyar that the desecration of images would constitute an "anti-social act" that would forsake the strong faith in God by which Gandhi won independence for India. When Periyar tried to ignore the warning, he was arrested and confined in prison though the Government was not able to stop Dravidar Kazhagam activists from burning pictures of Lord Rama.


    Kakkan's brother Viswanathan Kakkan an advocate, was a former Vice-President of the Hindu Munnani and a well-known devotee of the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswathi. He unsuccessfully contested the 2006 Assembly election in Tamil Nadu from Perambur as a candidate of the Janata Party

    Annabhau Sathe

    Annabhau Sathe (Devanagari: (अण्णाभाऊ साठे) (1 August 1920 – 18 July 1969) was a social reformer and writer from Maharashtra, India.
    Early life
    Annabhau Sathe was born in the village of Wategaon near Sangli in a family belonging to the Dalit community. (The community has been identified by the Indian government as a SC scheduled caste.)
    Annabhau Sathe was denied education due to his caste. His brother Shankarbhau recounts in his biography of Sathe, titled Majhe Bhau Annabhau, that the family members worked as laborers at the site of Kalyan tunnel when it was being constructed.


    Despite lack of formal education, Sathe wrote in Marathi 35 novels, one among which was Fakira(1959). Fakira, which is currently in its 19th edition, received a state government award in 1961. There are 15 collections of Sathe's short stories. A large number of his short stories have been translated into many Indian and as many as 27 non-Indian languages. Besides novels and short stories, Sathe wrote a play, a travelogue on Russia, 12 screenplays, and 10 ballads --powade(Marahti).
    Sathe wrote directly from his experiences in life, and his novels celebrate the fighting spirit in their characters who work against all odds in life.
    Lok Rajya, a Maharashtra state government fortnightly, published on 1 November 1993, a special commemorative issue concerning Sathe. The state government also issued in 1998 a collection of his works under the title Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Nivadak Sahitya. Amartya shinde and Aditya Shinde, Nerul Navi Mumbai 706 also having good information regarding Annabhau Sathe and his relations with famous film actor Balraj Sahani.

    Other achievements

    To generate social awareness, he organized stage performances of powade and tamasha, ethnic dances chiefly performed by women, which are popular in rural Maharashtra. He produced 14tamasha shows. In the late 1940s, the then Home Minister of the Bombay state governmentMorarji Desai had banned tamasha shows, but Sathe courageously defied the ban by renaming them as lokanatya. People in Maharashtra conferred the epithet lok shahir on Sathe.
    On the issue of a postage stamp of Anna Bhau Sathe at Chembur, Mumbai minister Pramod Mahajan called Anna as a saint of Maharashtra.
    Sathe was an important mobilizer in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. He used the medium of powade to great effect in that movement.
    Sathe was attracted to communism and had visited USSR. He was a founder member of the Lal Bawta Kalapathak of the Communist Party in Maharashtra.
    Sathe lived a life of destitution. After spending 22 years in a Ghatkopar (west), chirag nagar slum, Sathe moved to a modest house in Goregaon which the state government provided him in 1968, one year before he died.
    NAME = Sathe, Annabhau 
    DATE OF BIRTH = August 1, 1920
    DATE OF DEATH = July 18, 1969
    Tukaram alias Annabhau Sathe was born in the village of Wategaon near Sangli in a family belonging to the Dalit Matang community. on 1st August 1920 (The community has been identified by the Indian government as a scheduled caste.)
    Poverty had prevented Sathe from obtaining formal education. His brother Shankarbhau recounts in his biography of Sathe, titled Majhe Bhau Annabhau, that the family members worked as laborers at the site of Kalyan tunnel when it was being constructed.
    Despite lack of formal education, Sathe wrote in Marathi 35 novels, one among which was Fakira(1959). Fakira, which is currently in its 19th edition, received a state government award in 1961. Vaijanta is the remakeble one,
    There are 15 collections of Sathe's short stories. A large number of his short stories have been translated into many Indian and as many as 27 non-Indian languages.
    Besides novels and short stories, Sathe wrote a play, a travelogue on Russia, 12 screenplays, and 10 ballads --powade(Marahti).
    Sathe wrote directly from his experiences in life, and his novels celebrate the fighting spirit in their characters who work against all odds in life.
    Lok Rajya, a Maharashtra state government fortnightly, published on November 1, 1993, a special commemorative issue concerning Sathe. The state government also issued in 1998 a collection of his works under the title Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Nivadak Sahitya.
    Other achievements
    Sathe worked among the poor.
    To generate social awareness, he organized stage performances of powade and tamasha, ethnic dances chiefly performed by women, which are popular in rural Maharashtra. He produced 14 tamashashows. In the late 1940s, the then Home Minister of the Bombay state government Morarji Desai had banned tamasha shows, but Sathe courageously defied the ban by renaming them as lokanatya. People in Maharashtra conferred the epithet lok shahir on Sathe.
    on the occasion of postage stamp of Anna Bhau Sathe at Chembur, Mumbai Honorable minister Mr. Pramod Mahajan, called Ann as a saint of Maharashtra.
    Sathe was an important mobilizer in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. He used the medium of powade to great effect in that movement. on the same occasion he sang a Chakkad as Mazi Maina Gavavar Rahili Mazya Jiwachi hottiya Kahili"-edited by Prof. Balaji Shinde and Amartya shinde, Nerul Navi Mumbai-706.
    Sathe was attracted to communism and had visited USSR. He was a founder member of the Lal Bawta Kalapathak of the Communist Party in Maharashtra. Also Annabhu sathe was the member of Matang Samaj Kaminty at Satara and Sagli.
    Personal life
    Sathe lived a life of destitution. After spending 22 years in a Ghatkopar (west) chirag nagar slum, Sathe moved to a modest house in Goregaon which the state government provided him in 1968, one year before he died.
    Many cultural organizations and roads in Maharashtra have been named after Sathe.

    Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

    Ambedkar delivering a speech to a rally at Yeola, Nashik, on 13 October 1935
    Born14 April 1891  Mhow, Central Provinces, British India (now in Madhya Pradesh)
    Died6 December 1956 (aged 65) Delhi, India
    Other namesBaba, Baba Saheb , Bodhisatva,Bhima , Mooknayak,Adhunik Buddha
    Alma materUniversity of Mumbai
    Columbia University
    University of London
    London School of Economics
    OrganizationSamata Sainik Dal, Independent Labour Party, Scheduled Castes Federation
    Title1st Law Minister of India, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee
    SpouseRamabai Ambedkar (m. 1906) , Savita Ambedkar (m. 1948)
    AwardsBharat Ratna (1990)

     Dr. Ambedkar's Vision for Dalit Upliftment  
    Courtesy: CADAM, New Delhi: Extract From a Souvenir published by the Centre for Alternative Dalit Media (CADAM), Delhi on the occasion of National Conference of Dalit Organisations (New Delhi-10.12.2001) 
    Article by
    Bharati Ashok Kumar,BE,ME (Australia)
    Born as an untouchable with no rights to be an equal in Indian Society, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar educated himself as the most qualified person of his time, inspired untouchable castes to reject Brahmanical Social Order (BSO) that kept them socially degraded, economically poor, culturally despised, politically powerless, and denied them the " basic human rights".  He challenged the leadership of his time by exposing follies of their proposition of freeing India without freeing millions of untouchables, tribals and socially and educationally backward classes living in sub-­human conditions under the Socio-Economic Raj of the Hindus.  As the Chief Architect of free India's New Constitution, he abolished all forms of discriminations and inequalities based on caste, gender, race or status.  But, what was his vision to uplift the Dalits?

    Leadership has always been associated with many attributes. These attributes range from individual persona of the leader to a number of skills such as self-confidence, strong convictions, poise, ability to speak and present his concerns, and influence others' thought and actions.  But it is the articulation of vision in the leadership that taps the conscious or unconscious needs, values, aspirations and feelings of followers such that the leadership enthuse them with shared ideological goal. This paper attempts to define the terms vision and leadership, and then establishes the linkages between the two.  Before exploring actions, programmes of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and vision behind them, attempt has been made to explore the source of his vision.


    Oxford dictionary gives many meanings of the word 'Vision'.  However, when one uses this word in association with the word leadership, it is the act of faculty of seeing or power of discerning future conditions, or the foresightedness.  Therefore, it is the capacity of the leadership to look forward.  It suggests the future orientation and perceiving the possibilities or images of the things to come.  Vision gives the sense of direction.  It can also be referred to as a conceptual road, mapping from the existing position of the Organisation to its destination in the imagined future.  Vision propels one to change for a better future against the maintenance of a status quo.  It connotes a standard of excellence, an ideal and implies a choice of values.  It has quality of uniqueness.  Vision is not for the complacent.  Vision articulates a view of a realistic, credible, attractive future for the Organisation, a condition that is better in some ways than what now exists. Renowned authority on Leadership, Kouzes and Posner reports that not every leader they interviewed used the term vision.  They used purpose, focus, mission, legacy, dream goal, calling or personal agenda.


    Based on leader's personal traits, behaviour, functioning style, decision-making process, leader-follower relationship in relation to different situations, a number of models and approaches of leadership have been developed.  However, there exists two notions of leadership, which are (1) the traditional and (2) the new notions.

    The traditional notions of leadership are based on power and control.  Leaders are supposed to detach themselves from mundane routine work, and limit themselves to inventing a grand plan.  Magnetize a band of followers with courageous acts.  Separate emotions from work and remain lonely at the top.  Being on the top makes them automatically leader, and the leadership is reserved for few.  Traditional notions are 'based on the assumptions that leadership can't be learnt.

    Notions of leadership, however, have changed.  The changed notions, we refer to them as new notions of leadership, contradict the assumptions of born-leaders. They characterise leadership with challenging the process, changing things, and shaking up the Organisation.  It could be a mother, a small model of leadership in her family, a teacher, a principal, and environmentalist, a Chief Executive Officer, or a leader of a community, party or nation.

    The new leadership attracts constituents not because it is in a position to command (e.g. Minister) and control them, but because of its unquestionable faith in the human capacity to adapt, grow, and learn.  The new leadership believes in long-term strategy.  Supernatural powers are not their source of dynamism.  Their powers come from strong belief in a purpose, and willingness to express that conviction.  Instead of commanding and controlling, this leadership serves and supports.  It is involved and in touch with those whom it leads.  The credibility of action is the single most determinant of whether the leader being followed or not.  Therefore, the new leadership is not about a place or a position.  It is an art of mobilising others to strive for shared aspirations.  Leadership communicates these shared aspirations - the vision.  The new notion of leadership, therefore, emphasises the role of vision in the leadership.

    Importance of vision in leadership has been adequately acknowledged.  Burns referred to this kind of leadership as 'Transformational Leadership'.  Kotter expressed it in terms ofthree elementsestablishing direction i.e. vision, strategies for achieving it and aligning people with the chosen direction andproducing change.'


    Vision provides strength and reflects depth in thinking process of the leader.  Vision gives a clear idea of the objectives of the leader.  Warren Bennis in his book 'On Becoming A Leader' says that leaders come in every size, shape and disposition, but they seem to share the basic ingredients of a guiding vision.  Robert Swiggett, as quoted in 'The Leadership Challenge' says "the leaders job is to create a vision. Without vision the leadership has no meaning because the people won't know where the leader wants to go and what he/she wants to do and how he/ she wants to do it." It is the vision that unites the leader and the followers for achieving common goals, and precisely that is what leadership is about.

    Vision brings effectiveness to leadership.  It is a bridge between the present and the future constructed by a leader.  Vision is the manifestation of a leader's judgment and character and a fresh approach or new option to longstanding problems.  Leadership must provide a framework of thought to the people he is leading, as they would not follow without being convinced.


    Dr. B. R. Ambedkar returned to India in 1917 after spending three years at Columbia University in United States of America and one year in London School of Economics.  He has earned a degree of Master of Arts in June 1915 and a Ph. D degree in June1916.  He came to London in October 1916, and enrolled for the degrees of  M. Sc. (Economics) and D.Sc. (Economics) in London School of Economics and Political Science.  He also joined Gray's Inn for Law for the degree of Bar- at - Law.  He returned to India back in August 1917, as the duration of his scholarship granted to him by the Maharaja of Baroda was over.  He was appointed as the Military Secretary to the Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad.  The Maharaja's intention was to appoint Ambedkar his finance Secretary after some experience. But soon Ambedkar had to leave Baroda in sheer disgust at the harassment and treatment he received as an untouchable.  In 1918 he became a professor at Sydenham College, Bombay.  He resigned in 1920, and went again to London to complete his studies.  He returned to India permanently in April 1923.

    Highly educated and articulate, from the very moment of his return in 1917 he was looked to as a leader of the community. In 1919, during a brief period in India between segments of his overseas education, he testified to the Southborough Committee, which was gathering information to determine the franchise for the Montagu-Chemsford reforms.  He also appeared at two major conferences of untouchables during 1920, and launched a Marathi fortnightly MOOKNAYAK (Voice of the Mute or Dumb) in January 1920.  Dr. Ambedkar's testimony reveals the difference between the Ambedkar and the other Mahar leaders as well as the leaders of Untouchables in other parts of India.  In this testimony before the Southborough Committee he spoke for no group, only as the college graduate among the Untouchables of Bombay province.  Eleanor Zelliot in her essay on the Leadership of Baba Saheb Ambedkar says, "His testimony was lengthy, sophisticated, passionate, but never beyond the bound of a lawyer's plea.  He fit his proposal into a total plan for the election procedures in the province for all the groups, asking only that "the hardships and disabilities entailed by the social system should not be reproduced and perpetuated in political institutions.' He claimed that the Depressed Classes were entitled to representation because there was no "like-mind ness" and no  “endosmosis" between Untouchables and Touchables and hence Touchables could not represent Untouchables.  The Depressed Classes were "slaves" "dehumanised", and so "socialised as never to complain" and they must have communal representation "in such numbers as will enable them to claim redress", and under franchise "so low as to educate into political life as many as Untouchables as possible". Terminology used by Dr. Ambedkar in this testimony, indicate formation of his vision.

    Vision in the leadership may spring from its original thinking or may be derived from an outside source.  Vision, however, is generally expressed as the inner voice, the insight or the intuition in a leader, which helps him in visualising.  Kouzes and Posner have defined intuition as the bringing together of knowledge and experience to produce new insights.  Vision may not necessarily be a pure conception of the leader, but the leader is the one who chooses the image and articulates it into a vision and focuses attention of the people on it.  Where from Dr. Ambedkar's vision sprang?  What were the sources of his vision?
    Lord Buddha: Dr. Ambedkar choose his three gurus from three era of Indian History - Ancient, Medieval, and Modern - all historical figures, who chose to stand up and challenge the decaying societies of their times.  His first Guru is Lord Buddha, who had profound influence on him.  Dr. Ambedkar appreciated these beliefs.  He learnt from the life of Lord that a man could become great not merely due to his royal birth, but because he was motivated by the dynamics of a social purpose and acted as the scourge and scavenger of the society.  Lord Buddha led him to question the infallibility of the Vedas; the faith in the elevation of the soul; the efficacy of rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices as means of obtaining salvation; the theory that god created man or that he came out of the body of Brahma; and the doctrine of Karma, which is the determination of man's position in present life by deeds done by him in his past life.  The impact of Lord Buddha's teaching can be seen in his writings.
    Saint Kabir: He was the second guru of Dr. Ambedkar.  Again a historical figure St. Kabir was a weaver cum poet of medieval time.  In fact he was the leader of the band of Untouchable poets.  Saint Kabir opposed Varnashram system vehemently and challenged the superiority of Brahmans.  He opposed fundamentalism of Hindus and Muslims both, and unified himself with the suffering of the downtrodden, lower castes, and untouchables.  Kabir's liberalism and opposition to fundamentalism of Hindus and Muslim can be seen in Dr. Ambedkar's book on Pakistan, where he has criticised both the communities in unequivocal terms.
    Jyotiba Phule: His third guru died in November 1890, merely five months before Dr. Ambedkar was born.  Jotiba Phule was the Mahatma of the poor and Untouchables.  Jotiba Phule educated Shudras and ati-Shudras and women and worked for their upliftment.  He was the first modern Indian who questioned the hegemony of Brahmins and exposed the priest-craft through his speeches, ballads, writings and programmes.  Phule's stress on education and knowledge showed a striking contrast with the upper-caste efforts to acquire technology while maintaining 'traditional' values of many cultures; he made it clear that education was a weapon to change 'eastern morals' and to bring about a kind of Cultural Revolution as well as technological one.  He and his wife, Savitribai Phule founded Satya Shodhak Samaj, which launched a strong movement for the rights of the downtrodden.  Dr. Ambedkar considered him the greatest Shudra of Modem India who made the lower classes of Hindus conscious of their slavery to the higher classes and who preached the gospel of that for India, social democracy was vital than independence from foreign rule.  He dedicated his book, Who were the Shudras? to this greatest Shudra of Modern times.  Following his third Guru Jotiba Phule, Dr. Ambedkar also considered struggle against social bondage more important than the foreign bondage.

    Apart from these three personalities, John Dewey, famous American intellectual and his mentor at Colombia University in New York, Karl Marx, and Booker T. Washington, Justice Ranade also had profound influence on Dr. Ambedkar.  History of Roman Empire, Irish Struggle and Slavery in United States also shaped his actions and vision.


    As mentioned above that the leaders job is to create a vision.  Without vision the leadership has no meaning because the people won't know where the leader wants to go and what he/she wants to do and how he/she wants to do it. In fact it was the vision that differentiates Dr. Ambedkar from his contemporary leaders.  His contemporary Dalit Leaders were though educating the Dalits, but have hardly analysed  the socio-economic causes of their degrading and inferior position in the society.  Dr. Ambedkar was fully equipped to go into the depth of the socio-economic problems and fix the problem.  In contrast to other leaders, who were supporting the British Government for the upliftment of the Dalits, Dr. Ambedkar emphasised on the concept of self-help or Atta Deepo Bhava.  He realised the lack of ideological hollowness of the Dalit Movement and provided necessary ideology to it.

    Not improvement in caste status, but Annihilation of Caste:In contrast to earlier efforts of Dalit leadership claiming higher status of Khastriyas, Dr. Ambedkar never claimed high caste status for Untouchables,since such claim implied an acceptance of upper caste superiority.  He did not claim that the Untouchables were pre-Aryan, the original settlers of the land.  Dr. Ambedkar argued that the Untouchables' position in the Indian Society was of social, not racial origin and therefore subject to change.  By 1935, Dr. Ambedkar had concluded that unless caste is totally annihilated, degrading position of Dalits in Indian society wouldn't improve.  For him, caste embodied Brahmanical superiority.

    Alternative to Brahamanical Social Order (BSO): For Dr. Ambedkar eradication of Caste required a repudiation of 'Hinduism' as a religion and adoption of an alternative to this religion.  He considered Buddha Dhamma and alternative to Brahmanical Social Order or alternative to Hinduism.  His choice of Buddhism was essentially linked to his strong dedication to the reality of India, its rich historical heritage, which he sought to wrest from the imposition of a 'Hindu' identity.

    Rationalism: He stood for rationalism.  His 22 commandments are reflecting his rationalism.

    State Socialism: He stood for a responsible state, taking due care of the despised, downtrodden and socially and economically weaker sections.

    Autonomous Dalit Movement: Dr. Ambedkar firmly believed in an Autonomous Dalit Movement with a constantly attempted alliance of the socially and economically exploited.

    If we analyse these corner stones, we find that he stood for an alternative form of society, economy, polity, religion and culture.  His programmes were intended to integrate the Untouchables into Indian Society in modern, not traditional ways, and on as high a level as possible.  This was in contrast with Gandhi's 'Ideal Bhangi' who would continue to do sanitation work even though his status would equal that of a Brahman. Dr. Ambedkar wanted depressed classes "to raise their educational standard so that they may know their own conditions, have aspirations to rise to the level of highest Hindu and be in a position to use political power as a means to an end."

    Dr. Ambedkar vociferously advocated equality.  He meant not equal status of Varna, but equality in social, economic and political opportunity for all.  He said "Equality may be a fiction but nonetheless one must accept it as the governing principle."


    Realising the divisive and water-tight compartmentalisation, Dr. Ambedkar stressed on self-help.  He adopted quadrilateral strategy of empowering the Dalits.  The first step of this strategy was to educate the Dalits, so that they know the ills, evils that prevent them from progressing.  He realised that a community that has been totally deprived from acquiring any kind of resources, education would be the easiest and within reach of the Dalits.  He visualised that no Government  can afford to keep such a big mass of people illiterate and ignorant.  However, he stressed that Dalits themselves have to take lead in educating their lot.  He foundedPeople's Education Society for this purpose, which established first educational Institute run in Bombay by an Indian Agency.  By this Dr. Ambedkar showed that Dalits were not solely dependent on the Government.

    Considering education as the basic and necessary investment, Dr. Ambedkar expected that by acquiring education and knowledge, many more people like him would take up the cause of the Dalits.  Educated Dalit mind would agitate over the injustice inflicted and would fight against it.  Though Dr. Ambedkar recognised the indifferentism perpetuated by the Brahmanical Social Order, but left this to be addressed by the Brahmanical curriculum designers, which continue to hold this indifferentism.  Therefore, agitation of mind is yet to be seen in proportion to the education.

    Agitated mind, as Dr. Ambedkar presumed, would force educated people to form organisations and they would act to fix the problems.  Many people, quite often, who profess Dr. Ambedkar, limit his slogan to these three points.  But to this author, the actual message of Dr. Ambedkar lies in "have faith in your strength." Right from the beginning, Dr. Ambedkar emphasises self-help.  He says, "Self-­help is the best help".  He also made it loud and clear to Dalits that "it is out of hard struggle and ceaseless struggle alone that one derives strength, confidence and recognition." He directed Dalits on many occasion that 'you must stand on your feet and fight as best as you can for your rights.  Power and prestige will come to you through struggle.' Many political leaders, who eye on our numbers, profess that politics is the key that can unlock all the locks, forgetting that 'it is not enough that a people are numerically in majority.  They must be always watchful, strong, well educated and self respecting to attain and maintain success. Therefore, Dalits have to organise themselves to improve their lot themselves.  No more begging pots.

    Anita Gujrati: Vision in Leadership, assignment paper of Master of Educational Management, 1999, Flinders University of South Australia, Australia, page 1.

    Bennis Warren & Nanus Burt: Leaders, Harper and Row, 1995.  Quoted in Anita Gujrati: Vision in Leadership, assignment paper of Master of Educational Management, 1999, Flinders University of South Australia, Australia, page 1.

    Kouzes James M. and Posner Barry Z.: The leadership Challenge: How to get Extraordinary things done in the Organisations, Jossey-Bass Publishers, USA, 1995.

    Burns J.M.: Leadership, Harper and Row, New York, 1978.

    Kotter J. P.: The Leadership Factor, Free Press, New York, 1988.

    D.C. Ahir: The Legacy of Dr. Ambedkar, B.R. Publishing Corporation, Delhi, 1990, page 9.

    Gail Omvedt: Dalits and the Democratic Revolution - Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit Movement in Colonial India, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1994, Page 144.

    Eleanor Zelliot: Leadership of Baba Sabeb Ambedkar in her Book From Untouchable to Dalit Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1998 page 65.

    Eleanor Zelliot: Leadership of Baba Saheb Ambedkar in her Book From Untouchable to Dalit Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1998 page 65.

    Eleanor Zelliot: Gandhi and Ambedkar- A Study in Leadership in her Book From Untouchable to Dalit Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1998 page 158.
    Ashok K. Bharti, New Delhi
    Ashok Kumar Bharti, educated in India and Australia, is actively involved in Dalit Movement since 1980s.  Currently, National Organising Secretary of Samata Sainik Dal and in-charge of Empowerment Program.  Revived Dr. Ambedkar's First Paper Mooknayak (leader of the Dumb) as abhimooknayak (the best leader of the Dumb) in 1991, Mr. Bharti was instrumental in founding Centre for Alternative Dalit Media  (CADAM) along with a group of dedicated social activists known for their commitment and concerns for the dalits.

    He has presented several papers in National and International Conferences.  Notably among them were his paper on "Strategies, Programs and Fate: The ex-Untouchables of India" in 2nd World Conference on Remedies to Racial and Ethnic Economic Inequality" held in Adelaide, Australia from 20-25 September 1998; "Strategy for Dalit Development" in First World Conference of Dalits held on I 0-1 I October 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; paper on Holistic Development: Volunteering and Disadvantaged in VIIth International Association for Volunteer Effort South Pacific Conference, New Delhi on 5th November 2001.  He is currently involved in developing alternative strategies for educating Dalits; strategies to cope up with the adverse effects of Globalisation; Economic Empowerment of Dalits by Developing Dalit Economy and establishing financial / thrift and credit societies.
    Centre for Alternative Dalit Media (CADAM)
    M-3/22,Model Town-III, Delhi-110009

    Most of TV channels discussed how Dr.Ambedkar is Greater after Gandhiji
    But, most honest people, dalits and Sahara Samay Discussed How Dr.Ambedkar Is Greater than Gandhiji
    He Opposed the Partition Of India to the maximum extent. Because he has completely foreseen the situation after Partition as they lack good constitution, all necessary resources for Development, Infrastructure. People will surely suffer. But others Directly/Indirectly supported Partition and now we can compare situation of Pakistan with India, They would have benefited immensely in absence of Partition. Unfortunately they could not stop partition.

    As every being should live without any struggle for at least one time  food,pure water, basic education, liberty, equality, fraternity, freedom, respect, justice,  peace and happiness.

    The new pakistan based organization which works on the principles of Dr.Ambedkar

    From wikipedia
    Role in the formation of Reserve Bank of India
    Ambedkar was an economist by training and until 1921 his career was as a professional economist. It was after that time that he became a political leader. He wrote three scholarly books on economics:
    • Administration and Finance of the East India Company,
    • The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India, and
    • The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution
    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), formed in 1934, was based on the ideas that Ambedkar presented to the Hilton Young Commission.

    Columbia University toppers ahead of their and others Time: 
    ranked no.1 in the list of colombians ahead of time (list is still there on columbia website But ranking is not there.763 search results for Ambedkar come on (This news No Media Published Except one)
     (only one Indian in a list comprising 150 eminent students including Nobel laureates, Prime ministers And Presidents Of Different countries over 250 years of history of Columbia University)

    video clip PROOF link: copy and paste with quotes in google

     “Dr.B.R. AMBEDKAR (colambia university no.1 talent) )” . sir ,you wil get the linkHonorable Barack Obama honoured Dr.AmbedkarLink:!topic/jaibhimbsnl/9Sy0OVimUR4 CLICK DOWNLOAD OF ALL (52 PRESENTLY) 52 BOOKS OF Dr.Ambedkar. plz click following link most educated Indian scholar of his time! circulate.

    Mohandas Gandhi Vs Dr.Ambedkar

    Dear All, Many times People compare Mohandas Gandhi With Dr.Ambedkar.
    1)Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma is not a legal term and it is given by party)
    1)Chief Architect of Indian Constitution Dr.Ambedkar (please notice the abbreviation Dr.)

    2)Mohandas Gandhi Bar-at-Law

    2)Dr.Ambedkar B.A.,M.A.,M.Sc.,D.Sc.,Ph.D.,L.L.D.,D.Litt.,Barrister-at-Law.

    B.A.(Bombay University) Bachelor of Arts,

    MA.(Columbia university) Master Of Arts,

    M.Sc.( London School of Economics) Master Of Science, 

    Ph.D. (Columbia University) Doctor of philosophy ,

    D.Sc.( London School of Economics) Doctor of Science ,

    L.L.D.(Columbia University) Doctor of Laws ,

    D.Litt.( Osmania University) Doctor of Literature,

    Barrister-at-Law (Gray's Inn, London) law qualification for a lawyer to practice law in royal court of England.

    1) Gandhi was from rich modhi baniya community, Ambedkar from poor mahar ati shudra community.

    2) Gandhi took 10 minutes to reach his fathers dead body from his room to his fathers room, Ambedkar took 20 hrs to reach his dying father from Baroda to Mumbai.

    3) Gandhi was Matric barrister (No Degree, like diploma of today) while Ambedkar was Doctorate barrister (eight degrees).

    4) Gandhi served as major in South African Army before practicing Law in SA, Ambedkar taught as professor in Sydneham College before practicing Law in Mumbai.

    5) Gandhi worte “My experiments with truth”, Ambedkar’s writings are still being published in 28 volumes. They say 42 volumes will not be enough.
    6) Gandhi had Birlas & Goenkas with him to give monetary support for his movement. Ambedkar had only Pawar & Naval Bhetna to give him loan for purchasing books.
    7) Gandhi built ashram for khadi gram udyog, Ambedkar built house for keeping books and built colleges for spreading education,Knowledge
    8) Gandhi practiced indriya control (as written in his bio), Ambedkar married second time with Doctor for degrading health reason.
    9) Gandhi did not advocate reservation for OBC, Ambedkar resigned from ministry for women’s rights
    Is there any Minister in India who had resigned for women’s rights?.
    10) Gandhi is not responsible for partition . Tilak and Jinah had passed this resolution in 1917 itself. Ambedkar did not divide India into caste , it is done through texts like Manusmriti, Purush Sukta, Tatriya Brahman etc.
    11) Gandhi was killed by circumcisioned Nathuram Godse , Ambedkar died in sleep (debate).
    12) Gandhi was fond of spinning cotton, Ambedkar was fond of reading Books.
    13) Gandhi claimed to be leader of harijans and showed 2 telegrams in 2nd round table conference, Ambedkar did not claim to be leader of harijans but showed thousand telegrams in the same meeting.
    14) Gandhi refused to give equal human status to Shudras and advocated 4 varna (vertical) system, Ambedkar committed his life for equal human status to Shudras and asked Gandhi if he can give the same 4 varna (horizontal) system. Gandhi denied.
    15) Gandhi described Shudras as harijans (Children of God) but did not describe upper caste as children of whom. Ambedkar said that calling Shudras as harijans means the same.Gandhi didn’t say “We are ALL children of god”.Instead he said “HARIJANS are childrens of god”. What about other people?
    16) Gandhi could do all work with help of many prominent leaders and moneyed people, Ambedkar did all things single-handedly.
    17) Gandhi never fought election. Ambedkar lost lok sabha election to 7th pass congress candidate But he won Rajya Sabha election from Jasor & Khulna dist of Bengal, and because of which these districts were given to bangle desh considering the prople of this places as defectors to congress.

    18) Gandhi went on fast to death in Poona against empowerment of so called his harijans. Ambedkar in reluctance signed the Poona pact and saved his life.(That represent the love for Humanity He had not allowed even  his biggest enemy to die)
    19)Gandhi just spoken good things but Dr.Ambedkar thought great and enacted those thoughts into reality with different possible efforts, methods ,ways and  means.

    So please  there is no comparison

    Sir/Madam, browse on following website (The contents in the following link require years to understand fully.Because Its  a written work of Dr.Ambedkar comprising 4795 pages (Can be a world record of that time) ) (otherwise copy and paste in browser window)

    some most imp links covering his contributions and myth of Mohandas Gandhi
    Respected Sir/Mam if you feel this info worth sharing the  please help me to spread it.

    Sir/Mam i requested Columbia University to mail me the rankings of "columbians ahead of time" but they didnt send me.


    ONE CLICK DOWNLOAD OF ALL (52 PRESENTLY) 52 BOOKS OF Dr.Ambedkar. plz click following link (otherwise copy and paste in browser window) (Hindu code bill. and so many details)

    Poykayil Johannan

    Poykayil Johannan
    Born1878 (5th of Kumbham 1054 ME)Eraviperoor, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, India
    DiedJune 29, 1943(1943-06-29)
    Pen nameKumara Gurudevan
    OccupationDalit leader, poet
    GenresPoetry, theology

    Poykayil Johannan (also spelled Poikayil Yohannan) (Eraviperoor, 17 February 1878-1939), known as Poikayil Appachan to his followers, or Kumara Gurudevan, was a Dalit activist, poet, Christian preacher and the founder of the socio-religious movement Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha ("God's Church of Visible Salvation").

    Early life

    Johannan was born 17 February 1879, to parents Kandan and Lechi of the Paraiyar ("Pariah") community, at Eraviperoor, Pathanamthitta, India. He was named Komaran at his birth, born as a slave to a Syrian Christian family of the name Sankaramangalam. Though at birth he was named Komaran, he was later renamed Kumaran. Being a slave to a Christian family, Kumaran had to follow Christianity and have a Christian name, and was called Johannan. He became literate and versed with Bible.

    In that period, Dalit communities practiced untouchability among themselves. Recognising the commonalities among the Paraiyar, Pulayar (Cheramar) and Kuravar communities, Johannan sought to create a sense of unity among them. Johannan left the Sankaramangalam family, intent on organising the Christian Dalit communities.

    Religious work

    With this thought he joined the Marthoma church, a reformist sect among the Syrian Christians, but realized the church treated Dalits as an inferior class, and left the church. He then joined a new sect called the Brethren Mission where he faced similar instances of caste based discrimination. Johannan concluded that Indian Christian communities continued to discriminate based on caste, and felt this defied the basic tenets of Christianity.
    In 1909, Johannan left Christianity and started his own Dalit liberation movement named Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha (PRDS). He was known as Poikayil Appachan or Kumara Gurudevan afterwards. Johannan advocated spiritual liberation, and sought to empower and consolidate the Dalits, promoting a creed in which the "slave castes" would be free of discrimination.The new order, PRDS was open to both Christian and Non Christian Dalits and Poikayil Johannan was successful in convincing the majority of his brethren to abandon Christianity and embrace PRDS. He reasoned that the Bible accounted for only Jewish history and hence Indian caste system could not be broken with it.

    He bought 125 acres of land in various parts of Travancore for the use of PRDS. The new organisation was headquartered at Eraviperoor. Poikayil Yohannaan set up schools and industrial training centers in different places in addition to constructing buildings for religious ceremonies and public functions.

    Work as a legislator

    Poikayil Johannan was also a member of the Dalit advocacy group Sadhujana Paripalana Sangham (SJPS) which had been founded in 1905 by another Dalit leader of Kerala, Ayyankali. Johannan was also twice nominated, in the years 1921 and 1931, to the Sree Moolam Praja Sabha, the legislative council of the princely state of Travancore.In the Praja Sabha, Johannan made a forceful case for the education and employment of the Depressed Classes. He specifically highlighted the economic disparities between Dalit Christians and Syrian Christians arguing how converts from the Pulaya, Paraya, Marvar and Kuravar castes were discriminated against within Christianity. Some of the measures he advocated for these Dalits included provision for concession in fee for studies beyond fifth class, job reservations and land for each Dalit family.
    On 31 March 1931 he suggested in the Praja Sabha that special scholarships be granted to the students belonging to the Depressed Classes. Johannan also established several government aided schools for Dalit education..Johannan died on 29 June 1939 at the age of 61.


    • Unknown Subjects: Songs of Poykayil Appachan. Translated from Malayalam by A.S. Sekher
    • Vadyakhoshangal Nadathunnavarum and Ente Vamshathepatti were featured in the Dalit Poem Collection named Kathal - published by DC Books

    Bhaurao Krishnaji Gaikwad

    Dadasaheb Gaikwad
    Personal details
    BornOctober 15, 1902
    Ambe, Dindori, Nashik
    Dieddecember 29, 1971
    Political partyRepublican Party of India
    ReligionBorn as Hindu, Converted to Buddhism.
    Bhaurao Krishnaji Gaikwad(October 15, 1902 - December 29, 1971) famously known as Dadasaheb Gaikwad was a politician and social worker from Maharashtra, India. He had also been member of parliament representing the both houses Lok sabha and Rajya sabha. He was honoured by Padma Shriin 1968 for his dedicated service to society. He was a close colleague and follower of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar.
    The Government of India issued a commemorative stamp in his honour in 2002.


    Dadasaheb was born on October 15, 1902 at village Ambe in Dindori tahasil of Nashik district in a peasant Mahar family.


    Venganoor, Trivandrum, Travancore, British India
    Madras Presidency, British India

    Ayyankali (Malayalam: അയ്യങ്കാളി; 1863–1941) was a leader of the native Indian people treated as lower caste Dalits known as the Untouchables. He pioneered many reforms to improve the lives of the Dalits. In 1937 he was praised by Mahatma Gandhi when he visited Venganoor, Ayyankali's home town. In November 1980, Indira Gandhi unveiled sculptor Ezra David's commorative statue of Ayyankali at Kowdiar square, in Trivandrum.


    Ayyankali was born in 1863 in Venganoor, Trivandrum, Travancore. He was one of seven children born to a Pulaya family. He was illiterate as were all Dalits at that time. In those days Dalits were not allowed to walk along public roads. The Dalit women were not allowed to cover their breasts in public places. Ayyankali organized Dalits and fought against these discriminations.

    He was in the forefront of movements against casteism. He passed through the public roads of Venganoor on a bullock cart which was not allowed for the Dalits. Ayyankali led the movement and defeated them. Ayyankali demanded right for Dalit children to study in school. He started a school to teach Dalit children at Venganoor. He called for boycott of agricultural work raising certain demands. His demands included (a) stoppage of the practice of not giving tea in tea shops to Dalits who were given tea till then in coconut shells; (b) right to education for Dalit children; (c) resting time for workers during work hours; and (d) replacement of the system of wages in-kind by payment of cash.

    The significance of Ayyankali lies in the fact that he could spearhead a struggle for human rights of the untouchables raising demands which find expressions in international human rights documents well before their adoption. He pioneered a movement for democratizing public places and asserting the rights of workers even before the formation of any workers organisation in Kerala. The most amazing part of it is that he did all this in spite of his illiteracy. No wonder that Ayyankali was later nominated to the assembly of Travancore namely, Sri Moolam Legislative Assembly, in 1910 by the then rulers in recognition of his leadership ability. In his efforts Ayyankali also received the support of his great contemporary Sree Narayana Guru and other social reformers. By 1900 Dalits were given the freedom to walk on public roads, and by 1914, Dalit children were allowed to join schools. Dalit women were allowed to cover their nakedness in public through his efforts.
    He was such a dynamic person that he could gather support for his cause even from the members of the upper caste community as well as some prominent landlords who were members of Praja Sabha.

    Elders of the Pulaya community in Kuttanadu still cherish the memory of ”the Panthi Bhojanam” organized by a prominent landlord and the then-member of Praja Sabha from Kuttanad, Pallithanam Luca Matthai (Pallithanathu Matthaichen). During those times Lukka Mathai was fondly referred to by the local flock as the Kayal Raja of Kuttanadu. Though he belonged to an aristocratic and orthodox Syrian Christian family, Luka Mathai actively supported Ayyankali in his efforts in eradicating the social inequalities that were prevalent in Kerala society.

    He received Ayyankali and his followers with a grant procession of snake boats and hundreds of other boats to his Nalukettu Tharavad and had lunch with them. Many other prominent people from the upper castes also participated in that function proclaiming their protest against casteism.
    Ayyankali founded the Sadhujana Paripalana Sangham (Association for the Welfare of the Poor) in 1905, which succeeded in obtaining a six-day week for agricultural laborers. Ayyankali died on June 18, 1941.

    Contribution and influence in Society

    The thoughts of Ayyyankali has influenced different sects of the society. The Chief Minister of Kerala had remarked his contribution and has compared with Narayana Guru. He is specially remembered on his birth anniversary by different sections of the society.

    Ayyankali disappeared from public memory for quite some time. It took about 40 years to evaluate his service to society. Speaking on March 1980 at the Kumaran Asan Memorial Lecture, Comrade EMS Namboodirippadu spoke about the historical agricultural labour strike of 1907 led by Ayyankali thus:

    " 1907-8 Ayyankali organised the agricultural workers' strike. He brought together the unorganised and splintered people and made them conscious of organisational power." (Asan & Malayala Literature, pp 54.)

    With the efforts of KK Balakrishnan, PK Chathan Master, KP Madhavan etc., a trust named 'Sri Ayyankali Trust' was born. A life size bronze statue of Ayyankali, sculpted with love and affection by Ezra David (who also made Krishna Menon Statue in Delhi), travelled all the way from Madras through the length of Kerala in a victory procession. Newspapers vied with one another to highlight the event. The open hearted Keralites lined the road sides and paid homage to the 'victor over fate':

    "...where the chariot of history etched indelible marks of monarchy and upper caste oppression.." and was unveiled in the traffic island at Vellayambalam junction by the Prime Minister of India on 10 November 1980. (Kerala Kaumudi, 11 Nov '80)

    Vellayambalam Junction is in an elite Nair upper middle class area. It is at the meeting point of roads from the Kaudiyar Palace and Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The Maharaja has to pass Ayyankali Statue on the way to and back from the temple for his regular prayers.

    Kerala Kaumudi Paper, run by Sree Narayanaguru devotee K Kartikeyan wrote about the unveiling "a statue of the unforgettable revolutionary of Kerala."
    When the prime minister Mrs Indira Gandhi spoke that...

    "He is the outcome of his people's enthusiasm for equality. This great son of India was the one who sacrificed his life for the well being of his society. His qualities were to too great to be contained in Kerala only. His ideas and ideals are still valid. That is the reason why I offered to unveil this statue. I am against setting up of statues in principle. So I have declined invitations to unveil statues."

    "Untouchability is a deep blemish in the soul of India. It is only untouchability that has kept India backward so far. And it was in Kerala that untouchability was most acute. At the same time it was Kerala that gained fame by its Temple entry proclamation. Equality and Freedom are indivisible. Without equality there can not be genuine freedom. Our leaders fought against the evil of untouchability. It was through leaders like Mahatma Gandhi that the toughest battle against untouchability were fought. The struggle for freedom must start from within the society. That was what Ayyankali did. It was due to incessant struggles of Gandhi, Ambedkar and Ayyankali that the landless poor (harijans) were liberated." (Kerala Kaumudi, 11 Nov '80)

    EK Nayanar, the chief minister of Kerala spoke thus on the occasion called Ayyankali, "the first leader of people-led liberation and revolution."

    "If singing praises of Ayyankali and unveiling of his statue is to have any meaning, allotment of land for the tenants and pension for agricultural labour is a must. Ayyankali was not only a leader of his own community but also an unshakeable guide and commander of the working classes. Ayyankali and Sree Narayan Guru, by their anti caste domination struggles were important factors that led Kerala people to their progressive outlook today.

    "Only Kerala has been delivered of mass murder of the poor and burning of their villages in the country. That is because of the social reconstruction through revolutionary changes. 

    Rajaram Mohan Roy, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Dayananda Saraswati, Vivekanand etc were Ayyankali's contemporaries. Unlettered Ayyankali was a totally different kind of player in the same league. Perhaps he was the greatest leader of that particular period.

    "This 'mahapurush' organised his people for gaining social justice and human rights into a body named 'Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangham' in 1907. Sensibly led by Ayyankali, the organisation gained whatever social changes it could for all to see.

    "It was his organisational genius that left its indelible stamp on the agrarian movements of Kerala which subsequently fell into the hands of Communist Parties." (Kerala Kaumudi, 11 Nov '80)

    Kallada Sasi, a poet who fluttered out of the water logged rice fields of Kerala, wrote in golden letters...

    "From this Kurukshetra of multiple colours rose Ayyankali the Heralding Conch."

    Gummadi Vittal Rao

    Gummadi Vittal Rao popularly known as Gaddar(born 1949) is a poet, pseudonym of a revolutionary Telugu balladeer and vocal Naxalite activist from the state of Andhra PradeshIndia. The name Gaddar was adopted as a tribute to the pre-independence Gadar party which opposed British colonial rule in Punjab during 1910s.

    Early years

    Gaddar was born to Seshaiah and Lachumamma in the Toopran village of the Medak district in a poor dalit family. His parents worked as labourers to earn a living. He attended his early schooling in Bodhan of the Nizamabad district. After completing Pre University Course (then equivalent of 12th class) from a government junior college in Hyderabad, he joined RECW to pursue Bachelors degree in civil Engineering. It is also said he has a bachelors degree in LAW as well.


    1969 Separate Telangana Agitation

    In 1969, Vittal Rao (Gaddar) joined the struggle for separate Telangana state. He formed a burrakatha (a kind of folk art in Andhra Pradesh, India) troupe named after Mahatma Gandhi to spread awareness about Telangana issue. He was soon disillusioned.For a while, he gave performances on family planning and other social themes for the Indian government's information and broadcasting ministry.

    Popular culture

    B. Narsing Rao, film director and founder of a forum called 'Art Lovers Association' noticed Gaddar and was impressed by his performance. He invited him to perform at a program on Bhagat Singh's anniversary. After this program, Gaddar began attending the weekly meetings of Art Lovers Forum on Sundays. B. Narsing Rao also asked him to write and bring something along. At the next weekly meet, Gaddar brought his first song — Apuro Rickshaw (stop rickshaw). Narsing Rao suggested changes to link the song to their lives and their labour. This became the famous song:

    Stop Rickshaw-walla; I am coming; You work from morning to night, but your stomach cannot be filled; So much blood and sweat, yet you earn hardly anything…

    This song, written in about 1971, became a massive hit, specifically amongst rickshaw drivers.

    Then Gaddar came regularly to the Sunday meets. Numerous songs were written, mostly by Vittal. They printed their first songbook. It was entitled "GADDAR"; after the famous Gadar Party of Punjab. Soon, whenever they went to perform on streets, the people began to say that the "Gaddar people have come". The name stuck, and from then on Vittalrao is known as Gaddar. Meanwhile Gaddar came to know that B Narsing Rao was linked to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). Slowly Gaddar also came close to the Party.

    Gaddar once again for separate State of Telanagana

    With the resurgence of Telangana movement, Gadar once again started to express his support for the cause of Telangana and expressed his strong vocal support for all those fighting for a separate Telangana state with the motive of upliftment of lower castes, particularly dalits and also backward castes. Despite being a hardcore communist, he does not share the ideas of some communist parties of India that oppose separate Telangana state. In recent TV interviews he came out clearly that he is strongly with those who are for a Telangana of social justice where Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes have political representation on par with the OCs and BCs of the State. He expressed his solidarity with Devendar Gouds NTPP (Nava Telengana Praja Party) in spite of being shot at by the police during Goud's term as AP Home Minister. Quoting in his own words from various interviews on News channels "Even though telangana can be achieved only by political process through a bill at the center, it lies not only with the leaders of telangana parties but all those who have their lives at stake to bring about a people's movement. For a beginning let us take a big march. I Would lead the march and would be the first to take any bullets if fired at."

    Gadar's song "Amma Telanganama Akali kekala gaanama" has been selected as the state song of Telangana"
    Gaddar protests against arrest of Varavara Rao- 2005

    Jana Natya Mandali

    The Art Lovers Association was renamed the Jana Natya Mandali in 1972. Even while he was singing of revolution in the villages, Gaddar took a banking recruitment exam and got the post of a clerk at Canara Bank in 1975. He quit his bank job in 1984 and concentrated on Jana Natya Mandali. After he voiced his protest against the killing of several Dalits by upper caste landlords in Karamchedu village in Prakasam district in July 1985, the police raided Gaddar's house. He went underground.


    In exile, Gaddar roamed through the forests of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradeshand Odisha, spreading the revolutionary ideology through folk arts. Gaddar and his troupe adapted folk forms such as Oggu KathaVeedhi Bhagotham (vernacular ballets using a combination of song, dialogue and dance) and Yellamma Katha (the story of the local deity) to revolutionary themes depicting the travails of peasants, labourers and other weaker sections. Jana Natya Mandali was soon regarded as the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War, a Maoist party active in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Odisha.
    With his revolutionary songs catching the imagination of the masses, Gaddar became a legend. Hundreds of thousands of printed copies and thousands of cassettes of his songs have been distributed and sold over the last two decades.
    Gaddar's attire is as well known as his songs. In his own words, 'in the beginning, we used to perform wearing lungis. But then, since women too formed a part of the audience, we thought that costume was not appropriate. Therefore, we preferred gochis (dhotis). In the same way, gongali (a thick blanket made of rough wool) worn across the chest had its own advantages. It is in the jungles that we first took to wearing anklets and a loaded rifle on the right shoulder. On the left one, we had a dolu (drum).' He sticks to the same gochi and gongali, anklets and dolu. The loaded rifle has given way to a lathi in the right hand.
    After four-and-a-half years of exile, Gaddar emerged from hiding when the then Congress government led by Dr Marri Chenna Reddy adopted a 'liberal attitude' towards the Naxalites. On February 18, 1990, Gaddar met the media. Two days later, Jana Natya Mandali celebrated its 19th anniversary at Nizam College Grounds in Hyderabad. A staggering 200,000 people came to watch Gaddar.
    In the last 15 years since he surfaced from self-imposed exile, Gaddar has seen six chief ministers blow hot and cold on the Naxalite movement. During this period, he has launched campaigns to protest against State repression in the countryside and killings of scores of Naxalites by the police in what he calls 'fake encounters.'
    Gaddar believes those wielding political and administrative power will, one day, realise that the Naxalite issue can be tackled only by addressing the socio-economic issues in the countryside, and not through 'State terror.'

    Assassination attempt

    On April 6, 1997 there was an assassination bid on Gaddar. While two of the three bullets the assailants fired into him were removed, one was left untouched because of medical complications. The near-fatal attack, which the balladeer believes was engineered by the police, did not deter Gaddar from being a champion of the downtrodden.

    Peace Emissary

    In 2001, the Telugu Desam government accepted a proposal to have peace negotiations with Naxalites and the then Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War announced the names of Varavara Rao and Gaddar as its emissaries to work out modalities for the proposed talks. The Naxalite party was under ban at that time and these two writers were chosen as emissaries, keeping in view their yeomen services in people's causes for over three decades then. The government had also named two ministers as its representatives and after three sittings held at a time of unabated encounter killings, Varavara Rao and Gaddar pulled out of the talks’ process, that went on between May and July 2002.
    The then opposition Indian National Congress criticized the stand of the Telugu Desam Party with regard to the talks and made a categorical promise in its Election Manifesto 2004 to hold talks to arrive at a meaningful peace. The Congress came to power in May 2004 and initiated the talks’ process in June. This time around the then Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War named Varavara Rao, Gaddar and novelist Kalyana Rao as its emissaries. The emissaries assumed their position on 13 July 2004 and had involved themselves in several rounds of discussions on modalities with the government including the Home Minister and the government representatives. Finally, leaders of two Naxalite parties (by then Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Janashakti also joined the talks process and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Peoples War became Communist Party of India (Maoist)) came for the talks held between 15 October and 18 October 2004. After this first round of talks, the negotiating parties had to meet for subsequent rounds but after the encounter killings of some naxalites in January 2005, the Naxalite parties withdrew from the process on 16 January. After some failed attempts to revive the process, Varavara Rao and other emissaries withdrew from their positions on 4 April 2005. The peace process ended with the imposition of ban on CPI (Maoist), Revolutionary Writer’s Association (Virasam) and some other people’s organizations on 18 August 2005.
    Within 24 hours of imposition of ban on Virasam, Varavara Rao and Kalyana Rao, were arrested on 19 August 2005 under AP Public Security Act. The police did not arrest Gaddar though they say they have evidence against him. The police accuse Gaddar of inciting violence and propagating the Naxalite ideology of 'power through the barrel of the gun.'
    Unlike other left-wing revolutionary writers and poets, Gaddar is equally well known in rural and urban Andhra Pradesh. He is a familiar face on television screens, participating in protest programmes or spirited debates. His songs cut across the barriers of region, religion, dialect, caste and social status.
    In the words of prominent academic Dr. Kancha Ilaiah, 'Gaddar was the first Telangana intellectual who established a link between the productive masses and the literary text and, of course, that text established a link between the masses and educational institutions.'

    Political career

    Telangana Praja Front

    Main article: Telangana Praja Front
    Gaddar founded Telangana Praja Front on October 3, 2010 and a formal announcement was made at a broad-based convention on October 9.
    As many people in Telangana believe TRS is mostly used by K.Chandra Sekhar rao family for advance of its political interests, the Telangana Praja front viewed by those people that it will bring a new dynamic into the demand for Telangana state hood.

    Personal life

    Gaddar is married to Vimala. He has two sons, called Sureedu and Chandrudu (died of illness in 2003) and a daughter Vennela. Gaddar's daughter presently works in Malla Reddy Engineering College in MBA Dept. Gaddar's son works for NIFT.

    Bezwada Wilson

    Wison (born 1966) is an Indian activist and one of the founders and National Convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), an Indian human rights organization that has been campaigning for the eradication of manual scavenging. He is well known as one of the leading figures of the Dalit movement in India. His work at SKA, a community-driven movement, has been recognized by the Ashoka Foundation which has nominated him a Senior Fellow.

    Early life

    Bezwada was born in 1966 in the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in Karnataka in Southern India. He is the youngest child of Rachel Bezwada and Jacob Bezwada, both members of the Thoti caste, one of the historically discriminated and untouchable castes of India.

    His father began working for the township in 1935 as a safai karamchari, also called a manual scavenger, manually removing night soil from dry toilets. He attempted to find other manual labor, but was unsuccessful. His eldest brother also worked as a manual scavenger in the Indian railways for four years and then ten years in KGF Gold mines township.

    Bezwada went to upper primary school in Andhra Pradesh and stayed in the hostel for Scheduled Castes. He went to high school and intermediate in Kolar and Hyderabad. In school he was teased by the other students, who called him ‘thoti’, which meaning 'scavenger'. His parents told him that he was teased as such because of a “thoti” (a huge garbage bin) beside their house.

    Bezwada graduated in Political Science in Hyderabad University Bezwada became involves in community service, especially youth programs. He saw that many children dropped out of school and then took up scavenging. He believed that if he helped the children complete school and take vocational training they could keep away from scavenging.

    During this period his brother took him to the employment exchange to register. The government officer filled in the desired occupation as “scavenger” without even asking him. This was his first personal experience of discrimination. In anger, he refused to submit the application and tore it up in front of all the employment exchange staff.

    Campaign against manual scavenging

    In 1986, Bezwada began his fight to end manual scavenging. The first hurdle in his fight was at home: his parents and relatives said he should not focus his life on something that always existed. It was over years that they came to accept that he was dedicating his life to helping eradicate manual scavenging. Too many people within the community were ashamed to even admit manual scavenging existed or that they did it. Bezwada began breaking the silence.

    Bezwada also began a letter writing campaign, contacting the KGF authorities, the minister and chief minister of Karnataka, the prime minister, the newspapers, but they remained largely unacknowledged.

    In 1993, the Parliament enacted the ‘Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act in 1993', which banned the construction of dry latrines and outlawed the practice of manual scavenging. Despite the ban, the practice of manual scavenging continues across India.

    Bezwada took photographs of dry latrines and manual scavenging in KGF and sent it to P.A.K. Shettigar, the then managing director of KGF, threatening action under the Act. An emergency meeting was called to convert dry latrines into water seal latrines and transfer all scavengers to non-scavenging jobs. However, it was only when photographs were published in a 1994 article in the Deccan Herald, resulting in embarrassing questions in Parliament, that the Karnataka government was forced to acknowledge that manual scavenging continued to be a problem.

    Bezwada then worked for two years to organize manual scavengers in Karnataka. A platform, the Campaign Against Manual Scavenging (CAMS) was formed. This oversaw the conversion of dry latrines into flush toilets and rehabilitation of those who were engaged in manual scavenging.

    Wilson moved to Andhra Pradesh and began working with Paul Diwakar, a leading Dalit activist, and S.R.Sankaran, a retired Indian Administrative Officer. In 2001 the Andhra Pradesh government agreed to a total survey of the state to identify manual scavengers and dry latrines for liberation and rehabilitation. Bezwada prepared the survey format, where volunteers photographed and documented each manual scavenger and dry latrine.

    Safai Karmachari Andoan In 1994, Bezwada helped found Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA) along with SR Sankaran and Paul Diwakar. SKA's goal is to end the practice of manual scavenging and help those engaged in it find dignified work. SKA trains teams to work towards the elimination of manual scavenging in various Indian states. SKA initially worked on the state level, until 2003 when Bezwada and four other team members moved to Delhi to launch the Safai Karmachari Andolan nationwide.

    In 2003, Bezwada and the SKA initiated the filing of a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of India. SKA and 18 other civil society organizations, manual scavengers and individuals signed the affidavit as litigants naming all states and government departments of Railways, Defence, Judiciary and Education as violators of the Manual Scavenging Prohibition Act.

    The PIL was a major step in the efforts to abolish manual scavenging. All the states and central ministries were forced to address the issue of manual scavenging. The Supreme Court gave strict orders that the Chief Secretaries of States and Heads of Departments of the central ministries should appear before the court for the case hearings. To date there have been 23 hearings and in the state of Haryana, for the first time, in 2010 the act was enforced and 16 members were taken into custody for violating the law and employing manual scavengers.

    By 2007, the SKA felt the struggle was going too slow. The legal process had put to onus on the victims to prove manual scavenging existed. So they launched Action 2010, by which they vowed to end manual scavenging by 2010 by simply asking those engaged in the practice to leave the practice and find alternative work.

    The liberation of safai karmacharis became an important issue during the planning of the 12th Five Year Plan of India in 2010. Bezwada met with parliamentarians, ministers and national advisory members during this time and submitted systematic documentation of manual scavenging across the country.

    In 2009, Bezwada was elected an Ashoka Senior Fellow for human rights.

    In October 2010, the head of the National Advisory Council, Sonia Gandhi, wrote to the Prime Minister's office declaring manual scavenging as a national shame and to address its abolition with the utmost urgency and priority. The NAC resolved to see that manual scavenging was over by 2012. Task forces were formed by the government of India for new survey of the entire country, rehabilitation, amendment of the law to make it stricter and demolition of dry latrines.

    P.V Rao

    Pothuluru Vigneswara Rao
    Born Devaguptam village
    Amalapuram, East Godavari district, India
    Occupation Dalit Social activist & Founder President of Mala Mahanadu
    P.V Rao or "Pothuluru Vigneswara Rao" spearheaded the Dalit Mala Mahanadu movement in Andhra Pradesh to fight against the categorisation of Scheduled Castes into A, B, C, D groups.


    Born in a Dalit family in Devaguptam village near Amalapuram in East Godavari district, Rao was influenced by Ambedhkar's ideology since his childhood days. After his graduation he entered the state government service and served in the Information and Public Relations Department for about two decades. Mr Rao was also the editor of Telugu edition of Andhra Pradesh journal. Until his death, he followed Hinduism.

     Mala Mahanadu Movement

    The 20% Dalit population in the state has always been a traditional vote bank of congress since the time of Independence. Chandra Babu Naidu of the TDP party had a different game plan in 1998, he felt the traditional Dalit vote bank of the Congress in Andhra had to be split if he has to establish his party strongly in the state. Sowing the seeds of separate reservations benefits Naidu enticed the Madigas with separation of welfare, seats in educational institutions and reservation. He brought in a former naxalite, manda Krishna Madiga to superhead the MRPS movement for the categorisation of Scheduled Castes into A, B, C, D groups. The then Chandrababu Naidu government classified 59 sub-castes in four groups according to their population and allocated their share. Thus, 12 castes in group A got 1 per cent, Madigas and 17 other castes in group B got 7 per cent, Malas and 24 others in group C got 6 per cent and four castes in group D got 1 per cent.

    Malas now have to limit their share to only 6% out of 15%, this has led to a wide resentment among Malas. Rao opposed former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu's division of scheduled castes in the state into sub-groups. He was dismissed from service for opposing the Naidu government's divisive politics. Rao later formed the Mala Mahanadu and led the caste consolidation of the Malas, a numerically significant and educated community.

    The Mala Mahanadu's fight against classification of SCs began in 1997 when it first contested a GO issued by the Chandrababu Naidu government. When the High Court struck down the GO, the government promulgated an ordinance which was later enacted by the Assembly. A five-member bench of the High Court upheld the legislation. In 2001, Mala Mahanadu went to the Supreme Court the movement knocked the doors of the courts and a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Friday 07/11/2004 unanimously decided in the E V Chinnaiah vs State of A P case that such a micro-classification of scheduled castes into sub-groups was unconstitutional. The court said untouchability being the sole criterion, further classification of scheduled castes violated Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution. It thereby affected the basic structure of the Constitution.

    After the Supreme Court struck down the order in 2004, the present Congress government saw political sense in keeping the Dalits divided. It supported Naidu's scheme and passed an assembly reso-lution in 2005 asking the Centre to take up the matter.

    Unity among Malas and Madigas

    The agitation by Madigas had created deep divisions between the Mala and Madiga dominant castes over the issue. Rao has always advocated for the unity among Malas and Madigas. He appealed to Madigas, the largest SC group that had waged a long-drawn struggle for categorisation, to put behind their differences and join hands to fight for the larger cause of empowerment of SCs.


    Rao died of a massive heart attack in New Delhi on Dec 22, 2005. At the time of death He was in New Delhi to meet several party leaders to fight against the categorisation of Scheduled Castes into A, B, C, D groups. He died at the age of 56 and was cremated according to Hindu customs. He is survived by wife and two daughters. His wife Prameela Devi contested on a PRP ticket for Amalapuram Lok Sabha constituency but lost.

    Mariamma Chedathy

    Mariamma Chedathy, also known as Mariamma John, was a Dalit grandmother, a well-known folklorist from the state of Kerala in India. Mariamma Chedathy died on 31 August 2008.


    She was popularly known as Mariamma Chedathy (Chedathy being a respectful way an elderly woman is addressed in the Malayalam language). She was believed to be more than 90 at the time of her demise, though her date of birth was not known. She was an illiterate member of the marginalized Paraya community in Kerala.


    Mariamma had been an unknown sweeper at St. Berchmans College at Chenganacherry near Kottayam, Kerala. She was discovered by Prof. Sebastian Vattamattam in course of a literacy campaign. Within four years, a large number of short and very long folk songs from her were published as a book, Manikkam Pennu. She was one of the few living exponents of the traditional art forms Mudi-āttam and Kolam-thullal (Mask Dance) of the Paraya people.

    Teaching career

    Meanwhile she started teaching classes in folklore to the post-graduate students of St. Berchmans College. She was relieved of her job of a sweeper and appointed as the folklore consultant in the Malayalam Department of the same college.


    After her retirement Mariamma Chedathy continued to participates in folklore performances in television and other programs. She was converted to Christianity at the age of 15. It was before that, that she learned all the folk songs she knew. Even after her marriage to another Christian convert John, she maintained her interest in traditional folklore associated with the animist beliefs of her Paraya people. Her new faith limited her chances of public performances. Mariamma was considered to be the sole authority on Paraya folklore.

    Film credits

    Mariamma Chedathy sang songs for Karunam, a Malayalam movie. The Kerala Folklore Academy honoured her with an award and fellowship.

    Thol. Thirumavalavan

    Member of Parliament
    Personal details
    Born17 August 1962 (age 51)
    Anganur, Tamil Nadu
    Political partyVCK
    Thirumavalavan or Thol. Thirumavalavan (born 17 August 1962), is Dalit activist, Member of Parliament in 15th Lok Sabha and the current President of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi(Liberation Panthers Party), a Dalit political party in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. He rose to prominence in the 1990s as a Dalit leader, and entered politics in 1999. His political platform centres around ending the caste-based oppression of the Dalits, which he argues can best be achieved through reviving and reorienting Tamil nationalism. He has also expressed support for Tamil nationalist movements and groups elsewhere, including Sri Lanka.

    Early life

    Thirumavalavan was the second child of Tholkappian (Ramasamy) and Periyammal, and was born in the village of Anganur in Ariyalur District in Tamil Nadu, India. His father had studied up to the eighth grade, while his mother remained uneducated. He has a sister and three brothers, but he was the only member of his family who went on to higher education after completion of his schooling. He initially studied chemistry, and went on to do a masters degree in Criminology, before studying law at Madras Law College. He then began working in the government's Forensic Department as a scientific assistant.
    He began growing interested in politics in 1982, when he was still a student, in reaction to reports from refugees of Sri Lankan military atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka. He began holding rallies and organised boycotts and conferences to support the Sri Lankan cause. He ran around Madras Law College, but failed . This, he alleged, was due to his being a Dalit. The incident led to his meeting and becoming acquainted with politicians from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a major political party in Tamil Nadu.

    Dalit activism

    In 1988, when working for the government's Forensic Department in the southern city of Madurai, he met Malaichamy, the Tamil Nadu state convenor of the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI), an organisation that fought for the rights of Dalits. The next year, following Malaichamy's death, Thirumalavan was elected the leader of the DPI. He designed a new flag for the organisation in 1990. As part of his work, he also began visiting Dalit villages in the Madurai region, and began learning about the problems faced by Dalits. The killing of two Dalits in 1992, he says, made him more militant.] Against the background of increasing Dalit assertiveness, he emerged as one of two major Dalit leaders in Tamil Nadu, with a large base of grassroots support, particularly in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu.

    Political office

    The DPI boycotted elections until 1999 general elections. Thirumavalavan allied with G. K. Moopanar's 'Tamil Maanila Congress' and represented the Third Front. The party contested in the Parliamentary constituencies of Chidambaram and Perambalur. Thirumavalavan contested in Chidambaram, and managed to poll 2.25 lakh votes in his debut elections.
    In 2001 state elections Viduthalai Chiruthaigal allied with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and contested 8 seats. Thirumaa was elected from Mangalore Constituency to State Legislative Assembly. Thirumavalavan contested once again from Chidambaram in 2004 general elections, this time with Janata Dal (United) and polled 2.57 lakh votes and lost by a low margin.
    He joined the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) alliance in the 2006 electionsto the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. His party was recognized by the Election Commission of India as a registered political party on 2 March 2006. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi contested in 9 seats in Tamil Nadu and 2 seats in Pondicherry. The party won 2 of them: Durai Ravikumar won from Kattumannarkoil, and Selvaperunthagai from Mangalore constituency.] In the 2009 general election, Thirumavalavan was elected to Parliament from the Chidhambaram Lok Sabha constituency.

    Political views

    Thirumalavan's politics are grounded in a retheorisation of Tamil nationalism, which seeks to turn it into a force for the elimination of the caste system. Oppression of Dalits, he says, is institutionalised in India, including Tamil Nadu. Although the Dravidian parties which dominate the politics of Tamil Nadu are ideologically committed to the eradication of the caste system, Thirumavalavan argues that they have in practice drifted away from the original ideals of the Dravidian movement. Their policies, he says, have mainly benefitted the middle castes, and had actually led to an increase in the oppression of Dalits, with the middle castes replacing the Brahmins as the oppressor. Dalits cannot and should not expect much help from the Dravidian parties.
    The solution, according to Thirumavalavan, lies in Tamil nationalism. Caste oppression, he says, can only be ended by building resistance from below, through appealing to Tamil sentiments, as happened in the early days of the Dravidian movement under Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. If a properly Tamil government is formed in Tamil Nadu, he says, caste oppression will immediately disappear.
    Thirumalavan is also a staunch critic of Hindu nationalism and, in particular, Hindutva. Hindutva, to Thirumavalavan, is the essence of the oppressive Indian state Hindutva, he argues, has through religion worked to homogenise Tamil society with that of northern India. This, he says, has led to Tamil losing its identity. Ethnic Tamil nationalism, in his view, is essential to combat Hindutva.
    Thirumavalavan's views on the importance of the Tamil identity have also led him to strongly support Tamil secessionist groups in Sri Lanka, including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant secessionist group who are formally banned as a terrorist organisation in India. He has criticised India for assisting the Sri Lankan army during the Sri Lankan military operations against the LTTE in 2008 and 2009, and has called upon the government of Tamil Nadu to take steps to safeguard the Tamils of Sri Lanka. On 15 January 2009 he started a hunger fast near Chennai (Maraimalai Adigal Nagar) for the cause of Srilankan Tamils. After four days, on 19 January he called off the fast, saying that it had had no effect on the Indian government, and calling for a hartal in its place.


    His books in Tamil include Aththumeeru (Transgress), Tamizhargal Hindukkala? (Are the Tamils, Hindus?), Eelam Enral Puligal, Puligal Enral Eelam (Eelam means Tigers, Tigers means Eelam), Hindutuvathai Veraruppom (We Shall Uproot Hindutva), Saadhiya Sandharpavaadha Aniyai Veezhtuvom (We Shall Defeat the Casteist Opportunist Alliance).
    Two of his books have been published in English by Stree-Samya Books, Kolkata: Talisman: Extreme Emotions of Dalit Liberation (political essays written for 34 weeks in the India Todaymagazine's Tamil edition) and Uproot Hindutva: The Fiery Voice of the Liberation Panthers(contains 12 of his speeches).
    He was a guest at the Maanudathin Tamizh Koodal (Humanity's Tamil Meet) in Jaffna, Sri Lanka organized by the Arts and Literature Association and organizations like Nitharsanam.


    In his first film 'Anbu Thozhi' (Lady Love), directed by L. G. Ravichandran,. Thirumavalavan had a guest appearance as a Tamil militant leader in Sri Lanka. Thirumavalavan has since been cast in the leading role of a film titled 'Kalaham' (Mutiny). He plays the character of Balasingham, a law college professor, which is being directed by Mu Kalanchiyam. This will be his second film. He also made a cameo appearance in Mansoor Ali Khan's 'Ennai Paar Yogam Varum'.

    Dagdu Maruti Pawar

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Daya Pawar or Dagdu Maruti Pawar (1935–20 December 1996 was born to a Mahar Dalit family in Dhamangaon (Taluka: Akole, District: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India), was a Marathi author and poet known for his contributions to Dalit literature that dealt with the atrocities experienced by the dalits or untouchables under the Hindu caste system.


    He gained fame for his autobiographical 1978 novel Baluta (बलुत) written as a story by Dagdu Pawar being told to the more literate Daya Pawar, with both being personas of the author. The novel recounts the "experiences of an untouchable struggling for a peaceful existence, mentally tormented but incapable of retaliation in word and deed." There was "strong anti-Dalit reaction" when it was published in Maharashtra.
    Baluta created ripples in the literature circles and earned him many awards at all levels, including one from the Ford Foundation. It got translated into several languages. The strengths of the book are the simple, straightforward and to-the-point portrayal and a transparent realistic illustration of the ethos around him. This book created a new genre in Marathi literature. Many autobiographical books talking about harsh experiences hard realities were written after Baluta. What is special about Daya Pawar is his use of language which is not merely that of revolt but of a deeply introspecting analytical intellectual.
    Deshpande reviews Baluta: "On reading this book the cataract of blind traditions stuck to our eyes that makes us unaware of facts will melt away in the tears that fill our eyes on seeing this horrifying reality will emerge new rays of hope. Reader will then seek to be more humane henceforth in life, What else is the intent of all good literature? Creating new kinship among mankind and free the society from artificial and vexing bonds, right? The same can be said for all Pawar’s literature."

    Poetry and other work

    Although he earned fame through his autobiographical prose in Baluta, poetry was his forte. He gave expression to the oppression of the Dalits through his verse.
    "Shilekhali haat hota, tari nahi phodla hambarda,

    Kitr janmachi kaid, kuni nirmila ha kondvada"
    (The hand was crushed under a stone, yet no outcry was heard
    How many generations of imprisonment? Who created this prison?)
    With effective verses like the above from his first collections of poems Kondvada, he voiced the atrocities and oppression faced by generations of Dalit. Published in 1974, Kondvada earned him a literary award from the State.
    Among his other famous works are Chavdi and Dalit Jaanivaa, two of his compilation of articles, and Vittal, a collection of short stories. He wrote the screenplay for Jabbar Patel’s film Dr. Ambedkar. He was appointed with the National Film Development Corporation. Pawar won the prestigious Padmashri award the Government of India.
    Pawar’s writing’s reflects his active participation in the social, cultural and literary movements on the national level, his avid following of foreign literature, analytical and contemplative thinking, unwavering stance, deep understanding and empathy towards social happenings and issues. His work was highly effective. He received some amount of recognition by way of awards. But due to oppressive circumstances, he suffered mentally and physically in his personal life. It is this perennial suffering that comes through sharply in his writings. One of his poems gives a feel for his suffering:
    "Dukhaana gadgadtaana he zhaad me paahilela
    Tashi yaachi mule kholvar boudhivrukshaasaarkhi
    Boudhivrukshaala phula tari aali
    He Zhaad saaryaa rutut kolpun gelela
    Dhamani dhamanit phutu paahnaaryaa yaatanaa
    Mahaarogyaachyaa botsanssarkhi zadleli paane
    He khod kasla? Phandiphandila jakhadleli kubdi
    Maran yet naahi mhanun marankalaa sosnaara
    Dukhaana gadgadtaanaa he zhaad me paahila"
    (I have seen this tree tremble in pain
    Albeit the tree has deep roots like the Bodhi tree
    The Bodhi tree at least bore flowers
    This tree though is withered in all seasons
    Pain trying to burst through its very pore
    Leaves withered like those of a leper’s fingers
    What is this disease? Crutches hung on every branch
    Death does not befall and so bearing the pains of death
    I have seen this tree tremble in pain)


    • 1935 Birth
    • 1956 Joined as a clerk as well as a laboratory assistant in a veterinary college, Mumbai
    • 1967 First Dalit poem published in Asmitadarsh
    • 1968 Took active part in Dalit literature movement
    • 1969 First article on Dalit literature published in Pratisthan
    • 1972 Attended World Buddhist Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka
    • 1975 Maharashtra Government Award for Kondwada
    • 1979 Maharashtra Government Award for Balute
    • 1982 Ford Foundation Fellowship, visited USA
    • 1984 Visited World Book Fair at Frankfurt and read a paper on Dalit literature
    • 1988-94 Member of textbook committee ‘Bal Bharti’
    • 1987-94 Member of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Source Material Publication Committee, Maharashtra State
    • 1990 Received Padmashri
    • 1993 Chairman Drama Pre-scrutiny Board, Maharashtra State
    • 1996 20 December, died in New Delhi.

    Karem Shivaji

    Karem Shivaji
    BornEast Godavari district, India
    ResidenceHyderabad, India
    OccupationDalit Social activist & Founder of one faction of Mala Mahanadu
    '"Karem Shivaji"' is the Founder and President of one faction of Mala Mahanadu, the other factions led byJupudi Prabhakar Rao, Addanki dayakar, Mallela Venkat Rao. He is the prominent face of Mala community voicing the community's stand in Print and Electronic Media.


    Mr.Shivaji is from East Godavari district, India which has a sizable population of Mala (caste). He played a prominent role in Mala Mahanadu and rose to level of president. He is a strong Opponent of Categorization of Scheduled Castes. Mala Mahanadu was united when it was under P.V rao but after his death it was divided owing to the differences among the top leaders. Karem alleges that Jupudi was the stooge of Congress and his stir was aimed at diluting the Mala's agitation.

    Social activism

    Karem Shivji has did many indefinite hunger strikes to put pressure on Government to stop SC categorization. Mala mahanadu activists under his leadership staged dharnas before the Collectorates, climbed Cell phone towers, attempted suicides to show their resistance to SC Categorization. Karem was arrested on many occasions for doing such things.
    Shivaji believed in Chiru's social Justice and has supported PRP during 2009 elections. However he is now not politically active unlike his rival Jupudi who is now in YSR Congress Party. He is also in favour of bifurcation of state as it would make Mala's a key social group in Coastal Andhra region and the division will make SCs strong contenders for CM's post in both states.

    Jupudi Prabhakar Rao

    Jupudi Prabhakar Rao
    BornSankuvari Gunta, Ongole
    Political partyYSR Congress Party
    Jupudi Prabhakar Rao is an Indian politician and an MLC in Andhra Pradesh He belongs to the newly formed YSR Congress Party. He is also the president of one faction of Mala Mahanadu


    Jupudi was born and brought up in the urban village of Sankuvari Gunta in Prakasam district. He was a Mechanical Engineering graduate and completed his MBA with additional qualifications of Co-operative Management and master’s in Public Administration. He worked for MIDHANI (Mishra Dhatu Nigam) (under the Ministry of Defense) for 17 years.
    Being an Ambedhkarite, his heart always felt for the upliftment of Dalits. This has led him to resign from the government service and to work for Dalit rights. In the wake of SC Categorization he became active in Mala Mahanadu under the leadership of P. V Rao and subsequently became president of Mala Mahanadu. Jupudi is the founder and chairman of the non-profit Voice of Millions Global Foundation. He is also a member of Christians United for Israel(CUFI) and strives for unity among Christians.

    Political career

    Jupudi was offered an MLC (Member of Legislative Council) position by late Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy. After YSR's death Jupudi stood by Jagan as he was left alone at that time and participated in his political activities. He is now in the YSR Congress Party floated by Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy.

    Shantabai Kamble

    Shantabai Krushnaji Kamble
    Shantabai Kamble.JPG
    Shantabai Kamble
    Born1 March 1923
    Mahud , Sangola, Solapur,Maharastra, India

    ChildrenArun Kamble
    Shantabai Krushnaji Kamble (born March 1, 1923) is a Marathi writer and Dalit activist. She wrote first Dalit woman autobiography. She was from the community which economically and socially deprived class. But her family always built her moral, and gradually due to good educational assistance, she goes beyond the boundaries. Education is the weapon which made her strong and sharp in the life. She strongly believe that the path Dr. B. R. Ambedkar showed is not only right but we could achieve our goal through this path, and she is very good example of it.
    Early age
    Shantabai Krushnaji Kamble born in a Mahar Dalit family on March 1, 1923. Her birthplace was Mahud which is located in Solapur. She was from poor family. The social and economical status of her family's community was very low.

    Educational Struggle

    In India the ritual says to lower caste people "Education is not their cup of tea" so education was prohibited for these people. The worst thing was she was a woman and no girl used to go to school at that time. But her parents decided to send her school because of her extraordinary talent.

    Life after marriage

    After her marriage, she converted as Buddhist. The basic ideology behind this conversion is to fight against wrong rituals and severity of casteism. The basic inspiration behind conversion is Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Ambedkar told to these people was they should earn status in this world by way of education and unity. Shantabai Kamble was followed his path and she did a great job.

    Her book

    Shantabai Kamble's Majya Jalmachi Chittarkatha published as a complete book in 1986 but presented to readers and television audiences in serial form named as Najuka through the early 1980s, is considered the first autobiographical narrative by Dalit woman writer. This book included in the University of Mumbai's syllabus.


    • Pioneering autobiography : Untouchable castes' woman from India Shantabai Kamble.

    Surendar Valasai

    Surendar Valasai (Sindhi: سريندر ولاسائي) (born 11 August 1968, near Kaloi, Tharparkar, Pakistan) is a Pakistani journalist.

    He worked as a journalist for English dailies like The MuslimDaily NewsSindh ExpressFinancial Post,The Balochistan Express and as an Editor in Sindh Tribune. As of 2010 Valasai worked as Media coordinator of Bilawal House.

    Scheduled Castes Federation of Pakistan (SCFP)

    Valasai formed the Scheduled Caste Federation of Pakistan (SCFP) to raise the issue of human inequality, untouchability and caste discrimination. Under the SCFP platform, he wrote hundreds of petitions and letters to the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of Pakistan drawing their attention to the plight of Scheduled Castes tribes and particularly the Meghwal, Kolhi, Bheel,Bagdis, and Oads. His main emphasis was that since Pakistan did not subscribe to these social evils ideologically and spiritually, concrete steps were needed.


    • 1. The Muslim* Staff Reporter · May 1994 to Oct 1996
    • 2. Daily News*
    • 3. Sindh Express*
    • 4. Financial Post* News Editor · Jan 1997 to Sep 2004
    • 5. The Balochistan Times* News Editor · Mar 1993 to Feb 1994
    • 6. Sindh Tribune*

    Pampady John Joseph

    BornPampady Joseph
    Pampady, Kottayam
    Alma materTrukkakara Mission School
    SubjectsDalit Liberation
    Notable work(s)Sadhujan Dootan (Periodical), Cheruma Boy
    Pampady John Joseph (Pampady, 1887-Jul 1940), known as Pampady John or Pampady Joseph, was a Dalit activist and the founder of the socio-religious movement Cheramar MahajanSabha.

    Early life

    Joseph was born in 1887 at Pampady, Kottayam to his father was Pampady John. His father was a Christian who was converted from Pulaya (then untouchable) caste to Catholic Christian. Joseph was educated up to the sixth standard at Trukkakara Mission School. He came to Kottayam in 1910 and then to Thiruvananthapuram in 1918. For sometime he served as a teacher Joseph felt that the Catholic Church was not treating newly converted Christians as equals to their Syrian counterparts, leading to dissatisfaction among the converts. Pampady John organized Cheramar Mahajan Sabha on 14 January 1921 to protest against the traditional attitude and customs of the caste Hindus and caste Hindu converts. In Cheramar Mahajan Sabha, caste Christians as well as untouchable Hindus were allowed to be the members.

    Cheramar Mahajan Sabha

    Joseph was of the openion of Pulayars were the original inhabitants of Kerala and hence he re changed the caste name to Cheramar - which means the people of Kerala. The sabha's intention was to struggle against the Hindu mentality and obtain their lost rights under the banner of Sabha.He denoted that the cheramar,pulayar,parayar and kuravar are the adi dravida race in India.
    Joseph initiated Sadhujan Dootan, a Magazine, in 1919, in which he wrote inspiring articles. The magazine was live till 1924. 
    Joseph, in his book Cheruma Boy, was questioning the Syrian Christian's apethetic and discriminatory attitude towards the untouchable Christians. 

    Joining Shri Moolam Legislative Assembly, Travancore

    On 8 June 1931, he became a member of the Shri Moolam Legislative Assembly, Travancore. Joseph presented a memorandum to the British Parliament on 24 April 1935 and pleaded it to accord all the civil rights to untouchables on a par with the others. As he found untouchable Christians not getting equal privilege and treatment in the Church, Joseph advised to construct own Churches and temples. Along with Ayyankali, Joseph acquired land and distributed among Dalits

    Dalits who work for the community

    read at :-

    Dr.S.R. Sankaran-

     Tribute to an Honest IAS officer who fought for the rights of dalits and poor

    S.R. Sankaran

    S.R. Sankaran was an extraordinary civil servant whose life and work touched  innumerable marginalised lives…
    Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

    A life of compassion:S.R. Sankaran.

    Crowds surged to join his funeral procession as it wound its way through the busy streets of Hyderabad, on a warm afternoon on October 8, 2010. Senior civil servants and human rights workers jostled with tens of anonymous indigent men and women, each of whom wished for the privilege to carry his body in its last journey for a few moments. Uniformed policemen lowered their eyes in tribute after offering an incongruous gun salute to a man the crowds extolled as a messenger of peace. Slogans continuously rent the air, hailing him to be the beloved son of dalits, tribal people, the poor and disabled persons. Few eyes were dry when his niece set aflame his funeral pier.
    Man of integrity

    I doubt if there has ever been such a funeral of any civil servant before him. The diverse multitude which surged to bid this diminutive, frail, under-stated man his final farewell represented the extraordinary range of people whose lives he had touched. S.R. Sankaran set standards of integrity and service to the most disadvantaged, for a whole generation of public officials. His courage of convictions inspired human rights activists. Despite his uncompromising opposition to violence, he was revered by Maoists as much as by Gandhians. And a lifetime of egalitarian compassion bound him to masses of India's poorest people, disadvantaged by indigence, caste, gender and disability.
    Sankaran firmly believed lifelong that the foremost duty of the State was to uphold the dignity, rights and freedoms of India's most oppressed people, and his life's work demonstrated what a democratic government could indeed accomplish if it included persons like him. He drew up laws for land reforms, and pushed governments to implement these. He conceived of the Tribal Sub-Plan and Special Component Plan, to compel governments to set aside significant proportions of the state budgets for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. He designed many programmes for justice and welfare of these socially most deprived communities, including thousands of residential schools for the education of tribal boys and girls. It was he who helped craft laws to release bonded workers.

    Among the many legends which have grown up around his life's work, the story is often recounted of how a powerful Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh was furious when, as Secretary Social Welfare, Sankaran organised campaigns to release bonded workers from generations of debt bondage. The Chief Minister announced in a cabinet meeting that Sankaran was a trouble-maker, who went from village to village, held meetings with poorest people, instigated them by declaring that they had the right to be free, and mobilised them to rebel against a lifetime of bondage. Soft-spoken Sankaran retorted that this indeed was what he did, and this was his duty. This enraged the Chief Minister further, and he asserted in the cabinet meeting itself that such subversives had no place in his government. Sankaran replied in his customary low voice that he too did not want to work in his government, and proceeded on long leave.

    Turning point

    This proved a fortuitous turning point in his life. The legendary Marxist Chief Minister of Tripura, Nripen Chakravarthy, invited him to shift to Tripura and serve there as Chief Secretary. Both austere bachelors, fiercely honest, had few worldly belongings, and even washed their own clothes. They formed a unique partnership, leading the state for six years. Few governments in India earned such a reputation of integrity, service and justice for the under-privileged.
    Sankaran gained national fame when he was kidnapped by Naxalites from the jungles of Andhra Pradesh. After his retirement from government, he constituted a Concerned Citizens Committee, to mediate with government to end its human rights violations in its military-like offensive against the armed rebels, and its policy of ‘encounter' killings of alleged Naxalites, which he condemned as ‘targeted extralegal executions'. Many tribal or dalit youth, or their loved ones, would desperately contact Sankaran when they were in danger of being eliminated in fake encounters, and it was Sankaran's mediation which saved several of them. He reminded government tirelessly that it was decades, indeed centuries, of injustice against tribal people — their brutal dispossession from their lands and forests — which was the true source of the insurgency in the jungles of the state.

    But Sankaran was equally unsparing in condemning the violence of the Naxalites, and their focus on ‘ military actions rather than on the mobilisation of people for social transformation'. He was convinced that this contributed to ‘further brutalise the society and lead to the shrinkage of democratic space for mobilisation and direct participation of the people, impairing the very process of transformation that the movements claim to stand for'.

    Unique standing

    It was due to his unique moral stature that both government and the Maoists felt compelled to respond to his appeals, and defend to him their policies. It is another matter that neither altered their basic approaches to the conflict, and the unabated blood-letting by both sides of the conflict caused him great anguish. The efforts of this Committee dominated a decade of Sankaran's life, and he grieved until his end that he could not free his people from the mutually reinforcing cycles of violence, and reclaim for them enduring peace and justice.

    Another task to which he devoted a significant part of his time after he retired was to lead the Safai Karmchari Andolan, an exceptional campaign for ending the humiliating age-old practice of people of particular castes being forced to clean dry latrines with their bare hands, and carry human excreta in baskets on their heads. He regarded this to be the most dreadful manifestation of untouchability and caste. A decade of Sankaran's leadership of the Andolan led to the substantial decimation of this centuries-old evil in many parts of India. This was through a combination of judicial interventions, compelling accountability of public officials, and a non-violent mass campaign for self-respect by people engaged in this vocation in which they burned their baskets and demolished dry latrines. But those Sankaran led to a life of dignity will mourn that he will not be by their side to witness the historic final end of this scourge.

    Sankaran set aside a significant portion of his salary, and his pension after he retired, to educate dalit children. He never spoke of this to anyone, but when he first suffered a heart attack, many young men competed to keep vigil at his bedside. We learnt later from this assortment of doctors, civil servants, engineers and teachers that whatever they achieved in their lives was due to Sankaran. He never married, but clearly several loved and revered him like a father.

    He was an intensely ethical person, but never didactic or judgemental. He displayed an unexpected impish sense of humour and mischief. After he retired from government, he lived in a small unpretentious and sparsely furnished apartment, which looked more like the home of a retired school teacher than a senior civil servant. Even the few pieces of furniture and gadgets in his house were forced on him by those who loved him. When he received his pension arrears, he was alarmed by this very modest swelling of his bank balance, and quickly distributed the money to street children's homes, and an organisation for disabled persons.

    Sankaran's life and work illuminated the lives of literally millions of India's most dispossessed people with dignity, justice and hope. His compassion, simplicity and lifetime of public service will continue to light the way, both of those who work within government, and others who choose to struggle against it. His enduring legacy will be to demonstrate what true and authentic goodness in public and personal life can accomplish, to make this world a better, kinder place


    Jagjivan Ram, endearingly called Babuji, was a freedom fighter and a crusader for social justice. His meteoric rise in public life saw him emerge as an eminent and popular political leader, who devoted his entire life working for the welfare of the country. He belonged to the vintage era of modern Indian politics. As national leader, parliamentarian, Union Minister and champion of depressed classes, he had a towering presence and played a long innings spanning half a century in Indian politics. His enduring and quintessentially twentieth century political legacy reminds us of the fervour, idealism and indomitable spirit of India's political leadership that not only fought and won freedom for the country, but also laid the firm foundation for a modern, democratic polity. Gifted with a flair for political leadership and moved by the ideals and goals of the socio-political events that enveloped the country, Babu Jagjivan Ram played a significant role in scripting our country's political and constitutional development and social change. A passionate leader dedicated to public life, he enjoyed immense respect from all quarters. Widely admired for his leadership qualities and organizational abilities, he always remained a force to be reckoned with in Indian politics. EARLY LIFE Jagjivan Ram was born on 5 April, 1908 at Chandwa, a small village, in Shahabad district, now named Bhojpur, in Bihar. His father, Shobhi Ram was in the British Army where he learnt English and became proficient in it. He was posted in Peshawar, but due to differences with the British he resigned. Thereafter Shobhi Ram returned to Bihar, bought agricultural land in Chandwa and settled there with his family. Being of religious disposition, he became the Mahant of the Shiv Narayani Sect. Sant Shobhi Ram was a skilled calligraphist and spread the teachings of his Sect by writing and illustrating books and distributing them among his followers. In January 1914, at the age of six, Jagjivan Ram was sent to the village pathshala. He had barely started school, when his father died leaving the young Jagjivan in the care of his mother Vasanti Devi , who despite the social and economic hardships, insisted on Jagjivan continuing his education. In 1919, at the age of eleven, Jagjivan Ram passed the upper primary examination. He was an exceptional student. The deep and abiding impressions of his Late father, religious atmosphere at home and love and  affection of his mother and the village schoolmaster, Pandit Kapil Muni Tiwari were instrumental in shaping his character. After the upper primary education, Jagjivan Ram joined the Middle School, Arrah in January 1920. The medium of instruction in Middle School was English. Young Jagjivan worked day and night to learn English and eventually mastered the foreign language. He was advised by many to avail the scholarship offered to Harijan students. Confident of his ability to compete with the students in the general category, the young Jagjivan refused the scholarship offered to Harijan students. Instead, he competed with the other students and earned the scholarship based on his meritorious academic performance. Jagjivan's love for books and knowledge opened up a whole new world of ideas, thought and intellectual discourse. He would spend an hour in the library everyday to read books on different subjects. Jagjivan was fluent in many languages, besides Bhojpuri. He read extensively in Hindi, English, Bengali and Sanskrit. At 6:00 every morning he would walk 3 kilometres to the Arrah railway station to read ‘The Statesman’ newspaper as to keep abreast of all national and international news and developments. He came across Bankim Chandra's—Anand Math, a Bible for the young revolutionaries and freedom fighters. He was so inspired by it that he learnt Bengali to read the book in its original form. Jagjivan Ram joined the Arrah Town School in 1922. It was here for the first time that the young Jagjivan came face to face with the oppressive caste discrimination and bigotry of the upper castes that shackled his community for centuries and put abhorrent limits on him and his community's life. The school had separate water pitchers for Hindu and Muslim students. Some upper-caste boys refused to drink water out of the earthen pitcher touched by Jagjivan Ram and a separate pitcher was installed for the schedule castes. Outraged, Jagjivan Ram refused to tolerate this insult and broke the pitcher and when it was replaced he broke it again. Taking note of his protest the headmaster ordered that a common pitcher be installed for all the students. Though Jagjivan won his point, the discriminatory treatment meted out to him filled his heart with both grief and anger. In spite of this he passed his matriculation in first division and hundred per cent both in Sanskrit and Mathematics. By the time he passed out of the High School, he had earned the reputation of being a cut above the rest. In 1925, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya visited Arrah and Jagjivan Ram, on the basis of his being the best student in the school, was asked to read the welcome address. Deeply impressed by the erudition and panache of the young Ram, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, invited Jagjivan Ram to study at the Banaras Hindu University. At the same time the Christian Mission at Chandwa had also offered to bear the expense of his education and urged his mother to send Jagjivan to Lucknow and then to America for higher studies. However, after some deliberations she turned them down. Vasanti Devi felt that changing religion was not an answer to the oppressive caste system and advised Jagjivan to join the Banaras Hindu University. Jagjivan Ram was to face further caste-based prejudices and hostility at Banaras Hindu University. Servants would not serve him, or wash his plates in the students' mess. But even as a new student, he commanded such respect and loyalty that the entire student body stood up in his support and resolved that henceforth each student would wash his own plate. But Jagjivan Ram did not want to create inconvenience to the entire hostel and decided to shift out. After passing the Inter Science Examination from BHU, Jagjivan Ram joined B.Sc. at Calcutta University and passed with distinction. Within six months of coming to Calcutta he organized a mazdoor rally at Wellington Square with about 35,000 people. The huge success of this rally brought him into the limelight and leaders like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose took notice of him. During this period he got acquainted with Chandrshekhar Azad, Manmath Nath Gupt and other leading revolutionaries. He read Das Kapital, Communist Manifesto and other socialist literature that greatly influenced his ideology of a casteless and classless society. Since childhood Jagjivan Ram had dreamed of being a scientist. But as he grew up he could no longer ignore the socio-politico situations enveloping the country and he sacrified his personal ambitions to answer the call of his motherland. The student years strengthened his resolve to fight on two fronts, for the freedom of the country and for social equality. Foray into Politics and Freedom Struggle In 1934, an earthquake struck Bihar. Jagjivan Ram rushed back to North Bihar to organize relief work. He worked day and night to organize clothing, shelter, medical aid and other relief supplies for the people affected by the calamity. It was here during his work in the relief camps that he met Gandhiji for the first time, and realized that Mahatma Gandhi was the only national leader, who was fighting not only for the independence of the country but also for the emancipation of the depressed classes and Harijans. Gandhiji's fight was on both fronts. All other leaders chose one over the other. During his student years, Jagjivan Ram successfully organized a number of Ravidas Sammelans and had started celebrating Guru Ravidas Jayanti in the different districts of Calcutta. In 1934, he founded the Akhil Bhartiya Ravidas  Mahasabha in Calcutta. The other organizations that he founded for social reforms were Khetihar Mazdoor Sabha for agricultural labour and the All India Depressed Classes League. Through his organizations he involved the depressed classes in the freedom struggle and also rallied that all Dalit leaders should unite, and not only fight for social reform but also demand political representation. On 1 June, 1935, Jagjivan Ram married Indrani Devi, daughter of Dr. Birbal, a renowned medical practitioner and a social worker of Kanpur. Dr. Birbal was earlier in the British army and was awarded the Victoria Medal by Viceroy Lord Lansdowne for his services in the Chin-lushai war in 1889-90. Indrani Devi was herself a freedom fighter and an Educationist, who stood by Jagjivan Ram through all his years of struggle. They had two childrena son, Suresh and a daughter, Meira. The subsequent years saw greater political participation and intervention by Jagjivan Ram and his fight for independence became inseparably intertwined with his struggle for social reform. On 19 October, 1935, Babuji appeared before the Hammond Committee at Ranchi and demanded for the first time voting rights for Dalits. In 1936, when he was just 28 years old, Jagjivan Ram began his parliamentary career as a nominated member of the Bihar Legislative Council. In 1937, he stood as a candidate of the Depressed Classes League and was elected unopposed to the Bihar Legislative Assembly from the East Central Shahabad (Rural) and he also ensured the unopposed victory of his Depressed Classes League candidates in all the 14 reserved constituencies. With such an unopposed and decisive victory, Babuji emerged as the kingmaker. Subsequently, the Congress invited him to join them. Under their policy of divide and rule, the British wanted to set up a puppet government in Bihar. For this they needed his support. They offered a large sum of money and a Ministerial berth and other political benefits to buy his support. He did not even consider it. All national leaders and the masses praised this act of patriotism and integrity. Gandhiji said that Jagjivan Ram had emerged as pure as gold in the test of fire. After the failed attempt of a puppet government, a Congress government was formed. Babuji was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Co-operative Industry and Village Development. In 1938, he resigned along with the entire Cabinet on the issue of the Andaman prisoners and the British policy of involving India in the Second World War. Inspired by Gandhiji's Civil Disobedience Movement of 1940, Jagjivan Ram courted arrest on 10 December 1940 by giving a notice to the District  Collector. He was arrested at Arrah and sent to the Hazaribagh Jail. In Jail, he had long discussions with socialist prisoners on varied subjects ranging from Marxism to Gandhism which made a deep impact on Babuji. After his release, Babuji entrenched himself deeply into the Civil Disobedience Movement and Satyagraha. He went to Wardha and stayed at Gandhiji's ashram. During their morning walks Babuji and Gandhiji discussed matters close to their hearts—a vision for an independent India with a society free from the highly discriminatory dogmas of the past. Jagjivan Ram's participation in the freedom struggle and his activities as a Congress leader were inseparable. As a leader of the party, Jagjivan Ram strengthened the national cause by his strong organizational work and effective participation in the various programmes the party undertook in its struggle for freedom. In 1942, the Indian National Congress launched the Quit India Movement. On that occasion Jagjivan Ram had joined the Congress leadership in Bombay. The AICC passed the historic Quit India resolution. Soon after, most other Congress leaders were arrested and it was left to Jagjivan Ram to make the Quit India Movement a success. He headed to Bihar to organize a mass movement against the British. Due to his revolutionary activities and the impact he had on garnering support for the Quit India Movement , Babuji was arrested in Patna from his house on 19 August 1942. Jagjivan Ram was released on 5 October, 1943 and in the following years, he organized many meetings and rallies and condemned the British Government for their suppression of Indian freedom movement. He won unopposed in the 1946 Central Elections from the constituency of East Central Shahabad (Rural). The same year he deposed before the Cabinet Mission in Shimla as a representative of the depressed classes and strongly defended their cause and the unity of the nation. He frustrated the designs of the British and other divisive forces to further divide the country. On 30 August, 1946, Babu Jagjivan Ram was one of the twelve leaders of the country, who were invited by Viceroy/Lord Wavell, to become a part of the Interim Government. He was the only representative of the Dalits in the Interim Government formed on 2 September 1946 and held the portfolio of Labour. While returning from Geneva after attending the International Labour Conference, Babuji’s aeroplane crashed in the desert of Basra, Iraq on 16 July 1947. Babuji had a providential escape, though he had severe injuries in his right leg and foot. In this crash all the employees of the BOAC aircraft had died. Independence and After In post-Independent India, his contribution to nation-building has left an indelible mark. As one of the founding fathers of the Constitution and as an important leader of the Constituent Assembly, he ensured the importance of social justice as one of the ideals enshrined in the Constitution. After Independence, when India embarked upon the task of nationbuilding and fulfilling the dreams of the people, there were formidable developmental challenges before the nation which required the formulation of sound policy and new initiatives. Jagjivan Ram proved an ever-dependable parliamentarian who assumed the charge of various key Ministries to handle the challenging tasks when the country was passing through sensitive and delicate times and people looked towards governmental assistance and schemes to face the crises and overcome the struggling phase. As Labour Minister, he introduced time-tested policies and laws for labour welfare. He was instrumental in enacting some of the important legislations for labour, viz. the Minimum Wages Act, 1946; the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; the Indian Trade Union (Amendment) Act; the Payment of Bonus Act, etc. He actually laid down the foundation of social security by way of enacting the two important Acts, namely the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 and the Provident Fund Act, 1952. In 1952 Lok Sabha elections, Jagjivan Ram chose Sasaram as his parliamentary constituency since his earlier constituency was a part of it. The people elected him as their representative to parliament and he was given a Ministerial berth. As Minister of Communication (1952-1956), he nationalized the private airlines and spread the postal facilities to the remote villages. In 1957, Babuji was returned unopposed for the second time from his constituency of Sasaram. During 1956-62, as the Railways Minister, he modernized Railways and gave a new momentum to the expansion of Railways in the country. He took innumerable welfare measures for Railway employees and set a record by not allowing any increase in passenger fares for five years. In 1962, the people of Sasaram elected Jagjivan Ram once again and during 1962-63, he was Minister of Transport and Communications. In 1963 he resigned under the Kamaraj Plan and worked to strengthen the Congress organization. During 1966-67, he shouldered the responsibility of the Labour and Rehabilitation Ministry. As Food and Agriculture Minister during 1967-70, he pulled the country out of the clutches of a severe drought, heralded the Green Revolution and for the first time made India self-sufficient in food. In March 1971 the stage was set for mid-term election. Babuji returned victorious once again to the Lok Sabha. As the Defence Minister during 1970-74, he changed the political map of the world and made history by liberating Bangladesh and made the Pakistan Army surrender unconditionally. The way the war was fought was unprecedented and he kept the promise he had made to the people of India that the war would not be fought on a single inch of Indian soil.  In 1974, Jagjivan Ram took charge of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. He organized the Public Distribution System to ensure that food was available to the masses at a reasonable price. As Minister, he had unparalleled ability to look after the affairs under his Ministry and he had his priorities well defined to take on the challenges ahead. In all the Ministries and Departments at the Centre, where Babu Jagjivan Ram had held charge, he left his mark of qualitatively high performance. In political power, he saw the opportunity to transform people's lives and promote their welfare by bold and well thought-out plans. He played a dominant role in the Indian National Congress right from 1937. During the pre-Independence period Babuji held important offices at the State level in the Congress. After Independence, he became the axis of the Party and indispensable for party affairs as well as governance of the country. He was a member of All India Congress Committee from 1940 to 1977 and was in the All India Congress working Committee from 1948 to 1977. He was in the Central Parliamentary Board and All India Congress Committee from 1950 to 1977. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Smt. Indira Gandhi could not afford to spare him due to his astute political acumen. He was the mind of the Government and the Party. In 1966, following the death of the then Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Congress Party witnessed some inner power struggle and the age-old party deteriorated due to groupism. On one side were the old guards like Morarji Desai, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and K. Kamaraj who were called the Syndicate and on the other side were the Progressives such as Smt. Indira Gandhi, Jagjivan Ram and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. In 1969 the conflict between the two groups came to its head and the party split into two, the Congress (O) and the Congress led by Babu Jagjivan Ram. In the Bombay Session of the Congress in December 1969, Babuji was elected unanimously as the party president and thereafter worked hard to strengthen the party which had weakened its hold in many States. His hard work paid off. His diligence, organizational skills and leadership ensured that the Congress came back to power with a thumping majority in March 1971. In a turn of events, Emergency was declared on 26 June 1975. The fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution stood suspended. However, Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi recommended the dissolution of the Lok Sabha on 18 January 1977 and to hold fresh General Elections. As the impact of emergency was felt by everyone, Babu Jagjivan Ram resigned from the Cabinet and the Congress Party on 2 February 1977. He formed his own party, ‘Congress for Democracy’ (CFD) on 5 February 1977. He returned victorious once again to Lok Sabha in General Elections from Sasaram Constituency in Bihar. On 25 March 1977 he joined the Janata Government and became Defence Minister. He merged CFD with Janata Party on 1 May 1977. Babu Jagjivan Ram became the Deputy Prime Minister of the country on 24 January 1979 and continued to handle the charge of Defence Ministry till 28 July 1979. The internal conflicts of the Janata Party resulted in losing its majority in Parliament and the Government led by Shri Morarji Desai fell in July 1979. Thereafter, Chaudhary Charan Singh was sworn in as Prime Minister on 28 July 1979 and Babuji close to remain as leader of the opposition. But, Chaudhary Charan Singh could not prove his majority in the House. After the fall of his Government, many members of Lok Sabha rallied around Babu Jagjivan Ram and asked him to stake his claim. The President, however, dissolved the Lok Sabha on 22 August 1979 and ordered fresh Elections. In January 1980, the people of Sasaram re-elected Babuji to the Lok Sabha and for the first time he sat in the Opposition. After the fall of the Janata Government, Babuji launched his own party the Congress (J) on 5 August 1981 and in the General Election of December 1984, he once again returned victorious to the Lok Sabha. His long tenure is a reflection of a fearless and dedicated life. Since the inception of the Parliament, till his death, he represented the same constituency and fought and won every election. His uninterrupted legislative career from 1936-1986 spanning half a century is a world record. Leaving behind the message of equality, he breathed his last on 6 July, 1986. Champion of the Depressed Classes Babu Jagjivan Ram had shown complete solidarity with the depressed classes since his early life. He was highly convinced of the need to improve the lot of the oppressed and the downtrodden sections of the society. The most remarkable facet of Jagjivan Ram's political life had been his nationwide recognition as one of India's tallest leaders. He was committed to dealing with the scourge of casteism, which had taken deep roots in Indian society for ages. A large number of people were denied equal opportunities in social, political and economic spheres due to casteism, which was inconsistent with a modern society and its concept of basic human dignity. Jagjivan Ram had experienced its ill-effects, such as untouchability and marginalisation and was of the view that it is the most important barrier in the full development of human potential. Deeply hurt by the then existing situation in the country, particularly the practice of rampant caste-based discrimination and the resultant marginalization of a vast section of the society, Jagjivan Ram dedicated his leadership prowess and faculties for the upliftment of the depressed classes. Promoting people's welfare in general and the upliftment of the oppressed, in particular, became his passion in life. From his student days, he was actively involved in organising the youth from depressed classes and sought to create awareness among the members of his community to fight for their rights and to draw the attention of political  leaders. During his formative years, he had witnessed the sufferings and privations perpetrated on the depressed classes under the feudal value system. However, he did not surrender to the unjust order of the day, rather he picked up the gauntlet and made it a mission to remedy the social malaise in every possible way. He too had to suffer ostracism and persecution at the hands of the same forces. Such experiences toughened his resolve to fight for justice and he made it his life-long goal to strive for eliminating the social malady that crippled a vast population. For his unwavering support and relentless struggle for the cause of the downtrodden, he has been rightly called a 'Messiah' of Dalits. He wanted a place of respect for the Dalits within the Hindu fold. Babuji felt that conversion to another faith would not rid the society of the malaise of casteism, for casteism was a rot, which has affected all religions and the only way to fight it was to reform the Hindu faith and change social attitudes. The temple entry movement gained momentum largely due to his efforts and today the doors of Jagannath temple at Puri, Vishwanath Mandir in Kashi and Meenakshi temple in Madurai, to name a few, are open for upper and lower castes alike. It is said that in him were symbolized the hopes and aspirations of the backward and the downtrodden people. He never minced words and boldly advocated the path of self-reliance for Harijans. He advised them to carry on a relentless struggle against social prejudices and unfair treatment meted out to them by society and wrest their legitimate right from the unwilling hands of unbending orthodoxy. Organising the Depressed Classes His impressive organizing capabilities saw him elected to the post of Secretary of Bihar State Harijan Sevak Sangh in 1933. In 1934, Jagjivan Ram successfully organized the All India Ravidas Sammelan in Calcutta. During this Conference, he met several social workers, with whom he shared his views and suggested that all Harijan leaders should speak from one platform. The Depressed Classes Unity Conference was held in Kanpur in 1935. In 1936, Jagjivan Ram was chosen to preside over the Lucknow Session of the All India Depressed Classes League, to be followed by many such conferences in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bombay and Punjab. He mobilized the backward classes and tried to articulate and air their genuine grievances. While remaining a Congress party worker and leader, Jagjivan Ram was overwhelmingly identified as a champion of the depressed classes who took up their advancement and social justice as an agenda close to his heart. In 1937, even before joining the Congress he had ensured the unopposed victory of all 14 candidates of his Depressed Classes League. In the 1946 national elections, it was under his leadership that the All India Depressed Classes
    League members contested as Congress candidates and obtained a convincing majority. Consequently, in 1946, he was invited by the visiting Cabinet Mission to present his views on the depressed classes. On the issue of conversion, he was of the view that the injustices on the Harijans would neither end, nor can they get social status by adopting another religion. He rather exhorted them to raise themselves with their own effort, join the mainstream of the nation and work for its advancement. In this connection, he once said : "In the progress of the country lies our progress; in its salvation our salvation and in its emancipation, our emancipation.” Like Gandhiji, Jagjivan Ram attached greater importance in his life to true religion, while fighting for uprooting the social evils and injustice existing in our society. Definitely, he had done so because of his enriched faith in true religion. He vehemently opposed the evils of casteism and orthodoxy in Hindu society, but never hammered on the very root of Hinduism as a whole. Towards a New Social Order Babuji symbolised the dawn of a new era of assertion, equality and empowerment for the depressed classes. His life was a positive statement for the backward classes, who were immensely inspired by the sustained presence of Babuji at the national political scene. His sincerity, dedication and political clout instilled confidence and courage among them. His achievements were seen as part of remarkable advancement for his community. Jagjivan Ram once appealed to the depressed classes: "To struggle for a 'socially interdependent society which would be so changed and revolutionised that they could participate in it on terms of equality of rights and obligations." As a member of the Constituent Assembly, he played an active role in formulating provisions for the safeguard of the depressed classes. He also ensured that the Constitution of India should have enough provisions to forbid any practice of untouchability, or discrimination of persons on grounds of caste. The provision for State intervention for the advancement of socially backward classes by way of reservation in public employment and reservation of seats in legislatures for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes also owes its success to leaders like Jagjivan Ram. He was instrumental in the making of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955. These provisions were meaningfully and effectively translated into instruments of socio-political empowerment and economic progress, with people's active participation enabled by the towering presence of stalwarts like Jagjivan Ram. All these have resulted in giving a better deal to the depressed sections and bringing social changes in the country with a new mindset and social outlook. Jagjivan Ram did not nurse any utopian hopes that caste system would be eliminated at one go. His strategy and approach to the scourge of casteism was based on his abiding faith in the values of a democratic society and the process of transformation through constitutionally established system. He contributed in his own way for a national debate on the depressed classes welfare. In breaking the shackles of the caste system and transforming society, he believed in the use of sustained campaign to educate people to assert their rights and promote their welfare. Throughout his life, he believed passionately in human dignity and individual freedom. He abhorred oppression and believed in the philosophy of 'with malice towards none and charity for all'. As a Parliamentarian Shri Jagjivan Ram had the unique distinction of serving as a Member of the Central Legislature uninterruptedly for as long as 40 years. In the 1930s itself, Jagjivan Ram had emerged as a popular leader with strong mass support base. Since his nomination as a member of the Bihar Legislative Council in 1936, followed by his unopposed election to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1937, he never looked back and continued to get elected from the same constituency so long as he stood as a candidate. Till his last breath, he was a sitting member of the Lok Sabha —his Eighth term—never missing a Lok Sabha since the First General Election. Jagjivan Ram has had the distinction of being the longest—serving Minister in the history of Indian Parliament. A man of old world political morality, he had mass following in his own right, before and after Independence. In his capacity as a member of Parliament, during the major part of which he was a Minister, he sought to address many long term issues before the country in the socio-economic spheres by shaping public opinion, policy and consensus. Jagjivan Ram was known for his apt handling of parliamentary business. As a Union Minister, he introduced numerous Bills in the Lok Sabha and piloted their passage in Parliament. He was one of the best image-builders for the ruling party. He was a down-to-earth, unassuming leader who displayed exceptional political realism and accommodative spirit in presenting a responsible and responsive Executive. He had tremendous grasp of Indian political situations, problems facing the country and offered practical solutions for the many challenges. He was one of those parliamentarians who enriched the country's parliamentary democracy by his mature and dignified participation. Almost always a Minister and on the Treasury Benches, Jagjivan ARLIAMENT Ram played his role in an exceedingly impressive manner. He had his points sent across the various sections in the House effortlessly. He never pursued an evasive approach in Parliament and spared no efforts in keeping the Members satisfied with detailed and informative replies and statements. Jagjivan Ram was an effective debater since his young days and in Parliament, his oratory was well-acknowledged and admired. He is still remembered for his calm and composed demeanour even amidst the stormiest moments of the House. He had tremendous persuasive power and logical arguments which helped him drive home his points. He spoke both Hindi and English with equal ease and eloquence. During those days, Parliament had many outstanding parliamentarians with great debating skills and many of them were known for their ability to put the heat on the Ministers. One of Babuji's sterling qualities was that he was not the one to be easily provoked by Opposition attacks. Armed with facts and figures, he faced the House, especially the Opposition benches with dignified confidence and when the occasion demanded, he displayed his toughness and even a pinch of sarcasm for the Opposition. One of his junior Ministers, Shri V.C. Shukla, remembers Jagjivan Ram in the following words: "A great quality of Shri Jagjivan Ram, one that instantly put him among the select few anywhere, is his imperturbability. He remains his unruffled, serene self, no matter what storm may be raging around. Many must no doubt have had the occasions to see the deft, confident manner in which he handles even the stormiest debates on the floor of Parliament. It comes out on such occasion that the unruffled, unhurried, even amicable man, is also capable of retorting hard, and woe betake the member who sought to underestimate this capacity of Shri Jagjivan Ram. He was known for his unfailing courtesy to the House, taking due note of the opinion from all sections of the House and was also an effective spokesperson of the Government on the floor of the House. Recounting from his memory of Jagjivan Ram, Sardar Hukam Singh, former Speaker, Lok Sabha said : "He would make out his case convincingly, taking criticism calmly, and give back with force and redoubled vigour, without offending anybody. He is not a dry bore. On the other hand, he can utilize wit and introduce humour at suitable occasions." Jagjivan Ram was known for his calmness and composure even in the most trying circumstances. He would sit in the House fully in control of himself, composed and attentive, listening to the debate with rapt attention. 

    Dr. L.M. Singhvi, an eminent parliamentarian, very impressed by Babuji's parliamentary performance, said : "I have had the privilege of seeing Shri Jagjivan Ram functioning on the floor of the Lok Sabha as well as in the Committees and other meetings. I have always had the feeling that in tact, as well as in talent, in skill as well as in effectiveness, in exposition and in eloquence and in elaborate replies as well as in casual repartee, Shri Jagjivan Ram is one of our best parliamentarians of eminence". One of the most effective parliamentarians, Jagjivan Ram made significant contributions to strengthen the parliamentary institutions of our country. In his talent and expertise, the successive Prime Ministers had put unflinching faith. Jagjivan Ram gave his best to the party, Government and Parliament. He formed part of the political elite that shaped and strengthened the working of parliamentary institutions in the country and ensuring people's faith therein. The esteem, goodwill and image of Jagjivan Ram and his wealth of experience combined to make him a unique leader. Dr. Karan Singh, former Union Minister of Health and Family Planning, recalls Jagjivan Ram's parliamentary days in the following words: "Over the last 10 years I have been in Parliament. I had occasions to witness at close quarters Babu Jagjivan Ramji's performance in Parliament. His tremendous grasp over his portfolio in particular and national affairs in general, his imperturbability in the face of provocation and his effective delivery, both in English and Hindi, combined to make him one of our ablest Parliamentarians." A True Democrat Throughout his life, Babuji was a firm believer in democracy and democratic values. He stood by his principles and never compromised with values even during turbulent political situations. In spite of being one of the veteran Congress members and a close confidante of Smt. Indira Gandhi, Babuji did not hesitate to differ from her views. Jagjivan Ram tried to persuade Smt. Gandhi to revoke the Emergency and restore normalcy in the country. After failing in his effort to do so, he sent in his resignation to Smt. Gandhi. In his resignation letter on 2 February, 1977 to Smt. Gandhi, Babuji wrote: "A fear psychosis has overtaken the whole nation. People are living in a state of constant fear and are silently suffering. This is bad for any country, more so for a democracy. Therefore, it is necessary that the emergencies are ended, all extraordinary laws are made inoperative  and freedom of the people restored, so that the entire nation can be rescued from the stage of impotence to which it has been reduced at present........... It is difficult for me to associate myself with such a dispensation any longer. I am, therefore, sending my resignation herewith from your Cabinet and request you for its immediate acceptance". After resigning from Smt. Gandhi's Cabinet, he addressed the Press and said : "The motherland calls once again to guard and preserve democracy, to protect human values so that India and India alone becomes strong and prosperous". Coalition Politics After quitting the Congress, the same day he formed a new party, the "Congress for Democracy". A man of the masses, he could sense the people's desire for a change and could foresee the results of the Sixth General Election. Indeed, he became a unifying force for the Opposition. As things unfolded, his assessment turned out to be prophetic. The multi-party alliance, which his party—the Congress for Democracy had joined, secured a landslide victory. When India's parliamentary system was entering a new phase of coalition politics, Jagjivan Ram was one of the key political actors in shaping national politics. There was a strong opinion and expectation that Jagjivan Ram should be chosen to head the first non-Congress Government at the Centre, but this was not to be. In the Janata Government, Jagjivan Ram took charge of the Defence portfolio on 25 March 1977. Soon after, Babu Jagjivan Ram merged his party, the CFD with the Janata Party. Babuji became the Deputy Prime Minister, in addition to handling the Defence portfolio. Later, as the Janata Party disintegrated and the Morarji Desai Government resigned in 1979, there was political crisis. Although Chaudhary Charan Singh was sworn-in as the Prime Minister, he could not prove his majority in the House. The first coalition experiment at the Centre thus came to a premature end. In the Seventh Lok Sabha, the Congress came back to power and the Janata Party succumbed to disintegration. Following the disintegration of the Janata Party, Jagjivan Ram formed a new party, namely, Congress (J). Though he did not return to the Congress Party, he was always consulted by many of its national leaders. People from various walks of life sought his advice on various issues, particularly related to Indian politics and administration. He led the unquestioned leader of his long-term constituency—Sasaram in Bihar. In the Seventh and Eighth General Elections to the Lok Sabha, Jagjivan Ram won from the same constituency, unaffected by the changed political equations and other factors. An Accomplished Administrator Since the Interim Government in 1946, Jagjivan Ram had been a Cabinet Minister for more than three decades, except when he relinquished ministerial position and did party work under the 'Kamaraj Plan' during 1963-66. He enriched India's parliamentary system of governance, both as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister. Three decades as the Union Cabinet Minister speaks volumes of his administrative capabilities and acumen. He held important portfolios such as Labour, Railways, Transport, Communications, Food and Agriculture, Defence, etc. He had shown great political wisdom and understanding in dealing with the country's challenges, be it in Defence or Agriculture. He also demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm for India's development. Under his direction and guidance, various Ministries pursued development-oriented programmes and introduced services, which were highly appreciated and welcomed by the people. He took lead in the formulation of sound and result-oriented policies and programmes concerning the Ministries and Departments under his charge and implemented them efficiently. He was sensitive to the people's needs and development requirements and was prompt at taking appropriate measures to manage various crises in the country. He knew how to handle the bureaucracy and the art of getting the best out of it. In translating the untold dreams of the people into perspective planning and meeting the many challenges before the nation, Jagjivan Ram's expertise was invaluable. He was the Minister of Labour during 1946-52, a portfolio he held again in 1966-1967. Besides the Labour Ministry, the other Ministries he held were Communications (1952-56), Railways (1956-1962), Transport and Communications (1962-63), Food and Agriculture (1967-1970), Defence (1970-1974) and Agriculture and Irrigation (1974-77). When the Janata Party Government headed by Morarji Desai was formed in 1977, Jagjivan Ram joined it as a Cabinet Minister holding Defence portfolio. He also became the Deputy Prime Minister and held the Defence portfolio from 24 January 1979 to 28 July 1979. As Minister of Labour Labour portfolio fell on the shoulders of Jagjivan Ram first in 1946 and later during 1966-67. 

    When he became Labour Minister in 1946, it was a time  Labour welfare was receiving much attention—both nationally and internationally, to create more humane conditions for workers and ensure them remunerative wages and other rights. He was convinced that unless the problems of poverty, unemployment and low standard of living of the vast masses were successfully dealt with, it would be difficult to address labour problems. He laid the foundation for a new era of labour welfare, industrial climate and productivity with new policy measures and an enabling working environment. He was instrumental in bringing many progressive labour laws incorporating sound labour policy befitting a Welfare State, which provided the labour force in the country great relief and incentives to work. A number of labour friendly laws were enacted during his tenure, viz., the Minimum Wages Act, the Coal Mines Provident Fund and Bonus Scheme, The Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund and the vast network of Employees' State Insurance Corporation. Such measures saved the labour force from pitiable and exploitative conditions and also ensured social and financial security and dignity. In 1947, he piloted the enactment of the Industrial Disputes Act, which was a landmark legislation heralding in an era of hope and mutual goodwill for settlement of industrial disputes. This was further modified with the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950. In November 1947, he introduced the Dock Workers (Regulation and Employment) Bill in the Central Legislative Assembly. Another social security measure was the Workmen's State Insurance Bill that Jagjivan Ram introduced in November 1947. In 1948, the Factories Act was enacted which inter alia, prohibited the employment of women and children in dangerous occupations. The Act also regulated hours of work, payment of overtime wages, weekly holidays, leave with pay, etc. Another major enactment was the Indian Trade Union (Amendment) Act, 1946 seeking to strengthen the Indian Trade Union Act,1929 which had proved ineffective. This constant liaison with labour stemmed from his early association with the oppressed classes and he had made a bold and original contribution for the amelioration of their lot by his constant and untiring endeavours. Babuji was a champion for the cause of labour. But at the same time, he frequently reminded the labour force of their responsibility towards building a vibrant and modern India. While addressing a convocation at the Banaras Hindu University he said: ".....I need hardly emphasise the importance of the new political role of the labour, except to say that increase in power means increase in responsibility. These two go together and cannot be separated. Power with irresponsibility will lead to disaster, that may even spell the loss of liberty and the downfall of the State". 

     He further added: "I am myself a firm believer in the efficiency of negotiations, conciliation, and adjudication. It is only when all these avenues have exhausted that the last weapons in the armoury of labour may be wielded and that also only for economic reasons. A strike, as political weapon, is doomed to failure and will be resisted with all the energy and resources at disposal of the government." In June 1947, Shri Jagjivan Ram led the Indian delegation to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Conference. He had the honour of becoming the first Asian Chairman at the Conference of the ILO held at Geneva in 1950. By tackling issues on the labour and employment front and adding to industrial peace and productivity, Jagjivan Ram had contributed much to the productive potential of the country. He was always sympathetic to the cause of the labour and the poor workers. During his second tenure as the Labour Minister in 1966, he brought the Contract Labour Bill that was aimed at the abolition of contract labour from certain categories of trade unions and for regulating working conditions where the total abolition of contract labour was not possible. The welfare of the labour class was always in his mind. He appointed the National Commission on Labour, headed by Shri Gajendragadkar, to review the changes in conditions of Labour since Independence and to report on their existing conditions. The report, submitted to the Government in 1969, provided a wealth of information and included many useful recommendations. Jagjivan Ram’s term as Labour minister was indeed a boon for the working class in the country. As Minister of Communications and Transport Jagjivan Ram held charge of the Ministry of Communications from May 1952 to December 1956. He also held both—the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Transport from April 1962 to August 1963. Nationalization of air transport was one of the most significant developments of his term. He piloted the Air Corporation Bill, 1953 amidst great opposition and ensured its successful enactment. The Air Corporation Act provided for reorganization and development of the Civil Aviation sector and resulted in the genesis of Air India and Indian Airlines as nationalized air carriers. There was tremendous expansion of civil aviation infrastructure during his tenure. On his behest, a number of aerodromes were built and auxiliary facilities were augmented. Equal importance was attached to the improvement of the existing aerodromes and completion of ongoing works. Though he attached great importance to Civil Aviation and regarded it as the second line of defence, he did not agree to the demand of handing over this Department to  the Defence Ministry. While replying to the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Communications, he once said :

     "If Civil Aviation is to be treated as a second line of defence, the very argument justifies that it should be separate from the Defence Ministry and should be allowed the fullest scope for development so that in times of emergency, it can function as an efficient second line of defence." In the field of Communications, he took key initiatives and made radical changes. He laid the foundation for expansion of this vital service for the progress of the country. It was his policy decision that every village with a population of 2,000 must have a post office. For villages in far-flung areas, the provision was suitably relaxed, so that no one would be made to walk for more than two miles to utilize postal facilities. It was also his decision to have a telegraph office for every Tehsil town. As a matter of policy, he decided that telephone exchanges should be opened in all District towns and Public Call Offices at sub-divisional towns. Such a far-sighted step enhanced the communication network to a great extent. It also proved to be very useful for the educated unemployed of the nation. Realising the huge potential of the Shipping sector, Jagjivan Ram emphasized the expansion of its fleet and covered all the important trade routes of the world. Indian ports were modernized and developmental works were undertaken in major ports viz. Cochin, Visakhapatnam, Kandla, Tuticorin, Mangalore and also at Calcutta and Haldia Dock Projects. All these initiatives resulted in substantial increase in the total cargo shipment and in turn gave a boost to foreign trade and increase in foreign exchange resource. This apart, he also took steps for the development of roadways during his tenure. The number of national highways and the total length of roads registered a significant growth. A Transport Development Council was set up. It made important recommendations pertaining to motor vehicle taxation, schemes for establishment of National Road Safety Council, framing model rules for the transport of goods by road and development of inland water transport. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an ardent lover of Hindi language and literature. As a visionary, he realized the importance of Hindi and encouraged the staff to be initiated into Hindi. During his tenure, a new practice was started to issue all the circulars and postal notices released by the Director-General in Hindi, as well as in English. Stamps and seals in Devnagari script were introduced in the circles, where Hindi was used as an important language of communication. In other cities, bilingual stamps and seals were supplied.

     As Railway Minister Jagjivan Ram was entrusted with the Railway portfolio in December 1956. Indian Railways was under tremendous strain at that time. It was perceived that by allocating the Railways portfolio to Babuji, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru brought the right man to ensure that the Railways attained adequate growth to cater to the increasing passenger and freight traffic in the country. With wisdom, intuition and an unorthodox approach, he endeavoured to overhaul the Indian Railways which had come under strain and stagnation in growth. His efforts paved the way for the accelerated growth of Indian Railways, making it the fourth largest in the world and the largest in Asia. During his tenure, all areas like modernization, economy measures, better management practices, self-sufficiency in indigenous production of railway requirements, etc. received special attention. Undoubtedly, the Railways took great strides forward. The Indian Railways network proliferated under the dynamic leadership of Babuji. It was indeed given a facelift. Remarkably, this was achieved without raising the fares in all the five Railway Budgets, which were presented by Jagjivan Ram in Parliament. Some other achievements during his term included-construction of about 650 kilometres of broad-gauge line, 610 kilometres of metre-gauge line and doubling of about 1,500 kilometres of existing single line. With his vast experience, zeal and unparalleled innovative skill, Babuji introduced a number of amenities for all classes of passengers without raising fares. He paid special attention to the welfare of the railway workers. The most noteworthy step was the introduction of a Pension Scheme in December 1957, similar to one applicable to the Central Government employees. On his behest, several staff training schools were opened and the existing ones were expanded to facilitate the Railway men to equip themselves for more responsible work and thereby improve their career prospects. It was during his time that reservations were made for departmental promotions of employees from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and these were strictly implemented. Attention of the recruiting authorities was constantly drawn to the necessity of filling all vacancies for the candidates belonging to the reserved category. As Minister of Food and Agriculture During his tenure as the Minister of Food and Agriculture, first from March 1967 to June 1970 and then again from October 1974 to February 1977, he handling this Ministry at a difficult juncture. It was in the late sixties, the country was reeling under a severe food shortage following two years of drought. Jagjivan Ram concentrated on the growth of agriculture, food production and Public Distribution System (PDS). He worked hard and helped in enabling the country to ensure food security and availability of food at reasonable price for millions of people in the country. When he began his tenure in this Ministry, India was dependent on foodgrain imports and was struggling to find some innovative measures to increase agricultural production. Babuji was convinced that the growth of the national economy rests heavily on the growth of agriculture. He was, therefore, of the opinion that self-sufficiency in India's agricultural economy should be achieved as quickly as possible, so that dependence on foodgrain imports could be eliminated. He initiated a number of new measures and reoriented agricultural policies and programmes to achieve record food production. Important among them were—acceleration of irrigation programmes, resolving inter-state water disputes, National Seeds Programme for production of quality seeds, promotional campaign for fertilizer use, etc. Through adoption and application of improved agricultural practices, cultivation of high-yielding varieties, increased use of fertilizers and pesticides, assured irrigation, improved water management practices, expansion of agricultural credit, development of marketing and storage, crop production was taken to new heights. To overcome the food scarcity situation in the country, due to the unprecedented droughts of 1965 and 1966, Babuji took several measures and dealt with the situation successfully. Large-scale feeding programmes were organized for the benefit of the vulnerable sections of the population. The distribution of foodgrains from fair price shops was maintained with a view to safeguarding the interests of the consumers. Vigorous efforts were made to maximize domestic procurement of foodgrains and to supplement the domestic supplies through imports. In 1970, when he switched over to the Defence Ministry, food shortage had been reduced to a mere bad dream. Jagjivan Ram realized that Public Distribution System was an effective mechanism to manage the supply chain of foodgrains to the common people. To meet the requirements of the Public Distribution System, increased emphasis was laid on domestic procurement and the country's dependence on imports was progressively reduced. Public distribution of foodgrains was made a regular feature of food management in the country. Another important contribution of Jagjivan Ram was in the field of Land Reforms, to which he accorded much priority as an effective step to transform the rural economy. Following the Chief Ministers' Conference in 1976,   considerable progress was made in implementing land reforms. Development of animal husbandry and dairying, inland fisheries, improving the forest cover, procurement of foodgrains from domestic markets for public distribution, making PDS a regular feature for better food management in the country, building buffer stock, incentive prices for farmers, etc. were also given emphasis during Babuji's tenure. In 1975, during his second term as the Food Minister, there was a worldwide shortage of foodgrains. India managed the crisis with effective policy measures such as de-hoarding campaigns, expansion and streamlining of the PDS and increased inputs of foodgrain production. In fact, the whole approach to food and agriculture policy under the leadership of Jagjivan Ram was of practical significance. They not only succeeded in meeting the crisis in those times, but also came to be part of the long-term policy framework on food and agriculture in the country. As Minister of Defence Jagjivan Ram was the Defence Minister of the country at an important juncture and proved to be a tough taskmaster. He took over the reins of this Ministry in June 1970, when the threat of war was knocking at India's eastern and western fronts. By December 1971, India successfully fought and concluded a war against Pakistan in which our Armed Forces proved its might and capability. Given that, India had not emerged victorious in any of the wars fought previously, he had the uphill task of preparing the armed forces for the eventuality of a war and keeping them fit and war-worthy. With his unmatched ingenuity, he managed the affairs of the Defence forces at that critical juncture. He not only motivated the Armed Forces to fight for the liberation of another country, but also kept his promise to the people that the war would not be fought on Indian soil. In the build-up to the war, he visited the places where Armed Forces were stationed and also addressed civilians in other areas explaining to them the emerging situation. This helped in readying the entire nation to fight the war. In October 1971, when the Army was preparing for the war, Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi and Defence Minister, Shri Jagjivan Ram visited many Army divisions and units in Punjab and the border areas in other States. Lt. Gen. K.P. Candeth who was the Commander of the Army's Western Command during the 1971 war, has recounted their visit in the following words : "Shri Jagjivan Ram went down well with the soldiers. He is a wonderful speaker who can carry his audience with him and he never makes the mistake of talking down to them, but manages to convey the impression  one of them....I had to brief him on the operational situation and war plans and was struck by his incisiveness and quick grasp of the root of a problem. My admiration grew during the initial reverses we had....He used to ring me, normally in the morning, and in his slow drawl ask me how it was going and if I could cope with the situation, and being told that there was no cause to worry and that I could deal with it, he used to wish me good luck and ring off. He never seemed excited, bothered or flurried and his phlegmatism did much to inspire confidence.” The internal situation in the erstwhile East Pakistan had spilled over to India, with hundreds of thousands of refugees crossing over to the Indian territory. He considered the refugee influx to India as a humanitarian problem and emphatically said, "....which civilized country, least of all, one with the tradition like ours, could seal off borders and allow innocent civilians to face the bullets." His inspiring leadership galvanized the entire nation and the Armed Forces to deal with the crisis in East Pakistan, which ended with the creation of a new country, Bangladesh. The moments of acute national crisis in December 1971, bear testimony to the quiet confidence, patience and immense courage of Babuji. Babu Jagjivan Ram displayed unparalleled resoluteness during those historic days. His 'warrior with a humane face' image is still fondly remembered by the Armed Forces. He proved a good samaritan for the men in uniform in several ways. He took steps for the rehabilitation of the families of the jawans who had laid down their lives to uphold the honour of the country, or sustained grievous injuries, a new scheme of family pension for widows of the deceased officers and "sheltered" appointments for the disabled jawans and officers. The provision of "War Injury Pay" was made for those who could not be accommodated in service. Several other welfare measures like free land and employment to war widows, medical treatment for the families at military hospitals and education for children of martyred soldiers were also launched. He also extended such benefits to the servicemen and ex-servicemen disabled in the 1947-48, 1962 and 1965 wars. Showing his concern for the welfare of the Armed Forces servicemen he once said: "The members of our Armed Forces have proved to the world that in the final analysis it is the man behind the machine who counts. It is his  valour, dedication, determination, morale and skill which brought success to our arms. It is his conduct and his regard for human values, which earned us and our forces a good name from our friends in Bangladesh and from foreign observers."
    As the Defence Minister, Jagjivan Ram shouldered the crucial responsibility of strengthening the defence apparatus of the country. In his endeavour to ensure that the defence apparatus of the country was kept in perfect order with all defence requirements, he attached great importance to the research and development aspect of the Defence organizations. In this regard, while replying as Defence Minister to the discussion on the working of the Ministry of Defence in Rajya Sabha in 1972 in the wake of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, Jagjivan Ram said: " It is gratifying when my Ministry receives universal support from all sides of the House for strengthening our Armed Forces, for modernising the Army, for modernising the Navy and for modernising the Air Force. It gives me added strength. We are taking certain steps for modernising the three wings of the Armed Forces. We are producing some of the arms and military hardware that we require. But to think that so far as sophisticated weapons are concerned we have become self-reliant, well, it will be far from the reality. It will take time. And in this connection, I would like to say that so far as our research and development are concerned, it will be my effort to see that the research and development activities are strengthened to the maximum extent in the Defence Ministry, and work will not be permitted to suffer for want of requisite funds, and when I have got support of both Houses, I am sure it will be possible to provide adequate funds for research and development." On International Relations Jagjivan Ram was keen on rebuilding and improving bilateral ties with Pakistan and developing friendly relations with other countries. After the war was over, he took several steps in this direction. On the issue of Indo-Pak bilateral relations, he said, "In our view, there is no dispute between our two countries which cannot be settled by friendly negotiations between ourselves...........It will now be our endeavour to forge, through bilateral negotiations, a new relationship with Pakistan, based not on conflict but on cooperation..........assuring to the peoples of the two countries freedom from fear of recurring wars and an opportunity to devote their full attention to economic and social progress." 


    Jagjivan Ram also contributed to the growth of India's cooperative and friendly relations with other nations. It was during his tenure as the Defence Minister that India entered into the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation. His Last Journey Jagjivan Ram passed away in New Delhi on 6 July 1986, at the age of 78 after a period of illness. As a leader who shared his political career with many generations from Mahatma Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi, he has left an indelible imprint on the polity of India. He was a stalwart among the leaders of his time and a doyen of Indian Parliament. Leaders, media, general public and the entire nation expressed grief over the passing away of Jagjivan Ram. He was given a national honour, with his cremation being attended by President Giani Zail Singh, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers, leaders of various parties and thousands of his followers. With Jagjivan Ram's passing away, came an end an era representing perhaps the most important phase of the country's transition from preIndependence to Independence and on to a vibrant, democratic society. He has left the legacy of a sincere and dedicated political leader, a committed public servant, freedom fighter, social reformer, revolutionary and a true humanist. He will be remembered for a long time to come for his varied contributions towards socio-economic development of the country. A democrat to the core and a conscientious political leader, he enriched Indian politics with his mature and principled positions. He was a pillar of strength for the Indian polity during periods of great challenge and transition. He played a significant role in the upliftment of the depressed classes, ensuring justice for the oppressed and the deprived, enhancing the country's infrastructure development and in accelerating India's march to emerge as a stronger power in the world. In his passing away, the country lost a unique leader, a patriot, a visionary and a great nationalist. His legacy will live on and continue to inspire the coming generations in social and political activities and in the continuous search for a better society. 


    Pranab Mukherjee* Babu Jagjivan Ram was a valiant fighter in India’s freedom struggle and a great inspirer and organizer of people against oppression. He was a powerful orator, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator. Babuji was born in a poor Harijan family in a small village of Bihar on 5 April 1908. His life is a story of rise from abysmal depths to great heights and exalted position which was not achieved with anybody’s patronage but simply by sheer merit, competence, self respect and self sacrifice. As a student, he was meritorious right from the beginning. While studying in the Kolkata College, he was inspired by the ideals of Gandhiji and plunged into the freedom movement under the able leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and others. He got himself educated despite social and economic disabilities and chronic poverty. This gave him a unique position in the prevailing political situation in the country. He recognized the need of freedom from political slavery to address the problems of untouchability, social discrimination and backwardness. To him freedom meant not just change in the colour of the leaders from white to black or so, but it encompassed freedom from political slavery, economic bondage and cultural stagnation. He participated actively in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930 and the Quit India Movement in 1942. By appearing before the Cabinet Mission in April 1946 as a representative of the depressed classes, he frustrated the designs of the British and other divisive forces to further divide India. Babuji had arrived on the political scene as the representative of the Scheduled Castes and the Congress leadership looked to him as an able spokesman of the depressed classes. Throughout his life, he worked for these ideals and tried to implement them through administration of various Ministries/Departments over which he presided for a very long time. He was inducted in Bihar Government in 1937 as a parliamentary secretary under the premiership of Babu Sri Krishna Sinha. He joined the Interim Government under Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in September 1946 and continued to be the Union Minister till July, 1979. However, Shri Jagjivan Ram resigned from the Council of Ministers under the Kamaraj Plan for revitalizing the party in 1963 and again became Union  * He is the Union Minister of Defence.  Minister in 1966. In his long ministerial career, he proved to be one of the best Ministers the country had ever produced. He dealt with various portfolios ranging from Labour, Communications, Railways to Agriculture and Defence where he made his presence felt by sheer competence. As Defence Minister, he was always a source of inspiration to the officers and jawans. I still remember during the Bangladesh War when the US establishment threatened to send the 7th Fleet to the Bay of Bengal in order to embolden Pakistan, the bold and famous utterances of Babuji that the 7th Fleet will be sunk in Bay of Bengal, which not only demonstrated courage and conviction of a nation, but also helped in the freedom struggle of a neighbouring country. This speaks of the courage and determination of a leader of his stature. His legislative career is as illustrious as his administrative career. He represented Sasaram in Bihar from 1952 till his death which is unique. His popularity was so much that a couple of times he was elected unopposed in general elections. At the personal level, I had privilege of having his care and affection as a junior ministerial colleague. Whenever I wanted something from him for my State of West Bengal (Bengal was his second home state and he could speak Bengali flawlessly) he used to meet my request. After the formation of Congress Government in 1972, there was an acute shortage of foodgrains in West Bengal to support the Public Distribution System. Additional requirement was needed over and above the normal allocation to manage the situation. The request of the State Government to the Food Minister was regretted as the demands from all other States were equally acute. I met Babuji along with the then Food Minister of West Bengal, Satada ( Shri Praful Kanti Ghosh) and requested him for additional allocation. Babuji made special provision for West Bengal when we explained the critical situation prevailing therein. Throughout my political career, till his death, I always received support and encouragement from him whenever I needed it Srad Pawar at leaders and personalities participated in India’s Freedom Movement and later shaped its destiny in the post-Independence period. One of the stalwarts amongst them was Jagjivan Ram—popularly known as ‘Babuji’. Born on 5 April, 1908 in a small village, Chandwa in Shahabad district, now known as Bhojpur in Bihar. He rose from a very humble beginnings to shape the political, social and economic future of our country. A true man of the masses, his simplicity and intelligence endeared him to all sections and strata of people of our country. He caught the attention of Dr. Rajendra Prasad who was greatly impressed by his oratorical skills and his forceful articulation of people’s grievances and aspirations. With his initiation into the Indian National Congress, began the meteoric rise of one of the greatest personalities of our times. He emerged as the leader of masses and came to be looked upon as a representative of the millions of the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and the depressed sections of our society who had suffered socio-economic deprivation over the centuries. In the Congress, Jagjivan Ram emerged as a staunch supporter of Mahatma Gandhi and the principles which he stood for. His early social and political life was also refined and sharpened when he was nominated to the Bihar Legislative Council and later to the Legislative Assembly. In 1946, he became the youngest Minister in the Interim Government. In the Constituent Assembly, he actively participated in shaping the Constitution of our country. He remained a Member of the House of People (Lok Sabha) continuously from the First to the Eighth Lok Sabha. Babu Jagjivan Ram was also an important symbol of the struggle waged by the Scheduled Castes and depressed classes for equality and empowerment. As the Member of the Constituent Assembly, he ensured that free India would be rid of the pernicious practices such as untouchability and social discriminations based on caste consideration. Reservations provided to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Legislatures, public employment, education etc. were strongly supported by him to ensure economic progress * He is the Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.  and socio-political empowerment for them. He believed in educating the people in order to make them conscious of their rights and privileges as citizen of a free country and enable them to lead a life of dignity and freedom. He worked ceaselessly for the unity and solidarity of the socially and economically depressed sections and led the All India Depressed Classes League while continuing to be in the Congress. In a significant divergence of views with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, he urged the Scheduled Castes and the Backward Class People to fight for the rights and dignity within the existing social set-up; he never wanted a schism between them and the forward classes. He was always in favour of social and communal harmony for the betterment of the society and for the growth and development of the nation as a whole. Babu Jagjivan Ram had a deep and abiding faith in the efficacy of democratic polity, value-based politics and necessity for establishing an egalitarian society. He dedicated his life to strengthen such institutions and fight against casteism and bring about social transformation. His organizational skills, administrative capabilities were displayed at its best when he was entrusted with a variety of Ministries during his long political career in the Union Government. Among the Ministries which he held included: Communications, Railway and Transport, Food and Agriculture and Defence. Babu Jagjivan Ram was the Union Labour Minister from 1946 to 1952 and again from 1966 to 1967. During his tenure some important legislations were enacted. Mention may be made of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and the Factory Act of 1948. The Industrial Disputes Act was a very important labour legislation which provided the mechanism for settling industrial disputes and creation of healthy work environment. The Factory Act of 1948 regulated the working conditions of children and women in the Factories and Industries in conformity with the Directive Principles of State Policy as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Other important labour legislations enacted during his tenure were the Plantation Labour Act, 1961 and the Bidi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966. His pro-labour attitude also saw the appointment of the National Labour Commission which made many a recommendation that resulted in improving the conditions of the workers in the industries—both in the organized and unorganized sector. These far-reaching legislations went a long way in creating a congenial, industrial environment, providing benefits to millions of workers, boosting production and putting the country firmly on the road towards development of being a Welfare State. Among the Ministries on which Babu Jagjivan Ram left an indelible impression were the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Earlier as the Defence Minister and presently as the Minister for Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, I have come  across the remarkable imprint he has left behind during his tenure. His dexterous handling of issues in these Ministries is still recalled with great appreciation and admiration. He was the Defence Minister during1970-71when Indian Armed Forces proved their superiority and professionalism beyond any doubt by fighting a successful war against Pakistan. He managed the affairs of the Defence Forces during this period with great efficiency. He used to frequently visit the jawans posted in the far-flung areas and boosted their morale by impressing on them that it was the man behind the machine which made a difference. Through his calm resolve and intelligent observations, he also won admirations of the Generals and Commanders of all the three wings of the Armed Forces while taking strategic decisions and policy formulations. He was very concerned about the modernization of the Armed Forces and laid great emphasis on achieving self-sufficiency in defence preparedness. He also encouraged indigenous research and development in the sphere of Defence and ensured that funds were never a restraining factor in this regard. The welfare of the jawans was also very close to his heart. He evolved many beneficial programmes for their resettlement—like medical treatment at army hospitals and employment opportunities for the disabled, education and family pensions for the families of the deceased. He is still very fondly remembered by our officers and jawans. In January 1967, Babu Jagjivan Ram took over the charge as the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation. The day he entered Krishi Bhawan to preside over one of the most vital Ministries of the Government of India, it rained heavily. The rain Gods also seemed to have changed their moods and it was a pointer of the shape of things to come. His years in this Ministry proved to be a boon for the country. He was responsible for formulation of new policies for food production and procurement. As a result of these policies, the production of wheat increased from 12 million tonne to 23 million tonne. Such near doubling of production in about four years’ time was not witnessed even in developed countries like the United States and Canada. In fact, the total production of foodgrains increased from 74 million tonne to 98 million tonne during his tenure as the Food and Agriculture Minister. In order to improve the well beings of the farmers, he introduced the price support policy and issued instruction for fixing maximum price support in the case of wheat and paddy. During his tenure, build up of the buffer stock of foodgrains was 8 million tonne. As a result of these policies of price support and procurement, the import of foodgrains was stopped. India became self-sufficient in foodgrains. Surely, a very proud moment for our country. To Babu Jagjivan Ram also goes the credit for providing a pragmatic and stable sugar policy which has stood the test of time. Under this policy, sugar mills were allowed a definite and substantial free sale quota which increased the viability of the sugar industry and ensured higher cane price payment to cultivators. At the same time, release mechanism which was put in place, ensured that prices did not rise abnormally. The welfare of consumers was further protected by a stable policy of obtaining levy sugar from sugar factories and supply through the Public Distribution System. The net result of these policies was a substantial increase in sugar production in 1967-68 and record production in 1969-70. The policies also took care of the concerns of all stakeholders and placed Indian Sugar Industry on a firm path of growth. Another important decision taken by Babu Jagjivan Ram pertained to channelising the import of tractors through the state owned Agro Industrial Corporations. Thus, the huge profits which were being usurped by the importers at the cost of farmers were stopped. The various policy initiatives and programmes launched by Shri Jagjivan Ram during his tenure as the Food and Agriculture Minister(1967-70) improved the well-being of farmers as well as the consumers. However, his single largest contribution was to make India self-sufficient in foodgrains. He was a Cabinet Minister for over thirty years during which he was incharge of number of Ministries. As a pragmatic leader and person with vision and clear understanding he implemented policies and programmes very effectively and with great expertise. His sensitivities to people’s needs, management skills and the uncanny art of getting the best from the civil servants were keys to his success. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an outstanding parliamentarian. His sharp intellect, oratorical skills, the ability to remain calm in the most adverse circumstances stood him in good stead. Since his entry into the Bihar Legislative Council in 1936 and later from the First Lok Sabha till the Eighth Lok Sabha, he remained a legislator till his last breath. He had the unique distinction of being not only the youngest but also the longest serving Minister in the annals of Indian Parliament. He was greatly admired by his colleagues in the Congress Party and also by the Opposition for his ability to carry them along on many issues through his dignified approach and also caring for the sensibilities of his opponents in the House. He was ever willing to discuss any issue and share information with all his colleagues and left them happily satisfied by his answers. He was a very quick learner, who had a tremendous grasp over the subjects handled by his Ministries. This enabled him not only to carry out the routine administrative work efficiently, but also offer new and innovative ideas and directions. Jagjivan Ram’s abiding faith in democracy and freedom prompted him to leave the Congress when his effort to persuade the Congress leadership to  revoke the emergency failed. He formed his own political party called the Congress for Democracy which later joined the Janata Party to form the Government at the Centre. A great organizer, administrator and social crusader, Babu Jagjivan Ram carved out a special niche for himself in India’s modern political history. In his long and remarkable political career he had become a legend during his lifetime. He earned respect and admiration from all sections of the society. His contribution to our nation-building is invaluable—in the political, economic and social sectors. His life and work will undoubtedly continue to inspire generations to come. ——————

     —Meira Kumar* It is not easy for a daughter to write dispassionately about her father because the bonds are too close, the sentiments too deep and the images get blurred. Ever since I remember, I saw him as a national figure, a performer at centrestage, bathed in limelight. He was called upon to meet the most difficult challenges facing the nation in his times and he met them all with devastating success. Equipped with remarkable grit, intellectual rigour and a strong commitment to moral and quintessentially human values, Babuji remained the longest in that rarefied atmosphere at the top where even the best survive only briefly. As a growing child therefore, I was naturally overawed by the aura of supermanship that always surrounded him. I loved him as my father. While the world was curious about his work, his influence and the power he wielded, I was only concerned about his person, his childhood, his youth, his struggles and his dreams. As a little girl, I loved to listen to the tales of his childhood pranks which grandmother narrated as bed-time stories. She narrated them in a style so picturesque that I see them before my eyes as paintings coloured in great detail by a very fine brush. Whenever, Barka Baba, my father’s elder brother, twenty-four years his senior, came to Delhi, I would shower him with questions about Babuji’s childhood. I have treasured every word that grandmother and Barka Baba spoke about Babuji and have used them painstakingly to reconstruct his early life. The earliest scene, then, is set in the first decade of the 20th century against the backdrop of Chandwa, a small, backward village in Bihar in a country reeling under the shame of being a British colony. Babuji was born here on 5 April, 1908 amidst poverty and untouchability. For thousands of years Indian society had treated the untouchables with utter scorn and contempt. The repression and exploitation had crippled their very psyche so that they could not even entertain the idea of protesting against the unjust social system. They were the disinherited ones, a casualty of history, too feeble and with wounded souls to fight back. But Babuji was different. He was made of sterner stuff. It was against his grain to accept injustice. As life began to unfold and he felt the trauma of his * She is the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
     circumstances, he took the reins of destiny into his own hands and strode ahead unstoppable—to a new dawn. I can visualize him as an ill-clad, dusty little boy out to conquer the world. Babuji was admitted to the village school at the age of six. It was Basant Panchami day and after offering prayers to Goddess Saraswati, he was sent to school, attired in a new yellow dhoti and velvet cap, a piece of jaggery in his mouth for good luck and a slate tucked under his arm. My grandfather Sant Shobi Ram had set great hopes in him—the youngest of his eight children. Grandfather was tall, handsome and very upright. As a young man, he had resigned from his job in the British Army, to protest against their unjust conduct. Thereafter, he worked in the Calcutta Medical College, but retired prematurely to settle down to a quiet, ascetic life in Chandwa. The produce of his land somehow sustained the family. As the priest of the Shiva-Narayani Sect, most of his time was spent in praying and writing the holy book “Anayas” in his beautiful, long hand to distribute among his disciples. He died young, when my father was only six. His last words to my father were “I have taught English to your elder brother but I have not even taught Hindi to you. May you scale great heights in life”. It was then that my grandmother Vasanti Devi, a lady of rare wisdom and courage, made a silent vow to her departing husband that she would spare no effort to give the best education to her young son. The village school was his temple of learning. There were new books to read and there was so much to learn. He had just learnt to spell his long name but one of his friends invariably spelt it wrong in order to tease him. Once the teasing led to a heated argument followed by fist cuffs. The friend went crying to Panditji, who not only scolded Babuji, but also thrashed him without giving him a chance to explain. This was his first encounter with injustice. Furious at the treatment meted out to him, he took a long stick and climbed atop a mango tree instead of going home for lunch. When grandmother made inquires, she was told that he was very angry and threatened to beat anyone who dared to go near the tree. When further inquiries revealed that he was beaten for no fault of his, she headed for Panditji’s house. She told Panditji’s wife in no uncertain terms that her husband was not only guilty of gross injustice to her little son, but was also responsible for beating him and keeping him without food. She made these charges in a manner so forceful and so appealing that she won instant support from the Panditani who joined her in her mission against injustice. The two accosted Panditji who was already suffering from pangs of remorse. The child he had wrongly punished was the brightest he had seen in his long, teaching career and he had the intuition that the little boy would do him proud one day. He apologized to grandmother and the Panditani, who were  still in a belligerent mood, and then proceeded to the mango tree to beckon his favourite student. Babuji politely came down, but declared his refusal to study in Panditji’s school. Panditji was finally able to pacify him, but the little crusader had won his first battle. The incident, which left a lasting impact on him, occurred when he was around seven. It was rainy season and the tiny rivulet Gangi, which crisscrossed the eastern side of the village, had swelled. One hot afternoon Babuji and his friend went for a swim after school. The current was too powerful for the young swimmers. Being closer to the shore, the friend managed to come out, Babuji could not. Overcome by fierce mid-stream current he was fast drifting away when a woman spotted him. She had a long stick for driving her pigs. She rushed and extended the stick to rescue him. He saw the stick, outstretched his arm, held it tight and using all his might came out. It all happened in a flash, but it kindled a light within him forever. By accident, he had chanced upon the Moolmantra, the basic philosophy of his life, which he never allowed himself to forget. That the elderly lady thereafter was accorded the same respect, which was reserved for his mother, is another matter. What is significant is that the incident became a reference point in his life, one to which he referred again and again for sustenance, especially in trying moments. Perched on his knees as a little girl, or sitting by his side when I grew up, I often heard him talk of it. The elderly lady was, no doubt, a help, he would explain, but what really mattered was that he had the presence of mind to hold on to the stick and the strength within him to pull himself out. After finishing middle school, Babuji joined the high school in Arrah town. Although his reputation as a topper had already preceded him, it was eclipsed by the social prejudices prevalent at the time—prejudices that unfortunately exist even today. The most unusual reception awaited him upon his arrival at the school. To the school verandah which hitherto had accommodated two earthen pitchers, the Hindu and the Muslim pitcher, was added a third one—the untouchable pitcher. At the sight of this, his innocent face quivered in anguish and his young frame froze with incapacitating humiliation. He bent, picked up a stone and, as if in a trance, hurled it at the pitcher with all the force at his command. The next day the broken pitcher was replaced by a new one. Once again he aimed a stone, shattering it, as if he shattered not the pitcher but what lay behind it, that age-old practice of inhuman discrimination which heaped untold hurt and insults on the likes of him. The breaking of the untouchable pitcher remained a mystery for the headmaster and the others in the school. But with every new pitcher meeting the same fate, the exasperated headmaster gave in and what followed can  only be termed revolutionary by all standards in the Bihar of 1920s. The school verandah thereafter had only one earthen pitcher for every one. At the age of ten when most of his classmates were content with the monotonous and uneventful life of that sleepy little village, Babuji was possessed by a strong urge to know what was happening outside its narrow confines. Reading the newspaper was one way, but the village provided no such opportunity. So, every morning without fail he would walk considerable distance to the Arrah railway station just to read a newspaper. While in the high school, he regularly spent two hours in the town library. Gandhiji’s “Young India” and Bankim Chandra’s “Anand Math”, were of special interest. He specially learnt Bengali to read ‘Anand Math’ in original. The coming of the monsoon was always welcomed in Chandwa, but that year it spelt disaster. Days of continuous and heavy downpour brought unprecedented floods. Babuji’s humble mudhouse caved in. Barka Baba was in Calcutta on work. Babuji, then in his teens, spent the whole day moving the household goods and the stock of foodgrains to the tiny hillock nearby where he and grandmother took shelter along with the other villagers. Alone he had to make innumerable trips to and fro, carrying heavy items on his frail shoulders. By sunset when he had managed to retrieve almost everything, it suddenly occurred to grandmother that some silver coins, her savings of years buried in the kitchen wall had been left behind. Scared to send her son at that hour to dig out the coins she went herself. Babuji naturally followed. But they could not go far. The water level had risen erasing every trace of their home as also of the earthern pot which contained their modest savings. Bewildered and helpless, they returned. The water receded in a few days and the house was rebuilt. But the experience, as Babuji so often recalled had toughened him beyond his age. I must write about his eventful journey to Khopira where the family owned a small piece of land. Harvesting had begun in right earnest in the vast stretches of paddy fields, as lilting melodies of Bhojpuri folk songs filled the winter air. Soon a relative came from Khopira to inform Dadi that harvesting being completed, the paddy should be collected. Since the high school was closed for winter vacations, Babuji volunteered himself for the task. The two proceeded to Khopira in a bullock cart which wound its way through the thicket and narrow pathways. There was chill in the air and dew drops shimmered in the golden light of the morning sun. Birds twittered and occasionally a stray hare darted from the bushes as they went swinging and swaying to the rhythm of their wagon. As they approached the village, the relative nudged Babuji to the side of the cart.
    They were in the vicinity of the colony of the Babu Sahebs. According to the custom, untouchables had to get down from their bullock carts, take off their shoes, fold their umbrellas and walk through that part of the village with bowed heads. If they did not, they would attract abuse and assault. No one had ever questioned the demeaning custom. Some did not have the courage, others the conscience. Babuji decided to defy the custom. Refusing to fold his umbrella, take off his shoes, or get down from the wagon, he forced his relative to follow suit. The terror stricken relative trembled and quivered and begged him not to invite doom while Babuji firmly held him from falling off the cart. The Babu Sahebs were too taken aback to react and the cart slowly passed through the narrow lanes and by-lanes, trampling over the outdated system they had so zealously guarded. They pretended not to look, but watched stealthily from the corners of their eyes a new era emerge from the trail of dust raised by the cart. The elan and panache of the fearless boy aboard the cart dazzled the inhabitants of Khopira and changed the course of their lives in the days to come. Of the myriad colours in the kaleidoscope of Babuji’s childhood, I have brought into focus just a few. It is not that others do not deserve to be highlighted, but taken together, they all serve to point to the informing principle of his life, to instill courage, to fight for the oppressed and to take charge of one’s destiny. —————— T. N. Chaturvedi* There are times in the history of every country when it seems that titans walk the earth. For India, that time came during the period when the country was fighting for its freedom from alien rule under the inspired and inspiring leadership and guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. But these stalwarts —Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad, to name a few, vanished much too soon, leaving our country poorer. But, we were fortunate that some of the founding fathers remained with us for almost 40 years after the dawn of freedom, giving us the benefit of their wisdom, experience and courage. Notable among these was Babu Jagjivan Ram, who was much younger and emerged as the indomitable champion of the poor and the downtrodden. Without a brief recapitulation of his life, it is well-nigh impossible to have an adequate and proper assessment of his place in our national life. The Life and Political Career of Jagjivan Ram Jagjivan Ram was born on 5 April 1908 in Chandwa, a small village in Bhojpur, in Bihar in a Scheduled Caste family. His grandfather, Shiva Narain, was an agricultural labourer. Jagjivan’s father, Shobhi Ram, was born in 1864. He lost his mother at a young age and was brought up by his grandmother. Shiva Narain died soon after, and Shobhi Ram was, more or less, adopted by an uncle, who worked in the army in Punjab. Shobhi Ram learned English and got a job in an army hospital. He had a spiritual bent of mind, and joined the Shiva Narayani Sect. He married Vasanti Devi, and had eight children — three boys and five girls—of whom Jagjivan Ram was the youngest. Young Jagjivan’s schooling began on Basant Panchmi in January 1914. He went to a pathshala run by Pandit Kapil Muni Tewari. After passing the Upper Primary School Examination in 1919 he began to attend the Agarwal Middle School. Jagjivan became a proficient debater in school, a trait which was to stand him in good stead in later life. Jagjivan did not show much interest in politics at this time, but was quite aware of the momentous events that were taking place in the country. Those were the days of the Khilafat movement, and he read about it and its underlying causes in the newspapers that he used to devour vociferously—another habit that continued throughout * He is the Governor of Karnataka. Earlier he was a member of the Rajya Sabha and Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.  life. It was at this time that he began to wear a Gandhi cap, which became something of a trademark—he was probably one of the last Congressmen to wear it as part of his daily dress, well into late life, when the cap became an accoutrement, one wore only at party meetings. After a visit to Calcutta, where his elder brother lived, Jagjivan returned to Bihar. In 1925, he attended the Bihari Student’s Conference as a delegate. He took away from the Conference a deep impression of the personality of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, one of the early leaders of the Congress. This would soon prove to be crucial in his life. Greater contacts in future created strong bonds of mutual affection and respect between the grand old man and a young man of promise. Jagjivan passed the Matriculation Examination in 1926. He had taken Sanskrit and Mathematics as extra subjects, in addition to the compulsory subjects. He passed in the First Division, and with full marks in Mathematics. It so happened that Pandit Malaviya and Mohammad Ali paid a visit to Arrah the same year. An Address was presented by the Scheduled Caste community, and read out by the young Jagjivan. Impressed, Malaviya urged him to come to Banaras and join the Banaras Hindu University and study for Intermediate Science, which Jagjivan did in July 1926. However, it was here that he began to face caste prejudice for the first time on a sustained basis. While there had been no particular discrimination at the pathshala, Jagjivan had faced some unreasonable prejudice in the Middle School, when he was forced to drink water from a pitcher meant exclusively for him, and not from the one used by the upper caste hindu boys. The situation in Banaras became frightful due to rampant caste prejudices and he moved out of the university campus and began to live in an area of the city known as Lanka. However, the situation did not improve and Jagjivan Ram organized his first campaign against untouchability. The provocation was the refusal of the barber to cut his hair after having discovered his caste. Jagjivan organized a boycott of all barbers by members of the Scheduled Castes. After six months, the barbers gave in. Jagjivan had won his first battle. At Banaras, Jagjivan Ram studied Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Hindi and English. He was a keen participant in the Student Parliament of the Banaras Hindu University, where he honed his already considerable skills. He was an inveterate sportsman and became a devotee of Hindi language. Banaras, at this time, had a number of eminent Hindi literary persons such as Shyam Sundar Das, Ramchandra Shukla, and Lala Bhagwan Din teaching there. He also attended meetings of the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society, and heard a number of Annie Besant’s lectures. His was a searching mind trying to learn more and more and also ruminating all along as to what path or course of action he should take at that stage of his life. A COMMEMORATIVE VOLUME 41 But the matter that exercised his mind the most was that of prevailing caste prejudice. He undertook an extensive study of the Vedas, Brahmin Granths, and the 18 Puranas (in original Sanskrit), and their extensive commentaries in order to discover whether untouchability was divinely ordained. He concluded that it was not, instead it was an ugly manifestation of the stratification of Hindu society. He also understood that the only way for the community to break the barriers thrown up by caste prejudice was to assert its rights. The only way they could be assertive was through organizing themselves. A look towards the East showed him that a large number of members of his community, from his own home province, lived in Calcutta, working in hospitals and jute mills. Jagjivan, therefore, resolved to go to Calcutta and wake his community to their intrinsic power and create awareness of their potential strength and significance in national life. Jagjivan joined the Vidyasagar College at Calcutta in 1928. After Banaras, standard at the Vidyasagar did not prove difficult at all. In fact, in his third year, Jagjivan finished the curriculum for the next year. This left him ample time for what he was determined to do in life i.e. to ameliorate the conditions of his people. He began to contact important members of the community in Calcutta, and began to organize Ravidas Sabhas in different parts of the city. A Meeting was also organized at the Wellington Park. Even Jagjivan was surprised by the presence of 15,000 people at the venue. The 25-year-old student was now seen to be an upcoming leader of greatest promise in his own right. Jagjivan took two further steps to consolidate his position. Within the community, he began to argue for social reforms. He worked against consumption of meat, and drinking of wine. This brought him into touch with senior leaders of the community. Some of them treated him in a condescending fashion, others declared their adherence—but all found in him an emerging leader of ability and determination. He also established links with the leaders of the Congress party in Bengal, such as J.M. Sengupta, Dr. B.C. Roy, P.C. Ghosh and Subhas Chandra Bose. He also came into touch with the influential Marwari Community of CalcuttaJugal Kishore Birla, Sita Ram Seksaria and Basantlal Murarka, to name a few. Ironically, Jagjivan had entry into the highest ranks of the Congress leadership in Calcutta, much before he met any senior Congressman from his home province of Bihar. Jagjivan attended the Calcutta Session of the Congress in 1928 presided over by Motilal Nehru. He fell ill and was unable to give his examinations, which he finally did in 1932 and received his B.Sc. degree. He received his initiation into jail-entry when one day he observed some policemen 42 BABU JAGJIVAN RAM IN PARLIAMENT lathicharging a group of Congressmen near the Presidency College. Though an observer, he was hit by a policeman. His pride hurt, he immediately decided to court arrest and was taken to jail. The country was electrified by the fast of Mahatma Gandhi at the act of the British Government in separating Caste Hindus and Scheduled Castes in electoral representation. When the action was nullified after the Poona Pact, Jagjivan wrote an angry letter to the Mahatma, questioning his reasons for not permitting the Scheduled Castes from having seats reserved for them in the Assemblies. He received a reply from Gandhiji’s Secretary, stating that the Mahatma believed that any separation of this kind would have a negative impact on the Scheduled Castes themselves. An Anti-untouchability League was set up with Shri G.D. Birla as its provisional President. The Organization was later renamed the Harijan Sevak Sangh. Its purpose was social and economic upliftment of the Harijans, as Gandhi now described the Scheduled Castes. However, due to his increased political activity, Jagjivan had to end his links with the Harijan Sevak Sangh later. Due to his burgeoning reputation, Jagjivan Ram was also invited to attend the Leaders Conference in 1932 at Bombay. He also attended the Bihar Provincial Anti-untouchability Conference at Patna. Leaders of the Congress, Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha also attended. Jagjivan Ram was offended by the nature of the speeches being made, which cast the onus for untouchability on the scheduled castes themselves. He retorted that only the upper castes needed to reform themselves. This created a furore, but one of the Congress leaders present was Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He told Jagjivan Ram to devote more time to Bihar and he readily agreed to do so. He also became the Secretary of the Bihar branch of the Harijan Sevak Sangh. For the rest of his life, Bihar was to be the epicentre of his activities. Jagjivan Ram had married at an early age and his wife died in 1933. He married Indirani Devi in 1934. They had a son and a daughter. The son unfortunately, died at an early age. The daughter Smt. Meira Kumar after quitting the Indian Foreign Service followed the footsteps of her father. She joined politics, was elected to the Parliament and became a Minister in the U.P.A. Government in 2004. At the All India Depressed Classes Leaders Unity Conference in Kanpur in 1935, Jagjivan Ram proved to be the guiding spirit. He pointed out that the Harijans would not be able to advance their efforts at social and economic upliftment if they were not able to secure representation for themselves in elected bodies. Moreover, there had to be unity among them, as they would otherwise nullify their efforts by working through a number of different and separate organizations. He also emphasized that it was important to be linked to the mainstream of the freedom movement, as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress. As a result of his efforts, the All India Depressed Classes League was formed, with Rasiklal Biswas as its President and P.N. Rajbhoj and Jagjivan Ram as Secretaries. He also became the President of the Bihar branch of the Depressed Classes League. A new and perplexing question arose, when Dr. Ambedkar threatened that the Scheduled Castes in the country would embrace a religion other than Hinduism in view of the blatant caste discrimination and Jagjivan Ram was opposed to this view. He attended the All India Mahasabha Conference at Pune in December 1936 with a 30-member strong delegation. The Party President, Malaviya appealed that all the disabilities put before Harijans should be removed. All went well, until an amendment was moved that while Harijans could enter temples, they could not enter the main shrine room. Taking objection to it, Jagjivan Ram threatened to leave. Malaviya stepped in and the move was dropped. This goes to show the stature and prestige that Jagjivan Ram had acquired in just a few years. As noted, Jagjivan Ram had strongly opposed Ambedkar’s views on conversion. He made his disagreement public and in the campaign for the Assembly elections in 1937, exhorted Harijans across the country not to cut themselves off from the national mainstream. A major event took place in 1936, when Jagjivan Ram was nominated to the Bihar Legislative Council. This followed the separation of Orissa from Bihar. As a result, the position of a nominated member from the Scheduled Castes became vacant, since the member was from Orissa and had shifted to the Orissa Assembly. Jagjivan Ram stunned everyone on the first day of the Council. As a nominated member, it was expected that Jagjivan Ram would normally vote with the Treasury Benches on all issues. However, Jagjivan Ram thought that the Opposition’s demand that canal rates be cut was justified and voted against the rates. He had proved that he was his own man, a man with vision and determination. In the elections to the Bihar Assembly in 1937, the League contested all 15 reserved constituencies and won 14 of them. The Congress had adopted all the 15 candidates as its own. The Interim Chief Minister of Bihar, Mohammad Yunus tried to get Jagjivan Ram to join his Ministry. He, however, declined the offer and even refused to consider any negotiations, making it clear that the League must support the Congress Party in the Legislature. Dr. Rajendra Prasad brought Jagjivan Ram’s stand to the notice of Gandhiji who publicly described him as a “jewel”. He became a Parliamentary Secretary in the First Congress Ministry, later on with responsibility for Development, Cooperatives and Industries. During his brief tenure, Jagjivan Ram did pioneering work in organizing the Department of Rural Development. He  added an electrical and mechanical section to the Department of Industries. Even while he was Parliamentary Secretary, he organized the Khetihaar Mazdoor Sabha to uphold the rights of agricultural labourers. He was opposed by the socialists, who floated their own outfits. He left office when the Congress Ministries resigned to protest against the forced entry of India in the Second World War without consulting Indian opinion. In 1940, Jagjivan Ram was elected Secretary of the Bihar Provincial Congress, an office he held till 1946. He was also elected to the All India Congress Committee, a position he was to hold until his departure from the party in 1977. He offered individual satyagraha and was arrested. After his release, he became involved in the Quit India Movement. He tried to organize resistance against the British, doing his best to ensure that at no point did it turn violent. He was finally arrested again, but released in 1943 due to illness. On 12 August, 1946, the Viceroy Lord Wavell, invited Jawaharlal Nehru to form a coalition government consisting of representatives of the Muslim League, Congress and other elements in India. The Muslim League refused to join, on the ground that all Muslim Ministers should be from their party, and, therefore, Maulana Azad could not be a Minister. The Interim Government was finally installed in September 1946. On 2 September 1946, Jagjivan Ram, at the age of 38 was sworn in as the Minister for Labour. He was to stay in office till the first General Elections of 1952. Jagjivan Ram was a Member of the Indian Government from 1946 to 1979, with two short breaks. In 1963, he resigned under the Kamraj Plan to revitalize the Congress party. Again in February 1977 he resigned from the Government and Party to form the Congress for Democracy. He became a Minister again in March 1977. He was thus a Member of the Central Legislative Assembly and the Constituent Assembly (1946-50), a Member of the Provisional Parliament (1950-52) and also a Member of the first Eight Lok Sabhas. He was the Minister of Communications (1952-56), Minister for Transport (1956-57), Minister for Railways (1957-62), Minister for Transport and Communications (1962-63), Minister for Labour, Employment and Rehabilitation (1966), Minister for Food, Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation (1967-70), Minister of Labour, Employment and Rehabilitation (1969-79), Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation (1974-77), Minister for Defence (1970-74 and 1977-79). He was also President of the Congress Party (1969-71). It has not been given to many in public life to have such a vast and varied experience of public affairs. He was also a Member of the All India Congress Working Committee (1948-77), Congress Economic Planning Sub-Committee, Central Parliamentarian Board (1950-77), Congress Central Election Committee (1951-56 and 1961-77), Chairman of the Reception Committee of the 67th Session of Indian National Congress at Patna (1962), Member of the Vallabhbhai Patel Trust and Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Trustee, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust. Jagjivan Ram served with distinction in all the Ministries that he held for over 30 years. We will have a look at his brief achievements in this sphere. Nevertheless, it will not be out of place to refer to two major events here. First, as the Defence Minister during the India-Pakistan War of 1971, it was Jagjivan Ram who saw to it that the armed forces had all that they required for the task before them and was instrumental in keeping their morale and that of the country, at a high level. Secondly, Jagjivan Ram made a reference at one point of time on the need to have a “committed” bureaucracy. What he meant was that the bureaucracy should be committed to the implementation of the programmes of the Government of the day and the ideas and ideals of the Constitution without fear or favour. This was, however, interpreted in certain circles as calling for the bureaucracy to be committed to the ruling party as that had come to prevail on the perspective of looking at administration in certain vocal political circles. It is necessary, therefore, to quote the relevant passage, as it is not easily available today. The following is what Jagjivan Ram said as the Congress President at Bombay: “We have had to depend all these years on an administrative apparatus which was set up for entirely different purposes. It was originally colonial and was meant to subserve British interests and perpetuate British rule. It did not then have the much-publicized civil services neutrality. It was very much a committed service-committed to the maintenance of British rule at any cost. In the post-Independence era, the administrative apparatus did undergo certain changes but the basic structure remained unaltered. The machinery, in the higher layers, is manned today by the best products of Indian universities and it swears by British principles and traditions. But, at best, it may be said to be only a pale imitation of its British counterpart. Neutrality of the services, in a country where social disparities are extremely glaring and where the privileged classes control all the levers of power, invariably operate to the advantage of the privileged and the disadvantage of the havenots. Moreover, in a country which has stagnated for centuries and where centuries of delayed progress are sought to be compressed into a decade, where the pace of economic change has to be accelerated beyond measure, the so-called neutral administrative machinery is a hindrance, not a help. The theory, moreover, of a neutral bureaucracy  is hardly relevant to Indian conditions. The society in which the concept emerged and got institutionalized was different and had a different background. To regard that development, therefore, as an integral part of the democratic structure is not wholly tenable, nor necessary. Has our bureaucracy, particularly at the lower echelons, that dedication to duty and that pride of work which characterizes its British counterpart? Does it have that impartiality which is another name for neutrality? We need, therefore, clearly and inevitably, an apparatus with a purpose, a mind. We need a service committed to the ideal of democracy, socialism and secularism. I know it calls for a major revolution in the thinking of the services, in the administrative procedures, rules, regulations. The recruitment policy and the recruiting agencies will have to be so re-oriented that the personnel manning the administrative machinery at various levels will be helpful in effecting the social and economic changes required for the establishment of democracy, socialism and secularism on a firm and secure basis”. After over 30 years of association in the Congress, Jagjivan Ram left the Party in 1977, just before the general elections were to take place. He formed a new party, the Congress for Democracy. The party allied with the Janata Party in the general elections and joined the new coalition of Janata Party Government, before merging into it. When the time came for the alliance to choose a Prime Minister to head the new Government, Jagjivan Ram was expected to be the clear front runner. However, the mantle finally fell on the shoulders of Morarji Desai and Jagjivan Ram went back to his old job as the Defence Minister to the great satisfaction of the Defence forces. From January to July 1979, Jagjivan Ram was also the Deputy Prime Minister. Many in the country, felt that a great injustice had been done to a political stalwart, one with unprecedented experience of public affairs in general and of governmental functioning in particular. When the Government of Morarji Desai fell in 1979, following the decision of a section of the Janata Party to move out, President N. Sanjeeva Reddy asked Charan Singh to form a Government. Following Charan Singh’s inability to prove his majority in Parliament, it was expected that the President would turn again to the new leader of the Janata Party, Jagjivan Ram and offer him a chance to try and form a Government. However, the President decided that any further attempt to form a Government was futile, dissolved the Lok Sabha and ordered fresh elections. Thus, the country found that Jagjivan Ram had, once again, been denied the chance to head a Government. Though he retained his seat in the subsequent election, he never again held office. Among his last work was the publication of a landmark sociological study, “Caste Challenge in India”. He passed away on 6 July 1986. 


     As Minister of Labour The selection of Jagjivan Ram as the Labour Minister in the interim Government from 1946 to 1950 proved to be the right choice. During his six years in office, he laid the foundations of labour welfare in India, which, after more than 50 years, still bear the imprint of his firm hand. Till this time, all the laws relating to labour were those which were heavily tilted towards the big business and factory owners. For the first time, the pendulum swung the other way and laws were now enacted in favour of labour. As the Labour Minister, Jagjivan Ram worked out a five-year plan, which he proceeded to implement. It was based on the promise made by the Congress that it would implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission, 1931 and the Labour Investigation Committee, 1946. He put through laws that guaranteed the rights and privileges of labour. During his tenure, he ensured that the consultative machinery comprising the Government, the labour and the employers yielded results and did not stagnate. During this period, he also led the Indian delegation to the International Labour Organisation’s Conference, where he was elected President of the Asian Regional Conference of the Organisation. The landmark laws that were passed during this period included Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946; Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1946; Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948; Factories Act, 1948; The Minimum Wages Act, 1948; Coal Mines Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1948; Industrial Tribunal (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950; Plantation Labour Act, 1951; Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. As Minister of Transport and Communications After the first General Election, Jagjivan Ram was shifted to the Transport and Communications, a charge that he was to hold twice. The transport and communication systems in India were still at a rudimentary stage, with the bare minimum possible having been done under the British rule. Whatever had been done was with a view to the firm and easy working of British rule and enhancement of trade favouring the British. The focus of Jagjivan Ram as the Minister was on developing the transport and communication system in the country in an integrated, holistic manner and as per the needs of India. Jagjivan Ram first turned to the question of civil aviation. An Air Transport Inquiry Committee reported in 1950 that the Sector should be left in private hands for five years. If, during that period, it proved unable to break even,  the Government should take it over. Another factor was the fact that the aircraft being used were antiquated and the industry was not in a position to buy new one. It was, therefore, thought prudent to take over the industry. The Air Corporation Act, 1953, took over eight air companies and combined them into two-Indian Airlines for domestic service and Air India for international services. New aerodromes were also built across the country. Jagjivan Ram also emphasized the improvement of meteorological services, realizing that they were important not only for aviation but also for river valley projects, Railways, Defence services, etc. Jagjivan Ram was the first to understand and enunciate the need for a National Transport Policy for independent India. He set up a Committee under K.C. Neogy to formulate such a policy. He understood that a modernizing economy needed a comprehensive system of transport which would also ensure that there was no wastage or duplication of efforts. Apart from air transport, he also placed shipping, ports and highways on a priority list for development during his administration. The Shipping Corporation of India expanded its fleet and covered all trade routes across the sea lanes. A programme was set up for the rapid expansion and modernization of ports. These included the Calcutta and Haldia Dock projects, the Wet Dock at Madras (Chennai), expansion of Mormugao, Visakhapatnam, Cochin, Tuticorin, Mangalore and Kandla. Apart from these, 160 minor ports across the coast were also brought into use. The number of national highways went up and the total length of roads increased tremendously. In Delhi, the Delhi Transport Corporation’s fleet was expanded. The Border Roads Development Board was also set up. A National Transport Development Council was set up, which made important recommendations related to taxation, establishment of a National Road Safety Council and framing rules for transport of goods by road and development of inland water transport. The Ministry of Communications covered a huge number of different organizations spread throughout the country. These included all the posts and telegraph organizations, as well as the Post Office Savings Bank, National Savings Certificates, Postal Insurance, collection of licence fee, and also, in later years, enterprises such as the Indian Telephone Industries (Bangalore) and Hindustan Teleprints (Chennai). One of the major achievements of Babuji was to bring post offices to rural areas. During his tenure, the number of post offices doubled. He laid down a rule that every village with a population of 2,000 should have a post office. He also laid down that if there was no such village nearby, then the criteria should be that no one should have to walk for more than two miles to reach a post office.Another innovation was to motorise mail services wherever possible, thus improving delivery time. He also emphasized ancillary services such as the Post Office Savings Bank, which brought the banking system to many parts of the country for the first time. He also considerably improved and expanded the service of the money orders, which proved to be extremely popular with people in rural areas. The quality of stamps was also improved with the aid of modern technology. He also set up the Regional Post and Telegraph advisory bodies, which gave inputs as to what was required in a certain area and the problems that were being faced by the public. Such advisory bodies ensured that there was no wastage of resources, improved efficiency and brought the public into the policy-making loop. He also focused on the expansion of overseas communications services, noting that it was an absolute necessity in a modernizing country. The telephone system in the country had expanded during the Second World War due to the need of the military for instant communication. During this time, the Government also took over a number of private companies, which were integrated to form a single, unitary, modern telephone system. By 1955, the number of telephone exchanges had gone up to 759, from 321 in 1947. Long-distance Public Call Offices, Local Call Offices and Rural Public Call Offices sprang up all over the country. As a matter of policy, in 1955 it was decided that every district town should have a telephone exchange and every sub-division public call offices. Ninety per cent of district towns were covered by 1956. In the same period, 70 per cent of sub-divisions were also covered. To save valuable foreign exchange, it was decided to set up the Indian Telephone Industries to manufacture telephone instruments and other instruments needed by the telephone exchanges. A new trend began when instruments and exchanges began to be exported to countries such as Egypt, Nepal, Kuwait, Uganda, Sri Lanka, etc. Thus, in both transport and communications, the foundations for a modern India were laid early on, during Jagjivan Ram’s tenure. At no point was there any slackness in the system. He also ensured that the morale of the employees in these crucial areas was never affected adversely, by taking into consideration all their needs and making provision for them. As Minister of Railways The Railways were the key to India’s economic development during this time. Without a functioning Railways System, the integration of the States following Independence would have been difficult. However, there was a major difference between the Railway System before and after Independence. Before 1947, the Railways were geared to taking raw materials, minerals etc. from the interior to the coast for export. After Independence, the focus shifted to providing a viable transport system for both people and for the movement of goods and materials within the country, given the great distances which needed to be traversed. Moreover, the system had been shattered following Partition and had to be reconstituted. It was with this in view that in 1956 Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru shifted Jagjivan Ram to Railways, a tribute to his effective handling of his earlier responsibilities with brilliant results. The basic objectives of the Railways’ Five-Year Plan for rehabilitation was to provide the needed capacity for freight and coaches, while modernizing equipment, keeping financial constraints in view and to maximize efficiency. Major steps were taken towards the goal of self-sufficiency in equipment and the basis for a rolling stock industry was laid. The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works made progress and a modern Integral Coach Factory was also set up and the Ganga Bridge project was soon underway. Jagjivan Ram placed great emphasis on the expansion of the existing network. New lines were laid, single lines were doubled and electric traction took place. A number of railway yards were remodelled. The Minister insisted that regular meetings took place of a Committee of railway engineers, public works department and irrigation and forest departments of State Governments in order to iron out problems. Shri Jagjivan Ram also initiated action for electrification of Railway on a big scale during his tenure. As in other Ministries that he had to look after, Jagjivan Ram in Railways, too, laid great emphasis on the welfare of Railway workers. For the first time, Railway workers got a Pension Scheme in 1957. He also examined ways and means by which promotions could be faster. He insisted on Joint Committees of Officers and Staff at all levels “to make the staff feel as partners in common endeavour”. He also started a number of staff training schools to inculcate the necessary skills in an expanding workforce for an ever-expanding network. An interesting measure that he took for staff welfare was to start two holiday homes for rail workers at Srinagar and Pahalgam in Kashmir, after discovering that they were becoming favoured destinations. It was during Jagjivan Ram’s stint at the Railways that reservations were made for promotion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. More than that, he forced through measures which led to the building of new quarters for rail staff across the country. New railway hospitals and dispensaries were also opened. By June 1959, some 500 primary schools were opened for the children of rail workers. Hostels were also set up in areas where staff were forced to send their children for education. All children were given a free uniform at these schools. As Minister of Food/Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation The Ministry was usually looked upon as a graveyard for reputations. Jagjivan Ram took charge at a time when the country was reeling under drought. But, as was his wont, he faced the challenge and viewed it as an opportunity. As he once remarked: “The growth of the national economy is, in a way, the growth of agriculture itself. And development of agriculture in a rational way is, to a considerable extent, the promotion of social justice for the weaker sections”. The Green Revolution in the future brought by agricultural scientists would have been impossible without the unstinting support that Jagjivan Ram gave them from early days during his stewardship of the Ministry. This was possible only because of the new food policy initiated by Jagjivan Ram. Its basic components were as follows: “Domestic procurement must be always undertaken without fail, public distribution of foodgrains should be a regular feature of food management, a buffer stock needed to be built up, incentive prices needed to be paid to farmers and high-yield seeds should be used.” He also elaborated on the need for introducing machinery in agriculture. It is this integrated approach which paid dividends and helped to turn the country from a food-deficient to a food-surplus nation. As Minister of Defence This, unquestionably, was Jagjivan Ram’s finest hour. When refugees began to pour into India from East Pakistan, he made it clear that India would not stop them from coming in and it would also not force them into East Pakistan as long as President Yahya Khan was in power. As the rhetoric became more and more belligerent from the Pakistan side, the Defence Minister made it clear, time and again, that the armed forces were ready for any misadventure from the other side. He also noted that if any conflict took place, it would be on Pakistani soil. The changes in the nuances of Indian policy could be seen in the statements being made by Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi and the Defence Minister. Both naturally hardened their tone as time went by. But, the Prime Minister concentrated on diplomacy, while the Defence Minister made the country ready for conflict, all along maintaining and boosting the morale of the armed forces. He had the unstinted support of the Prime Minister and his colleagues and earned the confidence of the Defence forces at all levels. After the successful conclusion of the War, which ended with the creation of Bangladesh, Jagjivan Ram proved through his imagination and deft  handling as to why he had been given this job in the first place. He liberalized the pensions for the families of those killed in the war. The families received three-fourths of the pay which the officer was drawing at the time of his death, till the time he would have retired. After that, the family would receive the pension that he would have drawn otherwise after retirement. All those wounded would be employed in the army in some capacity. Those who were disabled would receive their full pay for life. Other benefits were also extended to the families of those killed in action. These actions showed the extent of Jagjivan Ram’s humanity. As the Defence Minister he made changes in the organization of the armed forces to make them more efficient. For one, he ended the system of recruitments to regiments on a caste basis and also ensured that recruitment centres were spread all over the country, giving ample scope for all to join the armed forces. He also focused on the indigenization of defence equipment. As part of this, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was given a major boost in the budget. Jagjivan Ram was rightly acclaimed with great enthusiasm in a public reception at Red Fort by his countrymen. The Political, Social and Economic Philosophy of Babu Jagjivan Ram Being a busy politician and a senior Minister he did not have enough time to express his thinking in any holistic and academic framework despite his intellectual sharpness, deep understanding and intensive as well as extensive experience of men and public affairs. He did not put his thoughts down in a systematic manner, except on the question of caste (in the book “Caste Challenge in India”) at a later stage. However, it is possible to make a brief survey of his outlook and thinking by sifting through the numerous speeches, addresses and interviews that he gave, as well as the records of his debates in Parliament which bear testimony to a wide ranging mind and a keen observer with capacity to analyse every problem threadbare with an eye on constructive and practical solution. Political Philosophy Jagjivan Ram’s political convictions came from certain observations that he made of society and his personal experience of politics in actual life. The first was that caste had been perverted from its original intention, into a social reality in which one group considered itself to be superior to another and deprived it of all rights. The only way to end this was for the oppressed to unite and through the strength of their numbers, bring to an end this discrimination. Simultaneously, the oppressed group must work with other sections of society and not against them. If it worked against other groups,  it was not likely to end discrimination, but might even end up increasing it. One discerns a sense of agony but no acrimony in his approach to this thorny problem. It was for this reason that the Depressed Classes League joined hands with the Congress. Jagjivan Ram maintained his strength through his own organizations, while simultaneously working in tandem with those he believed harboured a view of society similar to his. In this manner, he hoped to bring about harmony and cohesiveness in society. As a Minister, while he took particular interest in the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, he did not confine himself to them. He looked after the welfare of the entire broad spectrum of those who constituted society. This could only be possible in a democratic system. He worked for a participatory democracy, as could be seen in the manner in which he tried to involve as many people as possible in the making of policies in many of the Ministries that he headed, consulting widely and deeply with sincerity and sensitivity. On Economic Issues Jagjivan Ram was a firm believer in a Planned economy. According to him, it was the only way in which not just the narrow interests of one section of society, who held all power in their hands, but the interests of all sections of society, could be served. It was also the only tool through which the wastage of scarce resources could be prevented. It is interesting to consider the lengthy reply that he gave to a question on whether the adoption of democratic socialism in India had been correct: “Ideologies and concepts do change from time to time. Gandhiji made the village the centre-piece in his concept of planning. He stressed as imperative of planning, the utilizing of the unutilized or under-utilised rural labour and their skill through organization of agriculture and village industries. He advocated the democratic decentralization and dispersal of economic and political power. All his constructive programmes were related to his ideal of making a new man in a new society. When power shifted into the hands of the people, the ideals took the shape of actions. Therefore, soon after independence, India embarked upon planned socio-economic development to transform quickly her colonial village economy, feudal agrarian pattern and backward rural technology into a highly developed or an economic society of an advanced nation, so as to cater to the social requirements of the masses and achieve the goal of democratic socialism”. He always stood strongly for equity and egalitarianism in economy and society. Views on Education Jagjivan Ram believed that education was one of the effective means for the downtrodden to stand up for their rights. He believed that if all had equal access to education, then their natural abilities would flower. He supported reservation for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in educational institutions, because it was the one way in which they could escape the burden placed upon them by their economic backwardness. Since they did not have adequate financial resources, they could not access education; since they could not access education, they could not get jobs—and so, the vicious circle continued. From his own personal experience as well as from his observations over the years of happenings within the country and outside he realised that education is a powerful tool of empowerment—a source of sure and steady socio-economic advancement. But he would also plead that the disadvantaged sections ought to develop a spirit of self-reliance and selfrespect through hard work thus averting the dependency syndrome. He also had strong views on the nature of education that was being provided in India. He once said: “The present education system is defective. The so-called upper middle class and affluent community have imitated the English ways and manners. We have introduced the public school system simply because it prevails in England. In the USSR, there is no public school system, nor is it in Japan, France, America, etc. But they have their own educational systems. When we talk of equality, democracy and socialism, then what is the need for such systems of education. What I wish to emphasise is that we must not sow the seeds of disintegration and inequality right from the primary and secondary stage. Equality of opportunity is the soul of democracy. Where lies this equality when, on the one hand we see a promising child reading in an ordinary school and at home besides an earthen lamp, while on the other hand, a dull child of a rich family is reading in a public school. By denying due facilities of education to all those who deserve and by creating a situation where facilities of better education are available only to those, who afford enormous fees, we are doing nothing but creating inequality in society, establishing aristocracy, snobbery and spreading the feeling of disunity and disintegration.” Social Thinking Though ample mention has been made to his social thinking, Jagjivan Ram’s views on the prevailing situation on the matter of caste can better be  summarized in this extract from the speech that he gave as the Congress President at Bombay: “I have always maintained that the problems of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes cannot be fully appreciated much less solved except in the framework of a radical reorganization of the socio-economic order. That will take long. But even the scope of welfare projects and the manner of their implementation leaves much to be desired. It was to be expected that when the condition of these communities improved they would aspire to live as decent human beings. It was equally to be expected that with the growth of consciousness and an understanding of their rights, they would refuse to be treated as before. But wherever this trend has manifested itself, particularly in the rural areas, oppression and harassment have been renewed. It is an indication of the fact that upper caste psychology has not undergone any real change, there has been only some kind of a grudging adjustment. Even the so-called liberals share the same attitude; only its expression is different. How else would one explain the much-vaunted talk of pity, the much publicized desire to do some good to the depressed and suppressed communities.” Thus vividly and with deep sense of hurt as well as social sensitivity he realistically portrays as to how the matter stood. His Personality Jagjivan Ram was no ordinary individual. He was endowed with a strong intellect, a stout heart, great strength of character, firmness of conviction and purpose and an astounding capacity for sustained hard work. He had a vision along with capability and clarity of approach towards its realization. As a young boy, he was deeply involved in his studies. He enjoyed going to school, but he had one great regret. That the other boys had books to carry, while he had none. Thus, one day he carried to school a few books belonging to his elder brother, given to him by his father. Jagjivan Ram was a deeply religious person throughout his life. The Ramayana was a great favourite. When Ramayana Paath, took place at his house on Sundays, he would read out to the gathering the meaning of each verse in the epic. Probably, this was not only a source of delight and wisdom but also of spiritual strength. Jagjivan Ram was also a great sports enthusiast. During his school days, he used to wrestle and play football. His favourite sport was swimming and at times, he would swim across the river and back, with apparent little effort, at Banaras.
     He was also a voracious reader of newspapers, a habit he imbibed at young age and continued. While he was still in High School, he began to subscribe to Gandhiji’s Young India. Once he came across a few Hindi translations of books written in Bengali. Jagjivan Ram was so impressed that he decided to read them in the original. He, therefore, learnt Bengali and was soon reading the works of Bankim Chandra, Sarat Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore and others. It is not generally known that Jagjivan Ram was a great enthusiast and devotee of Hindi. In the Constitutent Assembly, he said that merely enshrining the language in the Constitution was not enough. Much work would have to be done to popularize the language with sympathy, understanding and meticulous hardwork. As Minister for Communications, he was instrumental in bringing out an in-house publication in Hindi, “Dak Samachar”, which was a bulletin carrying news of the important actions taken in the Ministry. Jagjivan Ram had a quiet and dignified air about him. He never lost his temper, in public, in Parliament or with his ministerial staff. He would evoke loyalty from his subordinates at various echelons and he would also stand by them. His composure even in troubled times was remarkable. With his wit and humour and charming smile he could disarm his vocal opponents. But he was always logical and clear in his arguments and exposition. He was the embodiment of old world courtesy. After having voted against the Bihar government on canal rates, as a nominated member in the Assembly, Jagjivan Ram went on to receive the Governor at the railway station. When some elements criticized him for this step, he said that common courtesy and decency should not be given the go by. This same politeness was witnessed in Parliament, where he always made it a point to thank members who had raised an important point or made a valuable suggestion. Jagjivan Ram was not only an astute politician, an outstanding parliamentarian but also a great administrator. He combined idealism and pragmatism in his approach to problems. He would give opportunity to all of his advisers or officers to express freely and frankly their reactions or views and listen to them quietly and intervene occasionally to seek clarifications or elaboration of some vexed points. Having done this he would succinctly and clearly give his definitive opinion or decision. There was a finality about his decision and his personality was such that those responsible for execution of the decision would do so without demur or doubt as they always were confident of guidance and support as and when necessary. He could therefore produce results as desired by him in his various exacting spheres of ministerial responsibility. His memory was phenomenal and his decisiveness was proverbial. In any discussion or debate he would manage to his final say persuasively and logically. He had an uncanny sense of humour, capacity for repartees and thorough grasp or mastery of the subject in detail  and in depth. The happy blending as those qualities made him a front rank parliamentarian whom everyone would like to listen to with attention and respect. Jagjivan Ram was highly and widely respected as a person and a statesman. This is what H.M. Patel, a former member of the Indian Civil Service and later Union Home and Finance Minister, had to say about Jagjivan Ram in 1977: “I had occasion to see him in action in Parliament. He was called upon to express Government’s case on more than one occasion and on each occasion he gave a dazzling display of eloquence and wit on the one hand and a superb mastery of the subject matter under discussion on the other. From the opposition benches, I could not but admire such skill. No one else could have put up a better justification and defence of Government’s policy and actions. But Shri Jagjivan Ram has a claim to recognition for more solid achievements. He has undoubtedly proved himself to be one of the most successful ministers. He has a real understanding of the problems of the rural areas and has shown that he is capable of seeking solutions for them in a realistic manner. Even when we in the opposition do not agree with his policies, we know that he is sincere and not motivated by political considerations.” And Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, the economist and once a Cabinet colleague wrote: “I found him always alert and with the vast experience he has had of many portfolios and his quick grasp of the essence of every problem he tackled, he could always make a valuable contribution whenever he chose to intervene in Cabinet discussions. He commands the respect of the bureaucracy in whichever portfolio he functions and at the same time, there is no doubt that he is in command”. To sum up, Jagjivan Ram had a chequered, purposive and a remarkable career as a public man. Jagjivan Ram participated in the freedom movement, became a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly and then the Central Legislative Assembly and from 1946 onwards, till almost his death, he served as a member of the Government under every Prime Minister from Jawaharlal Nehru to Morarji Desai. During this time, he made varied and lasting contributions to the political life of the nation and its economic and social development the likes of which we rarely see and are not likely to see easily in future. Jagjivan Ram fought against caste prejudices all his life. But while deploring the conduct of those who practised caste prejudice, he never directed his ire against them, he never harboured hate or animus for them. He was  keen for social solidarity and social progress and amity and for removal of social inequity of every kind and complexion. Like Gandhiji, he hated the sin, not the sinner. He did not want to pit caste against caste, prejudice against prejudice, hate against hate. He wanted, quite simply, equality for all and harmony between everyone. Is it a wonder that his birth anniversary is observed throughout the country as Samta Diwas? Though profoundly concerned with the problems of the Scheduled Castes and deprived sections in society throughout his life he transcended the narrow frontiers of caste, community, religion and region and rose to be a popular mass leader interested in the welfare, progress and future of all of his countrymen. Though I did not have the opportunity to serve directly in any Ministry presided over by Jagjivan Ramji while in office, he having been a witness to those times, particularly 1946-50 as a university student and subsequently as an officer did have the opportunity to see him in action and meet him during his visits to States for political as well as official reasons. One thing which was particularly noticeable was the silent authority that he carried with him with ease while in office or out of it. Whether party workers, common people or officers everyone will defer to him and try to gather around him and carry out his wishes as if he was one in office even when he had left the Government under Kamaraj Plan. It seemed quite natural that his equanimity, his habitual courtesy, his prodigious memory, his capacity to explain in simple language the most difficult issue would leave a mark on everyone around him. The brief or occasional opportunities that I have had to meet him would leave their mark on me. As chance would have it, I came in fairly close and personal contact with him on a continuing basis when Shri Ashok Mehta could persuade him to accept the Chairmanship of the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi. Shri Ashok Mehta had expressed his desire to relinquish the office for his personal reasons during early seventies. As a member of the Executive Council or its Committees or for about two years as Director of the IIPA, I had to be in touch with him on a regular basis. One could see how he would steer through smoothly and with good humour the heated discussion in some of its very controversial meetings. His word would be final. As Director, when even I sought guidance on any matter his sagacious advice and adequate response would come with utmost promptness and clarity. His old world charm and consideration for all and sundry would win over people easily. Thus I invariably enjoyed his confidence and his encouragement and once I came to know him well enough since early seventies till he passed away. Such memories I do cherish along with many of his admirers. It has been a rewarding experience to have met him and known Jagjivan Ramji. I deem it a privilege to pay my humble tribute and homage to his memory. ——————

    JAGJIVAN BABU: A DYNAMIC LEADER AND A TRUE STATESMAN —Bali Ram Bhagat* Jagjivan Babu whom I had known and admired and with whom my association is spread over for almost four decades, was one of the shining and seasoned parliamentarians with a rare distinction of winning eight terms consecutively from First to the Eighth Lok Sabha (1952-84) that also from the same parliamentary constituency. In true sense of the term, he was a statesman. The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician places the services of the nation for his own self whereas a statesman places his services for the nation and its people. By any yardstick, Jagjivan Babu was a proven dynamic leader of the 20th century. He was a force to be reckoned with on the national scene till his demise in July 1986. He spoke the voice of the masses and often mooted original ideas for solving the problems. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1933 and plunged into the freedom struggle. He began his political career as Parliamentary Secretary to the Bihar Vidhan Sabha in 1937 and rose to the post of the Deputy Prime Minister in 1979. His services to the people as Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister with different portfolios speak volumes of his administrative acumen. His ability to understand and judge the issues quickly was superb. Some of the social service measures, which he initiated, are milestones in our march towards achieving a cherished goal of Bapu – that is wiping tears from every eye. Our Enduring Association My association with late Jagjivan Babu lasted for almost four decades, which could be divided into two phases. The first phase began in 1950 when I became member of the Provisional Parliament coming into direct contact with him and this came to an end in 1977 when he quit the Congress and formed his own party, Congress for Democracy (CFD). During this first phase both of us were the members of the Treasury Benches and were in the Council of Ministers of the first three Prime Ministers holding different portfolios as well as occupying various positions in party. I gained immensely from his rich and varied experience. We had had the distinction of working under the 59 * He is the former Speaker of Lok Sabha. 
     Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru succeeded by Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri and Smt. Indira Gandhi. Both of us also belonged to the same region of Bihar and his Parliamentary constituency ‘Sasaram’ and my constituency ‘Arrah’ were neighbouring and contiguous. Both of us worked together with shared perception and used to campaign jointly for the success of the party. As a result, we won all the elections from First to Fifth Lok Sabha comfortably with massive majority. He was my senior in terms of position, age and experience. I had a great respect and admiration for him. He was a towering personality and achieved a nation-wide fame. Despite achieving all the success and occupying high offices in Government, he remained very humble and down to earth. A Clash of Personalities: Jagjivan Babu versus Morarji Desai I vividly recall an event of 1961, which could be considered as a very significant event in the destiny of our country. When the nation had a towering leader of Nehru’s stature, a question always confronted many as to what would be the nation’s future when he would disappear from the scene. The question was raised even when Nehru was alive. It was the period of Nehru who was at the apex of the governance with considerable influence over the rank and file of the party. But a debate had already begun on “After Nehru Who”? After the demise of Govind Ballabh Pant, the then Union Home Minister, the seat of the Deputy Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha became vacant. During those days, the post of the Deputy Leader was considered most important. Virtually it was second to the Prime Minister who himself was the Leader of the House. Consequently, a vigorous tussle and search for this post began. Both Morarji Desai and Jagjivan Babu who were aspirants for the post, decided to contest the election and started lobbying. It was very difficult for me to take a stand. I was a colleague of Morarji Desai in the Ministry of Finance. He wanted that “I must take his side openly”. On the other hand, Jagjivan Babu was from our State and the District then known as ‘Shahabad’. It was his gentlemanliness that he did not pressurize me to extend him my support. I remained neutral and my stand was appreciated by Jagjivan Babu. Finally, with the intervention of Nehru, the issue was resolved amicably. The post of the Deputy Leader of the House was given to a non-Minister. Later, the post was further devalued as provision of separate Deputy Leader was made for each House. I was happy that Jagjivan Babu praised and appreciated my stand. The chapter was closed for the time being. The clash of the two personalities and struggle for supremacy revived again in 1977 but at that time both were not in the Congress Party. Winning 1971 War: Pinnacle of his Career Keeping in view his superb administrative skill and leadership qualities, Jagjivan Babu was given the portfolio of Defence by Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1970.  It was a period, which witnessed the gradual deterioration of our relations with Pakistan and finally a war broke out in December 1971. Under his inspiring leadership the Indian Defence forces fought against Pakistani aggression and liberated the oppressed people of Bangladesh. During the events of December 1971, Shri Jagjivan Ram displayed unparalleled resoluteness and immense courage and added a golden chapter and made us proud. No doubt, it was Jagjivan Ram’s superb leadership and his able and masterly handling of the Defence Affairs of the country which won us the war in 1971. This is perhaps the greatest contribution a Defence Minister can make to the motherland. Jagjivan Babu always showed his worth in the midst of bitter crisis, conflict and challenge. During mid-70s when there was drought and shortage of food, he was given the charge of Agriculture. In the field of agriculture he did a marvellous job. With his dependable leadership he served the nation and guided the people like a friend and philosopher in moments of crisis and calamity. Parting with the Congress The second phase of our relations began in 1977 and continued till his demise. The National Emergency was imposed in June 1975. It was the period of turmoil. I became the Speaker of Lok Sabha. After Emergency was lifted in January 1977, General Elections for the Sixth Lok Sabha were announced. All the major Opposition parties came together and decided to fight jointly against the Congress. Jagjivan Babu and H.N. Bahuguna decided to quit the Congress and joined the Opposition. Jagjivan Babu approached me and tried to prevail upon me to quit Congress. I did not agree with him on the issue of deserting the Congress Party. I told him in clear terms that, “my conscience does not permit to do so”. Whatever I am today including the prestigious Constitutional post of Speaker, I got from Congress. In principle and spirit I turned down his proposal. In fact, I reminded him that it was he who played a key role on the Floor of the House for getting the parliamentary approval for the Emergency. But he was not pleased and he threw an open challenge to me that he would see that how I would win the election. In the election, he campaigned vigorously in my constituency and I lost the parliamentary election for the first time. Although, there was a wave against the Congress in the wake of some excesses during the Emergency and the Congress lost all the seats from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Even if he had not campaigned, I am sure, I would have been defeated. What I could not appreciate was his personal campaign against me. When I look back I feel proud even today that I took a principled stand. A Missed Opportunity A new party, Congress for Democracy, was formed by Jagjivan Babu and it became a constituent of the Opposition and later on it merged with the   Janata Party. His party did well in the election and he rose to the post of Deputy Prime Minister with Defence portfolio. But the Janata regime did not treat him well. He never got the due respect, that he was getting in the Congress. He was considered as one from outside the Janata Party. When Morarji Desai’s Government fell in July 1979 due to infighting within Janata Party, Jagjivan Babu emerged as a strong candidate for the post of Prime Minister. But he could not achieve as other partners of the Janata Party were inimical. So, despite his ability and superb quality of leadership, he could not become the Prime Minister. Even today, I think Jagjivan Babu was the most suitable for the post of the Prime Minister. In private conversation, he admitted time and again the uneasiness of quitting the Congress. When Rajiv Gandhi came to power in 1984, he wanted Jagjivan Babu to rejoin the Congress Party. I was also in favour of his rejoining the Congress. We also sent such feelers to him. But he declined saying that he had gone far away from the Congress. A Quality Administrator The qualities of a good administrator differ according to the nature and form of the governance. In colonial days, or in a dictatorship, or in a dynastic rule, execution of orders is the prime consideration of an able administrator. What distinguishes a good administrator from others in a parliamentary democracy, in a country trying to modernize the tradition-ridden social structure and in a developing economy, definitely calls for a different character. In such a set of circumstances, Jagjivan Babu was a representative of not merely a territorial constituency he hailed from, but he represented the hopes and aspirations of the entire nation. He was the leader to whom the country and the masses looked up to. He gave expression to their aspirations and hopes, to the unspoken thoughts of the less articulate and the less fortunate people and to their dreams for a better social order. He was a man of vision. The vision extended beyond the immediate future, to perspective planning for decades ahead. While he was a great planner, he was firm in the execution of the policies as well. He used to think, consult and discuss but once a decision was arrived at, he was quite firm. The position he had come to occupy did not distance him from the masses. He always sought to maintain a close rapport with the people. A Down to Earth Man Jagjivan Babu was born of poor parents in the village ‘Chandwa’ near Arrah in 1908. The family, though, belonged to Dalit community, was endowed with high spiritual values. He knew what poverty and hardship were. He understood the social impediments, and constraints one had to face in life. His early childhood and the struggle paved the way for him to rise up in life, moulding his character. His simplicity and mild manner hid an iron-will  strong determination. His success which began rather early in life endowed him with self-confidence. His unique and characteristic smile made him most lovable. Mahatama Gandhi wanted Indians to walk erect and have self-respect. He felt he could help achieve this dream only when he was able to make Indians self-reliant and revive their moral fibre. A True Gandhian Jagjivan Babu was a true Gandhian. He not only had great respect for Gandhiji but he also practised Gandhian principles in letter and spirit. He believed in non-violence and Satyagraha. Jagjivan Babu’s approach to the Harijan problem was almost identical to the thinking of Mahatma Gandhi. Many people are mistaken when they consider him as a leader of Dalits. His appeal had nationwide effect. He wanted the upliftment of Harijans and backward classes and worked towards the restoration of a rightful place for them in society. It was a gargantuan task. But Babuji’s determination was equally strong. He did not believe in any melodrama or a magic wand for their amelioration. He was confident that it was by making them realize their potential rights, by infusing in them confidence and by removing first the shackles that bound their mental horizons that the Harijan problem could be solved. This clearly showed his farsightedness as a leader and also his sensing rightly the general attitude of the suppressed masses he was spearheading. Organising Capacity Jagjivan Babu displayed his organising capacity and administrative capability rather early in his life. Even in his student days, he organised Ravi Das Sabhas in order to bring under one platform the leaders and men of his community. He began reforming the community, trying to rid it of some pernicious habits and had to face on that count opposition from the people of the sect. He was dictated by what was right and did not fear the opposition and could carry on his task relentlessly with patience and perseverance even under heavy odds. He soon came to be recognized as a leader in his own right to be reckoned with. The first opportunity for real public work as a leader which would put his administrative acumen, his organising capacity and leadership to test, during the relief operation following the Bihar earthquake of 1934, which caused enormous misery to the people and heavy damage to life and property. He came in close contact with Rajendra Babu during the relief operation and toured with Mahatma Gandhi in Bihar in providing the much needed succour to the affected people. Both Mahatma and Rajen Babu recognized the great potentialities in young Jagjivan. 
     His First Political Assignment The year 1937 saw the Congress entering the Legislatures and forming Governments in the Provinces. By that time Jagjivan Babu was the recognized leader of the Harijans in Bihar. Though everyone recognized his right to be included in the Bihar Council of Ministers headed by Late Shri Krishna Singh, he conceded the place to a senior leader—Shri Jaglal Choudhary. As long as one is spurred by an ardent desire to serve the people, the position one holds makes only relative difference. He showed that when the cause is right he need not bother about opposition to his work, but with determination he went ahead, leaving the opposition to realize their mistake in time and recognize the beneficial results of the measures taken by him. The same attitude we find in Shri Jagjivan Ram when he occupied the position of Minister of Labour in the Interim Government also and later in his long parliamentary career. The period of six years when he was the Labour Minister saw the laying of firm foundations of a sound labour policy. Many of the labour legislations aiming at the amelioration and welfare of the workers were piloted by him and found place in the statute book. A Versatile and Dynamic Personality Since his entry in the Union Cabinet in 1946 Jagjivan Babu had the opportunity to give his versatile and dynamic leadership in many and varied fields. Whichever portfolio he was called upon to shoulder he did so with dedication and determination. He proved that he was a rebel against injustice, a fearless fighter for the weaker and vulnerable sections of the community. One of the astute qualities of an able administrator is capacity to take the officers and staff along with him. Jagjivan Babu always carried and enthused his officers with his point of view. He felt that this was absolutely necessary if the policy were to be implemented not only in letter but in the spirit in which it was laid down. The officers who had the opportunity to serve under him always spoke highly of him, his open-mindedness and free and frank discussion to which he patiently listened. Jagjivan Babu was not satisfied merely by the civil servant carrying out the orders or policies laid down as a matter of course. He desired them not merely to be the implementing authority but wanted them to be active participants in the socio-economic transformation process. Towards this end he wanted them to be dynamic in their thinking. He desired a sense of participation on the part of the civil servants in the nation-building activities. Seasoned Parliamentarian A dynamic leader need not necessarily be a successful one as well. But, Jagjivan Babu had been a uniquely successful administrator whichever portfolio he held. In a parliamentary democracy, the Parliament is the testing ground for a parliamentarian. It is the forum to testify how able and articulate a people’s representative is. But more than that this success depends on the type of leadership he is able to provide for his Ministry in Parliament. Many an otherwise able and experienced administrator flounder when facing the vigilant Opposition in the House. Parliament is a training ground and helps the Minister in many ways. It enables him to understand more intimately the working of his own Ministry. He is in a position to assess the impact of its functioning on the masses. In other words, it serves as a spring board for the measures he may have in mind. He is able to feel the pulse of the people. Secondly, by his performance in the House, by his ability to face Opposition and answer their criticisms, he is able to command the respect and regard of the bureaucracy. The administrators know that no amount of briefing will alone be enough for a Minister. It is only the personal ability and skill that will sustain him. Here his sense of proportion and judgment is often on test. Jagjivan Babuji was one of our ablest and seasoned parliamentarians. Effulgent with self-confidence, he used to remain fully composed with that familiar smile on his face, patiently following the proceedings of the House. He was never to be seen in ruffled tempers. When some unjustified remarks were made, he did not jump up to counter it. He used to get up when his turn came and answered all points squarely with clarity and composure. He fully met the criticisms voiced by the Opposition. He answered them in a matterof-fact way giving full information and justifying his stand. In his long cherished parliamentary career hardly can we cite an instance when he had not risen to disarm the criticisms with his logical and precise arguments. He was not a flowery orator but whatever he spoke was full of wisdom and logic. As a colleague I may conclude, “whatever he said, he meant, and whatever he meant he did”. Members knew this and admired him. Disciplined Political Worker Yet another character which goes to mark Jagjivan Babu as a successful dynamic leader was the close rapport he maintained with his leader and the deference he showed to the leadership. He was a disciplined soldier. He was a man of strong convictions and firm commitments. When he was in the Congress, he remained committed to the principles of the party. When he quit, he never looked back. In the Congress split (1969), he instinctively recognized the leadership that was likely to take control and lead the country onward on the way to socialism. He aligned himself with the progressive forces under the leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhi. I was fully with him on these issues. It is a pleasure for me and as well for millions of Jagjivan Babu’s followers and admirers to learn that Lok Sabha Secretariat is bringing out a 66 BABU JAGJIVAN RAM IN PARLIAMENT commemorative volume on his life and works. Though it is being brought out after two decades of his demise, it is indeed a very laudable step. Definitely the publication would be a guiding force for younger generations in the years ahead and they will be able to understand the vision and wisdom of Jagjivan Babu and his invaluable contribution to nation-building. Here my reminiscences go back to 1976-77 when ‘Smriti Granth’ was brought out by his colleagues to mark his glorious four decades in Parliament. I am happy that then as the Speaker, Lok Sabha, I was associated with that publication and after 28 years today, I am able to pen my reminiscences of our longcherished association. Among the galaxy of leaders of the 20th century, Jagjivan Babu definitely is one of them. I feel proud to say that Jagjivan Babu possessed numerous noble qualities but I was highly impressed by his simplicity from core of the heart and his dedication to the well-being of the people at large. ——————

    BABU JAGJIVAN RAM : A STATESMAN WITH RARE QUALITIES —Dr. Mohan Dharia* Babu Jagjivan Ramji was perhaps a privileged person to be a Central Minister in the Government almost continuously from 1946 to 1979. He was in the Council of Ministers in 1946, as the youngest Minister in the Interim Government. Since 1952 he got elected from Bihar for Lok Sabha and represented his Constituency (Sasaram, Bihar) from 1952 to1986. Babu Jagjivan Ram belonged to a backward family. Though he was persuaded to join hands with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, as a freedom fighter he preferred to remain with the Congress Party till 1977. Babu Jagjivan Ram was incharge of several Central Ministries like Labour, Agriculture, Defence, Railways, Transport, etc. and in all his Ministries he has left permanent impression as one of the most able Ministers. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an able Parliamentarian and an efficient administrator, who had unprecedented skill to handle all officers. Though he always used to take them into confidence, he was never swayed away by the bureaucrats. He had his own opinion on every issue and every time through his persuasive skill he prevailed upon the bureaucrats to the extent that after his retirement from the Ministry there was always a word of praise even from senior bureaucrats. Babu Jagjivan Ram was, many a time, instrumental in changing the policies of the Government to serve the weaker sections. Babu Jagjivan Ramji never forgot that millions of his fellow people were looking at him as their saviour. Whenever necessary he used to raise his voice to protect the interests of the poor in the country. When we had raised our voice in Parliament for politics of commitment as against the politics of convenience, Babuji in his own style supported the cause that we were serving. He was well aware of our concern for the poor and extended his support both directly and indirectly. His existence in Parliament and in the Council of Ministers was itself a great strength for many. Babu Jagjivan Ram was not only a politician. As a Minister he led several delegations to various countries and during negotiations or deliberations he succeeded because of his capability of convincing. He had command over * He is the former Union Minister and former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

    Hindi, Bhojpuri and English languages and was always fond of Tulsi’s Ramayana. In Parliament, whenever serious issues were discussed, Babu Jagjivan Ram was known for his wit and wisdom in giving a befitting reply. He commanded respect from all sections of the House particularly from the Opposition parties because of his modest behaviour. He was a great humanitarian. He firmly believed that a society based on caste has no place in modern secular India. It is not a crime to take birth in a particular family, belonging to any caste, sub-caste or religion. It is all decided not because of the faith of the individual—but because of his or her birth in a particular family. For such an act beyond the control of any individual, a society that penalizes the individual cannot be a just society; it is tantamount to penalizing the humanity itself. Throughout his life, Babu Jagjivan Ram stood firmly so that one’s fate should not be decided on the basis of birth. Babu Jagjivan Ramji represented India’s Civilisation and Culture. He was a lover of music and art. Every year, Holi was celebrated at his residence where hundreds of people used to come and join the gala function. Being his neighbour I participated in the function and enjoyed it. Both of us mixed with the people forgetting our Ministerial status. That was a rare quality of Babu Jagjivan Ramji. Unfortunately, he had not written much, but his speeches in Parliament speak volumes about Babu Jagjivan Ram and about his capacity, ability, understanding and humane nature. Many are tempted to compare Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Jagjivan Ram. I believe that such a comparison is not fair as both of them had their unique personalities and different approaches. While Dr. Ambedkar was a rebellious revolutionary, Babu Jagjivan Ram who as a freedom fighter was grown in the non-violent movement believed in the process of evolutionary reforms. He always felt that without converting the minds of the majority of citizens and securing their support, minorities would not be able to enjoy sustainable social justice and lead honourable life. Both of them had dedicated their lives for the upliftment of the downtrodden. Dr. Ambedkar was the founder of the Republican Party and Babu Jagjivan Ram was the creator of the All Indian Depressed Classes League. Both of them prevailed on whole of the society to recognize the agonies and injustices suffered by the depressed classes and set a role model through their leadership. On the occasion of his Anniversary, I sincerely pay my homage to the memories of Babuji, a great son of mother India. —————— 

    JAGJIVAN RAM : THE CHAMPION OF THE POOR AND DOWNTRODDEN —K.C. Pant* Babu Jagjivan Ram carved out a special place for himself in the public life of India. After a brief stint in Bihar, he came to the Centre at a young age and made his mark as a skillful parliamentarian and an efficient and effective Minister. As his stature continued to rise in national affairs, the poor and downtrodden found in him a powerful champion of their cause. He raised his voice against injustice and exploitation. He did so uncompromisingly but persuasively, and without generating hatred. That is why his words had an impact on all segments of society. Babu Jagjivan Ram was a formidable figure in Parliament. His grasp of men and matters, apart from his thorough, knowledge of his Ministry enabled him to handle Parliament with ease. He was equally forceful in English and Hindi. One speech of his, which I particularly enjoyed, was when he intervened on behalf of the Government in the course of a heated debate on a No-Confidence Motion. The opposition was building up case accusing the Government of wanting to stay in power inspite of the litany of failures compiled by the opposition. Babuji’s reply was disarming. He asked the Opposition whether the purpose of the No-Confidence Motion was not for the opposition to displace the Government and come to power itself. What struck me was not just the repartee but the friendly and pleasant manner in which he spoke. As I came to know him better, I realised that he enjoyed a fund of goodwill in all Parties, and had cordial relations with Opposition leaders. I also saw that, regardless of party affiliations, caste, community or region, his approach was helpful and sympathetic. I also had the occasion to see Babuji as a senior Minister in the Cabinet as well as in the Political Affairs Committee during the seventies when many momentous events took place. His contribution is now a part of history. Another event which is still fresh in my mind is a Holi Milan at PM’s residence about forty years ago when I was a young MP. Panditji was sprinkling rose water on his guests while Babuji was regaling the audience * He is the former Defence Minister and former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.  with a string of good natured barbs, sparing no one. It was a sophisticated version of a common feature of Holi revelries, a wonderful example of ready wit, delivered extempore, capturing the Holi spirit in a polished form. Babu Jagjivan Ram treated me with great affection. Regardless of political changes, I always kept in touch with him and found him invariably preoccupied with national affairs and deeply worried about some trends which he saw coming and which are now very much in evidence in Bihar. My saddest memory was when his son Suresh died. On receiving the information, I rushed to his house and found him all alone. —————— * She is the former Member of Parliament and former Union Minister of State. 


    Dr. (Smt.) Sarojini Mahishi* It was just the beginning of the 20th Century that saw the rise of the great son of Bihar, Shri Jagjivan Ram. He was born in 1908, in Sasaram district. His father was Shri Sobhi Ram. Jagjivan Ram, though born in a Scheduled Caste family, had the rare opportunity of getting higher education in Banaras. He had completed his B.Sc. under difficult circumstances. By that time, the British people had already started collecting cheap labour from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh to Fiji and Mauritius. Gandhiji’s movement had also gained momentum at that time. Hazaribagh, Motihari and Champaran in Bihar had occupied a very important place in the movement. Gandhiji started walking and gained the moral support of the farmers fighting for indigo production and protection. Dr. Rajendra Prasad and others in Bihar had already entered in the Congress movement for freedom. The movement had attracted a large number of younger people and Babu Jagjivan Ram was one among them. In response to the demand for ‘Home Rule’ made by the Congress, the Imperial Government had brought out number of reforms in India and had also sent a number of Commissions to India. They ultimately called the Round Table Conferences and invited Mahatma Gandhi and a few others to participate in the discussions at the Round Table Conference. Physical participation was accompanied by mental reservations on the part of the Indian representatives. To overcome all these obstacles, the Imperial Government introduced, in 1937 “Provincial Autonomy” at the State level in India. Shri Jagjivan Ram found himself a fitting candidate and he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar unopposed. He continued to serve through the Legislative Assembly in Bihar till 1940. He came to Centre as a Member of Central Legislative Assembly and Constituent Assembly of India, 1946-50 and Provisional Parliament, 1950-52. He made substantial contribution in framing the Constitution along with top national leaders. From this period onwards until 1979, when the Janata Government under Shri Morarji Desai’s leadership fell, Shri Jagjivan Ram continued to be in power. In fact, he was the Deputy Prime Minister in the Janata Government.  Shri Jagjivan Ram had held almost all important portfolios from 1946 to 1980. When he was the Cabinet Minister for Food and Agriculture, I had an opportunity to contact him for some work in my State. I had already communicated the problem to him. When I approached him, the concerned officer was sitting with him. Babu Jagjivan Ram asked him as to why he had not attended to the concerned work. The officer was trying to give him some excuse which the Minister did not like. The Minister immediately said, “I can afford to lose you but I cannot afford to lose her—a talented Member”. I was taken aback by his remark! His birthday was being celebrated in all pomp and glory in New Delhi. When well-known sweetmeat sellers also used to gather there with their contribution of sweets. Once when I was invited by my friends to attend the same, I did so when I was asked to speak on the occasion, I spoke a few sentences in Sanskrit, concluding by saying  (may he live for hundred autumns) Within a few minutes, I heard him speaking a few sentences quoting from Upanishads and looking at me, indicating his knowledge of Sanskrit at the same time. In 1971, when he held the portfolio of Defence he used to say in public, “From now onwards, if there is any war between India and Pakistan, it will not be on our soil but it will definitely be on their soil.” And he would immediately turn to his right and smile to his satisfaction. War in Bangladesh where India participated in favour of Mujibur Rehman and against Pakistan ended in fourteen days. Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was crowned with success and she was awarded the ‘Bharat Ratna’ title immediately. But the question remained hanging before some people “Why should not the Defence Minister also be awarded this title”. The whole of India, rather, the whole world was an open book for him. Off and on he read the same. And Shri Jagjivan Ram, there, was the “Man of Wisdom.” —Avtar Singh Rikhy* I had the privilege of observing the finesse and the rare administrative acumen with which Hon’ble Shri Jagjivan Ram discharged the onerous responsibilities as a leading Minister of the Government for nearly 30 years. He was a born leader who nurtured his team of senior administrators with a clear vision of the goal. He was a strategic thinker and inspired confidence in the team players to contribute their best in national interest. Two instances come to my mind. The first one goes back to his taking over in December 1956 as a Railway Minister after Hon’ble Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned over the tragic loss of lives of a large number of passengers in a railway accident due to sudden caving in of railway bridge near Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu. Hon’ble Shri Jagjivan Ram on taking charge of the responsibility, did not start any witch hunt to penalise the top railway officials etc., instead he took to a calm and in-depth analysis of the systemic causes of failure specially inadequate maintenance of railway bridges, railway track, signals etc. so as to initiate concerted measures on priority basis to rectify the deficiencies. He gave the railway men, numbering over a million the reassuring feeling that they were doing a great job in running the life line of the nation and that the deficiencies and shortcomings had to be recognized and tackled effectively on a programme basis within an accelerated time-frame. He showed mature statesmanship in steering the Railways—one of the largest undertakings in the world—out of the psychological shock and galvanizing them to improve the operations. The second instance relates to a persistent demand voiced in 1978 in Lok Sabha to increase the number of languages in which simultaneous interpretation facilities were provided in Parliament. This was a sensitive matter. He appreciated the concern of those who had raised the issue, at the same time he was cognizant of the logistic and other problems which could arise. His approach as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee, appointed * He is the former Secretary-General of Lok Sabha (18 June 1977–31 December 1983).  for this purpose, was to hear out the viewpoint of all sections of the House with sympathy but also in the process make them aware of the practical implications particularly in respect of the logistic. The sudden unexpected fall of the Govt. in 1979, followed by dissolution of Lok Sabha, deferred the sensitive issue to a later date. It goes however, to the credit of Hon’ble Shri Jagjivan Ram that he could contain the issue and channelise it into the orderly proceedings of a Parliamentary Committee. He had phenomenal patience, a retentive memory, an analytical and constructive approach. He had a persuasive way of articulating sensitive issues. While he was truly nationalistic in his approach his deep sympathies and commitment was there to better the lot of the underprivileged particularly the Scheduled Castes. He was a gifted man of destiny endowed with diplomatic finesse who understood the limits of practical politics and managed to stay within the acceptable norms of democratic functioning. He understood the finer nuances of the Constitutional provisions for reservation of jobs for the Scheduled Castes etc. and persisted with its implementation in an orderly manner. That is why there was no back-lash despite these radical but essential reforms of the polity. This surely was a unique achievement for one truly dedicated to the cause of bringing the under-privileged into the mainstream. ——————

    Late Suraj Bhan-former UP governor

    Ramesh Chander

    OccupationRetired diplomat
    LocationGurgaon, NCR delhi, India
    IntroductionI am a retired diplomat. last position held was: ambassador of india to belarus.indian (punjabi) with a simple background. married to vidya. we have three children.
    Interestscontemporary history, international relations, current affairs indian music like qwali, gazal and poetry
    Favorite Musicindian music-qawali, ghazal, punjabi folk music etc.
    Favorite Bookscomtemporary history, diplomacy, biography of indian personalities, urdu (devnagri script) and punjabi poetry
    Well, maybe they don't need them, but don't you think that some fish might like a bicycle?
    given my prfile, what is good for me ?


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