Manyavar Kanshi Ram & His Legacy- Socio-Legal & Governance Perspective
MANYAVAR SHRI KANSHI RAM (15th March 1934 – 9th October, 2006)
Birth, Parentage, Childhood, Early Education and College Education
Shri Kanshi Ram was born on 15th March 1934. His mother was Mrs. Bishan Kaur and father was Shri Hari Singh. He belonged by birth to Ravidassia (Ad-Dharmi/Mulnivasi) Sikh community of the Scheduled Castes which is the largest group in Punjab. Ravidassias have monotheistic belief based on teachings of 14th century Indian saint, Ravidas, revered as Satguru by his followers. Ravidass, a Scheduled Caste by birth, taught monotheistic spirituality and a message of equality and emancipation from the caste system. Ravidassia’s believe that since Ravidas lived before the 1st Sikh Guru and his teachings were studied by the Sikh Gurus and influenced them, he is just as much a saint as them. Initially the Ravidassias revered the Guru Granth Sahib of the Sikhs, which was the only repository of the devotional poetry of saint Ravidas. However, following their drift from mainstream Sikhs, the Ravidassias compiled their own holy book “Amritbani” comprising of the teachings of Saint Ravidass Ji, and many Ravidassia temples now use this book as a scared book.
The place of birth of Shri Kanshi Ram was Pirthipur Bunga village, Khawaspur in Rupnagar (Ropar District) of Punjab. As per the information available his father was a literate person and was interested in ensuring that his children stand educated. Kanshi Ram had two brothers and four sisters. He was the eldest and best educated. It is said that he was named Kanshi Ram, as the nurse put the child in the auspicious bronze tray after his birth. Bronze alloy is known as “Kansa” in local dialect. His father owned some land and his uncles were in the armed forces. The early childhood of Kanshi Ram was as usual. He got his early schooling and passed school classes successfully. He was talented and meritorious. He got admission in Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) program in 1955 in Government College, Ropar, which was affiliated to Punjab University. He successfully completed this difficult program in 1956 of science studies in those days when the facilities were very less. In his own words which reflect the truth “I was born and brought up amongst those who sacrificed themselves but never betrayed the country…” His upbringing was modest. During his school and college years there was nothing special about him to suggest that he would mature into great social revolutionary.
Initial Placements and Jobs
He was appointed as Scientific Assistant in Explosive Research and Development Laboratory (ERDL), Pune in 1957. Kanshi Ram joined High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), and then became part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Pune. During his tenure in the DRDO in 1965 he joined the agitation started by SCEWASTAMB (All India Federation of Scheduled Caste/Tribes Backward Class & Minorities Employees Welfare Associations) of Government of India.
The Turning Point
Reaching Maharashtra was a turning point in the life of Shri Kanshi Ram. It was in Maharashtra that he got influenced by the legacy of dedicated reformers like Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Chatrapati Shahuji Maharaj and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Here he started reading the literature related to him and exposure of the impact of the efforts of Dr. Ambedkar. His personality was now getting articulated. It was after he joined the struggle against the abolition of Ambedkar’s birthday as a holiday, in 1965, that his career in the fight for the oppressed communities started. He studied the entire caste system and the works of Ambedkar closely and came up with many efforts to help the oppressed rise from the difficulties of caste discrimination.
THE REAL BIRTH OF SHRI KANSHI RAM (AS WE KNOW AND AS HISTORY WILL KNOW HIM)
Famous Deena Bhan Case
Shri Deena Bhan was from Rajasthan and belonged to a Scheduled Caste. He was an employee and senior colleague of Shri Kanshi Ram. He was suspended. His fault was that he protested against the decision of the management of ERDL, Kirki, of the cancellation of holidays for Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Gautam Buddha Jayantis and their replacement by the Tilak Jayanti and one additional holiday for Deepavali. Shri Kanshi Ram decided to fight against such a caste ridden and arbitrary behavior of the management. The fighter in Shri Kanshi Ram got the suspension orders of Shri Deena Bhan revoked and Dr. Ambedkar and Buddha Jayanti holidays were restored.
This was the beginning of the long battle for the emancipation of the Depressed Classes in the country that Shri Kanshi Ram led. He resigned from his job and totally dedicated his entire life for the cause of the community. He declared “I will never get married, I will never acquire any property, I will never visit my home, and I will devote and dedicate the rest of my life to achieve the goals of Phule- Ambedkar Movement”. He never married nor visited his home since then. His struggle was not for the home and family. He devised a new strategy to regain the glory of the original (Adi) inhabitants of Bharat (India). These pledges reflect the work of Manyavar Kanshi Ram who is remembered in the history of India as a true leader of Bahujan Samaj.
SOCIO-CULTURAL LEGACY OF MANYAVAR KANSHI RAM
Identification, Expansion, Inclusion and Recognition of Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Others as Depressed Classes
The journey of Manyavar Kanshi Ram and his movement of socio-cultural revolution and economic emancipation of Bahujan Samaj started way back in 1964. Significantly, he expanded the circle of the Depressed Classes by incorporating other Backward Classes and Minorities into it. He criticized the post- Ambedkar leadership of Scheduled Castes in India. He gave utmost importance to the culture of work and democratic method of struggle.
In 1971 he quit his job and together with his colleagues established the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Minorities Employees Welfare Association. The Association was registered with the Charity Commissioner, Pune. Through this association, attempts were made to look into the problems and harassment of the employees and bring out an effective solution for the same. Another main objective behind establishing this association was to educate and create awareness about the caste system. This association turned out to be a success with more and more people joining it.
Criticism of Poona Pact and Post Ambedkar Scheduled Caste Leadership
Kanshi Ram was critical of the Poona Pact(September 24,1932) and he examined it in great depth. He said that “Poona Pact” made Scheduled Castes helpless. By rejecting separate electorate, Scheduled Castes were deprived of their genuine representation in legislatures. In his famous book “The Chamcha Age” (An Era of the Stooges) he exposed various kinds of Chamchas (Sycophants or Stooges). He was of the opinion that many kinds of sycophants were born in the last fifty years. As and when India’s so called high caste Hindu rulers felt the need of sycophants and when the authority of the upper castes got endangered by real and genuine Scheduled Caste leaders, sycophants were brought to the fore in all other fields. In his popular work “The Chamcha Age”, a well argued tirade against the pseudo Scheduled Caste leaders, Kanshi Ram Ji sharpened the claim for the legitimate acquisition of political power by the downtrodden in electoral democracy of India. He focused on the Poona Pact which was a decisive victory of Gandhi over Dr. Ambedkar after a long struggle between the two at the Round Table Conference.
In the mid 1960s, Kanshi Ram Ji started organizing government employees of Scheduled Castes community to fight against deeply entrenched caste system. It was around this time that he decided to dedicate his life to the cause of the emancipation of Depressed Classes. Finally he decided to carve out a crucial role of Depressed Classes in the politics of the country. He witnessed the failure of Ambedkarite Movement in Maharashtra.
After the death of Dr. Ambedkar, The Republican Party of India (R P I) as visualized by Dr. Ambedkar was formed on 3rd October, 1957. It had its roots in the Scheduled Castes Federation led by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. But from 1958 the party began to split up under various leaders. The biggest set-back to the party was that, it became a party of Maharashtra and the Mahars (later converted to Buddhism after 1956) and the other sub-castes remained the supporters of Congress and others. The clash of personalities and personal political ambitions took the mission in a reverse direction rather taking it ahead.
Kanshi Ram Ji noticed the vitality of Dr. Ambedkar’s movement. He started working with Republican Party of India. After about eight years of active association with Republican Party of India, he became disillusioned with its functioning. His dream of Ambedkarite movement was shattered when Dadasaheb Gaikwad joined hands with Late Shri Mohan Dhariya of Congress for a Lok-Sabha reserved seat. He observed that supporters of RPI were celebrating the pact of RPI and Congress whereas RPI got just one seat and remaining seats were given to Congress. This event was the beginning of his dissociation from Republican Party.
Kanshi Ram Ji decided that he will develop a society which will work to spread the thoughts of Dr. Ambedkar and other social reformers and will never sell themselves for a small gain. He independently started organizing the employees of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes mainly from Pune, Bombay, Nasik, Nagpur and Delhi. He traveled all over the India along with his few activists to know why the mission of Dr. Ambedkar was brought back rather than taking ahead. During these days he never bothered about his health, food and transport working tirelessly to awaken the educated employees. The organization of employees of Backward Class and Religious Minorities, after doing the necessary work within a period of five years, decided to float an organization in 1973. As a result of this, and as per the vision of Dr. Ambedkar, Kanshi Ramji started his first organization on 6th December 1978 in Delhi, called as BAMCEF.
In fact the BAMCEF (All India Backward (SC, ST, and OBC) and Minority Communities Employees’ Federation) was an association in the beginning and was launched in 1971 and it finally became a federation in 1973. In 1973 it was a purely non political, non religious & non agitating organization. The first operating office was opened in Delhi in 1976 with the motto to “Educate, Organize and Agitate”. This served as a base to spread the ideas of Ambedkar and his beliefs. Manyavar Kanshiram worked with dedicated colleagues like Shri D. K. Khaparde, Deena Bhan, Shri Ram Khobragade, Shri C.P.Thorat, Shri Namdevo Kamble and others to build the initiative. After five years of rigorous fieldwork all over India, a convention was held in Delhi in 1978 and the organization was officially launched as a “Federation” on 6th December 1978 on the death anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Architect of Indian Constitution.
BAMCEF’s stated mission is to establish and fortify the non-political roots of the Mulnivasi Bahujan Samaj in order to change the Brahmanical Social System of inequality i.e. traditional Indian social system based on castes and varnas. The organization, which celebrated its silver jubilee in 2008, upholds an ethos that states that the victims of systemic inequality in India are, naturally, the only people who can uproot the existing social structure. Subsequently, he formed Buddhist Research Center (BRC), DS-4 and BSP.
Kanshi Ramji decided to take the mission of Dr Ambedkar ahead as he considered it as his responsibility. Then he started working among educated employees and awakening them to work for the emancipation of the downtrodden. In this process he was successful to a large extent in awakening, realizing and transforming the expectations of Dr. Ambedkar from educated classes. After the necessary ground work and positive response from some employees in Pune, Nagpur, Delhi and other places Kanshi Ram Ji decided to launch an organization. Thus, the idea of BAMCEF was conceived in 1973. After ceaseless field work throughout the country for nearly about five years the birth of BAMCEF took place on the lawns of Boat Club in New Delhi, on 6th December 1978. During this time, he conducted several cadre camps, meetings and seminars in different parts of the country to awaken the employees. The basic aim of BAMCEF was to develop genuine and capable leadership among the oppressed. It has been the organization aimed to build up the non-political roots for the success of Dr. Ambedkar’s political vision and action. The first concept given by Kanshi Ram Ji was “people who should succeed politically must have strong non-political roots”
Kanshi Ram Ji had realized that the people whose non-political roots were not strong were bound to fail politically. They can have their political party, but they cannot succeed politically. Therefore, in order to strengthen the non-political roots of backward class people, he began BAMCEF experiment and spent about a decade in organizing the educated employees of SC/ST/OBCs and Minorities, who were benefited by the policy of reservation. BAMCEF created a new missionary political conscience among the backward caste educated employees and also established a national network to further the movement.
Kanshi Ram Ji did not project himself a leader but worked silently as an organizer and hence did not mind to invite Ram Vilas Paswan Ji and the legendary Shri Karpoori Thakur Ji to address 3rd National Convention of BAMCEF which was held in Chandigarh between 14th -18th October 1983.
After investing about two decades of his youth Kanshi Ram Ji realized that merely organizing employees would not be enough to fulfill the dreams of Dr. Ambedkar unless they get power and become rulers. Therefore, he gave another concept, i.e. ‘Power will be the product of struggle’. He realized that employees cannot undertake a sustained struggle. So he established Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti (DS-4) on 6th December, 1981 as a parallel organization to the BAMCEF. It was created to fight against the attacks on the workers who were spreading awareness on the caste system. It was created to show that workers could stand united and that they too can fight. However this was not a registered party but an organization which was political in nature.
According to Kanshi Ram Ji, “It’s not that our people were not struggling, they were struggling but not for themselves. They were and are struggling for somebody else as stooges. Because we are passing through the Chamcha Age or the era of stooges, and as stooges we are struggling”.
Kanshi Ram Ji in his historical book, “The Chamcha Age”, (the Era of the Stooges) published on 24th September, 1982, on the occasion of 50th anniversary of the Poona–Pact, has vividly and exclusively dealt with the disadvantages of the Chamcha Age. He has classified the stooges in different categories i.e. (A) (1) Caste and Community-wise Chamchas like The Scheduled Castes or Reluctant Chamchas, (2) The Scheduled Tribes or Initiated Chamchas (3) The Other Backward Castes or the Aspiring Chamchas (4) The Minorities or Helpless Chamchas (B) Party–Wise Chamchas (C) Ignorant Chamchas (D) Enlightened Chamchas or Ambedkarite Chamchas (E) Chamchas of the Chamchas (F) Chamchas Abroad.
Kanshi Ram Ji was very clear in understanding the Poona Pact and therefore he had said that Babasaheb Ambedkar wanted to take the down trodden from Dark Age to Bright age. But Gandhi Ji intervened in this process of change. Hence we entered into a different age then onwards, which I have named as the age of Chamchas or the Chamcha Age or the Era of Stooges. His only book deals with the Chamcha Age phenomenon in detail.
In his scientific analysis of the Chamcha Age, he has focused on the fall of Ambedkarism from the first general election i.e. from 1951 till 1980. In 1971 due to alliance between R P I and Congress, his all hopes of Ambedkarite Movement dashed. Therefore, following the advice of Dr. Ambedkar i.e. ‘political power is the key to all social progress,’ he felt absolutely essential for the members of all oppressed and exploited communities to prepare themselves for agitation and political action.
From the day of launching D -S4, a wing of BAMCEF for agitation and awakening, till the formation of Bahujan Samaj Party, on 14th April, 1984, Kanshi Ram Ji conducted several experiments of social action across the country successfully. The programs created sufficient awareness in the Bahujan Samaj about their socio – political, economic and cultural status. Hence, D-S4 proved as a milestone in the preparation for the long battle of political action, social transformation and economic emancipation.
Kanshi Ram Ji continued building his network and making people aware of the realities of the caste system, how it functioned in India and the teachings of Ambedkar. Wherever he travelled he did the same and had many followers. In 1980 he created a road show named “Ambedkar Mela” which showed the life of Ambedkar and his views through pictures and narrations.
POLITICAL LEGACY OF MANYAVAR KANSHI RAM
He started his efforts of consolidating the Depressed Classes vote in 1981 and on April 14, 1984 he founded a full-fledged political party known as the Bahujan Samaj Party (Common Man’s Party). The BSP found success in Uttar Pradesh but struggled to bridge the divide between Scheduled Castes and the Other Backward Classes.
Social Reformer turning into a Political Reformer
In 1986, Manyavar declared his transition from a social worker to a politician by stating that he was not going to work for or with any other organization other than the Bahujan Samaj Party. During the meetings and seminars of the party, Shri Kanshi Ram stated to ruling classes that if they promised to do something, it would pay to keep the promise, or else just accept that they were not capable of fulfilling their promises.
In an interview posted by Shri Prem Kumar Chumber, in answer to a question that why he was hostile to all the national parties, especially the communists? Shri Kanshi Ram replied that to his my mind, all parties represent the forces of status quo. For us, politics is the politics of transformation. The existing parties are the reason for the status quo. That is why there has been no upward mobility for the backward communities. The communist parties have become the biggest stumbling block in this regard. They keep talking about change, but work for status quo. The BJP is better, they never talk about change. So people never feel duped. Parties like the Congress and Communists talk about abolishing poverty, but work towards keeping people poor. If the poor are not kept poor, these people cannot remain in their seats.
When the question was asked as to why on the occasion of the Centenary of Congress, Shri Arun Singh said your emergence was not healthy for the national ethos. Kanshi Ram Ji replied that he is the grandson of a Maharaja who never kept the interests of the nation in mind. Nationalism to him is feudalism. Nationalism to me is the masses of India. I believe in two nation theory i.e. those who oppress and those who are oppressed. What does the grandson of a Maharaja knows about nationalism? What can we expect from Arun Singh than such things?
Further when he was asked as to why his party cadre is so hostile to Mahatma Gandhi? Kanshi Ram Ji replied that Gandhi is at the root of everything. I want change. Dr. Ambedkar wanted change. But Gandhi was the custodian of the status quo. He wanted Shudras to remain Shudras. Gandhi worked to keep the nation divided .We are working to unite the nation and to erase all artificial divisions.
When asked why his movement took so much time to become a reality? Kanshi Ram explained that up to 1971, he was not so much interested. He was working with RPI. Then he found that he was marching towards a ship that others were deserting .It took a long time to prepare himself and others. He had to collect lot of information, so that he could know how to prepare society and build a cadre. Preparing society took a long time.
When asked that how can he abolish caste by floating a party based on caste? Kanshi Ram explained that BSP is not a party upholding caste. If it is uniting six thousand castes, how can it be called a party upholding caste? The upper castes say why not include us. I say you are leading all the parties. If you join our party, you will block change here also .The upper castes can join the party, but they cannot be its leaders. Leadership will remain in the hands of the backward community. My fear is that these upper caste people will come into our party and block the process of change. When this fear goes, they can join our party.
He also explained that he represents the constituency of Babu Jagjivan Ram and Chaudhary Charan Singh and may be to some extent, Sayed Shahabuddin. Kanshi Ram asked the Depressed Classes in a special speech delivered by him in 1st World Dalit Convention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which was held between 10th & 11th October, 1998 that instead of being ruled let us be the rulers.
He unsuccessfully contested from East Delhi (Lok Sabha Constituency) in 1991 and came at fourth position. As a politician, gradually he became popular among his people, who found a new hope and vision in his efforts and sincerity. Gradually he became a prominent figure and a force to be reckoned in politics. He was a successful strategist and a meticulous organizer. He used quite often a combative and aggressive strategy with offensives on other political parties which he claimed only represented the interests of higher caste Hindus. He was different from other politicians of the mainstream. He used to communicate and interact with people before he spoke. In 1996 Kanshi Ram Ji was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Hoshiarpur constituency. The significance of this territorial area was that from there fifty years ago Baba Mangu Ram Ji (1886- 1980), a noteworthy freedom fighter associated with Ghadar Party & founder of Ad Dharm Movement in Punjab , dedicated to attaining equality for untouchables, was elected to the Punjab Assembly in 1946 . Ad-Dharm Movement was very successful in this region and this also got reflected in the mandate. He was from Scheduled Castes community and had pioneered the Scheduled Castes Movement in colonial Punjab. Hoshiarpur was a strong hold of “Ad Dharm”.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) celebrated the 75th year of the “Ad Dharm Movement” on 18th February, 2001. On this occasion Kanshi Ram Ji asked the Bahujan Samaj to follow the principles of the “Ad Dharm Movement”. Kanshi Ram Ji believed that an unstable government at center is beneficial for Bahujan Samaj as maximum advantages can be derived in this situation for deprived sections. Therefore he used say frequently,” I want a Majboor (weak) government at centre and not Majboot (strong) till we reach to the political power in the Centre”. Kanshi Ram Ji articulated the Bahujan ideology from Buddha to Ambedkar. Kanshi Ram Ji always acknowledged the contribution of Mahars now Buddhists by and large for supporting Dr. Ambedkar in his war against Manuvadi system. Kanshi Ram Ji consistently led his movement for almost four decades from 1965 to 2003 till his illness. In 2001 he publicly announced Mayawati Ji as his successor. Mayavati Ji considers Manyavar Kanshi Ram as her Mentor. She has served Uttar Pradesh as the Chief Minister four times. She took up the unfulfilled dream of Manyawar Kanshi Ram Ji and has proved to be the worthy successor of Kanshi Ram Ji’s socio-political struggle when she became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the fourth time with an absolute majority in May 2007.
ANNOUNCEMENT FOR CONVERSION TO BUDDHISM
In 2002, Kanshi Ram ji announced his intent to convert to Buddhism on 14th October 2006, the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism. He intended that about 20,000,000 of his supporters will also convert at the same time. Significance of this plan was that the followers of Kanshi Ram Ji included not only untouchables but also persons from a variety of castes, who could significantly broaden Buddhism’s support. But, he died on 9th October 2006. Mayawati Ji his successor said “Manyavar Kanshi Ram and I had decided that we will convert and adopt Buddhism when we will get “absolute majority” at the Centre. We wanted to do this because we can make a difference to the religion by taking along with us millions of people. If we convert without power then only we two will be converting. But when you have power you can really create a stir”.
MANYAVAR KANSHI RAM’S NIRVAN
The health of Manyavar was gradually deteriorating. He was already a diabetic and had suffered a heart attack in 1994 followed by the formation of a clot in a brain artery in 1995. He suffered a brain stroke in 2003. From 2004 onwards, Kanshi Ram stopped appearing publicly as he was suffering from various health problems. He convalesced at the home of Ms Mayawati Ji. On 9th October 2006, he died of a severe heart attack in New Delhi. Kanshi Ram ji was virtually bed-ridden for more than two years. According to his wish, last ritual was performed as per Buddhist tradition, the pyre of Manyavar Kanshi Ram was lit by his sole heir Mayawati. His ashes were placed in an Urn and kept at Prerna Sthal, with huge procession accompanied by lacs of supports.
The body of Kanshi Ram was consigned to flames with Buddhist rituals. The last rites were performed in the presence of his two brothers and sister. BSP President Mayawati personally supervised the last journey of her mentor. Earlier, the body was brought to the party office around 01 P.M. and kept there for an hour for people to pay homage. Several national and state leaders, including the then Chief Minister of Delhi Mrs. Sheila Dikshit, paid their tributes at the BSP office. Then the body, wrapped in the tricolor, was taken to the Nigam Bodh Ghat in a glass casket mounted on a flower-decked vehicle. The cremation took place around 04 P.M. During the funeral procession, party workers and followers raised slogans hailing Kanshi Ram as “the leader of the Depressed Classes.” A group of Buddhist monks accompanied the procession.
Vice-President of India Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Congress President Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and Vice President and Mr.Rahul Gandhi, the former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj were present at the funeral. Sonia Gandhi
As per Kanshi Ram’s wishes, his mortal remains were not immersed in any river but kept in the BSP offices in Delhi and Lucknow.
MAYAWATI AND THE SECOND SOCIO-CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN UTTAR PRADESH
According to Learned Prof. Ronki Ram, with the swearing in of Ms. Mayawati, the BSP Chief, as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the fourth time on 13th May, 2007 the second socio-cultural revolution has begun in the history of Uttar Pradesh. During the medieval Bhakti movement Guru Ravi Dass, an untouchable poet-saint of very high repute had convinced the Brahmins that it was not caste but ones deeds which are important. Brahmins and Rajput Kings prostrated before him and Ranis and Maharanis of the then rulers and the rulers themselves became his followers. It seems that history was repeating itself when Brahmins and Thakurs among others were touching the feet of BSP Chief Mayawati during the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet in Lucknow. Once again Mayawati has proved that hollow prestige based on birth when put to trial in the democratic court of social justice it failed to stand any more. The new form of combined rule of ‘Sarvajan’ under the leadership of the Depressed Classes is certainly an advancement not only over the tight rope walk of the coalition government system that India has been experiencing for the last many years, but also a new beginning of the coming of the marginalized into the center stage of power politics.
Prof. Ronki Ram further analyzes that Mayawati’s Dalit-Brahmin thesis and her emphasis on “Sarv Samaj” coupled with the social engineering formula would facilitate in laying down parameters for the mitigation of the gap between what Baba Sahib Dr. Ambedkar said, “political equality and social and economic inequality” in India. This new system of ‘Sarvjan combined rule’ would certainly help in deepening of the roots of democracy in India and inculcating positive feelings among the downtrodden that they too matter in this land where they were for centuries kept socially excluded, politically marginalized and economically deprived. Now they feel encouraged to come forward not to plead or ask for favors because they were neglected but because they are able to provide leadership to safely steer the ship to its destination. Mayawati Ji is right when she said that behind her great victory is the philosophy of Phule, Naryana Guru, Periyar, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, and Manyavar Kanshi Ram. In fact, it is she who tried to put this philosophy into action and translated it into reality. Whether the Savarnas were falling at the feet of Mayawati Ji out of gratitude or of political expediency is not the point. The real point is that by putting the Brahmins and Thakurs in line and commanding respect, Mayawati Ji has been able to evaporate the Lakshman Rekha of Varnashram Dharma. She has set the ball of self respect and dignity of the so called Avarnas rolling. She brought the Savarnas and Avarnas on a single platform, of course, led by her. What is even more important is that she achieved all this through democratic way and people of all castes stood by her in her battle against social repression. In fact, this is not in any case less than a social revolution. This revolution needs to be replicated in other parts of the country too, if India really wants to shine as a world power in near future. If India wants to march ahead, social exclusion has to end first. Untouchability is not a problem of the Shudras only, it is the number one problem of the entire Indian society. It needs to be tackled immediately. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar sounded a grave warning on 25th November, 1949 in the Constituent Assembly on the completion of the Draft Constitution, “On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality… We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up”. The struggle has to continue.
A WORTHY CASE FOR BHARAT RATNA
The credit of taking social justice to the door steps of the poorest of the poor through peaceful means goes to Manyavar Kanshi Ram Ji in post Constitutional Era. This has made economic justice also to travel in the same direction. Further, this type of socio-economic contribution to the national life has made political justice also a reality. This unparalleled contribution and a unique approach to inclusiveness by bringing all the Depressed Classes together as Bahujan Samaj makes him worthy of ‘Bharat Ratna’ the highest civilian award of India to be awarded to him.
CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
In the light of analysis of the facts and interpretations presented above it is vividly clear that the efforts of Manyavar Kanshi Ram Ji took the struggle of the emancipation of the Depressed Classes to the logical conclusion and he represents himself as one of the leading lights of the movement of the Depressed Classes in post independence era. His clear vision and practical approach has made the Depressed Classes as major stake holders in the political governance of the country. He ensured that the Depressed Classes reach the helm of political power through democratic means and methods. He was one of the few noteworthy leaders of independent India who expanded the frontiers of the politics of Depressed Classes. His political vision was not confined to Scheduled Castes only. The political organizations he founded were meant for all the downtrodden like SC, ST, OBC and the Minorities. It would be justified to say that he took the lead in making Indian democracy practically open to the Depressed Classes. The energy liberated by his movement and efforts will become the real synergy in the national development. Indian democracy is becoming inclusive in the real sense. He was a great socio-political leader who could launch and control his socio-political movement successfully from beginning to end, which is very difficult and a great quality and requirement of a leader of masses. His legacy will keep on inspiring the nation in times to come.
In the preparation of this research paper I have consulted many sources. Most of them have been acknowledged in the paper. But to study, understand and write on a leader like Manyavar Kanshi Ram Ji is a stupendous task. In this process I am indebted to a large number of sources of information which a person gathers during the journey of his life. I express my gratefulness to unquoted sources also.
Disclaimer: : This Article Has been Published in Legal Desire International Journal on Law, ISSN 2347-3525 on Page no 3 and Issue no.8th
Prof. (Dr.) Alok Misra, Dean School of Legal Studies, Apeejay Stya University
Prof. Alok Misra is Dean of the School of Legal Studies, Apeejay Stya University and is Professor of Constitutional Law from India. He has teaching, research, administrative and practicing experience of more than three decades. He was the Founder and Chairman of Human Rights Organization and an Associate Member (Indian Section) of Amnesty International (London). Prof. Misra is a Life Member (Non-Practicing) of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Indian Society of International Law and the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. He has been a Member of International Council of Jurists, London. He is a Consultant in the field of Constitutional Law. He is a Fellow of The Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies, New Delhi.
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