[Speech delivered at village Sikri, Punjab, 12th February 2001. Orignal speech is in Punjabi and in case you understand Punjabi, you can listen to it from the video at the end of this post. I transcribed it keeping it as close as possible to the original speech. Many times voice is inaudible and Saheb Kanshi Ram switches from one topic to another quite frequently. I have kept that as it is to preserve the originality with very little adjustments in the text. Adjustments in the text are to keep the relevant parts in the same paragraph. If you don’t have time to read the whole speech, go at the end of the post where I highlight a few main points from the Saheb Kanshi Ram’s speech.]
Sathiyo (friends), on the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti, I requested my colleagues that in every constituency of Doaba region (region of Punjab that lies between the Beas River and the Sutlej River) organize my speeches. I know that in Doaba region people know about Guru Ravidas more than what I know about Guru Ravidas. So, I don’t think there is any necessity to tell people about the Guru Ravidas. It is because almost 70 years ago, Guru Ravidas was recognized as an ideal person in Doaba (in Punjab, Ad-dharmi movement was started around 1920’s by Dalits for getting a distinct religious identity and Doaba was at the forefront of that movement. The founder of the Ad-dharmi movement was Mangu Ram Mugowalia and followers of Ad-dharmi movement believed in the teachings of Guru Ravidas and considered him an ideal).
By putting their trust and considering Guru Ravidas as an ideal, Chamars of Doaba, who were facing brutal caste atrocities, started a movement. Guru Ravidas was Chamar who was born in Banaras and Chamars of Punjab considered him as ideal. The movement which Guru Ravidas didn’t start, Chamars of Punjab started. Guru Ravidas never said that he is Ad-dharmi.
Almost 70 years ago, Chamars of Doaba, who couldn’t produce any ideal from within their own region, selected another Chamar from Uttar Pradesh as an ideal and start the Ad-dharmi movement. Now, it is almost 75 years since the start of that movement but people can’t still explain properly that what is Ad-dharm?
What is Ad-dharm? To tell people about this, I have called this meeting at this place. The Ad-dharm movement was the movement of rebellion against the Hindu religion. It was the movement against the Manuwad. A religion that mistreated and exploited Chamars for years and years, Ad-dharm movement was the movement against that oppression. It was the rebellion against all those atrocities. Ad-Dharm movement was the revolt against the Hinduism.
After 75 years, I can’t see that rebellion against the oppression. One can’t even find traces of Ad-dharm.
People come to me and tell census of India is going on. In 1931 census, around 24% of people from Doaba region had registered their religion as Ad-Dharm. Today there is not even a mention of Ad-Dharm religion in the list of religions in the documents of the census of India. People come to me and ask, what happened and why there is no column of Ad-Dharm in the documents. I tell them, go and ask those who were running the Ad-Dharm and till today they claim to be the leaders of the movement. Ask those, who claim to be the leaders of this movement, what happened and why there is no column of Ad-Dharm in the documents?
Why has it disappeared from the documents of the census of India? Let me tell you why it has disappeared. In last 75 years you have not been able to define what Ad-Dharm is, what are the principles of Ad-Dharm, and following those principles what we have achieved for the community?
In 75 years, you have not been able to answer these questions, so manuwadi, the brahminical government decided it is a right time now to delete the column of Ad-Dharm from the census of India documents. After deleting the Ad-Dharm column, the government knows if these people want the benefits of reservation in education or jobs, people will have to register themselves under Hinduism, religion against which these people (Dalits) once revolted. Now, those who believed themselves as Ad-Dharmi are forced to be Hindus.
So, that’s why I am here to tell you a bit about the 75 years of history of Ad-Dharm movement which considered Guru Ravidas as ideal. In the memory of Ad-Dharm’s 75 years, we have decided to conduct a massive rally in Hoshiarpur (a district in Punjab) at Roshan ground. This is one of the reasons that I am here to appeal Ad-Dharmi people to come and join that rally. I am travelling around the Punjab to appeal and tell people about the Ad-Dharm. It’s 75 years so at least 75,000 people should gather at that ground and talk about the results of our 75 years of rebellion. What have we gained in last 75 years through this revolt?
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar gave us the right to vote and won the right of separate electorates of us but Gandhi started the fast. Hence, Dalits lost that right of separate electorates. The British government wanted to give Dalits that right. Gandhi said if the right of separate electorates is given to Dalits, I wouldn’t want to live in such a country. So, his fast till death started to oppose rights of Dalits. In September 1932, Gandhi started his fast till death in Pune. At Shimla, Ad-Dhram’s founder Mangu Ram Mugowalia started his fast till death to oppose Gandhi and fight for Dalits’ rights. People from Ad-Dharm at least tried to do something against the Gandhi’s injustice.
It was the one appreciable attempt from the people who were running the Ad-Dharm movement. Second maybe were the efforts for the inclusion of Ad-Dharmi religion in the 1931 census of India, in which 24% from Doaba reported Ad Dharmi as their religion, 23% were Hindu, 26% Muslim and 25% Sikh. Almost one-fourth population of Doaba was Ad-Dharmi as per the 1931 census of India and in today’s census, there is no Ad-Dharmi.
At 50 years of Ad-Dharm there should have been golden jubilee celebrations but no one did anything despite Mangu Ram Mugowalia was alive at that time, no one cared to remember golden jubilee. Mangu Ram Mugowalia was old (around 90 years) at that time but those who were capable they also didn’t celebrate golden jubilee. Ad-Dharm religion survived almost 75 years and after 75 years when diamond jubilee should have been celebrated not even a single Ad-Dharmi is thinking about it.
Kanshi Ram who doesn’t have much knowledge about Ad-Dharm or Guru Ravidas, he is forced to think that it is 75 years to Ad-Dharm and there should be some celebrations. We as a community must understand what Ad-Dharm movement was and 75 years ago what movement was started by our forefathers, how did Ad-Dharm movement run for 75 years, what next needs to be done and what future holds for us, for the movement.
Today, Brahminism is ruling in the country. Brahmins heaped injustices on us and forced us to live in inhuman conditions so to mark respect to 75 years of Ad-Dharm revolt, we must gather at least 75,000 people in the Hoshiarpur ground. It is necessary to gather to have a discussion on what happened in past and what we have to do in future. This event has been organised in Roshan ground in Hoshiarpur on 28th February 2001. To organise this event, I have assigned duties to Ad-Dharmi party workers so you all have to support them in organising the event.
As I said in the beginning, if I am in Doaba region, I can’t teach you about Guru Ravidas. There is hardly any village there is not Guru Ravidas’s gurudwara (religious place). So, you already know more than what I know about Guru Ravidas’s teachings and in Doaba region I come to learn from you. Almost 70 years ago, you accepted Guru Ravidas as the ideal and progressed in life. One thing I know is that if Guru Ravidas’s teachings were not included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikhs’ religious book), no one would have ever known about Guru Ravidas. No one would have even known Guru Kabir or any other Guru from the downtrodden community. It is because of Sri Guru Granth Sahib we know about all of them.
BSP is a party of weakest (sections of the society) but its fight is with those who are powerful. How to fight these powerful parties? By developing the right thinking/mentality. When we formed the government in Uttar Pradesh, we had the budget of almost 30,000 crores and I told Mayawati that 100-200 crores you should spend on spreading teachings of Guru Ravidas. When the new bridge was built on Ganga in Banaras, we named is Ravidas Setu (loud clapping). Pandas have built many ghats along the Ganga river in Banaras and we found empty space near the Ganga in Banaras and I instructed them that at this location, which was near to where Guru Ravidas was born, Guru Ravidas ghat should be built. (Guru Ravidas ghat in Banaras is the largest ghat with a 25 acres park known as Sant Ravidas Smarak Park) Panda-Brahmins opposed the construction of Guru Ravidas ghat and I told them you have accept it now, we are the rulers. Brahmins’ ghats are down and Guru Ravidas’s ghat is up. So, within 6 months government, we spent more than 100 crores on the promoting the ideology of Guru Ravidas.
Friends, (while in power) within our knowledge and capacity we tried to do the best for propagating the ideology of equality. I am a firm believer that soon there will be elections again and BSP will form its government again and a Chamari will become chief minister for the third time. After that, we will try to do more for the development and propagate the ideology of our ideals.
Reminding you once again that try to reach Roshan ground, Hoshiarpur on 28th February 2001, I take leave from you.
Jai Bhim! Jai Bharat!
Main Points from Saheb Kanshi Ram’s Speech –
- The Ad-dharm movement was the movement of rebellion against the Hindu religion. It was the movement against the Manuwad.
- Ad-Dharm movement was the revolt against the Hinduism.
- We as a community must understand what Ad-Dharm movement was and 75 years ago what movement was started by our forefathers, how did Ad-Dharm movement run for 75 years, what next needs to be done and what future holds for us, for the movement.
- One thing I know is that if Guru Ravidas’s teachings were not included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikhs’ religious book), no one would have ever known about Guru Ravidas.
- BSP is a party of weakest (section of the society) but its fight is with those who are powerful. How to fight these powerful parties? By developing the right thinking/mentality.
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