K. C. Sulekh
The renowned author of more than dozen published works on Buddhism and Dr. Ambedkar, Mr. DC Ahir is no more. He breathed his last at his Janakpuri residence of Delhi on 12th July after protracted illness (learnt through my talk on phone with his son Nirmal). Born in 1928 at his native place Baath (Jalandhar), he settled in Delhi as an employee in the central govt. service and retired as Director to the Govt. of India in 1986.
He was a devoted follower of Baba Saheb Ambedkar not only as an ordinary admirer but as one passionately committed to spread the message and mission of Baba Saheb through his numerous writings. Author of so many books profoundly researched and meticulously documented, he can easily be calibrated among the front-ranking writers on Buddhism and Ambedkar. 'Buddhism and Ambedkar', 'Gandhi and Ambedkar', 'Ambedkar and Punjab', 'Legacy of Dr. Ambedkar', 'Dr. Ambedkar and Indian Constitution' published by different publishing houses are the titles of some of his books that have really helped the readers to know both Buddha and Buddhism , Ambedkar and Ambedkarism more intimately.
Hailing from Punjab, he has brought out and highlighted Dr. Ambedkar's deep interest and affectionate links with SC people of Punjab in his book 'Dr. Ambedkar and Punjab'. He has presented vivid accounts of how at the time of working out a compromise formula, 'Poona Pact', in the wake of Mohandas Gandhi's fast unto death against the Communal Award in September,1932, Baba Saheb had managed to get 8 (reserved) seats in the Punjab assembly for SC's when no seat had been provided earlier in the Communal Award; secondly how he took special interest in annulling the abominable Land Alienation Act, 1901 to end the woes and miseries of the land starved SC people of Punjab and thirdly, how he arranged to send battalions of Mahar regiment to bring back thousands of SC people still left in Pakistan after partition while he was a Minister in the Nehru cabinet.
My literary association with Mr. Ahir goes back to the days when the Urdu weekly paper Ujala, with myself as editor, had just made its appearance in 1948. He started with Urdu poems that were regularly published in the paper and thereafter he wrote on some serious topics too in prose. That was just the beginning before he occupied the pride of place in the literary world later on. I remained in constant touch with him for the last several years, often exchanging information and ideas concerning the community and whenever he visited Chandigarh to attend seminars/discourses, he never missed to visit me. Once I accompanied him to Ucha Pind, Sanghol on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road to visit and collect information about the Buddhist relics there.
Unlike the professional writers, he had the special advantage to have spent some moments in the company of Baba Saheb Ambedkar every now and then.
The man has gone but his memories will remain alive everafter.
Trustee, Ambedkar Bhawan Trust, Jalandhar.