Dalits should become rulers instead of being ruled. We must not be always at the receiving end, instead become the givers, Dalit Leader Mr. Kanshi Ram told the world dalits. It's long we have been ruled. It is long we have been taking. Now it is time we change the destiny to rule and give, he said. Mr. Kanshi Ram who is the Founder Prisident of Bahujan Samaj Party delivered a key-note address at the opening of the 1st World Dalit Convention 'A new vision towards a casteless society' at the Kuala Lampur Mines Resort City.
The two day convention held on 10th and 11th October 1998 was well attended by more than 700 delegates throughout the world including famous politicians noted leaders from dalit movement, champions of down-trodden, social reformers, renowned economists, famous educationists and great scholars.
Kanshi Ram was born in 1934 as a Raedasi Sikh, a community of Punjabi Chamars converted to Sikhism. The family had 4 or 5 acres of land, some of it inherited and the rest acquired through government allocation after Independence), a small landed background is characteristic of many Scheduled Caste legislators but remains a comparative rarity for Dalits in general. Kanshi Ram's father was himself 'slightly' literate, and he managed to educate all his four daughters and three sons. Kanshi Ram, the eldest, is the only graduate. He was given a reserved position in the Survey of India after completing his BSc degree, and in 1958 he transferred to the Department of Defence Production as a scientific assistant in a munitions factory in Poona.
Kanshi Ram's introduction to the political ideas of Ambedkar - he has never been attracted to Buddhism - was through his Mahar Buddhist colleague and friend at the munitions factory, D. K. Khaparde. Together the two of them began formulating ideas for an organisation to be built by educated employees from the Scheduled and Backward castes. Such an organisation would work against harassment and oppression by high-caste officers, and also enable the often inward-looking occupants of reserved postions to give something back to their own communities. So Kanshi Ram and Khaparde began to contact likely recruits in Poona. At about this time Kanshi Ram abandoned any thought of marriage, largely because it did not fit into a life he now wanted to dedicate to public con-cerns. He had also quite lost interest in his career, though he continued in the job until about 1971. He finally left after a severe conflict over the non-appointment of an apparently qualified Scheduled Caste young woman. During this conflict he had gone so far as to strike a senior official, and he did not even bother attending most of the ensuing disciplinary pro-ceedings. He had already made up his mind to become a full-time activist, and the movement was by then strong enough to meet his modest needs.
"I will never get married, I will never acquire any property, I will never visit my home, I will devote and dedicate the rest of my life to achieve the goals of Phule -Ambedkar movement"
These pledges remind the work of Manyawar Kanshi Ram Sahib who is remembered in the history of India as a True leader of Bahujan Samaj . The journey of Manyawar Kanshi Ram Saheb and his movement of socio-cultural revolution and economic emancipation of Bahujan Samaj started way back in 1964. Kanshi Ram, the eldest son of Mr. Hari Singh, resident of Khawas Pur village of Punjab 's Roper district, was born on 15 th March, 1934 , in a Sikh family belonging to the Ramdassia Community.
(This interview with Manyawar Kanshi Ram Saheb was first published in The Illustrated Weekly Of India on March 8, 1987)
Question: Why are you so hostile to all the national parties, especially the communists?
Kanshi Ram: To 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.
Question: At the Congress centenary, Arun Singh said your emergence was not healthy for the national ethos.
Kanshi Ram: 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 THE TWO NATION THEORY: THOSE WHO OPPRESS AND THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED .What does the grandson of a wretched maharaja know about nationalism? What can we expect from Arun Singh than such things?