“I think it would be appropriate and justifiable to honour Kanshi Ram ji with Bharat Ratna. I have proposed this thing in the assembly”
– Mayawati, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo.
I almost laughed at the absurdity of this proposition. Bharat Ratna is the premier civilian award of India. Although the list has some awful names who were thoroughly underserving of this award, most of the names in the coveted list of recipients of the Bharat Ratna are indeed great ones.
So what has been Kanshi Ram’s contribution to Indian Politics?
Kanshi Ram made insolent political slogans cool!
On March 15th, 1934, Kanshi Ram was born in a humble Raidasi Sikh (dalit) family in Khawaspur village of Ropar district in Punjab. Kanshi Ram was good in academics and had great oratorical talent. Not the one to give up easily, He famously took on the management of his college when they refused to grant holiday on Ambedkar Jayanti. Kanshi Ram earned his Bachelors degree in Science and joined the Explosive Research and Development Laboratory at Kirkee, Pune. In 1973 he formed the, BAMCEF, an apolitical, non-religious organization but his oratory and confrontational attitude made him a natural candidate for politics. And he went on to form Dalit Soshit Samaj Sangharsh Samity popularly known as DS4. And with DS4 started the era of basest political sloganeering. He notably called congress and BJP as Sapnath and Nagnath.
DS4’s main claim to fame was the provocative slogan: tilak, tarazu aur talwar, inko maro joote char, the literal meaning of which would be beat the Brahmins, Vaishyas and Kshatriyas with shoes. Another hilarious quote was Brahmin, thakur, bania chhor; baki sab hain DS4 which means Brahmins, Thakurs and Vaishyas are thieves, everyone else is Dalit Soshit (Downtrodden, Distraught). Kanshi Ram made cussing commonplace and mainstream. To unite the Dalit Vote bank, he used the political weapon of abuse of the upper castes. The political weapon worked and the DS4 soon metamorphosed into the Bahujan Samaj Party which now commands the allegiance of a large number of Dalit Voters. The same abusive strategy was replicated by Lalu Prasad Yadav. Lalu simulated the DS4 model by quoting BHURA BAAL HATAO Which was an contraction for BHumihar (A subsect of Brahmins) Rajput Brahmin Lala(Vaishya) Hatao(remove). Again the dirty political sloganeering worked and Lalu emerged as the biggest Yadav Leader in Bihar.
Kanshi Ram was not a unifier. He was a segregationist. Kanshi Ram never aimed to gather votes but alienate the Dalit Votes from their traditional masters. Kanshi Ram’s politics was sectarian at best which played on the fears of Dalits. Kanshi Ram was instrumental in widening the gap between Upper and Lower Castes.
The post Kanshi Ram BSP no longer chants its famous mantra of beating the upper castes with shoes. It has Brahmins in high offices. Kanshi Ram is often referred to as the Modern Ambedkar but he neither had the vision, nor the charisma of Ambedkar.
Kanshi Ram is thoroughly unworthy of the Bharat Ratna.
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