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LR Balley's effort to spread Ambedkarite thoughts will always be remembered

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat 
When the news of the passing of Shri L R Balley came to me from several friends in Birmingham, I was still not prepared to believe it. The reason was my own morality issue that the things should come from the family first and second in the age of social media many time, people too have a fetish for 'break news' and hence I waited for long and tried to contact Baldev Raj Bhardwaj ji knowing fully well that he would be extremely busy at home. L R Balley breathed his last yesterday ( July 6th, 2023) at his home in Jalandhar at the age of 93. He would have turned 94 on July 20th .
L R Balley was the most sought after name in the Ambedkarite movement since the 1960s. As a leader of Republican Party of India and Samta Sainik Dal, he went all over the country to unite Ambedkarites. He had seen Baba Saheb working tirelessly for the community and hence he left his government job on December 6th, 1956 and decided to work wholeheartedly and full time for spreading Ambedkarite movement in the country. It was due to the work of Balley Saheb, the literature of Dr Ambedkar reached noon and corners of the country and created a powerful movement which might not have been successful politically but was definitely more impactful socially and culturally. However, Balley Saheb always felt that as a political movement of RPI had a huge impact in Punjab during the nationwide land rights movement as thousands of landless people got land to cultivate and for building their homes.
Unfortuantely, in the post 1990s, with the growth of BSP and BAMSECF movements, the Ambedkarite movement succeeded partly politically but it pushed people like Balley into sidelines. Balley Saheb never compromised with his ideology and always questioned the movements in the name of Bahujan. As a true Ambedkarite, he rarely used the term 'Bahujan' or 'Dalit' as most of the time he referred to himself as Ambedkarite and Buddhist. Today's Ambedkarites who claim Baba Saheb's legacy are unable to do so because they have not challenged Brahmanism by rejecting it socially and culturally and only speak the language which can be called political rhetoric. Balley Saheb was not interested in such jargons and continued his work with the community in Punjab and outside Punjab where Ambedkarites loved to listen to his powerful speeches and read his writings.
Unfortunately, today's social media Ambedkarite know little about the massive work of L R Balley in promoting and building up Ambedkarite movement in India. Therefore, L R Balley is a name which as an Ambedkarite we need to know and understand. The enormous amount of work that he did and lived as an Ambedkarite, can best be described as true Ambedkarite.
For a lay person like me when I began reading Baba Saheb Ambedkar and his life mission in the beginning of 1990s, the real introduction came through my association with Ambedkarite legends like Shri Bhagwan Das and NG Uke Saheb in Delhi as both were absolutely committed Ambedkarite and my reference point. That was the time when we were introduced to two magazines promoting Ambedkarism. One was #Bhimpatrika and the other was #DalitVoice which used to be published from Bangalore by V T Rajshekar. Both were powerful organs to spread Ambedkarism. The difference was not merely on their content and language but also on the outlook. Rajshekar was a powerful voice who had no depth of words to express but definitely fell short of the experience and understanding of Dr Ambedkar in comparison to L R Balley, Bhagwan Das, Ukey Saheb and many others. The reason was that these people were not only Ambedkarite in thoughts and action but all the three of them actually had not merely seen but worked with Baba Saheb Ambedkar. For me, it is my biggest privilege to have known them and interacted with them ( particularly with Bhagwan Das ji and Uke Saheb) on a regular basis as both of them were living in Delhi. Balley Saheb on the other hand was living in Jalandhar, a bastion of Ambedkarism. After the passing away of Bhagwan Das ji and N G Uke Saheb, Mr L R Balley was the only one who could look as an authoritative voice on Ambedkarism.
Watching Balley Saheb many times and meeting him in person, I actually felt that he had the capacity to score a century but alas life and deaths are not in our hands. His voice remained powerful and age could never deter him till the end.
Balley Sahib had started his journey through a Urdu weekly named as Ujala, started by another legendary Ambedkarite Shri K C Sulekh Saheb, who too is active in Punjab. Sulekh Saheb was General Secretary, Scheduled Caste Federation, Punjab. Balley Saheb too got involved with the Ambedkarite movement and when Baba Saheb Ambedkar passed away on December 6th, 1956, he left his government job in Delhi and decided to totally dedicate his life for Ambedkar Mission.
Balley Saheb was not an arm chair writer. His forte was his mass connect with different sections of Ambedkarites in India and abroad particularly UK and Canada. Both L R Balley and Shri Bhagwan Das were the most sought after among all in the UK and helped build the Ambedkar mission there. People in Birmingham, Bedford, Wolverhampton and London still remember these two legends L R Balley and Bhagwan Dass who visited the United Kingdom a number of times.
Balley Saheb was dedicated to Republican ideals. In a lengthy interview with me he mentioned categorically that no fight can be done on the basis of castes as it has its own contradiction and he wanted a programme based unity among people. He felt that Ambedkarite must associate with progressive anti caste groups ( he knew it was difficult but he felt that given the nature Hindutva is today dominating our discourse, the only way is to forge a unity among different groups). He also felt that despite our differences with the left, it is they who come closest to us in our fight against oppression.
It is sad that many times the new generation knows little about these legends who worked hard to bring Ambedkarism to this level. Today, among all the oppressed sections, a group called Ambedkarite is the most enlightened and powerful because of its idealism. The seed of idealism of Ambedkar mission was sown by Baba Saheb but it was carried forward by the likes of L R Balley and Bhagwan Das. At the time, when the movement was in a difficult shape and when the publishers wont agree to publish the work, it was Balley and Bhagwan Dass ji who decided to bring volumes on Baba Saheb's writings, much before Maharashtra government agreed to publish them with the first volume coming out on April 14th, 1979.
I have always mentioned that Baba Saheb's writings were immensely popularised by the first generation of Ambedkarites like Balley. While it is a matter of great satisfaction that Dr Ambedkar's life and mission has now become a source of inspiration for all and he is being researched and written about, in most prestigious universities of the world, the fact remain that the most popular and best writings on Baba Saheb's life and mission actually came through the hard work of Ambedkarites who had no big degree to flaunt.
For a person like me, who felt immense pride in my association with these legends, the only satisfactory thing was to be able to speak to them and record my conversations with them. Yes, I had no one else to record it and hence many times, I would stand behind and ask questions. It was difficult but I am happy that those conversations are now the first hand reference point for many. I have shared here two conversations that I recorded with L R Balley Saheb in Jalandhar.
Unfortunately the current lot of Ambedkarite are divided among various 'political parties' of the Dalits and Bahujans hence a large number of them feel 'offended' when Balley Saheb critiqued some of their leaders. The fact is that Balley Saheb was an active member of the Republic Party of India and opposed tooth and nail its alliance with the Congress party and later formed RPI ( Ambedkar). His first election for Lok Sabha he fought against Sardar Swarn Singh, one of the most powerful Ministers of Indira Gandhi.
Once, I asked him why the Ambedkarites have not raised the issue of land redistribution so important for building up an egalitarian society. Then he gave an example of RPI's huge nationwide Land movement in the early sixties in which thousands of workers had gone to jail. Balley Saheb and his wife and children too were arrested but at the end of it, lot of land was redistributed in Punjab.
Among all the writers on Ambedkarism, L R Balley's books are most fascinating from the perspective of the common people. His contribution to spread Ambedkarism and create an enlightened society will always be remembered. Life and time of L R Balley need to be celebrated as dedicated Ambedkarites like never die and people will always remember them for their selfless services to humanity.
A big salute and #Jaibhim to L R Balley Saheb. His presence will definitely be missed but his work will guide us in fighting our battle as well as whenever we feel any ideological confusion as Ambedkarite as he remain the most authentic among all.
*Human rights defender



हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Concerted, organised civil rights stir is lacking against Operation Kagar

By Harsh Thakor*  The entire country has been engulfed with barbaric oppression, with unparalleled destruction of constitutional organs for the past ten years. The emergency of 1975-77 has been more than ressurected by the present regime. and more repressive than the post-liberalisation period ushered in by PV Narasimha Rao. Neo-fascsim has been on ascendancy, as never before.

આપણા સમાજમાં દીકરીના માતપિતાનો દરજ્જો દીકરાના માતાપિતા કરતાં નિમ્ન કક્ષાનો કેમ?

- તૃપ્તિ શેઠ  થોડાંક દિવસ પહેલાં એક દુકાનમાં ખરીદી કરવાં ગઈ અને એ બહેન જે દુકાન પર બેઠાં હતાં એ ફોન પર વાતો જ કર્યા કરતાં હતાં . હું કંટાળીને આગળ જવા ગઈ તો એ મને કહે , "સોરી !  મારી મમ્મીને હું રોજ આ સમયે ફોન કરું છું કેમ કે એ મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં ઈલેક્ટ્રિસિટી નથી. એ પાંચ રૂપીઆમાં ફોન રોજ ચાર્જ કરાવે અને મારી સાથે વાત કરે." મે પૂછ્યું તારી મમ્મી કેમ એકલી રહે છે, તો એનો જવાબ હતો કે મારા બે ભાઈઓએ મારી મમ્મીને એના ઘરમાંથી કાઢી મૂકી છે એટલે એક ગામના છેવાડે આવેલાં મંદિરમાં રહે છે અને ત્યાં કામ કરે છે . મે કહ્યું ,” તું કેમ તારી મમ્મીની બોલાવી લેતી નથી ? “ તો મને કહે, મારી મા કહે છે કે છોકરીને ઘરે પાણી પણ પીએ તો  પાપ લાગે. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

हीट-एक्शन नीति में अनौपचारिक व खुले-में-कार्यरत मजदूरों को शामिल नहीं करना निंदनीय

- नेशनल अलायन्स ऑफ़ पीपुल्स मूवमेंट्स  पूरे भारत में 'चुनावी गर्मी' ज़ोर पकड़ चुकी है, जो हम सभी को साफ़-साफ़ दिखाई भी दे रही है। हालाँकि, एक और गर्मी है जो नागरिकों, विशेष रूप से करोड़ों खुले में काम करने वाले श्रमिकों को प्रभावित करती है, यह न तो 'चुनावी मुद्दा' है और न ही इस पर सामाजिक रूप से पर्याप्त ध्यान दिया जाता है। भारत के ग्रामीण और शहरी दोनों हिस्सों में मेहनतकश लोग, जो चिलचिलाती धूप में भी हमारे गाँवों और शहरों के लिए अनाज पैदा करते हैं, हर तरह का निर्माण कार्य करते हैं, शहरों व गांवों को चलाते हैं, हमें विभिन्न प्रकार की सेवाएँ प्रदान करें, लेकिन इसी वर्ग का अभी तक 'मुख्यधारा' के जलवायु न्याय और नीतिगत विमर्श में पर्याप्त रूप से प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं किया गया है।