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“The Oppressed Indian”, a monthly journal was started by Saheb Kanshi Ram

“The Oppressed Indian”, a monthly journal was started by Saheb Kanshi Ram in April 1979, after the relaunch BAMCEF in 1978, which in his own words was “a vigilant and up to date news service armed and operated by the oppressed Indians themselves creating proper public opinion.” Kanshi Ram himself used to write the editorials. For the editorial of the inaugural issue he wrote

~ “All these people of the backward and minority communities, who form about 85% of India’s population, have little share in the news service of the nation. News regarding them or pertaining to their pressing problems appear in the press in a casual manner. Youth, students, farmers, workers, educated employees, and even leaders of these communities keep groping in the dark and struggling without being fully informed…The caste Hindu monopoly of the press gives only sketchy news about the outrages and the atrocities committed on the oppressed Indians. The aftermath and the actions taken, if any, are not given publicity by the caste Hindu press….Baba Saheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar realized the importance of our own news service to ventilate the grievances of our people and to create public opinion in favour of speedy redress. He realized this some 60 years ago when there were no literate persons amongst the untouchables….”

Saheb Kanshi Ram, following the Phule Ambedkarite organisational philosophy understood the need of parallel media for Bahujan Mass Movement. Before “The Oppressed Indian” he had published ‘The Untouchable India’ in 1972. In 1984, He started “Bahujan Times”, a daily in Marathi, Hindi and English. Then there were more monthlies like Bahujan Sahitya, Economic Upsurge, Arthik Utthan, Shramik Sahitya etc and weeklies like Bahujan Sangathak, Bahujan Nayak. In the same inaugural issue of “The Oppressed Indian”, Kansi Ram concluded the editorial with saying “Publication of the Oppressed Indian, a monthly news magazine is just beginning. The task ahead is challenging!”

Today on the occasion of the Bahujan Nayak’s 83rd birth anniversary, sharing some images of the front covers of “The Oppressed Indian” issues, featuring the formation of Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti (DS 4), it’s political engagements, Issue on Phoolan Devi, significance of Independence for the oppressed Indians etc. Mr Shashikant Humane, renowned Dalit writer and activist from Maharashtra, was subscriber of the journal. I am grateful to him for exposing me to these old issues from his archive. Thanks to my friend Abhiyan Humane.

Source – Pinak Banik Facebook post

“The Oppressed Indian”, a monthly journal was started by Saheb Kanshi Ram
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Filed under BSP, Dalit, Dalit Bahujan Ideals, Dalit History, Dr B R Ambedkar, Saheb Kanshi Ram

The Chamcha Age – by Saheb Kanshi Ram

“The Chamcha Age (An Era of Stooges)” was written by Kanshi Ram, and published by him on 24th Sept. 1982 on the occasion of 50th anniversary of Poona Pact. It is dedicated to Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, “whose initiation of cultural revolt in colonial India, later taken up by Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Periyar E.V.Ramaswamy and many other rebellious spirits brought us to this level where we are thinking, planning and struggling to put an end to the ‘Chamcha Age’ and usher in ‘Bright Age’ for the Shudras and the Ati-Shudras.”

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In preface he says Chamcha Age started from the Poona Pact giving Joint Electorates instead of Separate Electorates. The purpose of book is to make Dalit Soshit Samaj of the existence of Chamchas or stooges, and to awaken masses how to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit leadership.

Kanshiram ji's cycle march

The book is divided into 4 parts and 17 chapters. The first two parts give information about past struggles, part III depicts present situation and part IV suggests ways and means of future struggle.

Watch – Documentary on Saheb Kanshi Ram Ji

A Chamcha is an indigenous word for a stooge, or a tool, or an agent, who is operated by others for their own benefit. Gandhiji felt necessity of Chamchas from 1939-32 onwards. A Chamcha is created to oppose the real fighter, the genuine leader. While Dr. Ambedkar was taking the untouchables of India from Dark Age to Bright Age, they slipped aside into Chamcha Age. Gandhiji preferred two Chamchas through joint electorate against one real representative through separate electorate.

Read also – What BSP and Kanshi Ram have done to the Untouchables

Part IV of the Book is titled “The Way Out”, has 6 Chapters: It mostly outlines the struggle that is necessary to fight Brahmanism. It has not only historical importance to understand Kanshiram’s struggle, but also can enlighten us what is to be done in future. It describes Dr. Ambedkar’s concept of Educate, Agitate, Organise. Separate Settlements, Denunciation of Poona pact, and also his three attempts to make the movement broad based, giving the excerpts from Baba Saheb’s famous speech at S.C.Conference at Lucknow on 25.4.1948. Below reproduced is the entire Part IV, which is the main Part, for future guidance. Hope it serves some useful purpose for those who are rather nonconversant with Kanshiram’s philosophy.

Check Wallpapers from here – 15th March in Dalit History – Saheb Kanshi Ram Ji’s Birth Anniversary


Ambedkar could anticipate
“Things will be much worse under the system of joint electorates and reserved seats which will hereafter become operative under the terms of the Poona Pact. This is no more speculation. The last election (1946) has conclusively proved that the Scheduled Castes can be completely disfranchised in a joint electorate.” [Dr.B.R. Ambedkar.]

The joint electorate is from the point of the Hindus to use a familiar phrase a “rotten borough” in which the Hindus get the right to nominate an untouchable to set nominally as a representative of the untouchable but really as a tool of the Hindu.” [Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.]

From the above two quotations, it is abundantly clear that Baba Saheb Ambedkar could clearly anticipate the outcome of the Poona Pact. Being a constitutional expert and a democrat, he could well imagine the fact of the disfranchised people in a democracy based on adult franchise. He could also anticipate4e the fate of the people whose representatives were not real representatives, but mere tools in the hand of their age-old enemies. It was the helplessness of his people at that time that forced him to sign the Poona-Pact under the coercive effects of Gandhiji’s fast. At that time, he must have thought of the times when the depressed classes would be less helpless to take up the challenge and fight for their due. At any rate, he was there with us for 24 years to fight the evil efforts of the Chamcha age.

Educate ! Agitate !! Organise !!!

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Filed under BSP, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar