By Baldev Bhardwaj
On 27th Oct 1951, Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar started his Punjab election tour from Jalandhar and addressed a gathering of lakhs of people. He had in his heart the pain of overcoming the crisis of his society which made him not giving priority to a government job. After getting higher education from England he came back and joined politics as an independent to serve his community.
Babasaheb said in his speech, “When I came from England after getting my degree in Doctor of Philosophy, there was nobody in India with such qualifications. So when I reached Bombay and settled in the Mohalla from where I had gone, the Bombay Government after a great difficulty found my place, as nobody knew where I was residing – it was such an unpopular place – and approached me to accept the post of Professor of Political Economy. I refused the offer. If I had accepted that job, I would have been at least the Director of Public Instructions. I would have got three or four thousands of rupees per month. I refused the post because I had a great feeling for the service of my community which I could not have done remaining in that service. A Government servant, you know, cannot serve his community as he has to go according to the wishes of the Government and follow the policy of the Government. After earning some money for two-three years, I again went to England for further studies and came back as a Barrister.
When I returned to Bombay, I was again asked by Bombay Government to accept the post of a District Judge. I was offered Rs. 2000/- per month and promised that I will be a High Court Judge after some time. But I did not accept that also. My income although, from the other sources at that time was only Rs.200/-. In 1942, I had to face two questions. One was to serve as a High Court Judge and the other was to join Government of India as a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Had I joined the High Court, I would have received Rs. 5000/- per menses as pay and Rs. 1000/- as pension after retirement but I did not do that. I entered politics.
Babasaheb said that we can have one power and that is the political power. This power we must win. Armed with this power, we can protect the interest of our people.
To perpetuate the legacy of Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar in Jalandhar where he delivered his speech to lakhs of people, the eminent writer, thinker and editor of Bheem Patrika, Shri Lahori Ram Balley and Shri Karam Chand Bath bought the land for constructing “ Ambedakr Bhawan” Jalandhar( Punjab).
Shri Balley formed a Trust in the name of ‘Ambedkar Bhawan Trust’ in 1972 to take care of this property. At present the Board of Trustees of Ambedkar Bhawan contains Dr. Ram Lal Jassi – Acting Chairman, Dr. G. C. Kaul – General Secretary, Baldev Raj Bhardwaj – Finance Secretary, LR Balley (Founder Trustee) and KC Sulekh, Dr. Surinder Ajnat, RPS Pawar IAS (Retd.), Chaudhary Naseeb Chand HAS (Retd.), Sohan Lal DPI – Colleges (Retd.), Dr. Rahul and Dr. TL Sagar as the current trustees.
From the very beginning, the Ambedkar Bhawan has been the center of activities for the propagation of Baba Saheb’s ideology. The meetings, seminars and missionary discussions are organized in ordinary course in Ambedkar Bhawan. In collaboration with “Sewa-PTU” organization, free coaching is provided to young educated boys and girls for competitive examinations for jobs in banks, insurance companies, railways, SSB, Service Selection Commission etc. and computer and personality development courses are also imparted to the children in collaboration with “Speed” organization. There is also a library in the Ambedkar Bhawan where Indian and foreign scholars do research work. The building has a community hall which is provided on a very nominal rent to the needy for social and cultural functions. In the courtyard of the building, in collaboration with Ambedkarites, Buddhists and other associates, a statue of standing Tathagat Gautam Buddha was erected in 2015 which has become a center of attraction in the area.
Mr. Balley also formed the Ambedkar Mission Society Punjab, whose activities have been going on continuously since the 1970s from Ambedkar Bhawan for the promotion of the mission. The Ambedkar Mission Society has produced thousands of Ambedkarite intellectuals. When Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar was critically ill on 30th September, 1956, Shri LR Balley made a promise to him (Babasaheb) to spread the Ambedkar Mission throughout his entire life. On the day of mahaprinirvan of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar on 6th December, 1956 Shri LR Balley resigned from his permanent Government job and dedicated his life to Ambedkar Mission. Since then he did not look back, even today, at the age of 90 plus, Shri LR Balley is giving the message of Ambedkar Mission to the society from Ambedkar Bhawan, Jalandhar.
Baldev Bhardwaj, Finance Secretary, Ambedkar Bhawan, Jalandhar(Punjab).