Kanshi Ram

Last updated

Kanshi Ram
National president of the Bahujan Samaj Party
In office
14 April 1984 18 September 2003
Succeeded by Mayawati
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Hoshiarpur
In office
Preceded by Kamal Chaudhry
Succeeded by Kamal Chaudhry
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Etawah
In office
Preceded byRam Singh Shakya
Succeeded byRam Singh Shakya
Personal details
Born15 March 1934
Rupnagar district, Punjab Province, British India
Died9 October 2006(2006-10-09) (aged 72)
New Delhi, India
Political party Bahujan Samaj Party
Website www.bamcef.info/manyawar-shri-kanshiram-ji.php

Kanshi Ram (15 March 1934 – 9 October 2006), also known as Bahujan Nayak [1] or Saheb, [2] was an Indian politician and social reformer who worked for the upliftment and political mobilisation of the Bahujans, the backward or lower caste people including untouchable groups at the bottom of the caste system in India.(sc,St,OBC as well as minorities ) [3] Towards this end, Kanshi Ram founded Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti (DS-4), the All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees' Federation (BAMCEF) in 1971 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1984. He ceded leadership of the BSP to his protégé Mayawati who has served four terms as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Untouchability, in its literal sense, is the practice of ostracising a minority group by segregating them from the mainstream by social custom or legal mandate.

Caste system in India class in Hindu society

The caste system in India is the paradigmatic ethnographic example of caste. It has origins in ancient India, and was transformed by various ruling elites in medieval, early-modern, and modern India, especially the Mughal Empire and the British Raj. It is today the basis of educational and job reservations in India. The caste system consists of two different concepts, varna and jati, which may be regarded as different levels of analysis of this system.

The Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti, abbreviated as DS-4 or DSSSS was founded on 6 December 1981 by Kanshi Ram to organise dalits and other oppressed groups of India. It was related to BAMCEF.


Early life

Kanshi Ram was born on 15 March 1934 in Ropar district, Punjab, British India. Some sources say his birthplace was the village of Pirthipur Bunga [4] and others that it was Khawaspur village. Although his family were Ramdasia Sikhs, an untouchable sect, in Punjab at that time there was relatively little stigma attached to being an untouchable. [5] [6]

Punjab Province (British India) former province of British India

Punjab, also spelled Panjab, was a province of British India. Most of the Punjab region was annexed by the East India Company in 1849, and was one of the last areas of the Indian subcontinent to fall under British control. In 1858, the Punjab, along with the rest of British India, came under the direct rule of the British crown. The province comprised five administrative divisions, Delhi, Jullundur, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi and a number of princely states. In 1947, the partition of India led to the province being divided into East Punjab and West Punjab, in the newly created dominions of India and Pakistan respectively.

The Ramdasia were historically a Sikh sub-group that originated from the Hindu caste of weavers known as Julaha but the term has expanded to become one referring to Sikhs who form a part of the backwards classes in general. According to Paul Ghuman, Ramdasias are also Chamars who have converted to Sikhism.

After studies at various local schools, [7] Ram graduated in 1956 with a BSc degree from Government College Ropar. [8]

A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.


Kanshi Ram joined the offices of the Explosive Research and Development Laboratory in Pune [5] under the government's scheme of affirmative action. It was at this time that he first experienced caste discrimination [8] and in 1964 he became an activist. Those who admire him claim that he was spurred to this after reading B. R. Ambedkar's book Annihilation of Caste and witnessing what he perceived to be discrimination against a Dalit employee who wished to observe a holiday celebrating Ambedkar's birth. [9]

The system of reservation in India such as reserving access to seats in the various legislatures, to government jobs, and to enrollment in higher educational institutions. The reservation nourishes the historically disadvantaged castes and tribes, listed as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by the Government of India, also those designated as Other Backwards Classes (OBCs) and also the economically backward general. The reservation is undertaken to address the historic oppression, inequality, and discrimination faced by those communities and to give these communities a place. It is intended to realise the promise of equality enshrined in the Constitution.

B. R. Ambedkar Indian polymath and the architect of the Indian Constitution

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour. He was independent India's first law and justice minister, the architect of the Constitution of India, and a founding father of the Republic of India. In India and elsewhere, he was often called Babasaheb, meaning "respected father" in Marathi and Hindi.

Annihilation of Caste is an undelivered speech written in 1936 by B. R. Ambedkar who fought against the country's practice of untouchability. It was later self-published by the author.

Ram initially supported the Republican Party of India (RPI) but became disillusioned with its co-operation with the Indian National Congress. In 1971, he founded the All India SC, ST, OBC and Minority Employees Association and in 1978 this became BAMCEF, an organisation that aimed to persuade educated members of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backwards Classes and Minorities to support Ambedkarite principles. BAMCEF was neither a political nor a religious body and it also had no aims to agitate for its purpose. Suryakant Waghmore says it appealed to "the class among the Dalits that was comparatively well-off, mostly based in urban areas and small towns working as government servants and partially alienated from their untouchable identities". [10]

The Republican Party of India is a political party in India. It has its roots in the Scheduled Castes Federation led by B. R. Ambedkar. The 'Training School for Entrance to Politics' was established by Ambedkar in 1956 which was to serve as an entry point to the Republican Party of India (RPI). The first batch of the school consisted of 15 students. Its first batch turned out to be last batch as the school was closed after Ambedkar's death in 1956.

Indian National Congress Major political party in India

The Indian National Congress(pronunciation ) is a political party in India with widespread roots. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.

Later, in 1981, Ram formed another social organisation known as Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti (DSSSS, or DS4). He started his attempt of consolidating the Dalit vote and in 1984 he founded the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). He fought his first election in 1984 from Janjgir-Champa seat in Chhattisgarh. [11] The BSP found success in Uttar Pradesh, initially struggled to bridge the divide between Dalits and Other Backward Classes [12] but later under leadership of Mayawati bridged this gap. [13]

Bahujan Samaj Party Indian political party

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is a national level political party in India that was formed to represent Bahujans, referring to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes (OBC), along with religious minorities. According to Kanshi Ram, when he founded the party in 1984, the Bahujans comprised 85 percent of India's population, but were divided into 6,000 different castes. The party claims to be inspired by the philosophy of Gautama Buddha, B. R. Ambedkar, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Narayana Guru, Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj. Kanshi Ram named his protégée, Mayawati, as his successor in 2001. The BSP has its main base in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections, BSP was the second-largest party, with over 22% of votes despite winning only 19 seats. Its election symbol is an elephant. The BSP has no separate youth wing; however, youth representation is over 50%. BSP has no social media accounts or website. Sudhindra Bhadoria, a senior party leader, is the only official spokesperson of the BSP.

Janjgir-Champa Vidhan Sabha constituency is one of the 90 Vidhan Sabha constituencies of Chhattisgarh state in central India.

Chhattisgarh Central-east state in India

Chhattisgarh is one of the 28 states of India, located in the centre-east of the country. It is the ninth-largest state in India, with an area of 135,192 km2 (52,198 sq mi). With a 2011 population of 25.5 million, Chhattisgarh is the 16th-most populated state in the country. A resource-rich state, it is a source of electricity and steel for the country, accounting for 15% of the total steel produced. Chhattisgarh is one of the fastest-developing states in India.

In 1982 he wrote his book The Chamcha Age, in which he used the term chamcha (stooge) to describe Dalit leaders such as Jagjivan Ram and Ram Vilas Paswan. [5] He argued that Dalits should work politically for their own ends rather than compromise by working with other parties. [14]

After forming BSP Ram said the party would fight first election to lose, next to get noticed and the third election to win. [15] In 1988 he contested Allahabad seat up against a future Prime Minister V. P. Singh and performed impressively but lost polling close to 70,000 votes. [16]

He unsuccessfully contested from East Delhi (Lok Sabha constituency) in 1989 and came at fourth position. Then he represented the 11th Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur, [17] Kanshiram was also elected as member of Lok Sabha from Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. In 2001 he publicly announced Mayawati as his successor.

In the late 1990s, Ram described the BJP as the most corrupt (mahabrasht) party in India and the INC, Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal as equally corrupt. [18] [19]

Proposed conversion to Buddhism

In 2002, Ram announced his intention to convert to Buddhism on 14 October 2006, the 50th anniversary of Ambedkar's conversion. He intended for 20,000,000 of his supporters to convert at the same time. Part of the significance of this plan was that Ram's followers include not only untouchables, but persons from a variety of castes, who could significantly broaden Buddhism's support. However, he died on 9 October 2006. [20]

Mayawati his successor said "Saheb Kanshi Ram and I had decided that we will convert and adopt Buddhism when we will get "absolute majority" at the Centre. We wanted to do this because we can make a difference to the religion by taking along with us millions of people. If we convert without power then only we two will be converting. But when you have power you can really create a stir". [21]


Ram was a diabetic. He suffered a heart attack in 1994, an arterial clot in his brain in 1995, and a paralytic stroke in 2003. [22] He died in New Delhi on 9 October 2006 of a severe heart attack at the age of 72. [23] He had been virtually bed-ridden for more than two years. [24] According to his wishes, [25] his funeral rites were performed according to Buddhist tradition, with Mayawati lighting the pyre. [22] His ashes were placed in an urn and kept at Prerna Sthal, where many people paid their respects. [26]

In his condolence message, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Ram as "one of the greatest social reformers of our time .. his political ideas and movements had a significant impact on our political evolution ... He had a larger understanding of social change and was able to unite various underprivileged sections of our society and provide a political platform where their voices would be heard." Under Ram's leadership, the BSP won 14 parliamentary seats in the 1999 federal elections. [27]


In 1982, Ram wrote The Chamcha Age (The Era of the Stooges), a book in which he used the term chamcha (stooge) for Dalit leaders whom he alleged had selfish reasons to work for parties such as the Indian National Congress (INC) [5] and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). [14] His book Birth of BAMCEF was also published. [28] His biography, Kanshiram: Leader Of The Dalits was written by Badri Narayan Tiwari. [29] [30] His speeches are combiled in a books like Bahujan Nayak Kanshiram Ke Avismarniya Bhashan by Anuj Kumar, Writings & Speeches of Kanshiram compiled by S. S. Gautam and The Editorials of Kanshi Ram by Bahujan Samaj Publications in 1997.


Statues of Mayawati (L) and Kanshi Ram (R) at Ambedkar Memorial Park Image of India.jpg
Statues of Mayawati (L) and Kanshi Ram (R) at Ambedkar Memorial Park

There are many govenment programmes and schemes [31] [32] and public institutions named after Kanshi Ram in Uttar Pradesh. [33] [34] [35] [36] His birthplace Pirthipur Bunga Sahib has a memorial with his statue. [37] Manyawar Shri Kanshiram Ji Green Eco Garden in Lucknow has been named in his memory. [38]

Related Research Articles

Mayawati Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh

Mayawati is an Indian politician. She has served four separate terms as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. She is the national president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which focuses on a platform of social change for Bahujans, more commonly known as Other Backward Classes, Muslim, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. She was Chief Minister briefly in 2000 and again in 2005, then from 2002 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2012.

Dalit Buddhist movement Navayana Buddhist movement is a socio-political movement by Dalits in India started by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

The Dalit Buddhist movement is a socio-political movement by Dalits in India started by B. R. Ambedkar. It radically re-interpreted Buddhism and created a new school of Buddhism called Navayana. The movement has sought to be a socially and politically engaged form of Buddhism.

Apna Dal Indian political party

Apna Dal is an Indian political party active in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The party finds its support base mainly among the OBC communities of the Varanasi region.

Chamar ethnic group

Chamar is one of the untouchable communities, or dalits, who are now classified as a Scheduled Caste under modern India's system of positive discrimination. As untouchables, they were traditionally considered outside the Hindu ritual ranking system of castes known as varna. They are found throughout the Indian subcontinent, mainly in the northern states of India and in Pakistan and Nepal.

Raja Ram Pal is an Indian politician with the Indian National Congress, and was a member of the 15th Lok Sabha from Akbarpur. Earlier, as a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), he had been a member of the 14th Lok Sabha from Bilhaur, before being expelled on 23 December 2005, along with ten others, after the sting Operation Duryodhana. The expulsion was sub judice when the 14th Lok Sabha finished its term.

The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly election, 2007 was held in April–May 2007. It was held in order to elect a government for the state of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) in India.

BAMCEF is an Indian charitable organization. It was founded in 1978 to enlist the aid of the comparatively well-educated among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribess and other communities of India who suffer discrimination. It has no political or religious agenda, nor does it promote agitation to achieve its goals. BAMCEF is an acronym for "The Minority Communities Employees Federation". The term got its significance from the Constitution of India, which divides the oppressed and exploited Indians into categories on the basis of their namely: Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Minority Communities.

D. K. Khaparde was a co-founder of the precursor to BAMCEF in 1971 and later the president of BAMCEF.

Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden

The Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden is a memorial in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was commissioned by Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati and inaugurated on 14 October 2011.

Suresh Mane Indian politician and social activist

Suresh Mane is an Indian Politician and social activist who worked for improvement and mobilization of the Bahujan Samaj. He joined Bahujan movement founded by Kanshi Ram. He actively participated in BAMCEF, Dalit Soshit Samaj Sangharsh Samithi (DS4) and was a founding member of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1984.

Dinanath Bhaskar is an Indian politician active in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Once a close associate of Kanshi Ram, he was a founding member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and was Minister for Health during the state's coalition government of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP in 1993. He quit the BSP to join the SP in 1996, rejoined the BSP around 2009 and in 2015 joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Manyawar Shri Kanshiram Ji Green Eco Garden are ecological gardens in Lucknow city named after Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram.

2017 Punjab Legislative Assembly election Elections for the 15th Legislative Assembly of Punjab (India)

A Legislative Assembly election was held in the Indian state of Punjab on 4 February 2017 to elect the 117 members of the Punjab Legislative Assembly. The counting of votes was done on 11 March 2017. The ruling pre-election coalition was the alliance comprising the political parties Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party and led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The voter turnout for the Punjab Assembly election was 76.83%. The Indian National Congress led by former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh defeated the ruling alliance and the newcomer Aam Aadmi Party.

Ritesh Pandey is an Indian politician serving as the Member of Parliament from Ambedkar Nagar constituency. He is a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was also a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly from the Jalalpur constituency in Ambedkar Nagar, which he represented between June, 2017 and May, 2019.

The Bahujan Mukti Party (BMP) is a political party in India launched on 6 December 2012.

The Great Leader Kanshiram is a 2017 Indian Hindi-language Biopic film directed and produced by Arjun Singh, a 24 year old youth from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. Raghvendra Singh and Somya Goyal in lead roles, it is based on true story of DS4, BAMCEF and Bahujan Samaj Party founder, Kanshi Ram from his childhood to 1984. It was released on 10 February 2017 in selected cinemas but was not successful.

Mahagathbandhan Political alliance in the 2019 Indian general election

The Mahagathbandhan, or MGB, or simply the Gathbandhan (Alliance), was an anti-Congress, anti-BJP, Indian political alliance formed in the run-up to the 2019 general election under the leadership of two former Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party, along with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal and several other political parties, contesting in different states of India.


  1. "Kanshi Ram should be given the Bharat Ratna: Mayawati". DNA. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  2. Singh, Rajesh Kumar (30 July 2015). "This bard wants Kanshi Ram loyalists to spread wings". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. Narayan, Badri (11 May 2012). "Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram - so alike, yet so different". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  4. "Kejriwal to visit BSP founder Kanshi Ram's family". hindustantimes.com. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "The man who saw tomorrow". The Indian Express. 24 May 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  6. Dua, Rohan (23 April 2014). "Will never vote for BSP, vow Kanshi Ram siblings". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  7. Narayan, Badri (2014). Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits. Penguin UK. p. 25. ISBN   9789351186700.
  8. 1 2 Bose, Ajoy (2009). Behenji: A Political Biography of Mayawati. Penguin UK. p. 35. ISBN   9788184756500.
  9. Waghmore, Suryakant. Civility against Caste: Dalit Politics and Citizenship in Western India. Sage. p. 39.
  10. Waghmore, Suryakant. Civility against Caste: Dalit Politics and Citizenship in Western India. Sage. p. 40.
  11. Bagchi, Suvojit (17 November 2013). "Chhattisgarh polls: Towards a photo finish". The Hindu. ISSN   0971-751X . Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  12. Rawat, Ramnarayan (23 October 2006). "The Dalit Chanakya". Outlook. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  13. Lal, Ratan Mani. "17 castes included Shakyas, Rajbhar, Saini, Maurya and others members of this community are more inclined towards Mayawati and her BSP".
  14. 1 2 "Return of the chamcha age". The Indian Express. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  15. "a new party loses the first election, gets noticed in the next and wins the third, these are Kanshiram ji's words - Yogendra Yadav".
  16. SUBRAHMANIAM, VIDYA. "A quarter century of Kanshi Ram & Mayawati".
  17. "Biographical Sketch of Member of XI Lok Sabha: KANSHI RAM, SHRI B.S.P. - HOSHIARPUR (PUNJAB)". IIS Windows Server. 15 March 1934. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  18. "Continuity of govt policies may be a casualty as BJP, BSP take turns to rule". India Today 15041997. 15 April 1997. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  19. "Rediff On The NeT Elections '98: BSP to vote against Vajpayee". Rediff.com. 20 March 1998. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  20. "Kanshi Ram cremated as per Buddhist rituals". The Hindu. 10 October 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  21. Mayawati claims Saheb Kanshi Ram's legacy
  22. 1 2 HT News
  23. Hevesi, Dennis (10 October 2006). "Kanshi Ram, 72, a Voice for India's Outcasts, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  24. "Kanshi Ram breathes his last". dna. 9 October 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  25. "Kanshi Ram's ashes will not be immersed: Mayavati". Rediff.com. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  26. "Maya gives city traffic blues!". Hindustan Times. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  27. Indian Dalit leader passes away
  28. "Biographical Sketch of Member of XI Lok Sabha". Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  29. "Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits | DALITLITERATURE". DALITLITERATURE. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  30. Bose, Ajoy (31 May 2014). "Book Review | Kanshiram: Leader Of The Dalits". livemint. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  31. "Kanshi Ram Shahri Samagraya Vikas Yojna developed". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  32. "Kanshiram housing scheme gets Rs 100Cr in new avatar". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  33. "OPD at Kanshiram hospital in Greater Noida starts". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  34. Upaddhayay, Dr. Sunil. "::Manyawar Kanshiram Institute of Tourism Management::". www.mkitm.com. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  35. "Kanshiram Memorial Trauma Centre Kanpur". hindustantimes.com. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  36. "Govt to drop Kanshiram from Urdu-Farsi university". The Indian Express. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  37. "Kejriwal wants Bharat Ratna for Dalit leader Kanshi Ram, gets Dullo's backing". The Indian Express. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  38. "'Eco-friendly' Mayawati gifts Rs 834 cr park - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2018.