The Valmikian Neta – Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji
On Saturday the 12th September 2020 falls Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji’s 118th Birth Anniversary. He was born on 12th September 1902 and sadly passed away on the 26th November 1992. To oblige with requirements of Coronavirus protocol, only minor celebrations will take place.
Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji was and still is a highly respected figure in the Valmikian community. He was a close associate of Subash Chander Bose and Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar. In Punjab he conveyed Dr Ambedkar’s messages into the remote areas. They maintained a close friendship.
In some areas, the messengers sent by Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji came under attack and deaths are on the record. He was known as the NETA (meaning the leader) of the Valmikian community. He stood fast in support of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
His closeness with Dr. Ambedkar and Subash Chander Bose plus his devotion towards welfare of the trodden down Communities was noticed by the Indian Government.
On the 25th celebration of the Indian Independence, late Mrs. Indira Gandhi honored him for his services. He had also received 1991-1992 and 1992 -1993 Bharat Rattan – Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar – National Award from the Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Academy.
There are similarities in the upbringing of Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji and Dr. Ambedkar Ji. They were both born in very poor families. Dr. Ambedkar sahib used a paraffin lamp for his study and Pandit Ji used a deepak. They both studied at night.
Dr. Ambedkar Ji studied law whereas Pandit Ji went into religious studies to bring back pride and dignity of the Aadi-vasis (the natives of India). For this purpose he studied 175 scriptures.
They have both put a lot of effort to free deprived people from the chains of caste system laid by the Brahmin Organizations but unfortunately it seems their efforts have failed because the caste difference is still intact all around in India.
Dr Ambedkar Ji, has drafted the Indian constitution that has led India to become a super power but regretfully the lower end of the society is still experiencing a lot of maliciousness. They are still being treated upon.
Through Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji, pride and dignity for the Valmikian Community in Punjab has surely prevailed. Efforts by him and Babu Mangu Ram Ji have opened doors for the Valmikian and Ravi Dassia communities to travel aboard.
Following his extensive research and in the year 1920, he voiced for the Valmikian repossession of the area where today Bhagwan Valmiki Ashram in Amritsar is. He was jailed and this brought a lot of attention towards this historical place where Sita Ji and her children Luv and Kush had spent a good part of their lives. At that time it was under Brahmin control.
Following his call and through contribution of Guru Gian Nath Ji, Bhagwan Valmiki Central Sabha U.K. and with participation of the Valmikian Sabhas in Punjab, has finally resulted in building of this Ashram by Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Prakash Singh Badal.
By building this Mandir, the Punjab Government has set an example for other states to follow. Since our Independence, various Governments have been in force but have failed to give any deliberation to the Valmikian issues. The generosity shown by the Punjab Government is appreciated not just by the Valmikians in Punjab but also by all living aboard.
On the opening of the Bhagwan Valmiki Mandir in Amritsar, the Government Officials highly praised Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji that his research has been the key factor to this achievement. If he had not researched then it is quite likely that this holy place would have been under some other control. Until his research, the Valmikian community had no knowledge about this historical place.
Pundit Bakshi Ram Ji and Dr. Ambedkar Ji have both put endless efforts to improve conditions for deprived people. At one stage Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Ji and Babu Mangoo Ram Mugowalia Ji all worked as one unit. They have set examples for us to follow. We must not forget that because of their sacrifices that the Aadi-Vaasis are present today all around the world.
Shree Gurdas Ram Alam Ji, a highly renowned poet of Punjab was a very close associate of Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji. His closeness to Pandit Bakshi Ram helped him to understand about sufferings of the deprived people and he suppressed them in poems and his poetry is still highly ranked today.
It would be worth pointing out that Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji on his demise received the honor of eleven gun salute, arranged by the Government of India as final gratitude. Many in Punjab in those days hailed him as Ambedkar of Punjab.
This need’s to be taken on board that Bhagwan Valmiki is a Godly figure for the Valmikian community. The followers should not be referred as Valmiki but as the Valmikians.
Through the Yogvashishta, about thirty years ago the name Valmiki has come upfront and since all the new Mandirs are being registered under this name. The newly built ashram in Amritsar also displays the name as Bhagwan Valmiki and not Bhagwan Valmik.
About 100 years ago it was written as Bhagwan Balmeek and the followers as Balmeeki. Then about 70 years ago it became Bhagwan Valmik and the followers started to be referred as Valmiki.
But now through Yogvashishta new name is Bhagwan Valmiki so the most appropriate name for the followers is the Valmikians and not the Valmiki nor the Valmikis. Theory of God as Valmiki and followers as the Valmikis has to be discarded because BHAGWAN VALMIKI IS THE GOD AND THE VALMIKIANS ARE HIS FOLLOWERS.
The name Valmiki to Valmikis just pluralizes it, like one Valmiki, two Valmikis. Serious thought to this needs to be given by the intellectuals.
Finally, Pandit Bakshi Ram Ji’s research is behind the dignity and pride of the Valmikians, they are enjoying today. From the bottom of my heart I salute to this savior sent by Bhagwan Valmiki Ji Maharaj.
– M.L. Teji