Following this stone pelting, on the same day i.e. On 26 July 1956 a team of eleven volunteers went on a hunger strike as per the approval of Babuji which continued for some days when then Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohd. himself came there on the place of hunger strike and assured of justice to the depressed classes in J&K. It means, he agreed all the demands in principle. But next, there was a question of their implementation. For it, struggle continued.
Bakshi Sahib commended Babu Milkhi Ram as a true leader and offered him a berth of Finance Minister in his Cabinet provided he merged his Harijan Mandal[c] with National Conference. Babuji turned down this conditional offer then and there. He was in favour of keeping his separate identity intact.
Later, on 15 November, 1956 a big rally was organised at Karan Park Jammu, where the same conditional offer was repeated by the Prime Minister. But he again declined the offer both in favour of strengthening the movement he had started in 1952 under the aegis of Harijan Mandal [Central] although many analysts of his life and mission said that he could have served the depressed class in more effective manner, had he joined the J&K Govt. as Finance Minister after dissolving his newly born organisation. Others say quite opposite to it.
Consequent upon bowing down by the government to the demands of the strikers, many of the miscreants who had stone pelted the meeting were put behind bars. A couple of them went underground and became Sadhus to avoid detection. 165 pounds of the strikers’ blood lost thus bore fruit in the form of Babu Ji’s entry into the J&K Legislative Assembly in 1957 and many others became officers and ministers in the later years. He continued raising the reservation and farmers’ tenancy rights issues-with the result the Government of J&K issued an order for reservation for SCs in public services in 1971.
Before it, Bhagat Amar Nath had also laid down his life by resorting to fast unto death for the cause of depressed class society, particularly for reservation in Govt. services.
As a precursor to his joining National Conference under the leadership of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah, in 1975, he also participated in the meeting of Democratic Socialist Forum organised by the latter on 2 December, 1974. In 1979 he joined Mirza Afzal Beigh’s Revolutionary National Conference and was nominated its Provincial President (Jammu).
Irrespective of his political affiliations, Babu Ji pursued the programme of forging and strength the SC- BC unity [Bahujans] rather relentlessly. As a step in that direction, he started a news-paper SUBH-E-Jammu in 1980 and presented a charter of 25 demands to the government. In 1982 he was nominated as Vice Chairman of the J&K State Scheduled Castes Advisory Board with the status of Minister of State. But, on the fall of Dr.Farooq Abdullah Government in 1984, he resigned it and preferred to return home on foot instead of using the official car. Before it, he took the government pen out of his pocket and kept it on his office table. Thereafter, he founded the SC-BC Federation [Bahujans] and became its President. Once a confidant of Babu Ji told him that the people considered him a mad leader as he even worked for those who were against him. His reply was, “if you are not satisfied with my style of working, you may also go but I will tirelessly continue struggling for all irrespective of their being my friends or foes”. Such was the pious thinking of that liberal figure of the Depressed Classes Movement in J&K.
Babu Ji breathed his last in the bee hours within few minutes due to cardiac arrest on 7 May, 1989 at the age of 61 years, 10th months and 23 days. Although, he is no more with us physically but depressed classes still cherish his memory of his remarkable community service deeds. He will also be remembered for his straight forwardness, righteousness and his real concern for the poor and the meek. He will continue to serve as a beacon for us for centuries to come.
In the untimely death of Babu Milkhi Ram, Jammu and Kashmir lost a socio- political personality of a distinct breed. He always found himself swimming against the current but even after his death, there is no erosion in the respect he commanded as a humble and incorruptible individual. During 2005-06, posthumously he was given the Dogra Rattan Award also.
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