Venerable Kushok Bakula contributed handsomely to different facets of life of the Ladakhis, and India, throughout his life
Sant Kumar Sharma
The Dussehra (September 30) speech of the RSS Sarsanghchalak Sh Mohan Bhagwat was extraordinary in many ways this year, especially for people residing in J&K. He dealt at length with many aspects of this border state. He made it clear that he was aware of the fact that the Jammu and Ladakh areas of the state are forced to play second fiddle to the Valley of Kashmir.
There were words aimed at several types of refugees that live mainly in the Jammu region. Few people have so far tried to understand the problems faced by the displaced persons (DPs) living in squalid conditions in various parts of the Jammu province.
It must have been a pleasant surprise for many Buddhists residing in Ladakh that Shri Bhagwat started his speech by talking about late Kushok Bakula. In fact, few people, if any, outside the sparsely populated Ladakh region, know about the venerable Bakula. The RSS chief said as much when he mentioned that many may not know about Kushok Baskula.
At one time, Kushok Bakula was a member of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir. It was constituted in 1951 and comprised 75 members, all of the National Conference (NC). Bakula represented the Ladakh region in the Constituent Assembly which comprises two districts of Leh and Kargil. In the Constituent Assembly of J&K, Kushok Bakula played a very important role and was a member of the committee which dealt with the issue of Fundamental Rights. His contribution to the discussions of the issue of Fundamental Rights as enshrined in Part III of the Indian Constitution is significant. Incidentally, the fundamental rights in the J&K Constitution are slightly different and distinct as compared to those in Part III of the Indian Constitution.
Speech for Integration
“Sir, it is with feelings of genuine pleasure that I rise to congratulate the leader of the House and the other Hon’ble members on the successful accomplishment of the task of historic importance namely, the passing of a secular democratic constitution for our State, a constitution which guarantees to every citizen and every section of the population of the State freedom of thought, speech and association: which secures equality of rights and
—Kushok Bakula, October 25, 1947, Constituent Assembly of J&K
This committee was constituted to “make recommendations as regards’’ the” Fundamental Rights of the citizens of the State. In making its recommendations, the committee was allowed to invite any other person to take part in the deliberations. Mr Mubarak Shah was the Secretary of this Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights.
This committee was subsequently reconstituted by the Constituent Assembly by its resolution dated October 20, 1953. Bakula continued to be an important member of the
committee even after its reconstitution. One of the best speeches was made by Kushok Bakula on October 25, 1956, nine years after the accession of J&K to India on October 26, 1947. Bakula has hardly made too many speeches in the Constituent Assembly of J&K.
His views on the issue are crystal clear. Speaking on the state’s constitution and accession, he made a brief speech in the Constituent Assembly. He had made his speech in Bodhi. After he finished his speech, the Secretary of the Constituent Assembly had read out to the House the English version of his speech.
We can see a clear and strong message emerging from Bakula’s speech as to how much he loved India, the country of which he was an Ambassador in Mongolia once.
(The writer is a J&K-based senior journalist)