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Kushok Bakula Rinpoche: Reverance Personified

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Venerable Kushok Bakula contributed handsomely to different facets of life of the Ladakhis, and India, throughout his life

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 opportunities to all the people of the State irrespective of caste, creed and sex which in short is the rock foundation on which the magnificent superstructure of a socialistic welfare State can be surely raised to the skies. Every single feature of this Constitution is a character of our liberties, our progress and prosperity and is, therefore, worthy of our whole-hearted support, but its  happiest and most significant feature, its very soul, I should say is its  declaration relating to the State’s accession to India, on which it fixes the seal of absolute authority, which it places beyond the reach of wagging tongues and which, in fact, it makes as immutable as a law of Nature.

That we are thus made an integral part of India, that great country of high ideals and glorious traditions to which the nations of the world look for guidance and which is one of the potent factors for the maintenance of world peace at the present day but be a matter of unlimited jubilation for all of us. And I cannot, Sir, refrain from offering joyous felicitation to the  leader of the House and those associated with him in this sacred task on this sublime achievement.

I should be failing in my duty if I did not take this opportunity to say that ever since the present regime under the wise and positive leadership of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed begun to function, Ladakh has emerged from the dense fog of despotic tyranny and degrading servitude and exploitation into the bright sunshine of true democracy and political and economic emancipation and that the intense solicitude of both the  governments of India and Kashmir for our development and prosperity for which no expense and endeavour are spared by either is transforming our land beyond recognition. The appointment of Sir Datar Singh to push on the development schemes of Ladakh furnishes a  measure of India’s deep concern for our welfare and the step along with the measures adopted by the Kashmir government brings home to us the deep anxiety of the two governments to see their plans for our prosperity implemented without unnecessary loss of time. Before I resume my seat, may I say, Sir, that all Ladakh has gone into hysterics of joy over the making of the Constitution. For they are confident that it will not only ensure to them the continued  enjoyment of rights conceded to them by the present  government but also secure to them the fulfilment of their aspirations Thank you.”

—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.

Sant Kumar Sharma, a J&K-based senior journalist

Courtesy: Organiser

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