" Democracy was
also a great narrative and not merely a monolithic kind of democratic participation."
 
 
 
 

Baldev Prasad Chintak

Late Baldev Prasad Chintak was born on 9th November 1938 in village Gosaingang, near Lucknow. His father, Mishri Lal, worked hard as a labourer and land tiller. His mother Maika Devi died, unfortunately, when he was quite young.He was the only child of his parents and his childhood was full of struggles. His father’s health was not good,so he had to bear the entire household responsibilities on his young shoulders. Despite such circumstances, he started his primary education. But how long can a child without a mother and with an ailing father at home carry on, and therefore he had to discontinue his education after 2nd class. At an age when every boy needs the security of his parents’ arms and the warmth of their love he had to heels and supports his sick father. He had to abandon his goal of higher education and he had to do what his father had done, work as a labourer and land tiller. His village was in the grip of untouchability, the social evil found across the villages of India at that time. So much so, that the upper caste community beat up a person of the lower caste if he was found wearing new clothes. Baldev Prasad grew up watching such harsh treatment meted out to the dalits by the savaranas. All this ignited in him a rage against the Brahmanwadi society.

In search of a better life, in May 1972, he left his village and migrated to Lucknow. Due to the lack of a permanent residing place he faced many difficulties. Later he started living in Harchandpur, Garikanoura in Lucknow. He managed to get a job though on adhoc basis as a field worker in Lucknow’s Municipal Corporation. Later on, he was absorbed as a permanent employee. His salary was a meagre Rs.100 – Rs.150 per month, which was too small an amount for the subsistence of a family of six members. The problems that he encountered in this respect could easily be anticipated. But he never allowed himself to be borne down by such difficult circumstances. On the other hand, he involved himself completely in social works which gave him immense pleasure, so much so that he even used to forget his necessary household work. Pasi Research and Educational Institution, recognizing his efforts, honoured him with the title of ‘Chintak’. Since he was very little educated, he did not get any promotion and superannuated from the same post in 1998.

His poems served as the weapons of severe attack on the evils, such as orthodoxy, blind faith and superstitions, which had engulfed the entire Pasi community. Brahamanwaad too faced the brunt of his attack. His wife, Raamrati Devi and the other members of his family could never taste the pleasure of having decent food, as his social works received priority over the family. To arouse consciousness among the Dalit communities and for their uplift he devoted his entire lifetime to their cause. His participation in his village’s Kabir Bhajan Mandal helped him develop an art of singing and writing poems. He has sung Birha and Aalha also. He was highly inspired by three teachings of Kushaldas, the organizer of the Kabir Bhajan Mandal. Firstly, he said, see yourself; secondly, concentrate on employment, food and family; and lastly, work for the society. He always worked keeping in mind these three messages. He used local dialect in his poems, which was easier for the village people to understand and, therefore, left a lasting impact on the people’s mind. This helped him to put across his thoughts easily among the people, and this accounts for the enormous popularity of his poetry. Its popularity was such that whenever any Dalit Sammelan was held, there would always he repeated requests for the recitation of his poems. He conveyed his message in a way that did not antagonized the Brahmins, but its meaning was easily absorbed by the Dalits for whom it was meant. His first booklet, ‘Chintak ki Chingariyan’, was released on the occasion of Maharaja Bijli Pasi Rajyarohan Smriti Samahron, on 6th April 1995. In the initial stage its 5000 copies were published. Apart from this, he has left behind several other unpublished booklets which his son, Basant Lal Rawat, is compiling for publication. Thoughts of Mahatma Buddha, Kabir, Jyotiba Rao Phule, Dr. Ambedkar and E.V. Ramaswamy influenced Chintak Jee to a great extent. He was a blind follower of Kabir and set up a ‘Kabir Bhajan Mandal’ in Garikanoura, Lucknow, to arouse consciousness among Dalits. He moved around Dalit localities spreading the message of emancipation and educating them to feel proud of their identity. He was associated for more than twenty five years with the Pasi community’s ancient organization, ‘Pasi Jagrit mandal’ and also served as its President for a long time. All India Pasi Community, Pasi Jagrit Mandal and Pasi Research and Educational institute honoured him with various certificates. During his last days his health started deteriorating and he never recovered. On 16th January 2005, this revolutionary Dalit worker, Baldev Prasad Chintak, passed away leaving his family and friends desolate. He left behind a rich heritage of literature which today forms a basis of the writings of many young followers of his, such as Bawant Ram, Ramadheen Verma and Babu Jaggu Ram. He maintained till the last that he would always be highly indebted to the society which had bestowed upon him enormous love and affection. For him the well being of the society was everything.

 

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