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

Rajkumar Itihaaskar

Rajkumar Itihaaskar, earlier known as Rajkumar Pasi, got his new appellation from the readers because of his contribution to the history of the Pasi Community in which he was born on 23rd March 1951 in a locality named Nayapura, Stanley Road, Allahabad. His father, Ram Charan, worked as a peon in Allahabad University. His father was a simple literate having passed only 3rd standard. When Rajkumar was born, his father cherished the dream of making his son a clerk in the future. His mother, Nanki Devi, was illiterate she was a simple housewife, a mother of five children of whom two were females.

Rajkumar began his education at Achhut Vidayalaya situated in his own locality, Nayapura, Allahabad. Here he could study only upto 2nd standard as the school had to be closed down on Government orders as its name aroused controversy. Now he moved to another school named Parusharam Junior High School, Nayapura, Allahabad, in 1965 fromwhere he passed his 8th standard. In 1967, he completed his High School from Ishwar Sharan Degree College and in 1969 he passed his intermediate. He graduated from Allahabad University in 1973.

He did’nt face any caste discrimination during his school days, as his primary school was exclusively for the students of the untouchable communities. During his Middle and High school education, most of the students belonged to the outcaste communities who did not have much interaction with the children of the Savarna communities.But when he was in the University of Allahabad he noticed that the savarna students avoided mingling with the lower caste students. But when in need of help, on many occasions, no such apathy was visible. It was not a signal of catholicism on the part of the upper caste students, but rather their need which compelled them to cross the caste boundaries.

After completing his graduation, he had to search for jobs as the financial condition of his family required it. While desperately searching for a job, he came across an advertisement for a post of Nominal Roll Writer in the Uttar Pradesh Education Board in 1974. He applied and was selected. This was a seasonal job as its tenure was limited to four months only in a year. Such temporary employees were addressed as Seasonal Clerks. Fortunately, very soon he found another opportunity, and was selected under a scheme in 1975 in the ‘Antiquities and Art Treasure Act’, Lucknow, sponsored by the Government of India. S.M. Naqwi, whom he considered his mentor, advised him to do his Masters. Following Naqwi’s suggestion, Rajkumar completed his M.A in History and Archeology from the University of Kanpur. In 1982, he was selected as an Archaeological Assistant through the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission. In 1995, he was promoted to the gazeetted class II post of the Regional Archeological Officer in the U.P State Archaeology Department and was posted at Gorakhpur. In 2000, he was transferred to Agra and is currently placed there. During his short period of service he didn’t face any traumatic humiliation on account of his low caste status. But that does not mean that he was nowhere troubled by even a single incident of discrimination. As the Regional Archeological Officer his post carried important responsibilities, inspection of ancient mounds, village to village survey, preservation of ancient monuments etc. and reports were to be prepared on various items to be evaluated by the higher officers in his department. But to his surprise, his reports, prepared with great difficulties, were not given due recognition, whereas similar kinds of reports by his savarna colleagues were appreciated and acknowledged. Such behaviour of his superiors was enough to discourage the juniors, but Rajkumar did not allow his work to be hampered by such downgrading intentions of his upper caste superiors.

From an early age Rajkumar Itihaaskar began participating in various seminars, meetings and conferences held to discuss the Dalit related issues. This helped him in forming and articulating ideas for the emancipation of the deprived communities. This also inspired him to undertake the writing of Dalit literature.Literature, he believes, will help not only in arousing consciousness among members of the Dalit communities, but also pave the way for a meaningful tomorrow i.e. the coming generation. It will further help them in leading a dignified life where they are not ashamed of their past but proud of it. In view of the fact that little literature existed on the history of the Pasi community, he devoted himself to exploring the history of this community and succeeded in adding substantially to the existing historical literature. He has succeeded in achieving due respect and recognition for the forgotten rulers and other heroes of the Pasi community. His first booklet, ‘Bijli Pasi ki Aitihasikta’ was published in 1991. His other major published booklets include ‘Lucknow ke Vastawik Nirmata – Lakhan Pasi’ (1995), ‘Rambareli Mein Pasi- Rajbhar’ (1996), ‘Pasi Samaj ka Swatantrata Sangram Mein Yogdaan’ (1998), ‘Veer Shiromani Maharaja Satan Pasi ki Aitihasikta evom sanskritik Bauddha Kendra’ (2000), ‘Barabanki ka Vishmrit Etihaas’ (2005), ‘Buddha Pushatika- Bhagwaan Buddha ka Jeevan Vritant’ (2005)and ‘Bauddha Darshan’. His forthcoming booklet is ‘Bhula Janpad, Bikhara Etihaas- Sitapur and Hardoi ka Etihaas’. His writings have discovered the hidden pages of history, thereby awakening the people to their past, and serveing as a knowledge bank for researchers and scholars. He has never allowed financial constraints to impede fulfillment of his social responsibilities. Publication has been quite taxing to him on account of the financial demands but despite being in debt several times, he has never thought of giving up. Each time he is in a crisis his mission gets stronger. He believes in the saying of Lord Buddha that one who contributes to arousing the social, cultural and political consciousness of the people becomes a legend and people remember him long after he is dead. Today the youth of his community, after reading Rajkumar’s historical findings, take pride in associating themselves with this community. His historical findings are based on the examination of different ancient palaces, forts and places where the Pasi rulers ruled. His incomparable work on the history of the Pasi community led the people to add a new title to his name. This is how Rajkumar Pasi became Rajkumar Itihaaskar.

Rajkumar Itihaaskar, the Founder Director and President of “Pasi Research and Cultural Organization”, (Pasi Shodh avom Sanskritik Sanathan) established the organization for the purpose of developing and publishing the Dalit Literature and for the well being of the Dalit communities in Lucknow. This Organization is also engaged in the task of conducting the marriages of poor Dalits with Buddhist rituals. The couples are also given a registration certificate (Praman Patra). Besides these, the institution also undertakes several cultural activities and organizes Memorial Conferences (Shradhanjali samaroh) to acknowledge the contributions made by renowned Pasi writers, historians and poets. The families of these renowned people are presented with a Letter of Remembrance (Smriti Patra), containing the details of their life history along with their photographs. Programmes are also organized to commemorate the memory of various Pasi Kings and Emperors, along with the exhibition of various paintings depicting Buddha’s life.

Rajkumar Itihaaskar continues to inspire millions of people, who are still struggling to reconstruct their identity. His desire to assimilate them in the mainstream is so deep-rooted that he does not mind brushing aside the wishes and aspirations of his family, and that is self evident in his commitment.

 

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