Mangat Ram Bhagat

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Sh. Mangat Ram Bhagat, IAS


Sh. Mangat Ram Bhagat very pleasing and noble personality was born in a tiny periphery village Atalgarh of Bhaderwah town in Doda District of Jammu and Kashmir on 9-6-1921. His father Sh. Mani Karan was a saint man- a small farmer. He did his schooling from Bhaderwah and joined S.P.College Srinagar from where he passed his graduation from Punjab University (There was no University there in the state).

Thereafter, he joined Aligarh Muslim University and did his M.A .LLB. it was very difficult for a Scheduled Caste to get educated as there was caste prejudice and Dr. K.G. Sayeddin who was Director Education and then Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University, helped him to complete his port-graduation and Law.

He came back to Jammu. During those days there was no political movement or organization excepting ‘Megh Mandal’ or Socio Political setup sponsored by Sh. Bhagat Chajju Ram at R.S.Pura. He persuaded him to enlarge its scope and include all other communities of down trodden people. Thus Harijan Mandal came into being. The activities were enlarged and the entire Jammu region was covered. It became a very strong force to fight against untouchability which was very prevalent in the region. Although it met a strong resistance from so called “Swarn Hindus” but it emerged a very strong force not socially but politically as well. The Arya Smaj did play its role in pleading the cause of the Scheduled Caste.

Events started taking place. There was ‘Roti’ agitation and Anti-Cow slaughter movement. Pt. Prem Nath Dogra was in government service but was sacked due to his leniency towards these movements. He sought his help and the Hirjan Mandal which was the only organization in Jammu forced others to join hands. Muslim conference headed by Sheikh Abdullah was limited to Kashmir region. Sensing the tune of the time Sheikh Abdullah converted it into National Conference . The Harijan Mandal extended its support. The Maharaja Hari Singh had a keen eye on the development as there was uprising against him in Kashmir. To make the state modern and share power he constituted the “Praja Sabha”. Elections was held and Sh. Mangat Ram Bhagat was elected to Praja Sabha. Probably it was its first and last session . Sh. Managt Ram Bhagat made a very lengthy and strong statements against the communal elements. This was appreciated and then Maharaja called him to his palace to pat him. Next day he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to Development Minister.

India became independent and the country faced partition. People started migrating from both sides. Pakistan which came into being a new country attached the state. People both Hindus and Muslims faced lot of problem. Ladies were raped , kidnapped and children became orphan. To face the problem rehabilitation work was started to take care of the victims. Sh. Managt Ram Bhagat who was by that time well known personality to Sheikh Abdullah who taken over the intern government in the state asked Sh. Bhagat to handle the programme of rescue and restoration of women and children was vigorously taken up.

Sheikh Abdullah got passed big landed Abolition Act and Debt Relief. Sh. Mangat Ram Bhagat was appointed as Chairman Debt Relief organization on 5-5-1948. Simultaneously he was inducted into judicial service. He served as such at Poonch, Samba, Bhaderwah and Kishtwar etc. He also worked as Sub-Registrar and Munsif Magistrate.

Bakshi Ghulam Mohd. had by then taken over the reign of the State. A new organization for the welfare o the Scheduled Castes and other Backward Classes was setup. Sh. Mangat Ram Bhagat was appointed as Secretary to Government incharge of this department in 1957. In the year 1958 All India Service Act was extended to the State. 18 officers were appointed as IAS officers Sh. Mangat Ram Bhagat was among one of them. Then he served in various capacities as Collector, Dy. Commissioner, Secretary to Government in different departments like Social Welfare, Agriculture, Revenue and so on.

He also served as Labour Commissioner and finally retired from the active service as Commissioner Secretary to Government on 30-6-1979. thereafter, his services were utilized as Secretary /Member Anti-Corruption Tribunal, till 30-6-1982. Sh. Bhagat was always cool and calm even in odd circumstances. He was a man with firm belief and strong will. He breathed his last on 9-10-1988 at the age of 67 yrs.

He was the first Gazatted Officer and IAS Officer in the state from Scheduled Caste. His services for the welfare of down trodden shall always be remembered. It is his efforts that Broacher on Reservation was issued and Roaster system was introduced.

sudhir kumar
sr correspondent
Kashmir Times