"The Literature of Guru Ravidas, Bhagwan Valmiki, Guru Kabir, Guru Namdev is called Sant Mat. We call it Ad-Dharm."
- Ad-Dharm Mandal (in a reply to the Indian Franchise Committee, 1932)
"The Founders of our Religion are: Bhagwan Valmiki, Guru Ravidas, Guru Kabir and Guru Namdev"
- Resolution passed by the Ad-Dharm Mandal at Muggowal
"A strong movement is afoot among these people to cut themselves off from the Hindus and form a separate religion of their own. This religion is called "Ad-Dharm". So popular the movement is among them that in the last census, with all the atrocities and cruelties perpetrated upon them by the Hindus and Sikhs, no less than 4 lakhs of them were able to have themselves recorded as Ad-Dharmis. Had there been no pressure onthem from the well-to-do communities, their number would surely have been no less than 25 lakhs."
- Memorandum submitted by Mr. M.A. Ghani, M.L.C., General Secretary, Punjab Labour Board to Indian Franchise Committee, 1932
[Source Courtesy: Indian Franchise Committee, Volume-V, Selections from Memoranda and Oral Evidence]
The Ad-Dharm movement was instrumental in helping the lower castes to get Ad-Dharm registered as a distinct religious religion in the 1931 Census. It brought together all the Scheduled Castes on a single platform to fight oppression and deprivation.
Mangoo Ram, the Founder of the Ad-Dharm Movement in 1926, was not in favour of embracing and converting to any other religion. He was in favour of strengthening Ad-Dharm, the religion of the indigenous people of India. The leadership of Ad-Dharm wanted to restore the dignity and freedom of the Untouchable Castes. And that was to completely detach them from Hinduism. The appeal of the leadership of Ad-Dharm that the lower castes were the real inhabitants of this land made a psychological impact and inspired the Untouchables to fight for their freedom and liberty.
The Ad-Dharm Movement drew its inspiration from the Bhakti movement, especially from Guru Ravidas, Guru Kabir and Guru Namdev. It assigned equal importance to the teachings of Valmiki.
The Ad-Dharm Mandal passed the Resolution at Muggowal: "The Founders of our Religion are: Bhagwan Valmiki, Guru Ravidas, Guru Kabir and Guru Namdev".
In the Meeting with the Indian Franchise Committee, 1932, the Ad-Dharm Mandal said: "The Literature of Guru Ravidas, Bhagwan Valmiki, Guru Kabir, Guru Namdev is called Sant Mat. We call it Ad-Dharm."
The Ad-Dharmis were asked to salute each other in the name of Jai Guru Dev (Victory to the Divine Guru). In response to that the reply was Dhan Guru Dev (Blessed be the Divine Guru). These greetings were meant to differentiate them (the untouchables) from the other religious communities.
The main objectives of the Ad-Dharm movement were to carve out an independent identity for the untouchable and to create an egalitarian social structure where Ad Dharmis would be proud of their community and feel free to aspire for equal opportunities. The name Ad-Dharmi instilled in the minds of the Scheduled Castes a sense of pride. The Ad-Dharm Movement gave them Gurus to believe in, a Qaum to belong to and a sense of history to relate with.
In 1996 Sahib Kanshi Ram Ji elected to the Lok Sabha from the Hoshiarpur constituency, from where 50 years ago Great Ghadri Baba Babu Mangoo Ram Mugowalia founder of the Ad Dharm Movement had been returned to the Punjab assembly in 1946. Interestingly, it was at Hoshiarpur, the stronghold of Ad Dharm, that the BSP celebrated the 75th year of the Ad Dharm movement on 18 February 2001 . On this occasion Sahib Kanshi Ram Ji exhorted the Bahujan Samaj to follow the principles of the Ad Dharm movement of which the BSP has now become the torch-bearer.
Source Courtesy: Ambedkar Times, Vol.1March 14, 2009