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१८६१ – १८६५
राजनैतिक पार्टी रिपब्लिकन
अब्राहम लिंकन (१२ फरवरी, १८०९ - १५ अप्रैल १८६५) अमेरिका के सोलहवें राष्ट्रपति थे। इनका कार्यकाल १८६१ से १८६५ तक था। ये रिपब्लिकन पार्टी से थे। उन्होने अमेरिका को उसके सबसे बड़े संकट - गृहयुद्ध (अमेरिकी गृहयुद्ध) से पार लगाया। अमेरिका में दास प्रथा के अंत का श्रेय लिंकन को ही जाता है।
अब्राहम लिंकन का जन्म एक गरीब अश्वेत परिवार में हुआ था। वे प्रथम रिपब्लिकन थे जो अमेरिका के राष्ट्रपति बने। उसके पहले वे एक वकील, इलिअन्स स्टेट के विधायक (लेजिस्लेटर), अमेरिका के हाउस ऑफ् रिप्रेस्न्टेटिव्स के सदस्य थे। वे दो बार सीनेट के चुनाव में असफल भी हुए।
वकालत से कमाई की दृष्टि से देखें तो अमेरिका के राष्ट्रपति बनने से पहले अब्राहम लिंकन ने बीस साल तक वकालत की। लेकिन उनकी वकालत से उन्हें और उनके मुवक्किलों को जितना संतोष और मानसिक शांति मिली वह धन-दौलत बनाने के आगे कुछ भी नहीं है। उनके वकालत के दिनों के सैंकड़ों सच्चे किस्से उनकी ईमानदारी और सज्जनता की गवाही देते हैं।
लिंकन अपने उन मुवक्किलों से अधिक फीस नहीं लेते थे जो ‘उनकी ही तरह गरीब’ थे। एक बार उनके एक मुवक्किल ने उन्हें पच्चीस डॉलर भेजे तो लिंकन ने उसमें से दस डॉलर यह कहकर लौटा दिए कि पंद्रह डॉलर पर्याप्त थे। आमतौर पर वे अपने मुवक्किलों को अदालत के बाहर ही राजीनामा करके मामला निपटा लेने की सलाह देते थे ताकि दोनों पक्षों का धन मुकदमेबाजी में बर्बाद न हो जाये इसके बदलें में उन्हें न के बराबर ही फीस मिलती थी। एक शहीद सैनिक की विधवा को उसकी पेंशन के 400 डॉलर दिलाने के लिए एक पेंशन एजेंट 200 डॉलर फीस में मांग रहा था। लिंकन ने उस महिला के लिए न केवल मुफ्त में वकालत की बल्कि उसके होटल में रहने का खर्चा और घर वापसी की टिकट का इंतजाम भी किया।
लिंकन और उनके एक सहयोगी वकील ने एक बार किसी मानसिक रोगी महिला की जमीन पर कब्जा करने वाले एक धूर्त आदमी को अदालत से सजा दिलवाई. मामला अदालत में केवल पंद्रह मिनट ही चला. सहयोगी वकील ने जीतने के बाद फीस में बँटवारकन ने उसे डपट दिया। सहयोगी वकील ने कहा कि उस महिला के भाई ने पूरी फीस चुका दी थी और सभी अदालत के निर्णय से प्रसन्न थे परन्तु लिंकन ने कहा – “लेकिन मैं खुश नहीं हूँ! वह पैसा एक बेचारी रोगी महिला का है और मैं ऐसा पैसा लेने के बजाय भूखे मरना पसंद करूँगा. तुम मेरी फीस की रकम उसे वापस कर दो.”
आज के हिसाब से सोचें तो लिंकन बेवकूफ थे। उनके पास कभी भी कुछ बहुतायत में नहीं रहा और इसमें उन्हीं का दोष था। लेकिन वह हम सबमें सबसे अच्छे मनुष्य थे, क्या कोई इस बात से इनकार कर सकता है?
लिंकन कभी भी धर्म के बारे में चर्चा नहीं करते थे और किसी चर्च से सम्बद्ध नहीं थे। एक बार उनके किसी मित्र ने उनसे उनके धार्मिक विचार के बारे में पूछा. लिंकन ने कहा – “बहुत पहले मैं इंडियाना में एक बूढ़े आदमी से मिला जो यह कहता था ‘जब मैं कुछ अच्छा करता हूँ तो अच्छा अनुभव करता हूँ और जब बुरा करता हूँ तो बुरा अनुभव करता हूँ’. यही मेरा धर्म है’।
बेटे के अध्यापक को अब्राहम लिंकन का पत्र
अब्राहम लिंकन ने यह पत्र अपने बेटे के स्कूल प्रिंसिपल को लिखा था। लिंकन ने इसमें वे तमाम बातें लिखी थीं जो वे अपने बेटे को सिखाना चाहते थे।
मैं जानता हूँ कि इस दुनिया में सारे लोग अच्छे और सच्चे नहीं हैं। यह बात मेरे बेटे को भी सीखना होगी। पर मैं चाहता हूँ कि आप उसे यह बताएँ कि हर बुरे आदमी के पास भी अच्छा हृदय होता है। हर स्वार्थी नेता के अंदर अच्छा लीडर बनने की क्षमता होती है। मैं चाहता हूँ कि आप उसे सिखाएँ कि हर दुश्मन के अंदर एक दोस्त बनने की संभावना भी होती है। ये बातें सीखने में उसे समय लगेगा, मैं जानता हूँ। पर आप उसे सिखाइए कि मेहनत से कमाया गया एक रुपया, सड़क पर मिलने वाले पाँच रुपए के नोट से ज्यादा कीमती होता है।
आप उसे बताइएगा कि दूसरों से जलन की भावना अपने मन में ना लाएँ। साथ ही यह भी कि खुलकर हँसते हुए भी शालीनता बरतना कितना जरूरी है। मुझे उम्मीद है कि आप उसे बता पाएँगे कि दूसरों को धमकाना और डराना कोई अच्छी बात नहीं है। यह काम करने से उसे दूर रहना चाहिए।
आप उसे किताबें पढ़ने के लिए तो कहिएगा ही, पर साथ ही उसे आकाश में उड़ते पक्षियों को धूप, धूप में हरे-भरे मैदानों में खिले-फूलों पर मँडराती तितलियों को निहारने की याद भी दिलाते रहिएगा। मैं समझता हूँ कि ये बातें उसके लिए ज्यादा काम की हैं।
मैं मानता हूँ कि स्कूल के दिनों में ही उसे यह बात भी सीखना होगी कि नकल करके पास होने से फेल होना अच्छा है। किसी बात पर चाहे दूसरे उसे गलत कहें, पर अपनी सच्ची बात पर कायम रहने का हुनर उसमें होना चाहिए। दयालु लोगों के साथ नम्रता से पेश आना और बुरे लोगों के साथ सख्ती से पेश आना चाहिए। दूसरों की सारी बातें सुनने के बाद उसमें से काम की चीजों का चुनाव उसे इन्हीं दिनों में सीखना होगा।
आप उसे बताना मत भूलिएगा कि उदासी को किस तरह प्रसन्नता में बदला जा सकता है। और उसे यह भी बताइएगा कि जब कभी रोने का मन करे तो रोने में शर्म बिल्कुल ना करे। मेरा सोचना है कि उसे खुद पर विश्वास होना चाहिए और दूसरों पर भी। तभी तो वह एक अच्छा इंसान बन पाएगा।
ये बातें बड़ी हैं और लंबी भी। पर आप इनमें से जितना भी उसे बता पाएँ उतना उसके लिए अच्छा होगा। फिर अभी मेरा बेटा बहुत छोटा है और बहुत प्यारा भी।
सफल होने के लिए अपनाएं अब्राहम लिंकन के ये विचार
अब्राहम लिंकन अमेरिका के 16वें राष्ट्रपति थे, और शायद अब तक के इतिहास में सबसे मशहूर भी. ऐसे में जानिए कि आखिर उनकी कौन सी बातें और सोच उन्हें मशहूर और कालजयी बनाती हैं.
Abraham Lincoln Quotes
aajtak.in [Edited By: स्नेहा]
नई दिल्ली, 15 अप्रैल 2016,
अब्राहम लिंकन अमेरिका के 16वें राष्ट्रपति थे, और शायद अब तक के इतिहास में सबसे मशहूर भी. ऐसे में जानिए कि आखिर उनकी कौन सी बातें और सोच उन्हें मशहूर और कालजयी बनाती हैं.
1. लगभग सारे शख्स परेशानियों का सामना कर सकते हैं, लेकिन यदि आप किसी शख्स के चरित्र का पता लगाना चाहते हैं तो उसे सत्ता सौंप दें.
2. इस बात का हमेशा ख्याल रखें कि सिर्फ आपका संकल्प ही आपकी सफलता के लिए मायने रखता है, कोई और चीज नहीं.
3. किसी भी शख्स के पास इतनी अच्छी याददाश्त नहीं होती कि वह अच्छा झूठा बन सके.
4. जिंदगी के अंत में साल मायने नहीं रखते, बल्कि उन बिताए गए सालों की जिंदादिली मायने रखती है.
5. आप आने वाले कल की जिम्मेदारियों से भागने के चक्कर में आज से मुंह नहीं मोड़ सकते.
6. आप चाहे जो भी करना चाहें, उसमें बेहतर करें.
7. अब जो कुछ लोग सफलता हासिल कर लेते हैं तो यह सबूत है कि आप भी सफल हो सकते हैं.
8. कोई भी शख्स इतना अच्छा नहीं हो सकता कि वह दूसरों पर बिना उनकी मर्जी के राज कर सके.
9. क्या मैं अपने दुश्मनों को तब तबाह नहीं करता जब मैं उन्हें अपना दोस्त बनाता हूं?
10. दोस्त तो वही होता है जिसके वही दुश्मन हों जो आपके हैं.
11. जब मैं अच्छा करता हूं तो अच्छा महसूस करता हूं, और जब मैं बुरा करता हूं तो बुरा महसूस करता हूं. यही मेरा धर्म है.
अब्राहम लिंकन से सीखें गिरकर संभलना
कई बार गिरने के बावजूद मंजिल तक कैसे पहुंचा जाता है, ये हमें अब्राहम लिंकन ने सिखाया. उनके जीवन से बहुत कुछ सीखा जा सकता है. अब्राहम लिंकन के विचारों और उनके जीवन की कुछ दिलचस्प बातों को जानें...
aajtak.in [Edited by: वंदना भारती]नई दिल्ली, 12 फरवरी 2017,
अमेरिका को सबसे बड़े संकट 'गृह युद्ध' से उबारने और दासता खत्म करने वाले अब्राहम लिंकन का जन्म साल 1809 में 12 फरवरी को हुआ था. अमेरिका के 16वें राष्ट्रपति हैं.
अब्राहम लिंकन के जीवन और उनकी बातों में ऐसा बहुत कुछ है, जिससे सफलता की प्रेरणा ली जा सकती है. एक गरीब परिवार में जन्म लेने वाले अब्राहम कैसे राष्ट्रपति के पद तक पहुंच गए, यह कहानी बेहद रोचक है. राष्ट्रपति बनने से पूर्व वे दो बार सीनेट के चुनाव में असफल भी हुए थे.
क्या आप अब्राहम लिंकन के बारे में ये बातें जानते हैं?
पर अब्राहम लिंकन ने कभी हार नहीं मानी. उन्हें गिरकर संभलना आता था. अब्राहम लिंकन के विचारों और उनके जीवन के कुछ रोचक और दिलचस्प किस्सों को आप भी जानिये...
अब्राहम लिंकन ने अमेरिका को दास प्रथा से आजादी दिलाई.
लिंकन का मानना था कि किसी भी शख्स के पास इतनी अच्छी याददाश्त नहीं होती कि वह अच्छा झूठा बन सके. इसलिए झूठ बोलने से बचें और किसी दूसरे को झूठा बनाने के आरोप से भी बचें.
लिंकन को अपनी पालतू बिल्ली टैबी से बेहद प्यार था. टैबी हमेशा व्हाइट हाउस के डिनर टेबल पर ही खाना खाती थी.
सफल होने के लिए अपनाएं अब्राहम लिंकन के ये विचार
लिंकन कहते थे 'जब मैं कुछ अच्छा करता हूं तो अच्छा अनुभव करता हूं और जब बुरा करता हूं तो बुरा अनुभव करता हूं. यही मेरा मजहब है.'
लिंकन के अनुसार दुनिया का हर व्यक्ति परेशानियों का सामना कर सकता है, पर यदि आप किसी शख्स के चरित्र का पता लगाना चाहते हैं तो उसे सत्ता सौंप दें.
थैंक्सगिविंग डे को राष्ट्रीय पर्व के रूप में अब्राहम लिंकन ने ही मनाना शुरू किया था.
साल 1865 में अपनी हल्या से कुछ घंटे पहले ही उन्होंने सीक्रेट सर्विसेज का गठन किया था.
साल 1876 में चोरों ने 2 लाख डॉलर की फिरौती के लिए उनकी लाश चोरी करने की कोशिश की.
अब्राहम लिंकन हमेशा कहते थे कि इस बात का हमेशा ख्याल रखें कि सिर्फ आपका संकल्प ही आपकी सफलता के लिए मायने रखता है, कोई और चीज नहीं.
दोस्ती पर अब्राहम का अनोखे विचार थे. वो कहते थे कि क्या मैं अपने दुश्मनों को तब तबाह नहीं करता जब मैं उन्हें अपना दोस्त बनाता हूं? यानी दुश्मनों को दोस्त बना लो, दुश्मनी अपने आप खत्म हो जाएगी. वो ये भी कहते थे कि दोस्त तो वही होता है, जिसके वही दुश्मन हों जो आपके हैं.
Memories of Abraham Lincoln
On April 15 the United States commemorates the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Events will include the re-enactment of his funeral in Springfield, IL, as well as talks and plays at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C., where Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shot him in 1865. Lincoln, who kept the Union together in the American Civil War and helped secure the end of slavery, has enduring appeal both in the United States and worldwide.--By Reuters
US President Abraham Lincoln in a portrait taken by Anthony Berger in Washington on Feb. 9, 1864. The image from this sitting was the basis for the engraved portrait on the US five-dollar bill, according to the Library of Congress. On April 15 the United States commemorates the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Events will include the re-enactment of his funeral in Springfield, Ill., as well as talks and plays at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C., where Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shot him in 1865. Lincoln, who kept the Union together in the American Civil War and helped secure the end of slavery, has enduring appeal both in the United States and worldwide. (Anthony Berger/Library of Congress via Reuters)
The presidential box is arranged identically to the way it was the night President Abraham Lincoln was shot through this doorway at Ford's Theatre in Washington. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The single-shot Deringer pistol John Wilkes Booth used to kill Abraham Lincoln is displayed at the Center for Education and Leadership at Ford's Theatre in Washington on March 20. President Lincoln was shot April 14, 1865, by the Confederate sympathizer Booth in the presidential box at the theater. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Abraham Lincoln's iconic silk top hat, which he was wearing the night he was assassinated, is part of the museum display at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
President Abraham Lincoln's blood-stained gloves that were tucked into his coat pocket at the time of his assassination are displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., on March 21. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters)
An educational prop showing the reward offered for John Wilkes Booth is seen after Abraham Lincoln presenter and historian John Voehl gave a history lecture to students at Vandenberg Middle School at Vandenberg Air Force Base on March 27. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
Crowds are seen gathered along Pennsylvania Avenue to view the funeral procession of President Abraham Lincoln in this archive image from the Library of Congress taken in Washington on April 19, 1865. President Lincoln's funeral was held at the White House and his body was moved to the US Capitol where he lay in state before traveling by rail to Springfield, Ill., where he was buried. (Library of Congress via Reuters)
President Abraham Lincoln's statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington on March 27. The 170 ton, 19 foot high statue, formed from 28 blocks of Georgia marble, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and dedicated in 1922. On April 15 the United States commemorates the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)
Abraham Lincoln presenter and historian John Voehl arrives to give a history lecture dressed as Lincoln at Vista del Monte retirement community in Santa Barbara, Ca., on March 31. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
Joseph Atkin wears a Statue of Liberty costume as he promotes Liberty Tax services in front of a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Chicago, Ill., on March 24. (Jim Young/Reuters)
An actor dressed as President Abraham Lincoln plays soccer with young fans on the National Mall during a celebration of ten years of play for Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals franchise in Washington, D.C., on April 3. "Abe" is one of a group of mascots called "The Racing Presidents" who perform at the baseball team's games. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
A restaurant named after President Lincoln is seen in Chicago, Ill., on March 21. (Jim Young/Reuters)
A young visitor views a display about President Lincoln at Ford's Theatre at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., on March 21. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters)
A visitor touches a mold of President Abraham Lincoln's face at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., on March 21, 2015. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters)
A visitor views an exhibit about President Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., on March 21. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters)
Various global stamps with the image of former President Abraham Lincoln are displayed in the visitor center at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on March 27. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)
Tourists leave a souvenir shop across the street from Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on March 20. President Abraham Lincoln was shot April 14, 1865, by the Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth in the presidential box at the theater while the president and a few guests watched the play Our American Cousin. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
A one cent US coin depicting Abraham Lincoln is shown in this photo Illustration in Encinitas, Ca., on March 26, 2015. (Mike Blake/Reuters)
A young woman talks on the phone outside the Lincoln Waffle Shop across the street from Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on March 20. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
A sign on the side of power plant along Interstate 55 advertises the city's tourist attractions in Springfield, Ill., on March 21. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters)
Michael Naylor sits behind the counter of his antique store, Abe's Old Hat, across from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., on March 21. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters)
Uncut sheets of US five-dollar bills with the image of President Lincoln are inspected through a magnifying glass at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., on March 26. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)
A giant bust of US President Abraham Lincoln by artist David Adickes in a field outside of Williston, N.D. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
17th President of the United States
In office : April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
Preceded by : Abraham Lincoln
Succeeded by : Ulysses S. Grant
Spouse(s) : Eliza McCardle (m. 1827)
Children : 5
Profession : Tailor
United States Army
Years of service :
Rank : Brigadier General
Battles/wars : American Civil War
Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson assumed the presidency as he was vice president of the United States at the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. He favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union without protection for the former slaves. This led to conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives, but he was subsequently acquitted in the Senate by one vote. Johnson's main accomplishment as president was the Alaska purchase.
Johnson was born in poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina, and never attended school. Apprenticed as a tailor, he worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee. He served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835. After brief service in the Tennessee Senate, Johnson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1843, where he served five two-year terms. He became governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the U.S. Senate in 1857. In his congressional service, he sought passage of the Homestead Bill, which was enacted soon after he left his Senate seat in 1862. As Southern slave states, including Tennessee, seceded to form the Confederate States of America, Johnson remained firmly with the Union. He was the only sitting senator from a Confederate state who did not resign his seat upon learning of his state's secession. In 1862, Lincoln appointed him as military governor of Tennessee after most of it had been retaken. In 1864, Johnson, as a War Democrat and Southern Unionist, was a logical choice as running mate for Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity in his reelection campaign; their ticket easily won. When Johnson was sworn in as vice president in March 1865, he gave a rambling speech, after which he secluded himself to avoid public ridicule. Six weeks later, the assassination of Lincoln made him president.
Johnson implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction – a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to reform their civil governments. When Southern states returned many of their old leaders, and passed Black Codes to deprive the freedmen of many civil liberties, Congressional Republicans refused to seat legislators from those states and advanced legislation to overrule the Southern actions. Johnson vetoed their bills, and Congressional Republicans overrode him, setting a pattern for the remainder of his presidency. Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave citizenship to former slaves. In 1866, Johnson went on an unprecedented national tour promoting his executive policies, seeking to break Republican opposition. As the conflict between the branches of government grew, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, restricting Johnson's ability to fire Cabinet officials. When he persisted in trying to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate and removal from office. After failing to win the 1868 Democratic presidential nomination, Johnson left office in 1869.
Returning to Tennessee after his presidency, Johnson sought political vindication, and gained it in his own eyes when he was elected to the Senate again in 1875, making Johnson the only former president to serve in the Senate. He died five months into his term. Johnson's strong opposition to federally guaranteed rights for African Americans is widely criticized. He is regarded by many historians as one of the worst presidents in American history.
Early life and career
Johnson's childhood home, located at the Mordecai Historic Park in Raleigh, North Carolina
Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 29, 1808, to Jacob Johnson (1778–1812) and Mary ("Polly") McDonough (1783–1856), a laundress. He was of English, Scots-Irish, and Irish ancestry. He had a brother William, four years his senior, and an older sister Elizabeth, who died in childhood. Johnson's birth in a two-room shack was a political asset in the mid-19th century, and he would frequently remind voters of his humble origins. Jacob Johnson was a poor man, as had been his father, William Johnson, but he became town constable of Raleigh before marrying and starting a family. Both Jacob and Mary were illiterate, and had worked as tavern servants, while Johnson never attended school and grew up in poverty. Jacob died of an apparent heart attack while ringing the town bell, shortly after rescuing three drowning men, when his son Andrew was three. Polly Johnson worked as a washerwoman and became the sole support of her family. Her occupation was then looked down on, as it often took her into other homes unaccompanied. Since Andrew did not resemble either of his siblings, there are rumors that he may have been fathered by another man. Polly Johnson eventually remarried to a man named Turner Doughtry, who was as poor as she was.
Johnson's mother apprenticed her son William to a tailor, James Selby. Andrew also became an apprentice in Selby's shop at age ten and was legally bound to serve until his 21st birthday. Johnson lived with his mother for part of his service, and one of Selby's employees taught him rudimentary literacy skills. His education was augmented by citizens who would come to Selby's shop to read to the tailors as they worked. Even before he became an apprentice, Johnson came to listen. The readings caused a lifelong love of learning, and one of his biographers, Annette Gordon-Reed, suggests that Johnson, later a gifted public speaker, learned the art as he threaded needles and cut cloth.
Johnson was not happy at James Selby's, and after about five years, both he and his brother ran away. Selby responded by placing a reward for their return: "Ten Dollars Reward. Ran away from the subscriber, two apprentice boys, legally bound, named William and Andrew Johnson ... [payment] to any person who will deliver said apprentices to me in Raleigh, or I will give the above reward for Andrew Johnson alone." The brothers went to Carthage, North Carolina, where Andrew Johnson worked as a tailor for several months. Fearing he would be arrested and returned to Raleigh, Johnson moved to Laurens, South Carolina. He found work quickly, met his first love, Mary Wood, and made her a quilt as a gift. However, she rejected his marriage proposal. He returned to Raleigh, hoping to buy out his apprenticeship, but could not come to terms with Selby. Unable to stay in Raleigh, where he risked being apprehended for abandoning Selby, he decided to move west.
Move to Tennessee
Johnson left North Carolina for Tennessee, traveling mostly on foot. After a brief period in Knoxville, he moved to Mooresville, Alabama. He then worked as a tailor in Columbia, Tennessee, but was called back to Raleigh by his mother and stepfather, who saw limited opportunities there and who wished to emigrate west. Johnson and his party traveled through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Greeneville, Tennessee. Andrew Johnson fell in love with the town at first sight, and when he became prosperous purchased the land where he had first camped and planted a tree in commemoration.
In Greeneville, Johnson established a successful tailoring business in the front of his home. In 1827, at the age of 18, he married 16-year-old Eliza McCardle, the daughter of a local shoemaker. The pair were married by Justice of the Peace Mordecai Lincoln, first cousin of Thomas Lincoln, whose son would become president. The Johnsons were married for almost 50 years and had five children: Martha (1828), Charles (1830), Mary (1832), Robert (1834), and Andrew Jr. (1852). Though she suffered from Tuberculosis, Eliza supported her husband's endeavors. She taught him mathematics skills and tutored him to improve his writing. Shy and retiring by nature, Eliza Johnson usually remained in Greeneville during Johnson's political rise. She was not often seen during her husband's presidency; their daughter Martha usually served as official hostess.
Johnson's tailoring business prospered during the early years of the marriage, enabling him to hire help and giving him the funds to invest profitably in real estate. He later boasted of his talents as a tailor, "my work never ripped or gave way." He was a voracious reader. Books about famous orators aroused his interest in political dialogue, and he had private debates on the issues of the day with customers who held opposing views. He also took part in debates at Greeneville College.
In 1843, Johnson purchased his first slave Dolly, who was 14 years old at the time. Soon after, he purchased Dolly's half-brother Sam. Dolly had three children--Liz, Florence and William.
In 1857, Andrew Johnson purchased Henry, who was 13 at the time. Henry would later accompany the Johnson Family to the White House.
Sam Johnson and his wife Margaret had nine children. Sam became a commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau and was known for being a proud man who negotiated the nature of his work with the Johnson family. Notably, he received some monetary compensation for his labors and negotiated with Andrew Johnson to receive a tract of land which Andrew Johnson deeded to him in 1867. According to Andrew Johnson's daughter Martha, Sam did not belong to Andrew Johnson, but instead Andrew Johnson belonged to Sam.
Ultimately, Johnson owned at least ten slaves. He was said to have had a compassionate and familial relationship toward them. Andrew Johnson's slaves were freed on August 8, 1863. A year later, all of Tennessee's slaves were freed. As a sign of appreciation, Andrew Johnson was given a watch by the newly-emancipated slaves inscribed with "…for his untiring energy in the cause of Freedom."
Johnson helped organize a mechanics' (working men's) ticket in the 1829 Greeneville municipal election. He was elected town alderman, along with his friends Blackston McDannel and Mordecai Lincoln. Following the 1831 Nat Turner slave rebellion, a state convention was called to pass a new constitution, including provisions to disenfranchise free people of color. The convention also wanted to reform real estate tax rates, and provide ways of funding improvements to Tennessee's infrastructure. The constitution was submitted for a public vote, and Johnson spoke widely for its adoption; the successful campaign provided him with statewide exposure. On January 4, 1834, his fellow aldermen elected him mayor of Greeneville.
Eliza McCardle Johnson
In 1835, Johnson made a bid for election to the "floater" seat which Greene County shared with neighboring Washington County in the Tennessee House of Representatives. According to his biographer, Hans L. Trefousse, Johnson "demolished" the opposition in debate and won the election with almost a two to one margin. During his Greeneville days, Johnson joined the Tennessee Militia as a member of the 90th Regiment. He attained the rank of colonel, though while an enrolled member, Johnson was fined for an unknown offense. Afterwards, he was often addressed or referred to by his rank.
In his first term in the legislature, which met in the state capital of Nashville, Johnson did not consistently vote with either the Democratic or the newly formed Whig Party, though he revered President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat and fellow Tennessean. The major parties were still determining their core values and policy proposals, with the party system in a state of flux. The Whig Party had organized in opposition to Jackson, fearing the concentration of power in the Executive Branch of the government; Johnson differed from the Whigs as he opposed more than minimal government spending and spoke against aid for the railroads, while his constituents hoped for improvements in transportation. After Brookins Campbell and the Whigs defeated Johnson for reelection in 1837, Johnson would not lose another race for thirty years. In 1839, he sought to regain his seat, initially as a Whig, but when another candidate sought the Whig nomination, he ran as a Democrat and was elected. From that time he supported the Democratic party and built a powerful political machine in Greene County. Johnson became a strong advocate of the Democratic Party, noted for his oratory, and in an era when public speaking both informed the public and entertained it, people flocked to hear him.
In 1840, Johnson was selected as a presidential elector for Tennessee, giving him more statewide publicity. Although Democratic President Martin Van Buren was defeated by former Ohio senator William Henry Harrison, Johnson was instrumental in keeping Tennessee and Greene County in the Democratic column. He was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 1841, where he served a two-year term. He had achieved financial success in his tailoring business, but sold it to concentrate on politics. He had also acquired additional real estate, including a larger home and a farm (where his mother and stepfather took residence), and among his assets numbered eight or nine slaves.
United States Representative (1843–1853)
Having served in both houses of the state legislature, Johnson saw election to Congress as the next step in his political career. He engaged in a number of political maneuvers to gain Democratic support, including the displacement of the Whig postmaster in Greeneville, and defeated Jonesborough lawyer John A. Aiken by 5,495 votes to 4,892. In Washington, he joined a new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Johnson advocated for the interests of the poor, maintained an anti-abolitionist stance, argued for only limited spending by the government and opposed protective tariffs With Eliza remaining in Greeneville, Congressman Johnson shunned social functions in favor of study in the Library of Congress. Although a fellow Tennessee Democrat, James K. Polk, was elected president in 1844, and Johnson had campaigned for him, the two men had difficult relations, and President Polk refused some of his patronage suggestions.
Johnson believed, as did many Southern Democrats, that the Constitution protected private property, including slaves, and thus prohibited the federal and state governments from abolishing slavery. He won a second term in 1845 against William G. Brownlow, presenting himself as the defender of the poor against the aristocracy. In his second term, Johnson supported the Polk administration's decision to fight the Mexican War, seen by some Northerners as an attempt to gain territory to expand slavery westward, and opposed the Wilmot Proviso, a proposal to ban slavery in any territory gained from Mexico. He introduced for the first time his Homestead Bill, to grant 160 acres (65 ha) to people willing to settle the land and gain title to it. This issue was especially important to Johnson because of his own humble beginnings.
In the presidential election of 1848, the Democrats split over the slavery issue, and abolitionists formed the Free Soil Party, with former president Van Buren as their nominee. Johnson supported the Democratic candidate, former Michigan senator Lewis Cass. With the party split, Whig nominee General Zachary Taylor was easily victorious, and carried Tennessee. Johnson's relations with Polk remained poor; the President recorded of his final New Year's reception in 1849 that
Among the visitors I observed in the crowd today was Hon. Andrew Johnson of the Ho. Repts. [House of Representatives] Though he represents a Democratic District in Tennessee (my own State) this is the first time I have seen him during the present session of Congress. Professing to be a Democrat, he has been politically, if not personally hostile to me during my whole term. He is very vindictive and perverse in his temper and conduct. If he had the manliness and independence to declare his opposition openly, he knows he could not be elected by his constituents. I am not aware that I have ever given him cause for offense.
Johnson, due to national interest in new railroad construction and in response to the need for better transportation in his own district, also supported government assistance for the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad.
The Andrew Johnson House, built in 1851 in Greeneville, Tennessee
In his campaign for a fourth term, Johnson concentrated on three issues: slavery, homesteads and judicial elections. He defeated his opponent, Nathaniel G. Taylor, in August 1849, with a greater margin of victory than in previous campaigns. When the House convened in December, the party division caused by the Free Soil Party precluded the formation of the majority needed to elect a Speaker. Johnson proposed adoption of a rule allowing election of a Speaker by a plurality; some weeks later others took up a similar proposal, and Democrat Howell Cobb was elected.
Once the Speaker election had concluded and Congress was ready to conduct legislative business, the issue of slavery took center stage. Northerners sought to admit California, a free state, to the Union. Kentucky's Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a series of resolutions, the Compromise of 1850, to admit California and pass legislation sought by each side. Johnson voted for all the provisions except for the abolition of slavery in the nation's capital. He pressed resolutions for constitutional amendments to provide for popular election of senators (then elected by state legislatures) and of the president (chosen by the Electoral College), and limiting the tenure of federal judges to 12 years. These were all defeated.
A group of Democrats nominated Landon Carter Haynes to oppose Johnson as he sought a fifth term; the Whigs were so pleased with the internecine battle among the Democrats in the general election that they did not nominate a candidate of their own. The campaign included fierce debates: Johnson's main issue was the passage of the Homestead Bill; Haynes contended it would facilitate abolition. Johnson won the election by more than 1600 votes. Though he was not enamored of the party's presidential nominee in 1852, former New Hampshire senator Franklin Pierce, Johnson campaigned for him. Pierce was elected, but he failed to carry Tennessee. In 1852, Johnson managed to get the House to pass his Homestead Bill, but it failed in the Senate. The Whigs had gained control of the Tennessee legislature, and, under the leadership of Gustavus Henry, redrew the boundaries of Johnson's First District to make it a safe seat for their party. The Nashville Union termed this "Henry-mandering"; lamented Johnson, "I have no political future."
Governor of Tennessee (1853–1857)
Attribution: William Brown Cooper, Sitter: Andrew Johnson, Date: 1856
If Johnson considered retiring from politics upon deciding not to seek reelection, he soon changed his mind. His political friends began to maneuver to get him the nomination for governor. The Democratic convention unanimously named him, though some party members were not happy at his selection. The Whigs had won the past two gubernatorial elections, and still controlled the legislature. That party nominated Henry, making the "Henry-mandering" of the First District an immediate issue. The two men debated in county seats the length of Tennessee before the meetings were called off two weeks before the August 1853 election due to illness in Henry's family. Johnson won the election by 63,413 votes to 61,163; some votes for him were cast in return for his promise to support Whig Nathaniel Taylor for his old seat in Congress.
Tennessee's governor had little power: Johnson could propose legislation but not veto it, and most appointments were made by the Whig-controlled legislature. Nevertheless, the office was a "bully pulpit" that allowed him to publicize himself and his political views. He succeeded in getting the appointments he wanted in return for his endorsement of John Bell, a Whig, for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats. In his first biennial speech, Johnson urged simplification of the state judicial system, abolition of the Bank of Tennessee, and establishment of an agency to provide uniformity in weights and measures; the last was passed. Johnson was critical of the Tennessee common school system and suggested funding be increased via taxes, either statewide or county by county—a mixture of the two was passed. Reforms carried out during Johnson's time as governor included the foundation of the State's public library (making books available to all) and its first public school system, and the initiation of regular state fairs to benefit craftsmen and farmers.
Although the Whig Party was on its final decline nationally, it remained strong in Tennessee, and the outlook for Democrats there in 1855 was poor. Feeling that reelection as governor was necessary to give him a chance at the higher offices he sought, Johnson agreed to make the run. Meredith P. Gentry received the Whig nomination. A series of more than a dozen vitriolic debates ensued. The issues in the campaign were slavery, the prohibition of alcohol, and the nativist positions of the Know Nothing Party. Johnson favored the first, but opposed the others. Gentry was more equivocal on the alcohol question, and had gained the support of the Know Nothings, a group Johnson portrayed as a secret society. Johnson was unexpectedly victorious, albeit with a narrower margin than in 1853.
When the presidential election of 1856 approached, Johnson hoped to be nominated; some Tennessee county conventions designated him a "favorite son". His position that the best interests of the Union were served by slavery in some areas made him a practical compromise candidate for president. He was never a major contender; the nomination fell to former Pennsylvania senator James Buchanan. Though he was not impressed by either, Johnson campaigned for Buchanan and his running mate, John C. Breckinridge, who were elected.
Johnson decided not to seek a third term as governor, with an eye towards election to the U.S. Senate. In 1857, while returning from Washington, his train derailed, causing serious damage to his right arm. This injury would trouble him in the years to come.
United States Senator
Homestead Bill advocate
Senator Johnson, 1859
The victors in the 1857 state legislative campaign would, once they convened in October, elect a United States Senator. Former Whig governor William B. Campbell wrote to his uncle, "The great anxiety of the Whigs is to elect a majority in the legislature so as to defeat Andrew Johnson for senator. Should the Democrats have the majority, he will certainly be their choice, and there is no man living to whom the Americans and Whigs have as much antipathy as Johnson." The governor spoke widely in the campaign, and his party won the gubernatorial race and control of the legislature. Johnson's final address as governor gave him the chance to influence his electors, and he made proposals popular among Democrats. Two days later the legislature elected him to the Senate. The opposition was appalled, with the Richmond Whig newspaper referring to him as "the vilest radical and most unscrupulous demagogue in the Union".
Johnson gained high office due to his proven record as a man popular among the small farmers and self-employed tradesmen who made up much of Tennessee's electorate. He called them the "plebeians"; he was less popular among the planters and lawyers who led the state Democratic Party, but none could match him as a vote-getter. After his death, one Tennessee voter wrote of him, "Johnson was always the same to everyone ... the honors heaped upon him did not make him forget to be kind to the humblest citizen." Always seen in impeccably tailored clothing, he cut an impressive figure, and had the stamina to endure lengthy campaigns with daily travel over bad roads leading to another speech or debate. Mostly denied the party's machinery, he relied on a network of friends, advisers, and contacts. One friend, Hugh Douglas, stated in a letter to him, "you have been in the way of our would be great men for a long time. At heart many of us never wanted you to be Governor only none of the rest of us Could have been elected at the time and we only wanted to use you. Then we did not want you to go to the Senate but the people would send you."
The new senator took his seat when Congress convened in December 1857 (the term of his predecessor, James C. Jones, had expired in March). He came to Washington as usual without his wife and family; Eliza would visit Washington only once during Johnson's first time as senator, in 1860. Johnson immediately set about introducing the Homestead Bill in the Senate, but as most senators who supported it were Northern (many associated with the newly founded Republican Party), the matter became caught up in suspicions over the slavery issue. Southern senators felt that those who took advantage of the provisions of the Homestead Bill were more likely to be Northern non-slaveholders. The issue of slavery had been complicated by the Supreme Court's ruling earlier in the year in Dred Scott v. Sandford that slavery could not be prohibited in the territories. Johnson, a slaveholding senator from a Southern state, made a major speech in the Senate the following May in an attempt to convince his colleagues that the Homestead Bill and slavery were not incompatible. Nevertheless, Southern opposition was key to defeating the legislation, 30–22. In 1859, it failed on a procedural vote when Vice President Breckinridge broke a tie against the bill, and in 1860, a watered-down version passed both houses, only to be vetoed by Buchanan at the urging of Southerners. Johnson continued his opposition to spending, chairing a committee to control it.
He argued against funding to build infrastructure in Washington, D.C., stating that it was unfair to expect state citizens to pay for the city's streets, even if it was the seat of government. He opposed spending money for troops to put down the revolt by the Mormons in Utah Territory, arguing for temporary volunteers as the United States should not have a standing army.
Johnson in 1860
In October 1859, abolitionist John Brown and sympathizers raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (today West Virginia). Tensions in Washington between pro- and anti-slavery forces increased greatly. Johnson gave a major speech in the Senate in December, decrying Northerners who would endanger the Union by seeking to outlaw slavery. The Tennessee senator stated that "all men are created equal" from the Declaration of Independence did not apply to African Americans, since the Constitution of Illinois contained that phrase—and that document barred voting by African Americans. Johnson, by this time, was a wealthy man who owned a few household slaves, 14 slaves, according to the 1860 Federal Census.
Johnson hoped that he would be a compromise candidate for the presidential nomination as the Democratic Party tore itself apart over the slavery question. Busy with the Homestead Bill during the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, he sent two of his sons and his chief political adviser to represent his interests in the backroom deal-making. The convention deadlocked, with no candidate able to gain the required two-thirds vote, but the sides were too far apart to consider Johnson as a compromise. The party split, with Northerners backing Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas while Southerners, including Johnson, supported Vice President Breckinridge for president. With former Tennessee senator John Bell running a fourth-party candidacy and further dividing the vote, the Republican Party elected its first president, former Illinois representative Abraham Lincoln. The election of Lincoln, known to be against the spread of slavery, was unacceptable to many in the South. Although secession from the Union had not been an issue in the campaign, talk of it began in the Southern states.
Johnson took to the Senate floor after the election, giving a speech well received in the North, "I will not give up this government ... No; I intend to stand by it ... and I invite every man who is a patriot to ... rally around the altar of our common country ... and swear by our God, and all that is sacred and holy, that the Constitution shall be saved, and the Union preserved." As Southern senators announced they would resign if their states seceded, he reminded Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis that if Southerners would only hold to their seats, the Democrats would control the Senate, and could defend the South's interests against any infringement by Lincoln. Gordon-Reed points out that while Johnson's belief in an indissoluble Union was sincere, he had alienated Southern leaders, including Davis, who would soon be the president of the Confederate States of America, formed by the seceding states. If the Tennessean had backed the Confederacy, he would have had small influence in its government.
Johnson returned home when his state took up the issue of secession. His successor as governor, Isham G. Harris, and the legislature organized a referendum on whether to have a constitutional convention to authorize secession; when that failed, they put the question of leaving the Union to a popular vote. Despite threats on Johnson's life, and actual assaults, he campaigned against both questions, sometimes speaking with a gun on the lectern before him. Although Johnson's eastern region of Tennessee was largely against secession, the second referendum passed, and in June 1861, Tennessee joined the Confederacy. Believing he would be killed if he stayed, Johnson fled through the Cumberland Gap, where his party was in fact shot at. He left his wife and family in Greeneville.
As the only member from a seceded state to remain in the Senate and the most prominent Southern Unionist, Johnson had Lincoln's ear in the early months of the war. With most of Tennessee in Confederate hands, Johnson spent congressional recesses in Kentucky and Ohio, trying in vain to convince any Union commander who would listen to conduct an operation into East Tennessee.
Military Governor of Tennessee
Johnson's first tenure in the Senate came to a conclusion in March 1862 when Lincoln appointed him military governor of Tennessee. Much of the central and western portions of that seceded state had been recovered. Although some argued that civil government should simply resume once the Confederates were defeated in an area, Lincoln chose to use his power as commander in chief to appoint military governors over Union-controlled Southern regions. The Senate quickly confirmed Johnson's nomination along with the rank of brigadier general In response, the Confederates confiscated his land and his slaves, and turned his home into a military hospital. Later in 1862, after his departure from the Senate and in the absence of most Southern legislators, the Homestead Bill was finally enacted. Along with legislation for land-grant colleges and for the transcontinental railroad, the Homestead Bill has been credited with opening the American West to settlement.
As military governor, Johnson sought to eliminate rebel influence in the state. He demanded loyalty oaths from public officials, and shut down all newspapers owned by Confederate sympathizers. Much of eastern Tennessee remained in Confederate hands, and the ebb and flow of war during 1862 sometimes brought Confederate control again close to Nashville. However, the Confederates allowed his wife and family to pass through the lines to join him. Johnson undertook the defense of Nashville as well as he could, though the city was continually harassed by cavalry raids led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Relief from Union regulars did not come until General William S. Rosecrans defeated the Confederates at Murfreesboro in early 1863. Much of eastern Tennessee was captured later that year.
When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, declaring freedom for all slaves in Confederate-held areas, he exempted Tennessee at Johnson's request. The proclamation increased the debate over what should become of the slaves after the war, as not all Unionists supported abolition. Johnson finally decided that slavery had to end. He wrote, "If the institution of slavery ... seeks to overthrow it [the Government], then the Government has a clear right to destroy it." He reluctantly supported efforts to enlist former slaves into the Union Army, feeling that African Americans should perform menial tasks to release white Americans to do the fighting. Nevertheless, he succeeded in recruiting 20,000 black soldiers to serve the Union.
Vice President (1865)
Poster for the Lincoln and Johnson ticket by Currier and Ives
In 1860, Lincoln's running mate had been Maine Senator Hannibal Hamlin. Vice President Hamlin had served competently, was in good health, and was willing to run again. Nevertheless, Johnson emerged as running mate for Lincoln's reelection bid in 1864.
Lincoln considered several War Democrats for the ticket in 1864, and sent an agent to sound out General Benjamin Butler as a possible running mate. In May 1864, the President dispatched General Daniel Sickles to Nashville on a fact-finding mission. Although Sickles denied he was there either to investigate or interview the military governor, Johnson biographer Hans L. Trefousse believes Sickles's trip was connected to Johnson's subsequent nomination for vice president. According to historian Albert Castel in his account of Johnson's presidency, Lincoln was impressed by Johnson's administration of Tennessee. Gordon-Reed points out that while the Lincoln-Hamlin ticket might have been considered geographically balanced in 1860, "having Johnson, the southern War Democrat, on the ticket sent the right message about the folly of secession and the continuing capacity for union within the country." Another factor was the desire of Secretary of State William Seward to frustrate the vice-presidential candidacy of his fellow New Yorker, former senator Daniel S. Dickinson, a War Democrat, as Seward would probably have had to yield his place if another New Yorker became vice president. Johnson, once he was told by reporters the likely purpose of Sickles' visit, was active on his own behalf, giving speeches and having his political friends work behind the scenes to boost his candidacy.
To sound a theme of unity, Lincoln in 1864 ran under the banner of the National Union Party, rather than the Republicans. At the party's convention in Baltimore in June, Lincoln was easily nominated, although there had been some talk of replacing him with a Cabinet officer or one of the more successful generals. After the convention backed Lincoln, former Secretary of War Simon Cameron offered a resolution to nominate Hamlin, but it was defeated. Johnson was nominated for vice president by C.M. Allen of Indiana with an Iowa delegate as seconder. On the first ballot, Johnson led with 200 votes to 150 for Hamlin and 108 for Dickinson. On the second ballot, Kentucky switched to vote for Johnson, beginning a stampede. Johnson was named on the second ballot with 491 votes to Hamlin's 17 and eight for Dickinson; the nomination was made unanimous. Lincoln expressed pleasure at the result, "Andy Johnson, I think, is a good man." When word reached Nashville, a crowd assembled and the military governor obliged with a speech contending his selection as a Southerner meant that the rebel states had not actually left the Union.
1865 cartoon showing Lincoln and Johnson using their talents as rail-splitter and tailor to repair the Union
Although it was unusual at the time for a national candidate to actively campaign, Johnson gave a number of speeches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. He also sought to boost his chances in Tennessee while reestablishing civil government by making the loyalty oath even more restrictive, in that voters would now have to swear they opposed making a settlement with the Confederacy. The Democratic candidate for president, George McClellan, hoped to avoid additional bloodshed by negotiation, and so the stricter loyalty oath effectively disenfranchised his supporters. Lincoln declined to override Johnson, and their ticket took the state by 25,000 votes. Congress refused to count Tennessee's electoral votes, but Lincoln and Johnson did not need them, having won in most states that had voted, and easily secured the election.
Now Vice President-elect, Johnson was anxious to complete the work of reestablishing civilian government in Tennessee, although the timetable for the election of a new governor did not allow it to take place until after Inauguration Day, March 4. He hoped to remain in Nashville to complete his task, but was told by Lincoln's advisers that he could not stay, but would be sworn in with Lincoln. In these months, Union troops finished the retaking of eastern Tennessee, including Greeneville. Just before his departure, the voters of Tennessee ratified a new constitution, abolishing slavery, on February 22, 1865. One of Johnson's final acts as military governor was to certify the results.
Johnson traveled to Washington to be sworn in, although according to Gordon-Reed, "in light of what happened on March 4, 1865, it might have been better if Johnson had stayed in Nashville." He may have been ill; Castel cited typhoid fever, though Gordon-Reed notes that there is no independent evidence for that diagnosis. On the evening of March 3, Johnson attended a party in his honor; he drank heavily. Hung over the following morning at the Capitol, he asked Vice President Hamlin for some whiskey. Hamlin produced a bottle, and Johnson took two stiff drinks, stating "I need all the strength for the occasion I can have." In the Senate Chamber, Johnson delivered a rambling address as Lincoln, the Congress, and dignitaries looked on. Almost incoherent at times, he finally meandered to a halt, whereupon Hamlin hastily swore him in as vice president. Lincoln, who had watched sadly during the debacle, then went to his own swearing-in outside the Capitol, and delivered his acclaimed Second Inaugural Address.
In the weeks after the inauguration, Johnson only presided over the Senate briefly, and hid from public ridicule at the Maryland home of a friend, Francis Preston Blair. When he did return to Washington, it was with the intent of leaving for Tennessee to reestablish his family in Greeneville. Instead, he remained after word came that General Ulysses S. Grant had captured the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, presaging the end of the war. Lincoln stated, in response to criticism of Johnson's behavior, that "I have known Andy Johnson for many years; he made a bad slip the other day, but you need not be scared; Andy ain't a drunkard."
Contemporary woodcut of Johnson being sworn in by Chief Justice Chase as Cabinet members look on, April 15, 1865
On the afternoon of April 14, 1865, Lincoln and Johnson met for the first time since the inauguration. Trefousse states that Johnson wanted to "induce Lincoln not to be too lenient with traitors"; Gordon-Reed agrees.
That night, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer. The shooting of the President was part of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, Johnson, and Seward the same night. Seward barely survived his wounds, while Johnson escaped attack as his would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, got drunk instead of killing the vice president. Leonard J. Farwell, a fellow boarder at the Kirkwood House, awoke Johnson with news of Lincoln's shooting at Ford's Theatre. Johnson rushed to the President's deathbed, where he remained a short time, on his return promising, "They shall suffer for this. They shall suffer for this." Lincoln died at 7:22 am the next morning; Johnson's swearing in occurred between 10 and 11 am with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding in the presence of most of the Cabinet. Johnson's demeanor was described by the newspapers as "solemn and dignified". Some Cabinet members had last seen Johnson, apparently drunk, at the inauguration. At noon, Johnson conducted his first Cabinet meeting in the Treasury Secretary's office, and asked all members to remain in their positions.
The events of the assassination resulted in speculation, then and subsequently, concerning Johnson and what the conspirators might have intended for him. In the vain hope of having his life spared after his capture, Atzerodt spoke much about the conspiracy, but did not say anything to indicate that the plotted assassination of Johnson was merely a ruse. Conspiracy theorists point to the fact that on the day of the assassination, Booth came to the Kirkwood House and left one of his cards. This object was received by Johnson's private secretary, William A. Browning, with an inscription, "Don't wish to disturb you. Are you at home? J. Wilkes Booth."
Johnson presided with dignity over Lincoln's funeral ceremonies in Washington, before his predecessor's body was sent home to Springfield, Illinois, for interment. Shortly after Lincoln's death, Union General William T. Sherman reported he had, without consulting Washington, reached an armistice agreement with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston for the surrender of Confederate forces in North Carolina in exchange for the existing state government remaining in power, with private property rights to be respected. This did not even acknowledge the freedom of those in slavery. This was not acceptable to Johnson or the Cabinet who sent word for Sherman to secure the surrender without making political deals, which he did. Further, Johnson placed a $100,000 bounty (equivalent to $1.67 million in 2019) on Confederate President Davis, then a fugitive, which gave him the reputation of a man who would be tough on the South. More controversially, he permitted the execution of Mary Surratt for her part in Lincoln's assassination. Surratt was executed with three others, including Atzerodt, on July 7, 1865.
Upon taking office, Johnson faced the question of what to do with the Confederacy. President Lincoln had authorized loyalist governments in Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee as the Union came to control large parts of those states and advocated a ten percent plan that would allow elections after ten percent of the voters in any state took an oath of future loyalty to the Union. Congress considered this too lenient; its own plan, requiring a majority of voters to take the loyalty oath, passed both houses in 1864, but Lincoln pocket vetoed it.
Johnson had three goals in Reconstruction. He sought a speedy restoration of the states, on the grounds that they had never truly left the Union, and thus should again be recognized once loyal citizens formed a government. To Johnson, African-American suffrage was a delay and a distraction; it had always been a state responsibility to decide who should vote. Second, political power in the Southern states should pass from the planter class to his beloved "plebeians". Johnson feared that the freedmen, many of whom were still economically bound to their former masters, might vote at their direction. Johnson's third priority was election in his own right in 1868, a feat no one who had succeeded a deceased president had managed to accomplish, attempting to secure a Democratic anti-Congressional Reconstruction coalition in the South.
The Republicans had formed a number of factions. The Radical Republicans sought voting and other civil rights for African Americans. They believed that the freedmen could be induced to vote Republican in gratitude for emancipation, and that black votes could keep the Republicans in power and Southern Democrats, including former rebels, out of influence. They believed that top Confederates should be punished. The Moderate Republicans sought to keep the Democrats out of power at a national level, and prevent former rebels from resuming power. They were not as enthusiastic about the idea of African-American suffrage as their Radical colleagues, either because of their own local political concerns, or because they believed that the freedman would be likely to cast his vote badly. Northern Democrats favored the unconditional restoration of the Southern states. They did not support African-American suffrage, which might threaten Democratic control in the South.
Johnson was initially left to devise a Reconstruction policy without legislative intervention, as Congress was not due to meet again until December 1865. Radical Republicans told the President that the Southern states were economically in a state of chaos and urged him to use his leverage to insist on rights for freedmen as a condition of restoration to the Union. But Johnson, with the support of other officials including Seward, insisted that the franchise was a state, not a federal matter. The Cabinet was divided on the issue.
Johnson's first Reconstruction actions were two proclamations, with the unanimous backing of his Cabinet, on May 29. One recognized the Virginia government led by provisional Governor Francis Pierpont. The second provided amnesty for all ex-rebels except those holding property valued at $20,000 or more; it also appointed a temporary governor for North Carolina and authorized elections. Neither of these proclamations included provisions regarding black suffrage or freedmen's rights. The President ordered constitutional conventions in other former rebel states.
As Southern states began the process of forming governments, Johnson's policies received considerable public support in the North, which he took as unconditional backing for quick reinstatement of the South. While he received such support from the white South, he underestimated the determination of Northerners to ensure that the war had not been fought for nothing. It was important, in Northern public opinion, that the South acknowledge its defeat, that slavery be ended, and that the lot of African Americans be improved. Voting rights were less important—after all, only a handful of Northern states (mostly in New England) gave African-American men the right to vote on the same basis as whites, and in late 1865, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Minnesota voted down African-American suffrage proposals by large margins. Northern public opinion tolerated Johnson's inaction on black suffrage as an experiment, to be allowed if it quickened Southern acceptance of defeat. Instead, white Southerners felt emboldened. A number of Southern states passed Black Codes, binding African-American laborers to farms on annual contracts they could not quit, and allowing law enforcement at whim to arrest them for vagrancy and rent out their labor. Most Southerners elected to Congress were former Confederates, with the most prominent being Georgia Senator-designate and former Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens. Congress assembled in early December 1865; Johnson's conciliatory annual message to them was well received. Nevertheless, Congress refused to seat the Southern legislators and established a committee to recommend appropriate Reconstruction legislation.
Northerners were outraged at the idea of unrepentant Confederate leaders, such as Stephens, rejoining the federal government at a time when emotional wounds from the war remained raw. They saw the Black Codes placing African Americans in a position barely above slavery. Republicans also feared that restoration of the Southern states would return the Democrats to power. In addition, according to David O. Stewart in his book on Johnson's impeachment, "the violence and poverty that oppressed the South would galvanize the opposition to Johnson".
Break with the Republicans: 1866
Congress was reluctant to confront the President, and initially only sought to fine-tune Johnson's policies towards the South. According to Trefousse, "If there was a time when Johnson could have come to an agreement with the moderates of the Republican Party, it was the period following the return of Congress". The President was unhappy about the provocative actions of the Southern states, and about the continued control by the antebellum elite there, but made no statement publicly, believing that Southerners had a right to act as they did, even if it was unwise to do so. By late January 1866, he was convinced that winning a showdown with the Radical Republicans was necessary to his political plans – both for the success of Reconstruction and for reelection in 1868. He would have preferred that the conflict arise over the legislative efforts to enfranchise African Americans in the District of Columbia, a proposal that had been defeated overwhelmingly in an all-white referendum. A bill to accomplish this passed the House of Representatives, but to Johnson's disappointment, stalled in the Senate before he could veto it.
Thomas Nast cartoon of Johnson disposing of the Freedmen's Bureau as African Americans go flying
Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, leader of the Moderate Republicans and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was anxious to reach an understanding with the President. He ushered through Congress a bill extending the Freedmen's Bureau beyond its scheduled abolition in 1867, and the first Civil Rights Bill, to grant citizenship to the freedmen. Trumbull met several times with Johnson and was convinced the President would sign the measures (Johnson rarely contradicted visitors, often fooling those who met with him into thinking he was in accord). In fact, the President opposed both bills as infringements on state sovereignty. Additionally, both of Trumbull's bills were unpopular among white Southerners, whom Johnson hoped to include in his new party. Johnson vetoed the Freedman's Bureau bill on February 18, 1866, to the delight of white Southerners and the puzzled anger of Republican legislators. He considered himself vindicated when a move to override his veto failed in the Senate the following day. Johnson believed that the Radicals would now be isolated and defeated and that the Moderate Republicans would form behind him; he did not understand that Moderates also wanted to see African Americans treated fairly.
On February 22, 1866, Washington's Birthday, Johnson gave an impromptu speech to supporters who had marched to the White House and called for an address in honor of the first president. In his hour-long speech, he instead referred to himself over 200 times. More damagingly, he also spoke of "men ... still opposed to the Union" to whom he could not extend the hand of friendship he gave to the South. When called upon by the crowd to say who they were, Johnson named Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, and abolitionist Wendell Phillips, and accused them of plotting his assassination. Republicans viewed the address as a declaration of war, while one Democratic ally estimated Johnson's speech cost the party 200,000 votes in the 1866 congressional midterm elections.
Although strongly urged by Moderates to sign the Civil Rights Bill, Johnson broke decisively with them by vetoing it on March 27. In his veto message, he objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when 11 out of 36 states were unrepresented in the Congress, and that it discriminated in favor of African Americans and against whites.Within three weeks, Congress had overridden his veto, the first time that had been done on a major bill in American history. The veto of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, often seen as a key mistake of Johnson's presidency, convinced Moderates there was no hope of working with him. Historian Eric Foner in his volume on Reconstruction views it as "the most disastrous miscalculation of his political career". According to Stewart, the veto was "for many his defining blunder, setting a tone of perpetual confrontation with Congress that prevailed for the rest of his presidency".
Congress also proposed the Fourteenth Amendment to the states. Written by Trumbull and others, it was sent for ratification by state legislatures in a process in which the president plays no part, though Johnson opposed it. The amendment was designed to put the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act into the Constitution, but also went further. The amendment extended citizenship to every person born in the United States (except Indians on reservations), penalized states that did not give the vote to freedmen, and most importantly, created new federal civil rights that could be protected by federal courts. It also guaranteed that the federal debt would be paid and forbade repayment of Confederate war debts. Further, it disqualified many former Confederates from office, although the disability could be removed—by Congress, not the president. Both houses passed the Freedmen's Bureau Act a second time, and again the President vetoed it; this time, the veto was overridden. By the summer of 1866, when Congress finally adjourned, Johnson's method of restoring states to the Union by executive fiat, without safeguards for the freedmen, was in deep trouble. His home state of Tennessee ratified the Fourteenth Amendment despite the President's opposition. When Tennessee did so, Congress immediately seated its proposed delegation, embarrassing Johnson.
Efforts to compromise failed, and a political war ensued between the united Republicans on one side, and on the other, Johnson and his allies in the Democratic Party, North and South. He called a convention of the National Union Party. Republicans had returned to using their previous identifier; Johnson intended to use the discarded name to unite his supporters and gain election to a full term, in 1868. The battleground was the election of 1866; Southern states were not allowed to vote. Johnson campaigned vigorously, undertaking a public speaking tour, known as the "Swing Around the Circle". The trip, including speeches in Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus, proved politically disastrous, with the President making controversial comparisons between himself and Christ, and engaging in arguments with hecklers. These exchanges were attacked as beneath the dignity of the presidency. The Republicans won by a landslide, increasing their two-thirds majority in Congress, and made plans to control Reconstruction. Johnson blamed the Democrats for giving only lukewarm support to the National Union movement.
Even with the Republican victory in November 1866, Johnson considered himself in a strong position. The Fourteenth Amendment had been ratified by none of the Southern or border states except Tennessee, and had been rejected in Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland. As the amendment required ratification by three-quarters of the states to become part of the Constitution, he believed the deadlock would be broken in his favor, leading to his election in 1868. Once it reconvened in December 1866, an energized Congress began passing legislation, often over a presidential veto; this included the District of Columbia voting bill. Congress admitted Nebraska to the Union over a veto, and the Republicans gained two senators and a state that promptly ratified the amendment. Johnson's veto of a bill for statehood for Colorado Territory was sustained; enough senators agreed that a district with a population of 30,000 was not yet worthy of statehood to win the day.
In January 1867, Congressman Stevens introduced legislation to dissolve the Southern state governments and reconstitute them into five military districts, under martial law. The states would begin again by holding constitutional conventions. African Americans could vote for or become delegates; former Confederates could not. In the legislative process, Congress added to the bill that restoration to the Union would follow the state's ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, and completion of the process of adding it to the Constitution. Johnson and the Southerners attempted a compromise, whereby the South would agree to a modified version of the amendment without the disqualification of former Confederates, and for limited black suffrage. The Republicans insisted on the full language of the amendment, and the deal fell through. Although Johnson could have pocket vetoed the First Reconstruction Act as it was presented to him less than ten days before the end of the Thirty-Ninth Congress, he chose to veto it directly on March 2, 1867; Congress overruled him the same day. Also on March 2, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act over the President's veto, in response to statements during the Swing Around the Circle that he planned to fire Cabinet secretaries who did not agree with him. This bill, requiring Senate approval for the firing of Cabinet members during the tenure of the president who appointed them and for one month afterwards, was immediately controversial, with some senators doubting that it was constitutional or that its terms applied to Johnson, whose key Cabinet officers were Lincoln holdovers.
"The Situation", a Harper's Weekly editorial cartoon, shows Secretary of War Stanton aiming a cannon labeled "Congress" to defeat Johnson. The rammer is "Tenure of Office Bill" and cannonballs on the floor are "Justice".
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was an able and hard-working man, but difficult to deal with. Johnson both admired and was exasperated by his War Secretary, who, in combination with General of the Army Grant, worked to undermine the president's Southern policy from within his own administration. Johnson considered firing Stanton, but respected him for his wartime service as secretary. Stanton, for his part, feared allowing Johnson to appoint his successor and refused to resign, despite his public disagreements with his president.
The new Congress met for a few weeks in March 1867, then adjourned, leaving the House Committee on the Judiciary behind, charged with reporting back to the full House whether there were grounds for Johnson to be impeached. This committee duly met, examined the President's bank accounts, and summoned members of the Cabinet to testify. When a federal court released former Confederate president Davis on bail on May 13 (he had been captured shortly after the war), the committee investigated whether the President had impeded the prosecution. It learned that Johnson was eager to have Davis tried. A bipartisan majority of the committee voted down impeachment charges; the committee adjourned on June 3.
Later in June, Johnson and Stanton battled over the question of whether the military officers placed in command of the South could override the civil authorities. The President had Attorney General Henry Stanbery issue an opinion backing his position that they could not. Johnson sought to pin down Stanton either as for, and thus endorsing Johnson's position, or against, showing himself to be opposed to his president and the rest of the Cabinet. Stanton evaded the point in meetings and written communications. When Congress reconvened in July, it passed a Reconstruction Act against Johnson's position, waited for his veto, overruled it, and went home. In addition to clarifying the powers of the generals, the legislation also deprived the President of control over the Army in the South. With Congress in recess until November, Johnson decided to fire Stanton and relieve one of the military commanders, General Philip Sheridan, who had dismissed the governor of Texas and installed a replacement with little popular support. Johnson was initially deterred by a strong objection from Grant, but on August 5, the President demanded Stanton's resignation; the secretary refused to quit with Congress out of session. Johnson then suspended him pending the next meeting of Congress as permitted under the Tenure of Office Act; Grant agreed to serve as temporary replacement while continuing to lead the Army.
Grant, under protest, followed Johnson's order transferring Sheridan and another of the district commanders, Daniel Sickles, who had angered Johnson by firmly following Congress's plan. The President also issued a proclamation pardoning most Confederates, exempting those who held office under the Confederacy, or who had served in federal office before the war but had breached their oaths. Although Republicans expressed anger with his actions, the 1867 elections generally went Democratic. No seats in Congress were directly elected in the polling, but the Democrats took control of the Ohio General Assembly, allowing them to defeat for reelection one of Johnson's strongest opponents, Senator Benjamin Wade. Voters in Ohio, Connecticut, and Minnesota turned down propositions to grant African Americans the vote
The adverse results momentarily put a stop to Republican calls to impeach Johnson, who was elated by the elections. Nevertheless, once Congress met in November, the Judiciary Committee reversed itself and passed a resolution of impeachment against Johnson. After much debate about whether anything the President had done was a high crime or misdemeanor, the standard under the Constitution, the resolution was defeated by the House of Representatives on December 7, 1867, by a vote of 57 in favor to 108 opposed.
Johnson notified Congress of Stanton's suspension and Grant's interim appointment. In January 1868, the Senate disapproved of his action, and reinstated Stanton, contending the President had violated the Tenure of Office Act. Grant stepped aside over Johnson's objection, causing a complete break between them. Johnson then dismissed Stanton and appointed Lorenzo Thomas to replace him. Stanton refused to leave his office, and on February 24, 1868, the House impeached the President for intentionally violating the Tenure of Office Act, by a vote of 128 to 47. The House subsequently adopted eleven articles of impeachment, for the most part alleging that he had violated the Tenure of Office Act, and had questioned the legitimacy of Congress.
Illustration of Johnson's impeachment trial in the United States Senate, by Theodore R. Davis, published in Harper's Weekly
On March 5, 1868, the impeachment trial began in the Senate and lasted almost three months; Congressmen George S. Boutwell, Benjamin Butler and Thaddeus Stevens acted as managers for the House, or prosecutors, and William M. Evarts, Benjamin R. Curtis and former Attorney General Stanbery were Johnson's counsel; Chief Justice Chase served as presiding judge.
The defense relied on the provision of the Tenure of Office Act that made it applicable only to appointees of the current administration. Since Lincoln had appointed Stanton, the defense maintained Johnson had not violated the act, and also argued that the President had the right to test the constitutionality of an act of Congress. Johnson's counsel insisted that he make no appearance at the trial, nor publicly comment about the proceedings, and except for a pair of interviews in April, he complied.
Johnson maneuvered to gain an acquittal; for example, he pledged to Iowa Senator James W. Grimes that he would not interfere with Congress's Reconstruction efforts. Grimes reported to a group of Moderates, many of whom voted for acquittal, that he believed the President would keep his word. Johnson also promised to install the respected John Schofield as War Secretary. Kansas Senator Edmund G. Ross received assurances that the new, Radical-influenced constitutions ratified in South Carolina and Arkansas would be transmitted to the Congress without delay, an action which would give him and other senators political cover to vote for acquittal.
One reason senators were reluctant to remove the President was that his successor would have been Ohio Senator Wade, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Wade, a lame duck who left office in early 1869, was a Radical who supported such measures as women's suffrage, placing him beyond the pale politically in much of the nation. Additionally, a President Wade was seen as an obstacle to Grant's ambitions.
With the dealmaking, Johnson was confident of the result in advance of the verdict, and in the days leading up to the ballot, newspapers reported that Stevens and his Radicals had given up. On May 16, the Senate voted on the 11th article of impeachment, accusing Johnson of firing Stanton in violation of the Tenure of Office of Act once the Senate had overturned his suspension. Thirty-five senators voted "guilty" and 19 "not guilty", thus falling short by a single vote of the two-thirds majority required for conviction under the Constitution. Seven Republicans—Senators Grimes, Ross, Trumbull, William Pitt Fessenden, Joseph S. Fowler, John B. Henderson, and Peter G. Van Winkle—voted to acquit the President. With Stevens bitterly disappointed at the result, the Senate then adjourned for the Republican National Convention; Grant was nominated for president. The Senate returned on May 26 and voted on the second and third articles, with identical 35–19 results. Faced with those results, Johnson's opponents gave up and dismissed proceedings. Stanton "relinquished" his office on May 26, and the Senate subsequently confirmed Schofield. When Johnson renominated Stanbery to return to his position as Attorney General after his service as a defense manager, the Senate refused to confirm him.
Allegations were made at the time and again later that bribery dictated the outcome of the trial. Even when it was in progress, Representative Butler began an investigation, held contentious hearings, and issued a report, unendorsed by any other congressman. Butler focused on a New York–based "Astor House Group", supposedly led by political boss and editor Thurlow Weed. This organization was said to have raised large sums of money from whiskey interests through Cincinnati lawyer Charles Woolley to bribe senators to acquit Johnson. Butler went so far as to imprison Woolley in the Capitol building when he refused to answer questions, but failed to prove bribery.
Soon after taking office as president, Johnson reached an accord with Secretary of State William H. Seward that there would be no change in foreign policy. In practice, this meant that Seward would continue to run things as he had under Lincoln. Seward and Lincoln had been rivals for the nomination in 1860; the victor hoped that Seward would succeed him as president in 1869. At the time of Johnson's accession, the French had intervened in Mexico, sending troops there. While many politicians had indulged in saber rattling over the Mexican matter, Seward preferred quiet diplomacy, warning the French through diplomatic channels that their presence in Mexico was not acceptable. Although the President preferred a more aggressive approach, Seward persuaded him to follow his lead. In April 1866, the French government informed Seward that its troops would be brought home in stages, to conclude by November 1867.
Seward was an expansionist, and sought opportunities to gain territory for the United States. By 1867, the Russian government saw its North American colony (today Alaska) as a financial liability, and feared losing control as American settlement reached there. It instructed its minister in Washington, Baron Eduard de Stoeckl, to negotiate a sale. De Stoeckl did so deftly, getting Seward to raise his offer from $5 million (coincidentally, the minimum that Russia had instructed de Stoeckl to accept) to $7 million, and then getting $200,000 added by raising various objections. This sum of $7.2 million is equivalent to $132 million in present-day terms. On March 30, 1867, de Stoeckl and Seward signed the treaty, working quickly as the Senate was about to adjourn. Johnson and Seward took the signed document to the President's Room in the Capitol, only to be told there was no time to deal with the matter before adjournment. The President summoned the Senate into session to meet on April 1; that body approved the treaty, 37–2. Emboldened by his success in Alaska, Seward sought acquisitions elsewhere. His only success was staking an American claim to uninhabited Wake Island in the Pacific, which would be officially claimed by the U.S. in 1898. He came close with the Danish West Indies as Denmark agreed to sell and the local population approved the transfer in a plebiscite, but the Senate never voted on the treaty and it expired.
Another treaty that fared badly was the Johnson-Clarendon convention, negotiated in settlement of the Alabama Claims, for damages to American shipping from British-built Confederate raiders. Negotiated by the United States Minister to Britain, former Maryland senator Reverdy Johnson, in late 1868, it was ignored by the Senate during the remainder of the President's term. The treaty was rejected after he left office, and the Grant administration later negotiated considerably better terms from Britain.
Administration and Cabinet
Johnson appointed nine Article III federal judges during his presidency, all to United States district courts; he did not appoint a justice to serve on the Supreme Court. In April 1866, he nominated Henry Stanbery to fill the vacancy left with the death of John Catron, but Congress eliminated the seat to prevent the appointment, and to ensure that he did not get to make any appointments eliminated the next vacancy as well, providing that the court would shrink by one justice when one next departed from office. Johnson appointed his Greeneville crony, Samuel Milligan, to the United States Court of Claims, where he served from 1868 until his death in 1874.
In June 1866, Johnson signed the Southern Homestead Act into law, believing that the legislation would assist poor whites. Around 28,000 land claims were successfully patented, although few former slaves benefitted from the law, fraud was rampant, and much of the best land was off-limits; reserved for grants to veterans or railroads. In June 1868, Johnson signed an eight-hour law passed by Congress that established an eight-hour workday for laborers and mechanics employed by the Federal Government. Although Johnson told members of a Workingmen's party delegation in Baltimore that he could not directly commit himself to an eight-hour day, he nevertheless told the same delegation that he greatly favoured the "shortest number of hours consistent with the interests of all". According to Richard F. Selcer, however, the good intentions behind the law were "immediately frustrated" as wages were cut by 20%.
Completion of term
Johnson sought nomination by the 1868 Democratic National Convention in New York in July 1868. He remained very popular among Southern whites, and boosted that popularity by issuing, just before the convention, a pardon ending the possibility of criminal proceedings against any Confederate not already indicted, meaning that only Davis and a few others still might face trial. On the first ballot, Johnson was second to former Ohio representative George H. Pendleton, who had been his Democratic opponent for vice president in 1864. Johnson's support was mostly from the South, and fell away as the ballots passed. On the 22nd ballot, former New York governor Horatio Seymour was nominated, and the President received only four votes, all from Tennessee.
"Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness!": Harper's Weekly cartoon mocking Johnson on leaving office
The conflict with Congress continued. Johnson sent Congress proposals for amendments to limit the president to a single six-year term and make the president and the Senate directly elected, and for term limits for judges. Congress took no action on them. When the President was slow to officially report ratifications of the Fourteenth Amendment by the new Southern legislatures, Congress passed a bill, again over his veto, requiring him to do so within ten days of receipt. He still delayed as much as he could, but was required, in July 1868, to report the ratifications making the amendment part of the Constitution.
Seymour's operatives sought Johnson's support, but he long remained silent on the presidential campaign. It was not until October, with the vote already having taken place in some states, that he mentioned Seymour at all, and he never endorsed him. Nevertheless, Johnson regretted Grant's victory, in part because of their animus from the Stanton affair. In his annual message to Congress in December, Johnson urged the repeal of the Tenure of Office Act and told legislators that had they admitted their Southern colleagues in 1865, all would have been well. He celebrated his 60th birthday in late December with a party for several hundred children, though not including those of President-elect Grant, who did not allow his to go.
On Christmas Day 1868, Johnson issued a final amnesty, this one covering everyone, including Davis. He also issued, in his final months in office, pardons for crimes, including one for Dr. Samuel Mudd, controversially convicted of involvement in the Lincoln assassination (he had set Booth's broken leg) and imprisoned in Fort Jefferson on Florida's Dry Tortugas.
On March 3, the President hosted a large public reception at the White House on his final full day in office. Grant had made it known that he was unwilling to ride in the same carriage as Johnson, as was customary, and Johnson refused to go to the inauguration at all. Despite an effort by Seward to prompt a change of mind, he spent the morning of March 4 finishing last-minute business, and then shortly after noon rode from the White House to the home of a friend.
Post-presidency and return to Senate
Senator Andrew Johnson in 1875 (age 66)
After leaving the presidency, Johnson remained for some weeks in Washington, then returned to Greeneville for the first time in eight years. He was honored with large public celebrations along the way, especially in Tennessee, where cities hostile to him during the war hung out welcome banners. He had arranged to purchase a large farm near Greeneville to live on after his presidency.
Some expected Johnson to run for Governor of Tennessee or for the Senate again, while others thought that he would become a railroad executive. Johnson found Greeneville boring, and his private life was embittered by the suicide of his son Robert in 1869. Seeking vindication for himself, and revenge against his political enemies, he launched a Senate bid soon after returning home. Tennessee had gone Republican, but court rulings restoring the vote to some whites and the violence of the Ku Klux Klan kept down the African-American vote, leading to a Democratic victory in the legislative elections in August 1869. Johnson was seen as a likely victor in the Senate election, although hated by Radical Republicans, and also by some Democrats because of his wartime activities. Although he was at one point within a single vote of victory in the legislature's balloting, the Republicans eventually elected Henry Cooper over Johnson, 54–51. In 1872, there was a special election for an at-large congressional seat for Tennessee; Johnson initially sought the Democratic nomination, but when he saw that it would go to former Confederate general Benjamin F. Cheatham, decided to run as an independent. The former president was defeated, finishing third, but the split in the Democratic Party defeated Cheatham in favor of an old Johnson Unionist ally, Horace Maynard.
In 1873, Johnson contracted cholera during an epidemic but recovered; that year he lost about $73,000, when the First National Bank of Washington went under, though he was eventually repaid much of the sum. He began looking towards the next Senate election, to take place in the legislature in early 1875. Johnson began to woo the farmers' Grange movement; with his Jeffersonian leanings, he easily gained their support. He spoke throughout the state in his final campaign tour. Few African Americans outside the large towns were now able to vote as Reconstruction faded in Tennessee, setting a pattern that would be repeated in the other Southern states; the white domination would last almost a century. In the Tennessee legislative elections in August, the Democrats elected 92 legislators to the Republicans' eight, and Johnson went to Nashville for the legislative session. When the balloting for the Senate seat began on January 20, 1875, he led with 30 votes, but did not have the required majority as three former Confederate generals, one former colonel, and a former Democratic congressman split the vote with him. Johnson's opponents tried to agree on a single candidate who might gain majority support and defeat him, but failed, and he was elected on January 26 on the 54th ballot, with a margin of a single vote. Nashville erupted in rejoicing; remarked Johnson, "Thank God for the vindication."
Johnson's comeback garnered national attention, with the St. Louis Republican calling it, "the most magnificent personal triumph which the history of American politics can show". At his swearing-in in the Senate on March 5, 1875, he was greeted with flowers and sworn in with his predecessor as vice president, Hamlin, by that office's current incumbent, Henry Wilson, who as senator had voted for his ousting. Many Republicans ignored Senator Johnson, though some, such as Ohio's John Sherman (who had voted for conviction), shook his hand. Johnson remains the only former president to serve in the Senate. He spoke only once in the short session, on March 22 lambasting President Grant for his use of federal troops in support of Louisiana's Reconstruction government. The former president asked, "How far off is military despotism?" and concluded his speech, "may God bless this people and God save the Constitution."
Johnson returned home after the special session concluded. In late July, 1875, convinced some of his opponents were defaming him in the Ohio gubernatorial race, he decided to travel there to give speeches. He began the trip on July 28, and broke the journey at his daughter Mary's farm near Elizabethton, where his daughter Martha was also staying. That evening he suffered a stroke, but refused medical treatment until the next day, when he did not improve and two doctors were sent for from Elizabethton. He seemed to respond to their ministrations, but suffered another stroke on the evening of July 30, and died early the following morning at the age of 66. President Grant had the "painful duty" of announcing the death of the only surviving past president. Northern newspapers, in their obituaries, tended to focus on Johnson's loyalty during the war, while Southern ones paid tribute to his actions as president. Johnson's funeral was held on August 3 in Greeneville. He was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the U.S. Constitution placed under his head, according to his wishes. The burial ground was dedicated as the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in 1906, and with his home and tailor's shop, is part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.
Historical reputation and legacy
According to Castel, "historians [of Johnson's presidency] have tended to concentrate to the exclusion of practically everything else upon his role in that titanic event [Reconstruction]". Through the remainder of the 19th century, there were few historical evaluations of Johnson and his presidency. Memoirs from Northerners who had dealt with him, such as former vice president Henry Wilson and Maine Senator James G. Blaine, depicted him as an obstinate boor who tried to favor the South in Reconstruction, but who was frustrated by Congress. According to historian Howard K. Beale in his journal article about the historiography of Reconstruction, "Men of the postwar decades were more concerned with justifying their own position than they were with painstaking search for truth. Thus [Alabama congressman and historian] Hilary Herbert and his corroborators presented a Southern indictment of Northern policies, and Henry Wilson's history was a brief for the North."
The turn of the 20th century saw the first significant historical evaluations of Johnson. Leading the wave was Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James Ford Rhodes, who wrote of the former president:
Johnson acted in accordance with his nature. He had intellectual force but it worked in a groove. Obstinate rather than firm it undoubtedly seemed to him that following counsel and making concessions were a display of weakness. At all events from his December message to the veto of the Civil Rights Bill he yielded not a jot to Congress. The moderate senators and representatives (who constituted a majority of the Union party) asked him for only a slight compromise; their action was really an entreaty that he would unite with them to preserve Congress and the country from the policy of the radicals ... His quarrel with Congress prevented the readmission into the Union on generous terms of the members of the late Confederacy ... His pride of opinion, his desire to beat, blinded him to the real welfare of the South and of the whole country.
Rhodes ascribed Johnson's faults to his personal weaknesses, and blamed him for the problems of the postbellum South. Other early 20th-century historians, such as John Burgess, Woodrow Wilson (who later became president himself) and William Dunning, all Southerners, concurred with Rhodes, believing Johnson flawed and politically inept, but concluding that he had tried to carry out Lincoln's plans for the South in good faith. Author and journalist Jay Tolson suggests that Wilson "depict[ed Reconstruction] as a vindictive program that hurt even repentant southerners while benefiting northern opportunists, the so-called Carpetbaggers, and cynical white southerners, or Scalawags, who exploited alliances with blacks for political gain".
The grave of Andrew Johnson, Greeneville, Tennessee
Even as Rhodes and his school wrote, another group of historians was setting out on the full rehabilitation of Johnson, using for the first time primary sources such as his papers, provided by his daughter Martha before her death in 1901, and the diaries of Johnson's Navy Secretary, Gideon Welles, first published in 1911. The resulting volumes, such as David Miller DeWitt's The Impeachment and Trial of President Andrew Johnson (1903), presented him far more favorably than they did those who had sought to oust him. In James Schouler's 1913 History of the Reconstruction Period, the author accused Rhodes of being "quite unfair to Johnson", though agreeing that the former president had created many of his own problems through inept political moves. These works had an effect; although historians continued to view Johnson as having deep flaws which sabotaged his presidency, they saw his Reconstruction policies as fundamentally correct.
at the end of the 1920s, an historiographical revolution took place. In the span of three years five widely read books appeared, all highly pro-Johnson....They differed in general approach and specific interpretations, but they all glorified Johnson and condemned his enemies. According to these writers, Johnson was a humane, enlightened, and liberal statesman who waged a courageous battle for the Constitution and democracy against scheming and unscrupulous Radicals, who were motivated by a vindictive hatred of the South, partisanship, and a desire to establish the supremacy of Northern "big business". In short, rather than a boor, Johnson was a martyr; instead of a villain, a hero.
Beale wondered in 1940, "is it not time that we studied the history of Reconstruction without first assuming, at least subconsciously, that carpetbaggers and Southern white Republicans were wicked, that Negroes were illiterate incompetents, and that the whole white South owes a debt of gratitude to the restorers of 'white supremacy'?" Despite these doubts, the favorable view of Johnson survived for a time. In 1942, Van Heflin portrayed the former president as a fighter for democracy in the Hollywood film Tennessee Johnson. In 1948, a poll of his colleagues by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger deemed Johnson among the average presidents; in 1956, one by Clinton L. Rossiter named him as one of the near-great Chief Executives. Foner notes that at the time of these surveys, "the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War was regarded as a time of corruption and misgovernment caused by granting black men the right to vote".
Earlier historians, including Beale, believed that money drove events, and had seen Reconstruction as an economic struggle. They also accepted, for the most part, that reconciliation between North and South should have been the top priority of Reconstruction. In the 1950s, historians began to focus on the African-American experience as central to Reconstruction. They rejected completely any claim of black inferiority, which had marked many earlier historical works, and saw the developing civil rights movement as a second Reconstruction; some writers stated they hoped their work on the postbellum era would advance the cause of civil rights. These authors sympathized with the Radical Republicans for their desire to help the African American, and saw Johnson as callous towards the freedman. In a number of works from 1956 onwards by such historians as Fawn Brodie, the former president was depicted as a successful saboteur of efforts to better the freedman's lot. These volumes included major biographies of Stevens and Stanton. Reconstruction was increasingly seen as a noble effort to integrate the freed slaves into society.
In the early 21st century, Johnson is among those commonly mentioned as the worst presidents in U.S. history. According to historian Glenn W. Lafantasie, who believes Buchanan the worst president, "Johnson is a particular favorite for the bottom of the pile because of his impeachment ... his complete mishandling of Reconstruction policy ... his bristling personality, and his enormous sense of self-importance." Tolson suggests that "Johnson is now scorned for having resisted Radical Republican policies aimed at securing the rights and well-being of the newly emancipated African-Americans". Gordon-Reed notes that Johnson, along with his contemporaries Pierce and Buchanan, are generally listed among the five worst presidents, but states, "there have never been more difficult times in the life of this nation. The problems these men had to confront were enormous. It would have taken a succession of Lincolns to do them justice."
Trefousse considers Johnson's legacy to be "the maintenance of white supremacy. His boost to Southern conservatives by undermining Reconstruction was his legacy to the nation, one that would trouble the country for generations to come." Gordon-Reed states of Johnson:
We know the results of Johnson's failures—that his preternatural stubbornness, his mean and crude racism, his primitive and instrumental understanding of the Constitution stunted his capacity for enlightened and forward-thinking leadership when those qualities were so desperately needed. At the same time, Johnson's story has a miraculous quality to it: the poor boy who systematically rose to the heights, fell from grace, and then fought his way back to a position of honor in the country. For good or ill, 'only in America,' as they say, could Johnson's story unfold in the way that it did.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
30 May 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Jual Oram
11 September 2010 – 8 January 2013
Governor M. O. H. Farook
Preceded by President's Rule
Succeeded by President's Rule
12 March 2005 – 14 September 2006
Governor Syed Sibtey Razi
Succeeded by Madhu Koda
18 March 2003 – 2 March 2005
Governor Rama Jois
Syed Sibtey Razi
Preceded by Babulal Marandi
Succeeded by Shibu Soren
23 May 2019
Preceded by Karia Munda
30 May 2019
Preceded by Vijay Kumar Malhotra
2010 - 2014
Preceded by Mangal Singh Soy
Succeeded by Dashrath Gagrai
2000 - 2009
Preceded by office established
Succeeded by Mangal Singh Soy
1995 - 2000
Succeeded by office abolished
Born 3 May 1968 (age 52)
Spouse(s) Meera Munda
Residence Jamshedpur / New Delhi
Arjun Munda (born 3 May 1968) is an Indian politician. He is the current Minister of Tribal Affairs in the Second Modi ministry. He was also Chief Minister of Indian state of Jharkhand. He has also served as a member of parliament having been elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from the Jamshedpur constituency in the 2009 parliamentary elections. BJP's central leadership also appointed him a National General Secretary of the party recognising his strong credentials as a popular mass leader and his significant contributions in strengthening the party in his state.
He lost his den to the JMM's Dashrath Gagrai by 11,966 votes in Kharasawan for 14 years in a 2014 state assembly election.
Arjun Munda was born on 3 May 1968 in Khrangajhar, Jamshedpur to a religious family of Ganesh and Saira Munda. After completing high school education in the Jamshedpur area, he graduated from Ranchi University and went on to earn a PG Diploma in Social Sciences from Indira Gandhi National Open University.
He began his political career in his teens during early 1980s when he joined the Jharkhand movement spearheaded by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) which sought to create a separate state for tribals from the southern regions of Bihar. A hardcore believer in the welfare of indigenous people of his region he felt passionate about the issue and took an active part in the movement. Soon his political influence grew due to his inclusive philosophy and he was elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly from Kharsawan constituency in 1995 on a JMM ticket.
NDA strongly espoused the cause of Jharkhand and made a promise that if elected they would create the tribal state of Jharkhand. Munda was attracted to BJP's ideology of selfless nation building and sacrifice. He believed in its policy of championing the cause of Jharkhand and joined BJP. He was elected again to the Bihar Assembly in 2000 elections contesting on a BJP ticket from his old constituency of Kharsawan that he had been nurturing for many years. After Jharkhand's formation, he was elected to the Jharkhand Assembly from the same constituency in 2005 and again in the 2011 bye-election after assuming responsibility as the CM in September 2010.
When NDA government came to power in 1999 under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee it kept its promise and created Jharkhand along with Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh as three new States of the Indian Union. Munda became the Tribal Welfare Minister in the 1st Babulal Marandi-led NDA coalition government of Jharkhand which was carved out from Bihar on 15 November 2000. As welfare minister, he crafted many policies and programs to ameliorate a lot of the poor and downtrodden. His vision, his work ethic, and his performance matrix soon catapulted him to the top leadership grade and his popularity and support base soared meteorically. His inclusive philosophy and his commitment to Jharkhand's high growth and development put him in the CM's chair in 2003 at the young age of 35 when he was chosen as the consensus candidate to lead the State in the aftermath of Babulal Marandi's divisive domicile policy.
He took the oath as Union minister in Narendra Modi's second cabinet on 30 May 2019 and became the Minister of Tribal Affairs.
Arjun Munda defused the tension that was created due to the "Domicile movement" in 2001–2002 and insisted that every citizen of India had the fundamental right granted by the Indian Constitution to live and work in any part of the country.
During his tenure, Jharkhand got the 1st Lokayukta and the State successfully conducted the 34th National Games in 2011.
A 32-year-long jinx was broken[clarification needed] when Jharkhand scripted history by conducting panchayat elections and empowered PRIs for participatory governance.
His government introduced an e-tender system in government contracts to bring transparency and efficiency and to provide equal opportunity in the procurement process.
He also took initiatives for setting up of new power plants with a view to making Jharkhand a power surplus state.
He introduced some of the famous welfare schemes and programs that were later emulated by other Indian states, such as:
Kanyadan Yojana: To provide assistance in solemnising marriages of girls from underprivileged classes.
Mukhya Mantri Ladli Laxmi Yojana: To promote welfare of the girl child born to a BPL family and APL families having an annual income of less than Rs. 72,000, her education and safe motherhood.
Aapka-cm: The Grievance Management System was established to enable people to communicate directly with their CM and voice their grievances to the State leadership for prompt consideration and redressal.
Mukhya Mantri Dal Bhat Yojna: To provide wholesome food and nutrition to the poorest sections of society. Under this scheme, BPL families get dal, bhat and sabji for Rs 5 at railway stations, bus stands, hospitals and public places.
Free Laptop/Tablet: To prepare the youth to face challenges of the 21st century, tablets were to be given to students passing matriculation examinations under Yuwa Kaushal Vikas Scheme launched in 2013.
An avid golfer, Munda is also interested in promoting archery at national and international levels. He plays flute and almost all tribal musical instruments widely used in the area.
B. P. Mandal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bindheshwari Prasad Mandal
1 February 1968 – 2 March 1968
Preceded by Satish Prasad Singh
Succeeded by Bhola Paswan Shastri
Member of the Indian Parliament
Succeeded by Rajendra Prasad Yadav
Preceded by Rajendra Prasad Yadav
Succeeded by Rajendra Prasad Yadav
Died April 13, 1982 (aged 63)
Spouse(s) Sita Mandal
Father Ras Bihari Lal Mandal
Bindheshwari Prasad Mandal (25 August 1918 – 13 April 1982) was an Indian politician who chaired Mandal Commission which became a major political theme after 1990. He served as 7th Chief Minister of Bihar in the year 1968, but he had resigned after 30 days. He was also a parliamentarian who served as the chairman of the Second Backward Classes Commission (popularly known as the Mandal Commission). B.P. Mandal came from a rich Yadav landlord family, from Madhepura in Northern Bihar. The commission's report mobilised a segment of the Indian population known as "Other Backward Classes" (OBCs) and initiated a fierce debate on the policy for underrepresented and underprivileged groups in Indian politics.
B. P. Mandal came from the Hindu Yadav community in Bihar. He was born in a family of rich landlords. B. P. Mandal was the son of Ras Bihari Lal Mandal, a wealthy Zamindar. According to local legend, his father raised the demand for Indian independence at the 1911 Delhi Durbar. Ras Behari Lal Mandal later became one of the leading politicians from Bihar. Mandal was a Member of Parliament for Madhepura from the state of Bihar from 1967 to 1970 and from 1977 to 1979.
He was the Chief Minister of Bihar, governing for 30 days in 1968, a period of intense political instability (his predecessor Satish Prasad Singh was the first Chief Minister from OBC but only for three days)
Civil rights commission
In December 1978, Prime Minister Morarji Desai appointed a five-member civil rights commission under the chairmanship of Mandal. It was due to the Mandal's longstanding anti-dogmatic and support for the depressed classes that resulted in the formation of "Mandal Commission" or the "Backward Classes Commission". The commission's report was completed in 1980 and recommended that a significant proportion of all government and educational places be reserved for applicants from the Other Backward Classes as these were the socially-deprived communities historically that had been treated as outcasts and denied job opportunities as well as proper education in the public institutions that were upper-caste dominant at the time.
The commission's report was tabled indefinitely by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. A decade later, Prime Minister V. P. Singh implemented the recommendations of the Mandal Report and led to what is now known as the caste-reservation system in India, however it finally came into effect only in 1993 after Supreme Court gave a go ahead for its implementation in a historic judgement famous as Indra Sawhney judgement in November 1992
The Mandal commission was not well received by a number of upper-caste communities leading to nation-wide protests and uproar especially by the students of Upper-castes who saw their educational opportunities under threat while many of the people from these communities still continue to consider the policies to be unnecessary and biased.
In the year 1941,at the age of 23 he became unopposed member from the Bhagalpur district council. In the year 1952,during first general elections for the state assembly of Bihar,BP Mandal won the Madhepura assembly seat on a Congress ticket against Bhupendra Narayan Mandal from Socialist Party. Mandal always considered Narayan Mandal as influential in formulating socialist notions and converting Madhepura,as a place for promotion of socialism. It was in the Pama case,wherein local Rajput landlords of Pama village in Bihar attacked a Kurmi village,leading to police atrocities against backward class citizens that Mandal made headlines in newspapers all across nation for his audacious act. He was pressurised to remove his request for immediate government action against the police and compensation for victims during the Bihar assembly session. However,this made him to move from treasury benches to opposition bench and fight for the cause which has humiliated the inactive ruling party. Impressed by his actions,Ram Manohar Lohia made him president of his Samyukta Socialist Party. Subsequently,he fought and won Lok Sabha elections in Bihar on the ticket of the Samyukta Socialist Party and was appointed in charge of the Ministry of Health in State Government.
Later he left the Samyukta Socialist Party due to differences with Ram Manohar Lohia and formed new party named Shoshit Dal in March 1967. As he took oath as the seventh Chief Minister of the state on 1st February 1968,it was a historic moment in the North Indian political scenario. However as he was member of the Lower House, he was required to be member of Bihar assembly in order to continue in the post of Chief Minister. Satish Singh,an MLA of his party,was made Chief Minister for four days before Mandal became member of Legislative Council and took charge as Chief Minister again. It was during this time that another dramatic picture in the history of north Indian politics took place,wherein the ministry comprised majorly from OBC's than belonging from upper caste. However,though the government lasted only 47 days this radical shift in the representation paradigm brought a new spirit in Indian politics. However,he had to resign as Chief Minister protesting Congress removal of the enquiry commission named "Aiyar Commission",headed by T.L.Venkatrama Aiyar,to cater to charges of corruption on several ministers and senior Congress leaders. He became Lok Sabha member again in year 1968 when he contested and won by-elections again from Madhepura parliamentary constituency without much challenge. Mandal teamed up with Jayaprakash Narayan and resigned from Bihar assembly protesting a corrupt Congress administration. In year 1977 he contested Lok Sabha elections from Madhepura constituency on a Janata Party ticket and won.
Various statues and memorials were made in his memory in the state and one of the most glorious one stands in front of the governor's House in Patna. Every year his birth anniversary is celebrated in a formal ceremonial manner by his son Manindra Kumar Mandal and his other family members in their village and the Chief Minister and other cabinet members of the state in Patna, Sasaram and at various other spots.Biswanath Das
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
3 April 1971 – 14 June 1972
Succeeded by Nandini Satpathy
16 April 1962 – 30 April 1967
Preceded by Burgula Ramakrishna Rao
Succeeded by Bezawada Gopala Reddy
19 July 1937 – 4 November 1939
Preceded by Captain Krishna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Deo
Succeeded by Governor's rule
Born 8 March 1889
Belagan, Ganjam district, Madras Presidency, British India
Died 2 June 1984 (aged 95)
Political party United Front
Residence Kaji Bazar, Cuttack
Education B.A., B.L.
Biswanath Dash (8 March 1889 – 2 June 1984) was a politician, lawyer and philanthropist from India. He was the Prime Minister of Odisha Province of British India 1937–39, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh 1962–67 and later the Chief Minister of Odisha 1971–72.
He was born on 8th march 1889 at Belgan village in Ganjam District of the erstwhile Madras Presidency, which is in the state of Odisha. He graduated from Ravenshaw College , Cuttack
Biswanath Dash supported the Indian independence movement from both Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. He was a member of the legislative council of Madras Province from 1921 to 1930. He was instrumental in the creation of a separate state for the Odia-speaking people. After the separation of Odisha on 1 April 1936 he became its Prime Minister (Premier) on 19 July 1937. He became a member of the Constituent Assembly of India in 1946 representing Orissa. He served as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh from 16 April 1962 to 30 April 1967. In 1966, he was made the President of Servants of the People Society (Lok Sevak Mandal founded by Lala Lajpat Rai). After the Odisha Vidhan Sabha election in 1971, the Utkal Congress, the Swatantra Party and the Jharkhand Party formed a United Front and he became the Chief Minister of the United Front government, in Odisha. He was in office from 3 April 1971 to 14 June 1972.
“Former Governor of Haryana & Dalit Icon of Jammu & Kashmir”
Born on 10 Aug. ,1932 at Sarore,Samba(J&K) to Jaggu Ram & Matyan Devi,both devotee of Radha Soami Satsang(Beas).He had to travel a distance of over 4 miles to go to his school bare-footed.In those days education was rare for rural Dalit due to poverty but it could not deter him from his determination to get educated.He did M.A(Economics) & LL.B from Aligarh Muslim University with first division.He was among one of the first Dalits from J&K state to acquire such higher qualifications before 1958.His political carrier started as a Student leader and his efforts earned scholarships to many students from his area & community and a hostel wing was added to GGM Sc.College Jammu Hostel exclusively for the Dalit students.In,1960 he appeared in the State Civil Services Exam,earning 9th position in state.He got married to Sudesh Kumari, daughter of Lala Munshi Ram of Jalandhar(a known sports businessman,who was migrated from Sailkot,Pakistan) and had two sons one of them,Dr.Rajendra Prasad is a doctor in AIIMS(New Delhi).Then,Parmanand joined politics to “serve the downtrodden”.
He got associated with J&K National Conference which was in alliance with INC.In 1962,he was successfully elected for the first time to the J&K Legislative Assembly from Ramgarh Constituency.In 1967 he re-elected from Samba Constituency.He was the first ‘Dalit’ to serve in Cabinet Ministry of J&K govts. and appointed as the Minister for Social Welfare & Transport in the G.M.Sadiq’s Cabinet in 1967 and later Minister for Local Bodies,Housing and Cooperation in the Mir Qasim’s Cabinet in 1972.He was the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in 1980.In 1982 he again served as Minister of Finance and Power in Dr Farooq Abdullah’s govt.In 1996 he resigned from National Conference and joined Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP).He had also contested the Parliamentary elections as an independent candidate from Jammu Lok Sabha Constituency but had lost the battle.He worked tirelessly for backward section of socirty and holded Organizer post in Depressed Classes League.He was one of the founding President of J&K Unit of Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Akademi.His political life was a witness of poltitical churning in Jammu & Kashmir and he served in laying foundation of Indian National Congress with National Conference in first phase and later Bhartiya Janta Party and gave them a support base in the region of Jammu especially among Dalit community.He enjoyed a close contact & good tie with great leaders,Babu Jagjivan Ram,Dr.K.R.Narayan and Giani zail Singh both Presidents of India,Ex P.M Atal Behari Vajpayee,General K.V. Krishna Rao(Retd),G.C. Sexsena,Dr.Farooq Abdulla and Dr. Karan Singh.In 1980 he was appointed as Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.He started fortnightly news paper “The Voice of the Depressed” and wrote editorials which were acclaimed as best of his times.He mentioned about the various development programmers being carried by the Governmental agencies for the intended benefits of the deprived and neglected section of the Indian Society.Starting with the launching of Community Development Programme (CDP) on 2nd Oct.,1952 the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,Babu counted almost all welfare programs launched till 1997.In 1999 he holded the post of Governor of Haryana and served till 2004.Parmanand was suffering from multiple diseases and died on 24 April,2008.
ByDaily Excelsior, Er. Hem Raj Phonsa
Parmanand affectionately called ‘BABU JI’, traveled with dignity, a long way from a hut to Raj Bhawan.Babu Parmanand Ji was born on 10th August 1932, to Late Sh. Jaggoo Ram & Smt Matyan Devi; Ramdasia (untouchable) by caste, whom were deeply religious souls, having deep faith in Sant-Mat expounded by Saints of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, Distt Amritsar, Punjab. Village Sarore is largely in-habited by the followers of Radha Soami Satsang, following strict norms of Sant- Mat. Sarore village has the proud privilege to be the birth place in addition to Parmanand Ji of Baba Sant Rasila Ram Ji the present head of Baba Teja Singh Radha Soami Ashram Saidpur Distt Amritsar( Punjab). Babu Ji was brought up in an atmosphere full of spirituality, so he followed and exhibited principle of “Love all, hate none”. In his childhood days no body could imagine that the child born in a poor Dalit family at remote backward village Sarore in district Jammu (J&K) shall one day be proud occupant of Raj Bhawan at Chandigarh.
Babu ji from his early school days was hard – working, punctual, brilliant but poised boy. Poverty and vagaries of wealth could not deter him from his determination to get educated. During those days education was rare, particularly for rural Dalits, and only a few lucky were privileged to go to a school. His will to succeed , brought laurel’ when he passed his M.A.& LL.B degrees with flying colures He passed his M.A. LL.B degree from Aligarh Muslim University, in 1958–59 with very high merits. He was one of the first Dalits from J&K state to acquire such higher qualifications. Prior to Babu Ji Bhagat Daulat Ram & Bhagat Mangat Ram IAS had received this distinction. During his student life, he was taking active part in politics as a student leader, always ready to help the needy students. His efforts earned scholarships to many students from his area & community. He was inclined from the very beginning to politics, as it was a master key with solution to all problems.
Duly equipped with higher learning, he met late Bakshi Ghulam Mohd. then Prime Minister of J&K state, who offered Babu Ji the post of Dy.SP or Judge in J&K Judiciary. But Babu ji declined the offer and instead asked for candidature to contest next election of the State Legislative Assembly. This was even disapproved by many well wishers of Babu Ji, who advised him to join service and to lead a comfortable life. But Babu Ji stood like a rock on his self- chosen path. He also practiced as a lawyer at Samba &Jammu bar, where he pleaded for the poorest even fee of cost. His strong will to become a public representative, won him his maiden elections from Ramgarh (reserved) constituency in 1962, general election.
On becoming M.L.A. his family pressed him to get married and raise his family as advised by Sant Mat. His marriage was ceremonials on 6th May 1962 with Sudesh Kumari, daughter of Lala Munshi Ram of Jalandhar in Punjab, who was a well to do sports businessman. Babu ji was blessed with two equally brilliant sons. His elder son Dr. Rajinder Prasad is serving as Professor in surgery in country’s prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi & second son Gagan Jyoti is a Executive Engineer Mechanical wing of the J&K Engineering services.
Babu ji got elected second time in 1967 and was made Dy. Minister of Transport under Chief Minister G.M. Sadiq, a seasoned value based politician cum administrator. Babu ji in his first tenure as Minister exhibited high qualities of head and heart and won the confidence of public in general and the state administration in particular. Problems of the Poor farmers and persons of weaker sections from all areas were given special attention.
Babu ji was made Minister of State by Late Mir Qasim, Departments like Social Welfare, Housing and Urban Development, Local Bodies, Co-operative were nursed by Babu Ji. His contribution for the development of new residential colonies, launching of many welfare schemes and development of small town shall be remembered for years to come. As MOS Social Welfare Babu Ji ensured that funds earn marked for the welfare of the weaker sections were utilized in full & judiciously. He arranged group marriages for the poor girls & scholarships for the deserving students. During his minister ship, doors of higher education including professional colleges were got opened for the weaker section of the society, despite the facts that reservation Rules were not applicable in the State of J&K till 1972. His commitment to the cause of down trodden and needy remained on record, which won him next elections thrice. By this time his name & fame spread into all corners of the J&K state & beyond. He took land mark decisions based on law of the land for the welfare of the society in general & deprived section of the society in particular. For Babu Ji every needy person irrespective of his or her caste or religious affiliations needed help & Babu Ji came to rescue of all needy.
Babu ji had the proud privilege of serving as speaker of J&K Legislature Assembly from 1977 to 1980, with late Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah as the Chief Minister. Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah loved Babu Ji for his many good qualities, when the society was fasting loosing moral values. After the sad demise of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah. When Dr. Farooq Abdullah took over as Chief Minister, he made Babu Ji Finance and Power Minister in 1982 with rank two. As Finance Minister Babu ji passed orders for equal bi- annual Darbar Move Traveling Allowance, for ranks of employees and broke the age old practice of linking it with pay scale & rank of the officers, officials.
Babu Ji won the next election from the Bishnah constituency (Reserved) again and continued till 18th January, 1990 when the House was dissolved & the state was put under Governor Rule. Thereafter, Babu Ji was on panel of Governor’s Advisory Board 1991 to 1995 under General KV. Krishna Rao (Retd.) and G.C.Saxsena as Governor. Babu Ji enjoyed confidence of both these Governors during peak militancy days.
Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Academy, an all India Registered society confirmed Dr. Ambedkar National Award in1991-92. for his life long distinguished services to the down trodden ~ The award was presented to Babu Ji by the Vice President Of India (later President of India) Dr K.R. Narayan. Babu ji was also made President of J&K unit of Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya academy. The foundation stone for headquarter building for Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Academy at Roop Nagar, Jammu was laid by His Excellency then Governor of J&K Gen. K .v. Krishana Rao (Retd.) on 14th April 1994. Part of the building stands already completed. Babu ji had planned to impart free coaching to the deserving students from weaker segments of the region to compete for All India Services like lAS, IPS, IRS etc. But his dreams have remained unfulfilled due to the apathy of administration, and his untimely death .
Babu Ji remained deeply engrossed in welfare of poor and needy persons. To him the true freedom of man is not only political, but also social, economical, intellectual and spiritual. During peek militancy period, people from all walks of life belonging to different religion & regions consulted Babu ji for solace. For a brief period Babu ji edited “The Voice of Depressed” newspaper. Babu ji joined Bhartiya Janta Party in 1996. He was made Vice President of All India Morcha of BJP for SC/ST. He also served as Director of J&K Bank Ltd & some, other Banks and contributed for starting of Grammen Bank Branches through out the State.
Babu Ji reached the rightful post as The Governor of Haryana on 19th July 2000 as Babu Ji take Oath in the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh”, .The Raj Bhawan became a living example of his dreams as it was open to all needy persons for the personal attention of the Governor. Babu Ji worked for the principles dear to him setting examples to the future occupants of at Raj Bhawan. He reached almost all rural areas of the state to see personally the development works initiated for the welfare of the poor masses.
Babu ji had worked for the upliftment and just cause of the people all throughout his life, they too have lot of love, affection, respect and regard for him. All this was evident when Babu Ji departed from this world on Thursday the 24th of April 2008 at 0005 Hours. Babu Ji breathed his last in his house, where all his family members & near relatives, besides a team of doctors were by the side of his bed.
When the sad news of the death of Babu ji spread in the morning, peoples from all walks of life, high & low, officers & workers started reaching Babu Ji’s, Gandhi Nagar Jammu residence and by the noon the crowd of mourners spell to many thousands.
The Jammu & State Government declared state mourning, State funeral and a public holiday was also declared, Through out the State~ National & State Flags were lowered to half mast. Mess~ges from many National & State high dignitaries started pouring in through telephones, & by other means. The mourners made a bee line to have Last glimpses of their leader, while passing by the side of the body of Babu Ji. They were crying to see him lying motion less. His Excellency Lt. Gen SK Sinha ( Retd ) Hon’ble Governor of J&K State along with Sh. Gulam Nabi Azad Chief Minister , his cabinet colleagues came personally to Babu Ji’s residence to pay floral tributes. Floral wreath was also laid on behalf of the A.R Kidwai Governor of Haryana through the ADC to Governor of J&K State.. Leaders of all political shades paid their respects and conveyed their sympathies with the bereaved family
At the cremation ground again a large crowd of over 10,000 people had gathered. Sh. L.K. Advani former Dy. Prime Minister of India, now Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha along with Shanta Kumar ex Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh & R. P. Singh reached by a charted plane from New Delhi to pay their last respects to Babu Ji. Advani said that it shall be difficult to find an equal to him with high moral values. Gulam Nabi Azad Chief Minister J&K State along with many of his cabinet ministers and admistration Heads parties reached the cremation ground to have a last glimpse of their loved senior colleague. Revered Soami Gurdeep Gir ji Maharaj of Dera Pathankot and Dera chief of Dera Baba Badbhag Singh H.P also came with their sangat to shower their blessings. A Kashmiri Muslim, who had joined the mourners, described Babu Ji as “A Great Darvesh or Saint “.
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
Ambedkar delivering a speech to a rally at Yeola, Nashik, on 13 October 1935
Born 14 April 1891 Mhow,
Central Provinces, British India (now in Madhya Pradesh)
Died 6 December 1956 (aged 65)
Other names Baba, Baba Saheb , Bodhisatva,Bhima , Mooknayak,Adhunik Buddha
Alma mater University of Mumbai
University of London
London School of Economics
Organization Samata Sainik Dal, Independent Labour Party, Scheduled Castes Federation
Title 1st Law Minister of India, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee
Spouse Ramabai Ambedkar (m. 1906) , Savita Ambedkar (m. 1948)
Awards Bharat Ratna (1990)
Dr. Ambedkar's Vision for Dalit Upliftment
Courtesy: CADAM, New Delhi: Extract From a Souvenir published by the Centre for Alternative Dalit Media (CADAM), Delhi on the occasion of National Conference of Dalit Organisations (New Delhi-10.12.2001) Article by
Bharati Ashok Kumar,BE,ME (Australia)
Born as an untouchable with no rights to be an equal in Indian Society, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar educated himself as the most qualified person of his time, inspired untouchable castes to reject Brahmanical Social Order (BSO) that kept them socially degraded, economically poor, culturally despised, politically powerless, and denied them the " basic human rights". He challenged the leadership of his time by exposing follies of their proposition of freeing India without freeing millions of untouchables, tribals and socially and educationally backward classes living in sub-human conditions under the Socio-Economic Raj of the Hindus. As the Chief Architect of free India's New Constitution, he abolished all forms of discriminations and inequalities based on caste, gender, race or status. But, what was his vision to uplift the Dalits?
Leadership has always been associated with many attributes. These attributes range from individual persona of the leader to a number of skills such as self-confidence, strong convictions, poise, ability to speak and present his concerns, and influence others' thought and actions. But it is the articulation of vision in the leadership that taps the conscious or unconscious needs, values, aspirations and feelings of followers such that the leadership enthuse them with shared ideological goal. This paper attempts to define the terms vision and leadership, and then establishes the linkages between the two. Before exploring actions, programmes of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and vision behind them, attempt has been made to explore the source of his vision.
Oxford dictionary gives many meanings of the word 'Vision'. However, when one uses this word in association with the word leadership, it is the act of faculty of seeing or power of discerning future conditions, or the foresightedness. Therefore, it is the capacity of the leadership to look forward. It suggests the future orientation and perceiving the possibilities or images of the things to come. Vision gives the sense of direction. It can also be referred to as a conceptual road, mapping from the existing position of the Organisation to its destination in the imagined future. Vision propels one to change for a better future against the maintenance of a status quo. It connotes a standard of excellence, an ideal and implies a choice of values. It has quality of uniqueness. Vision is not for the complacent. Vision articulates a view of a realistic, credible, attractive future for the Organisation, a condition that is better in some ways than what now exists. Renowned authority on Leadership, Kouzes and Posner reports that not every leader they interviewed used the term vision. They used purpose, focus, mission, legacy, dream goal, calling or personal agenda.
Based on leader's personal traits, behaviour, functioning style, decision-making process, leader-follower relationship in relation to different situations, a number of models and approaches of leadership have been developed. However, there exists two notions of leadership, which are
(1) the traditional and
(2) the new notions.
The traditional notions of leadership are based on power and control. Leaders are supposed to detach themselves from mundane routine work, and limit themselves to inventing a grand plan. Magnetize a band of followers with courageous acts. Separate emotions from work and remain lonely at the top. Being on the top makes them automatically leader, and the leadership is reserved for few. Traditional notions are 'based on the assumptions that leadership can't be learnt.
Notions of leadership, however, have changed. The changed notions, we refer to them as new notions of leadership, contradict the assumptions of born-leaders. They characterise leadership with challenging the process, changing things, and shaking up the Organisation. It could be a mother, a small model of leadership in her family, a teacher, a principal, and environmentalist, a Chief Executive Officer, or a leader of a community, party or nation.
The new leadership attracts constituents not because it is in a position to command (e.g. Minister) and control them, but because of its unquestionable faith in the human capacity to adapt, grow, and learn. The new leadership believes in long-term strategy. Supernatural powers are not their source of dynamism. Their powers come from strong belief in a purpose, and willingness to express that conviction. Instead of commanding and controlling, this leadership serves and supports. It is involved and in touch with those whom it leads. The credibility of action is the single most determinant of whether the leader being followed or not. Therefore, the new leadership is not about a place or a position. It is an art of mobilising others to strive for shared aspirations. Leadership communicates these shared aspirations - the vision. The new notion of leadership, therefore, emphasises the role of vision in the leadership.
Importance of vision in leadership has been adequately acknowledged. Burns referred to this kind of leadership as 'Transformational Leadership'. Kotter expressed it in terms ofthree elements, establishing direction i.e. vision, strategies for achieving it and aligning people with the chosen direction andproducing change.'
VISION IN LEADERSHIP
Vision provides strength and reflects depth in thinking process of the leader. Vision gives a clear idea of the objectives of the leader. Warren Bennis in his book 'On Becoming A Leader' says that leaders come in every size, shape and disposition, but they seem to share the basic ingredients of a guiding vision. Robert Swiggett, as quoted in 'The Leadership Challenge' says "the leaders job is to create a vision. Without vision the leadership has no meaning because the people won't know where the leader wants to go and what he/she wants to do and how he/ she wants to do it." It is the vision that unites the leader and the followers for achieving common goals, and precisely that is what leadership is about.
Vision brings effectiveness to leadership. It is a bridge between the present and the future constructed by a leader. Vision is the manifestation of a leader's judgment and character and a fresh approach or new option to longstanding problems. Leadership must provide a framework of thought to the people he is leading, as they would not follow without being convinced.
DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR AND THE SOURCE OF HIS VISION
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar returned to India in 1917 after spending three years at Columbia University in United States of America and one year in London School of Economics. He has earned a degree of Master of Arts in June 1915 and a Ph. D degree in June1916. He came to London in October 1916, and enrolled for the degrees of M. Sc. (Economics) and D.Sc. (Economics) in London School of Economics and Political Science. He also joined Gray's Inn for Law for the degree of Bar- at - Law. He returned to India back in August 1917, as the duration of his scholarship granted to him by the Maharaja of Baroda was over. He was appointed as the Military Secretary to the Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad. The Maharaja's intention was to appoint Ambedkar his finance Secretary after some experience. But soon Ambedkar had to leave Baroda in sheer disgust at the harassment and treatment he received as an untouchable. In 1918 he became a professor at Sydenham College, Bombay. He resigned in 1920, and went again to London to complete his studies. He returned to India permanently in April 1923.
Highly educated and articulate, from the very moment of his return in 1917 he was looked to as a leader of the community. In 1919, during a brief period in India between segments of his overseas education, he testified to the Southborough Committee, which was gathering information to determine the franchise for the Montagu-Chemsford reforms. He also appeared at two major conferences of untouchables during 1920, and launched a Marathi fortnightly MOOKNAYAK (Voice of the Mute or Dumb) in January 1920. Dr. Ambedkar's testimony reveals the difference between the Ambedkar and the other Mahar leaders as well as the leaders of Untouchables in other parts of India. In this testimony before the Southborough Committee he spoke for no group, only as the college graduate among the Untouchables of Bombay province. Eleanor Zelliot in her essay on the Leadership of Baba Saheb Ambedkar says, "His testimony was lengthy, sophisticated, passionate, but never beyond the bound of a lawyer's plea. He fit his proposal into a total plan for the election procedures in the province for all the groups, asking only that "the hardships and disabilities entailed by the social system should not be reproduced and perpetuated in political institutions.' He claimed that the Depressed Classes were entitled to representation because there was no "like-mind ness" and no “endosmosis" between Untouchables and Touchables and hence Touchables could not represent Untouchables. The Depressed Classes were "slaves" "dehumanised", and so "socialised as never to complain" and they must have communal representation "in such numbers as will enable them to claim redress", and under franchise "so low as to educate into political life as many as Untouchables as possible". Terminology used by Dr. Ambedkar in this testimony, indicate formation of his vision.
Vision in the leadership may spring from its original thinking or may be derived from an outside source. Vision, however, is generally expressed as the inner voice, the insight or the intuition in a leader, which helps him in visualising. Kouzes and Posner have defined intuition as the bringing together of knowledge and experience to produce new insights. Vision may not necessarily be a pure conception of the leader, but the leader is the one who chooses the image and articulates it into a vision and focuses attention of the people on it. Where from Dr. Ambedkar's vision sprang? What were the sources of his vision?
Lord Buddha: Dr. Ambedkar choose his three gurus from three era of Indian History - Ancient, Medieval, and Modern - all historical figures, who chose to stand up and challenge the decaying societies of their times. His first Guru is Lord Buddha, who had profound influence on him. Dr. Ambedkar appreciated these beliefs. He learnt from the life of Lord that a man could become great not merely due to his royal birth, but because he was motivated by the dynamics of a social purpose and acted as the scourge and scavenger of the society. Lord Buddha led him to question the infallibility of the Vedas; the faith in the elevation of the soul; the efficacy of rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices as means of obtaining salvation; the theory that god created man or that he came out of the body of Brahma; and the doctrine of Karma, which is the determination of man's position in present life by deeds done by him in his past life. The impact of Lord Buddha's teaching can be seen in his writings.
Saint Kabir: He was the second guru of Dr. Ambedkar. Again a historical figure St. Kabir was a weaver cum poet of medieval time. In fact he was the leader of the band of Untouchable poets. Saint Kabir opposed Varnashram system vehemently and challenged the superiority of Brahmans. He opposed fundamentalism of Hindus and Muslims both, and unified himself with the suffering of the downtrodden, lower castes, and untouchables. Kabir's liberalism and opposition to fundamentalism of Hindus and Muslim can be seen in Dr. Ambedkar's book on Pakistan, where he has criticised both the communities in unequivocal terms.
Jyotiba Phule: His third guru died in November 1890, merely five months before Dr. Ambedkar was born. Jotiba Phule was the Mahatma of the poor and Untouchables. Jotiba Phule educated Shudras and ati-Shudras and women and worked for their upliftment. He was the first modern Indian who questioned the hegemony of Brahmins and exposed the priest-craft through his speeches, ballads, writings and programmes. Phule's stress on education and knowledge showed a striking contrast with the upper-caste efforts to acquire technology while maintaining 'traditional' values of many cultures; he made it clear that education was a weapon to change 'eastern morals' and to bring about a kind of Cultural Revolution as well as technological one. He and his wife, Savitribai Phule founded Satya Shodhak Samaj, which launched a strong movement for the rights of the downtrodden. Dr. Ambedkar considered him the greatest Shudra of Modem India who made the lower classes of Hindus conscious of their slavery to the higher classes and who preached the gospel of that for India, social democracy was vital than independence from foreign rule. He dedicated his book, Who were the Shudras? to this greatest Shudra of Modern times. Following his third Guru Jotiba Phule, Dr. Ambedkar also considered struggle against social bondage more important than the foreign bondage.
Apart from these three personalities, John Dewey, famous American intellectual and his mentor at Colombia University in New York, Karl Marx, and Booker T. Washington, Justice Ranade also had profound influence on Dr. Ambedkar. History of Roman Empire, Irish Struggle and Slavery in United States also shaped his actions and vision.
DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR AND HIS VISION OF UPLIFTMENT OF DALITS
As mentioned above that the leaders job is to create a vision. Without vision the leadership has no meaning because the people won't know where the leader wants to go and what he/she wants to do and how he/she wants to do it. In fact it was the vision that differentiates Dr. Ambedkar from his contemporary leaders. His contemporary Dalit Leaders were though educating the Dalits, but have hardly analysed the socio-economic causes of their degrading and inferior position in the society. Dr. Ambedkar was fully equipped to go into the depth of the socio-economic problems and fix the problem. In contrast to other leaders, who were supporting the British Government for the upliftment of the Dalits, Dr. Ambedkar emphasised on the concept of self-help or Atta Deepo Bhava. He realised the lack of ideological hollowness of the Dalit Movement and provided necessary ideology to it.
Not improvement in caste status, but Annihilation of Caste:In contrast to earlier efforts of Dalit leadership claiming higher status of Khastriyas, Dr. Ambedkar never claimed high caste status for Untouchables,since such claim implied an acceptance of upper caste superiority. He did not claim that the Untouchables were pre-Aryan, the original settlers of the land. Dr. Ambedkar argued that the Untouchables' position in the Indian Society was of social, not racial origin and therefore subject to change. By 1935, Dr. Ambedkar had concluded that unless caste is totally annihilated, degrading position of Dalits in Indian society wouldn't improve. For him, caste embodied Brahmanical superiority.
Alternative to Brahamanical Social Order (BSO): For Dr. Ambedkar eradication of Caste required a repudiation of 'Hinduism' as a religion and adoption of an alternative to this religion. He considered Buddha Dhamma and alternative to Brahmanical Social Order or alternative to Hinduism. His choice of Buddhism was essentially linked to his strong dedication to the reality of India, its rich historical heritage, which he sought to wrest from the imposition of a 'Hindu' identity.
Rationalism: He stood for rationalism. His 22 commandments are reflecting his rationalism.
State Socialism: He stood for a responsible state, taking due care of the despised, downtrodden and socially and economically weaker sections.
Autonomous Dalit Movement: Dr. Ambedkar firmly believed in an Autonomous Dalit Movement with a constantly attempted alliance of the socially and economically exploited.
If we analyse these corner stones, we find that he stood for an alternative form of society, economy, polity, religion and culture. His programmes were intended to integrate the Untouchables into Indian Society in modern, not traditional ways, and on as high a level as possible. This was in contrast with Gandhi's 'Ideal Bhangi' who would continue to do sanitation work even though his status would equal that of a Brahman. Dr. Ambedkar wanted depressed classes "to raise their educational standard so that they may know their own conditions, have aspirations to rise to the level of highest Hindu and be in a position to use political power as a means to an end."
Dr. Ambedkar vociferously advocated equality. He meant not equal status of Varna, but equality in social, economic and political opportunity for all. He said "Equality may be a fiction but nonetheless one must accept it as the governing principle."
EDUCATE, AGITATE, ORGANISE : HAVE FAITH IN YOUR STRENGTH
Realising the divisive and water-tight compartmentalisation, Dr. Ambedkar stressed on self-help. He adopted quadrilateral strategy of empowering the Dalits. The first step of this strategy was to educate the Dalits, so that they know the ills, evils that prevent them from progressing. He realised that a community that has been totally deprived from acquiring any kind of resources, education would be the easiest and within reach of the Dalits. He visualised that no Government can afford to keep such a big mass of people illiterate and ignorant. However, he stressed that Dalits themselves have to take lead in educating their lot. He foundedPeople's Education Society for this purpose, which established first educational Institute run in Bombay by an Indian Agency. By this Dr. Ambedkar showed that Dalits were not solely dependent on the Government.
Considering education as the basic and necessary investment, Dr. Ambedkar expected that by acquiring education and knowledge, many more people like him would take up the cause of the Dalits. Educated Dalit mind would agitate over the injustice inflicted and would fight against it. Though Dr. Ambedkar recognised the indifferentism perpetuated by the Brahmanical Social Order, but left this to be addressed by the Brahmanical curriculum designers, which continue to hold this indifferentism. Therefore, agitation of mind is yet to be seen in proportion to the education.
Agitated mind, as Dr. Ambedkar presumed, would force educated people to form organisations and they would act to fix the problems. Many people, quite often, who profess Dr. Ambedkar, limit his slogan to these three points. But to this author, the actual message of Dr. Ambedkar lies in "have faith in your strength." Right from the beginning, Dr. Ambedkar emphasises self-help. He says, "Self-help is the best help". He also made it loud and clear to Dalits that "it is out of hard struggle and ceaseless struggle alone that one derives strength, confidence and recognition." He directed Dalits on many occasion that 'you must stand on your feet and fight as best as you can for your rights. Power and prestige will come to you through struggle.' Many political leaders, who eye on our numbers, profess that politics is the key that can unlock all the locks, forgetting that 'it is not enough that a people are numerically in majority. They must be always watchful, strong, well educated and self respecting to attain and maintain success. Therefore, Dalits have to organise themselves to improve their lot themselves. No more begging pots.
Anita Gujrati: Vision in Leadership, assignment paper of Master of Educational Management, 1999, Flinders University of South Australia, Australia, page 1.
Bennis Warren & Nanus Burt: Leaders, Harper and Row, 1995. Quoted in Anita Gujrati: Vision in Leadership, assignment paper of Master of Educational Management, 1999, Flinders University of South Australia, Australia, page 1.
Kouzes James M. and Posner Barry Z.: The leadership Challenge: How to get Extraordinary things done in the Organisations, Jossey-Bass Publishers, USA, 1995.
Burns J.M.: Leadership, Harper and Row, New York, 1978.
Kotter J. P.: The Leadership Factor, Free Press, New York, 1988.
D.C. Ahir: The Legacy of Dr. Ambedkar, B.R. Publishing Corporation, Delhi, 1990, page 9.
Gail Omvedt: Dalits and the Democratic Revolution - Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit Movement in Colonial India, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1994, Page 144.
Eleanor Zelliot: Leadership of Baba Sabeb Ambedkar in her Book From Untouchable to Dalit Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1998 page 65.
Eleanor Zelliot: Leadership of Baba Saheb Ambedkar in her Book From Untouchable to Dalit Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1998 page 65.
Eleanor Zelliot: Gandhi and Ambedkar- A Study in Leadership in her Book From Untouchable to Dalit Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1998 page 158.
Ashok K. Bharti, New Delhi
Ashok Kumar Bharti, educated in India and Australia, is actively involved in Dalit Movement since 1980s. Currently, National Organising Secretary of Samata Sainik Dal and in-charge of Empowerment Program. Revived Dr. Ambedkar's First Paper Mooknayak (leader of the Dumb) as abhimooknayak (the best leader of the Dumb) in 1991, Mr. Bharti was instrumental in founding Centre for Alternative Dalit Media (CADAM) along with a group of dedicated social activists known for their commitment and concerns for the dalits.
He has presented several papers in National and International Conferences. Notably among them were his paper on "Strategies, Programs and Fate: The ex-Untouchables of India" in 2nd World Conference on Remedies to Racial and Ethnic Economic Inequality" held in Adelaide, Australia from 20-25 September 1998; "Strategy for Dalit Development" in First World Conference of Dalits held on I 0-1 I October 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; paper on Holistic Development: Volunteering and Disadvantaged in VIIth International Association for Volunteer Effort South Pacific Conference, New Delhi on 5th November 2001. He is currently involved in developing alternative strategies for educating Dalits; strategies to cope up with the adverse effects of Globalisation; Economic Empowerment of Dalits by Developing Dalit Economy and establishing financial / thrift and credit societies.
Centre for Alternative Dalit Media (CADAM)
M-3/22,Model Town-III, Delhi-110009
Most of TV channels discussed how Dr.Ambedkar is Greater after Gandhiji
But, most honest people, dalits and Sahara Samay Discussed How Dr.Ambedkar Is Greater than Gandhiji
He Opposed the Partition Of India to the maximum extent. Because he has completely foreseen the situation after Partition as they lack good constitution, all necessary resources for Development, Infrastructure. People will surely suffer. But others Directly/Indirectly supported Partition and now we can compare situation of Pakistan with India, They would have benefited immensely in absence of Partition. Unfortunately they could not stop partition.
As every being should live without any struggle for at least one time food,pure water, basic education, liberty, equality, fraternity, freedom, respect, justice, peace and happiness.
The new pakistan based organization which works on the principles of Dr.Ambedkar
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
24 February 2020
Preceded by Hemant Soren
15 November 2000 – 17 March 2003
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Arjun Munda
President of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik)
September 2006 – February 2020
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Office abolished
Preceded by Raj Kumar Yadav
2001 – 2004
Succeeded by Chandra Prakash Choudhary
1998 – 1999
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
1999 – 2000
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
2004 – 2014
Preceded by Tilakdhari Singh
Succeeded by Ravindra Kumar Ray
1998 – 2002
Succeeded by Shibu Soren
Born 11 January 1958
(now in Jharkhand), India
(till 2006), (2020 – present)
affiliations Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik)
(2006 – 2020)
Spouse(s) Shanti Murmu
Babulal Marandi (born 11 January 1958) is an Indian politician. He was the first Chief Minister of Jharkhand and current Leader of the Opposition in the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly. He was the founder and national President of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik). He was the Member of Parliament in 12th, 13th 14th and 15th Lokasabha from Jharkhand. He was the Union State Minister (MoS) for Forests & Environment of India in the BJP - led National Democratic Alliance Government in 1998 to 2000.
Babulal was born in a remote Kodia Bandh village under Tisri block of Giridih district of the now Jharkhand province. He belongs to Santal family.
After passing high school, he moved to Giridih College from where he did his intermediate and graduation. It was there that he came in contact with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Later, he moved to Ranchi where he did his post-graduation in Geography from Ranchi University.
He worked as a teacher in a village primary school for a year before giving up the job to work for the Sangh Parivar. He served as the organising secretary of the Jharkhand region of Vishva Hindu Parishad.
In 1983, he moved to Dumka and worked in the Santhal Pargana division, which he toured extensively. Where he came close to Bishnu Prasad Bhaiya, his the then companion and there he used to spend some time at his Jamtara Residence but mainly he used to live in the RSS office in Dumka. And after that his journey to Ranchi and then Delhi began.
In 1991, the Bharatiya Janata Party gave him the ticket to contest from the Dumka (Lok Sabha constituency), but he lost. In 1996, he lost to Shibu Soren by just 5,000 odd votes. The BJP, in the meantime, made him president of the party's Jharkhand unit.
It was under Marandi's leadership that the party won 12 out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand region in the 1998 election. Marandi, a Santal, led the tally by defeating Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supremo Shibu Soren, another Santhal.
The victory gave an immense boost to Marandi's profile and he was included in the Union Council of Ministers, one of four ministers from Bihar.
First NDA rule of Jharkhand
After bifurcation of Bihar in 2000 in states of Bihar and Jharkhand, NDA came to power in Jharkhand with Marandi as the 1st Chief Minister of Jharkhand. Political analysts believe that this government initiated many developmental schemes in the state, the most visible being, improvement of the road network in the state.
He also put forward the idea to develop Greater Ranchi to reduce the crowding in the city. However, Marandi's tenure proved rather short-lived, as he had to resign and make way for Arjun Munda for the post in 2003 following pressure exerted by coalition allies primarily Janta Dal United.
Thereafter, he increasing moved away from political mainstage of Jharkhand irrespective of NDA being in power in Ranchi. In the 2004 Lok Sabha Elections, he contested from Kodarma (Lok Sabha constituency) as a BJP candidate. He won the seat while all the other sitting MPs of NDA from Jharkhand including union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Reeta Verma lost their respective seats. His differences with the state leadership continued to increase and he even started criticising the state government in public.
Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM)
Marandi resigned from both Kodarma (Lok Sabha constituency) seat and the primary membership of Bharatiya Janata Party in 2006 and floated a new political outfit named Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. He was followed by 5 MLAs of Bharatiya Janata Party. In the subsequent by-elections for the Kodarma (Lok Sabha constituency) seat, he contested as an independent candidate and emerged victorious.
Marandi, who was the incumbent MP from Kodarma (Lok Sabha constituency), contested the elections on Jharkhand Vikas Morcha ticket in 2009 general election, and retained the seat. But in the Narendra Modi wave of 2014, Marandi's party failed to win any seat in the state as BJP won 12 out of 14 seats; from Koderma, BJP's Ravindra Kumar Ray was elected to Lok Sabha.
In February 2020, he merged JVM into BJP.
Babulal Marandi is married to Shanti Murmu. His younger son Anup Marandi was killed in a Naxal attack at Chilkhari village in Jharkhand's Giridih district on 27 October 2007.
Baby Rani Maurya
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Baby Rani Maurya
26 August 2018 – 15 September 2021
Preceded by Krishan Kant Paul
Succeeded by Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh (Retd.)
Member of the National Commission for Women
Mayor of Agra
Born 15 August 1956
Residence Raj Bhavan, Dehradun
Baby Rani Maurya (born 15 August 1956) is an Indian politician, currently serving as Vice President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), since September 2021. She entered politics as a worker for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the early 1990s. She was the first woman mayor of Agra from 1995 to 2000. From 2002 until 2005, she served on the National Commission for Women. She served as seventh governor of Uttarakhand from 26 August 2018 till September 2021, when she resigned two years before completing her term.
Maurya was born on 15 August 1956. She has Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts degrees.
Maurya became active in politics in the early 1990s, following her marriage to a bank officer, Pradeep Kumar Maurya, who now serves on the advisory board of the Punjab National Bank after retiring as its director. She began her political career as a worker of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 1995 she contested the Agra mayoral election on a BJP ticket, and won with a large mandate. She was the first woman to be mayor of Agra, and held the post until 2000.
In 1997, Maurya was appointed an office bearer of the scheduled caste (SC) wing of the BJP. Ram Nath Kovind, who is now the President of India, was then the chairman of the SC wing. As office bearer of this wing she assumed responsibility for strengthening the BJP's reach among members of the scheduled castes in Uttar Pradesh In 2001, she was made a member of the Uttar Pradesh social welfare board. In recognition of her efforts toward the empowerment of dalit women, in 2002 she was made a member of the National Commission for Women. She served on the Commission until 2005.
The BJP nominated Maurya to contest the Etmadpur seat in the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly election; however, she narrowly lost to her Bahujan Samaj Party opponent, Narayan Singh Suman. From 2013 to 2015, she was engaged in the state-level responsibilities that were assigned to her by the BJP. In July 2018, she was made a member of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
On 21 August 2018, Maurya was appointed the seventh governor of Uttarakhand by the Indian government. She was sworn in on 26 August at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan in Uttarakhand, becoming only the second woman to be the governor of Uttarakhand: Margaret Alva, appointed in 2009, was the first. She succeeded Krishan Kant Paul, whose term had officially expired on 8 July, but who remained in office until 25 August due to the delay in appointing his replacement. She resigned in September 2021, two years before completing her term as Governor. A few days later, she was appointed National Vice President of BJP, with assembly elections in her home state of UP due in a few months.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Barman in 2013
22 April 1996 – 14 May 1996
Governor Lokanath Misra
Preceded by Hiteswar Saikia
Succeeded by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta
Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, Administrative Reforms and Training
22 January 2015 – 24 May 2016
Minister for Revenue & DM
2006 - 2011
Minister for Health & FW
2001 - 2006
Minister for Education, Health & Panchayat
1991 - 22 April 1996
Minister of State for Revenue and Education
1973 - 1978
Member of Assam Legislative Assembly
2001 - 2016
1991 - 1996
1983 - 1985
1967 - 1978
Constituency Nalbari West
Born 12 October 1931
Belsor, Nalbari, Assam, British India
Died 18 April 2021 (aged 89)
Dispur Hospital, Guwahati, Assam
Spouse(s) Malati Barman
Children 4, including Diganta
Parent(s) Bhakat Ram Barman (Father) Mathupriya Barman (Mother)
Bhumidhar Barman (12 October 1931 – 18 April 2021) was an Indian Politician belonging to the Indian National Congress. He was the Chief Minister of Assam from 22 April 1996 to 14 May 1996. He was a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly being elected 7 times. He was first elected in 1967. In 2015, he was made a Cabinet Minister of Assam.
Early life and education
Bhumidhar Barman was born on 12 October 1931 to the late Bhakat Ram Barman and the late Mathupriya Barman in Belsor. He passed his matriculation from Tihu High School in 1951. His Father, Late Bhakat Ram Barman was a well established businessman of his area. He completed his schooling Tihu High school , thereafter at Cotton Collage and finally his MBBS degree from Assam Medical Collage. He was among the last batch of students to have passed out from Calcutta University. Initially he started practising nearby his village people who were deprived of the medical facility and soon became famous as Bhumi Doctor.
He joined Indian National Congress in 1967 and got elected from then west Nalbari constituency and again in 1972. He again was elected in 1983 but for Dharmapur. After Hiteshwar Saikia's death he was made Chief Minister. He was again elected to the Assembly in 1991 for Barkherty and again in 2001 until 2016. Barman was made a minister many times throughout his career. Barman was the oldest member in the council of ministers of Assam in 2010. He was made acting Chief Minister when Tarun Gogoi was hospitalised in Mumbai for heart surgery.
Barman married Malati Barman and they had 1 son and 3 daughters. His son Diganta Barman contested for the Barkherty seat in 2016 but lost. However he won in 2021.
Failing Health and Death
Barman had been admitted to Dispur Hospital on March 13. He had been suffering for chronic kidney disease and other heart issues. He was put into the ICU under ventilation. Senior congress leaders such as Rispun Bora visited him.
Barman passed away at 6:23 pm 18 April 2021. Many politicians such as Narendra Modi, Venkaiah Naidu, Sarbananda Sonowal, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Ripun Bora, Keshab Mahanta, Debabrata Saikia, Lurinjyoti Gogoi, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Jitendra Singh,Abdul Khalque, Pradyut Bordoloi, Bhupen Kumar Borah, Badruddin Ajmal, Raijor Dal all paid tribute.
The State Government declared a three-day state mourning period where the national flag was flown half-mast in all offices where it was flown regularly and no official entertainment was held.
Assam police gave a 21-gun salute to the Congress stalwart at the funeral which was attended by Sarbananda Sonowal, Ranjeet Kumar Dass, Ripun Bora, Barman's son Diganta and other politicians. Diganta performed his last rites with all family members present. The body of Barman was brought to his village in a vehicle decorated with flowers. Before bringing the body to his native village, Barman's body was taken to Assam Legislative Assembly where Cabinet minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua and DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta paid tributes to Barman. His body was next taken to the congress headquarters, Nalbari deputy commissioner's office and Rajiv Bhawan where people paid tribute to the Chief minister.
Bhola Paswan Shastri
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bhola Paswan Shastri
24 February 1978 – 23 March 1978
Preceded by Kamalapati Tripathi
Succeeded by Kamalapati Tripathi
31 May 1972 – 2 April 1982
2 June 1971 – 9 January 1972
Governor D. K. Barooah
Preceded by Karpoori Thakur
22 June 1969 – 4 July 1969
Governor Nityanand Kanungo
Preceded by Harihar Singh
Succeeded by President's rule
22 March 1968 – 29 June 1968
Governor Nityanand Kanungo
Preceded by B. P. Mandal
Succeeded by President's rule
Born 21 September 1914
Died 10 September 1984 (aged 69)
Spouse(s) Shanti Soren and Shushila Bharti
Children One Son (Deceased)
Bhola Paswan Shastri (1914-1984) was an Indian freedom fighter and on three occasions between 1968-71 was former Chief Minister of Bihar state in India.
He was born in Jatav Community in Bairgacchi village of Purnia district. Bhola Paswan Shastri Agriculture College is named after him. Bhola Paswan was a highly educated member of the downtrodden caste and the Shastri title was due to his extensive knowledge. Bhola Paswan was the first Scheduled Caste (SC) Chief Minister of Bihar
He first became Bihar Chief Minister for 100 days in the unstable fourth Bihar Assembly (1967-1968), but Congress lost majority and a mid-term poll was called. Harihar Singh's Congress government collapsed when Congress split in June 1969. Bhola Paswan Shastri sided with Congress (Org) faction and became chief minister for 13 days. But his coalition proved unstable. By June 1971, he was back in Congress and became chief minister for 7 months during the run-in to 1972 vidhan sabha polls.
It was in year 1968 he became Chief Minister for the first time though this term lasted only three months. Also,it was for the first time in Bihar,a Dalit became Chief Minister. He became Chief Minister for second time for 13 days in 1969 for 13 days and for third time in 1971 for 7 months before political turmoil overtook the state.
Irrespective of his short tenures as Chief Minister,his village remembers him as a favoured son,a three term Chief Minister and a honest person. Local villagers recall him of a person who refused to accumulate personal wealth and a home that continued to be hut even long after the end of his third and last tenure and who continued to sleep on floor. One local villager recalls him "He was so honest that he did nothing for himself,nor gave his own village any undue favours". In his village we can find the name boards displayed with his name everywhere and one of the board in the right side of the road reads "Bhola Paswan Shastri Gram". Local MLA from Dhamdaha, Leshi Singh got a community building built near his ancestral home. However,we find the bylanes of village have open drains and there is very little work available locally for residents and hence waiting for jobs. Even his family sometimes travels to Purnea for work.
Shastri was born in poor home and his father used to work in the home of royal family of Darbhanga. Though members from his caste were not encouraged to study he took interest and went till Kashi Vishwavidyalaya. He never forgot his community and always stood with them. He had no children and in 2020 July it was reported in local Television channels on the pitiable condition of his extended family who were forced to live on Government ration. However local political parties and leaders rushed in and offered financial help.
B. B. Gurung
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bhim Bahadur Gurung
11 May 1984 – 24 May 1984
Governor Homi J. H. Taleyarkhan
Preceded by Nar Bahadur Bhandari
Constituency Chakhung and Jorethang
Born 11 October 1929
Chakhung, West Sikkim, Kingdom of Sikkim
Political party Sikkim National Congress, Sikkim Janata Party
Bhim Bahadur Gurung was the third Chief Minister of Sikkim. He held office from 11 May until 24 May 1984, the shortest term in the history of Sikkim.
Gurung was born on 11 October 1929 at Chakhung village in West Sikkim. He matriculated from St. Roberts School in Darjeeling. After his graduation from the University of Calcutta, he served as a teacher from 1953 to 1955. For a short period of time,[vague] he also worked as a staff reporter for the Calcutta-based newspaper Amrita Bazar Patrika. He also edited the first news-based Nepali Journal of Sikkim, called Kanchenjunga.
Gurung's political career commenced with his membership of the Sikkim Rajya Congress, which had been formed in December 1947, and of which he was to become General Secretary in 1958. In 1967, Gurung was elected Executive Councillor by L.D. Kazi's Sikkim Rashtriya Congress and remained in the party until 1971.
He was a very strong supporter of the democratic movement in Sikkim. After Sikkim merged with India in 1975, Gurung was elected in the 1st Vidhan Sabha in 1977 as a candidate of the Sikkim National Congress. Consequently, he was appointed speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly in 1977 and he remained speaker until 1979. In May 1984, Nar Bahadur Bhandari's government was dismissed by then-governor Homi J. H. Taleyarkhan. Shortly thereafter, Gurung was sworn in as the third Chief Minister of Sikkim. However, due to lack of support and instability, Gurung's government was dissolved and a presidential system implemented in the state.
Presently (2013–14) Gurung is a political advisor to the Chief Minister of Sikkim.
Biplab Kumar Deb
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Biplab Kumar Deb
9 March 2018
Governor Tathagata Roy
Deputy Jishnu Dev Varma
Preceded by Manik Sarkar
3 March 2018
Preceded by Gopal Chandra Roy
Born 25 November 1971
Rajdhar Nagar village, Gomati district, Tripura, India
affiliations National Democratic Alliance
Spouse(s) Niti Deb
Children 2 (1 daughter and 1 son)
Residence Shyamaprasad Mukerjee Lane, Agartala
Biplab Kumar Deb (born 25 November 1971) is an Indian politician and the current Chief Minister of Tripura. He has been the state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Tripura since 7 January 2016 till 2018. He led the BJP to victory in the 2018 Legislative Assembly Election, defeating 25 years rule of the Left Front government led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He took his oath as the 10th Chief Minister of Tripura on 9 March 2018.
Biplab Deb was born on 25 November 1971 in Rajdhar Nagar village, Udaipur, Gomati district, Tripura. His parents had migrated to India as refugees from Chandpur District , East Pakistan during liberation war in 1971 before his birth. His father is a citizen of India since 27 June 1967 He spent his childhood and schooling days in Tripura, completing his graduation from Tripura University before shifting to New Delhi. He later returned to Tripura after an absence of 15 years.
Biplab Deb was elected the President of Tripura state unit of BJP in January 2017 replacing Sudhndra Dasgupta who was BJP's longest serving state president. He started his political career by campaigning for the 2018 state election. He began his campaign from the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council which was believed to be the base of the then governing CPI(M).
On 8 August 2017 Biplab Deb helped bring about the defection of Indian National Congress MLAs led by Sudip Roy Barman to the Bharatiya Janata Party. He led the local BJP into the 2018 Legislative Assembly election, attempting to gain office after 25 years of Left Front rule.
Deb contested the election from Banamalipur Constituency in Agartala and won by a margin of 9,549 votes, which was held by Indian National Congress MLA Gopal Roy. Deb led the Tripura's Election campaign and defeated Left Front after 25 years by winning 44 seats with his ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura out of possible 60 seats in Tripura.
Deb campaigned on the subject of youth employment opportunities, which he promised to improve if elected Chief Minister of Tripura. He also promised the employees of Tripura that he would implement the 7th Pay Commission once get elected. Deb brought in key BJP ministers from across India to campaign for the party in Tripura.
He took his oath as the 10th Chief Minister of Tripura on 9 March 2018.
In April 2018, Deb stirred nationwide controversy by claiming that the internet and satellite have existed since the Mahabharata era. He also made controversial remarks on the Civil Service Examination, stating that only civil engineers should sit for civil service exams. He also stated that international beauty pageants were a farce, and claimed that the decision to award Miss World and Miss Universe titles to Indian women for five years in a row was market-driven rather than based on the beauty of the participants while questioning the rationale behind awarding Diana Hayden the Miss World pageant.
Bimala Prasad Chaliha
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bimala Prasad Chaliha
28 December 1957 – 6 November 1970
Preceded by Bishnu Ram Medhi
Succeeded by Mahendra Mohan Choudhury
Born 26 March 1912
Died 25 February 1971
Political party Indian National Congress
Awards Padma Vibhushan (1971)
Bimala Prasad Chaliha (26 March 1912 – 25 February 1971) was a Leader of Indian National Congress and a freedom fighter who was put behind bar in the Jorhat Jail in 1942 for active participation in Mahatma Gandhi's call of Quit India to the British Govt. He was elected to the post of Chief Minister for three five years terms of Assam State, once from Badarpur Constituency and twice from Sonari Constituency. He was in office from 28 December 1957 to 6 November 1970. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1971.
During his tenure as the Chief Minister, the Assam Official Language Act, 1960 was enacted, which made Assamese language the sole official language of the state. During his terms the Chinese attacked India at Bomdilla then called NEFA now known as Arunachal Pradesh. He strongly opposed the division of Assam State into smaller states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya and was member in various Committees of India's Central Government. Only after his death the State of Assam was broken down into smaller States. The March 1966 Mizo National Front uprising also happened during his tenure. Earlier he was instrumental in promoting the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 and corresponding Assam Plantations Labour Rules, 1956 to safeguard the interest of the Tea Plantation Workers of Assam. During his second term as Chief Minister the issue of illegal migration from then East Bengal came up, he claimed there were 300,000 illegal entrants in Assam, and he took active steps to deport them in his third term.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Beant was born in Jat Sikh Family undivided Punjab and later migrated to the Bilaspur village in the Doraha tehsil of the Ludhiana district. Thereafter he shifted to village Kotli in the same district. He completed his education from the Government College Lahore. At the age of 23, he joined the army but after two years of service, decided to make a switch to politics and social work.
After the 1947 partition, Beant Singh entered the Punjab politics. In 1960 he was elected chairman of block samiti (committee) of Doraha, in Ludhiana district. After serving for some time as Director of the Central cooperative bank in Ludhiana, Beant Singh entered the Punjab Vidhan Sabha (assembly) as an independent candidate in 1969.
Beant Singh was assassinated in a bomb blast at the secretariat complex in Chandigarh on 31 August 1995. The blast claimed the lives of 17 others including 3 Indian commandos. Beant Singh was accompanied by his close friend Ranjodh Singh Mann on the day of assassination. Dilawar Singh Babbar of Babbar Khalsa International acted as the suicide bomber; later, the backup bomber Balwant Singh Rajoana was also convicted for the killing.
Governor Surendra NathSudhakar Panditrao Kurdukar (Acting)
Preceded by President's Rule
Succeeded by Harcharan Singh BrarPersonal details
Born 19 February 1922
Died 31 August 1995 (aged 73)
Children Tej Parkash Singh
Beant Singh (19 February 1922 – 31 August 1995) was an Indian politician and the Chief Minister of Punjab from 1992 to 1995. He was a member of Indian National Congress. He was killed in a car bombing.
Beant was born in Jat Sikh Family undivided Punjab and later migrated to the Bilaspur village in the Doraha tehsil of the Ludhiana district. Thereafter he shifted to village Kotli in the same district. He completed his education from the Government College Lahore. At the age of 23, he joined the army but after two years of service, decided to make a switch to politics and social work.
After the 1947 partition, Beant Singh entered the Punjab politics. In 1960 he was elected chairman of block samiti (committee) of Doraha, in Ludhiana district. After serving for some time as Director of the Central cooperative bank in Ludhiana, Beant Singh entered the Punjab Vidhan Sabha (assembly) as an independent candidate in 1969.
Beant Singh was assassinated in a bomb blast at the secretariat complex in Chandigarh on 31 August 1995. The blast claimed the lives of 17 others including 3 Indian commandos. Beant Singh was accompanied by his close friend Ranjodh Singh Mann on the day of assassination. Dilawar Singh Babbar of Babbar Khalsa International acted as the suicide bomber; later, the backup bomber Balwant Singh Rajoana was also convicted for the killing.
In 2012, a Chandigarh court sentenced Rajoana to death. A number of Sikhs protested against the decision, and campaigned to stop the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana. On 28 March 2012 the Government Of India stayed the execution of Rajoana after Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met President Pratibha Patil seeking clemency for him.
On 7 January 2015, Jagtar Singh alias Tara who is alleged to be the mastermind in assassination of Singh was arrested by Thai Police in Bangkok after a request by the Indian investigative agency (Central Bureau of Investigation). Tara is currently undergoing a trial in an Indian prison.
His son Tej Parkash Singh was minister in the Punjab government led by Harcharan Singh Brar who succeeded him. His daughter Gurkanwal Kaur is a former minister of state for social welfare and Parliamentary secretary in the Amarinder Singh government. His grandson Ravneet Singh is an MP from Ludhiana. Another grandson, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, is an MLA from Khanna. Another Grandson Guriqbal Singh DSP Punjab Police. His wife died in 2010.
C. N. Annadurai
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
C. N. Annadurai
C. N. Annadurai commemorative stamp
14 January 1969 – 3 February 1969
Governor Ujjal Singh
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by V. R. Nedunchezhiyan (Acting)
Constituency Leader of the State Legislative Council
6 March 1967 – 13 January 1969
Governor Ujjal Singh
Preceded by M. Bhakthavatsalam
Succeeded by Position abolished
Constituency Leader of the State Legislative Council
3 April 1962 – 25 February 1967
Leader of the House Hafiz Mohamad Ibrahim, Yashwantrao Chavan,
Constituency Madras State (present-day Tamil Nadu)
1 April 1957 – 18 March 1962
Chief Minister K. Kamaraj
Preceded by Deivasigamani
Succeeded by S. V. Natesa Mudaliar
General Secretary of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
17 September 1949 – 3 February 1969
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by V. R. Nedunchezhiyan
6 March 1967 – 3 February 1969
Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai Mudaliar
15 September 1909
(present-day Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India)
Died 3 February 1969 (aged 59)
(present-day Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)
Cause of death Oesophageal cancer
Resting place Anna Memorial
Political party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (from 1949)
affiliations Dravidar Kazhagam (1944- 1949)
Justice party (till 1944)
Chubb Fellowship (1968)
Honorary Doctorate (1968)
Nickname(s) Peraringar, Anna
Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai (15 September 1909 – 3 February 1969), popularly known as Anna also known as Arignar Anna or Perarignar Anna (Anna, the scholar or Elder Brother), was an Indian politician who served as the fifth and last Chief Minister of Madras State from 1967 until 1969 and first Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for 20 days (after Madras State was rechristened Tamil Nadu) before his death. He was the first member of a Dravidian party to hold either post.
He was well known for his oratorical skills and was an acclaimed writer in the Tamil language. He scripted and acted in several plays. Some of his plays were later made into movies. He was the first politician from the Dravidian parties to use Tamil cinema extensively for political propaganda. Born in a middle-class family, he first worked as a school teacher, then moved into the political scene of the Madras Presidency as a journalist. He edited several political journals and enrolled as a member of the Dravidar Kazhagam. As an ardent follower of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, he rose in stature as a prominent member of the party.
Due to differences looming with Periyar, on issues of separate independent state of Dravida Nadu and union with India, he crossed swords with his political mentor. The friction between the two finally erupted when Periyar married Maniammai, who was much younger than him. Angered by this action of Periyar, Annadurai with his supporters parted from Dravidar Kazhagam and launched his own party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The DMK initially followed the same ideologies as its parent, Dravidar Kazhagam. But with the evolution of national politics and the constitution of India after the Sino-Indian war in 1962, Annadurai dropped the claim for an independent Dravida Nadu. Various protests against the ruling Congress government took him to prison on several occasions; the last of which was during the Madras anti-Hindi agitation of 1965. The agitation itself helped Annadurai to gain popular support for his party. His party won a landslide victory in the 1967 state elections. His cabinet was the youngest at that time in India. He legalised Self-Respect marriages, enforced a two language policy (in preference to the three language formula in other southern states), implemented subsidies for rice, and renamed Madras State to Tamil Nadu.
However, he died of cancer just two years into office. His funeral had the highest attendance of any to that date. Several institutions and organisations are named after him. A splinter party launched by M. G. Ramachandran in 1972 was named after him as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Annadurai was born in a Tamil Sengunthar family on 15 September 1909 in Conjeevaram, Madras Presidency (present-day Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India), in a lower-middle-class family. His father Natarajan Mudaliar was a weaver and his mother was Bangaru Ammal. He was raised by her sister Rajamani Ammal. At the age of 21, he married Rani while he was still a student. The couple had no children of their own, so they later adopted and raised Rajamani's grandchildren. He attended Pachaiyappa's High School but left school to work as a clerk in the town's Municipal office to assist with the family finances.
In 1934, he graduated with a B.A. degree (Honours) from Pachaiyappa's College in Chennai. He then earned an MA degree in Economics and Politics from the same college. He worked as an English teacher in Pachaiyappa High School. Later he quit the teaching job and began involving himself in journalism and he served as an editor in few weekly magazine and then he indulged into politics.
Annadurai in younger times
Though Annadurai initially belonged to the openly atheist Dravidar Kazhagam he later announced his stance towards theism as "Only one race, Only one God" (Ondre Kulam Oruvanae Devan). Though secular to the core, he later described himself as a Hindu sans the sacred ash, a Christian minus the holy cross, and a Muslim without the prayer cap.
Annadurai would attack superstitions and religious exploitation but would never fight against the spiritual values of society. He once explained his stance towards God and religion as "I do not break coconuts for Pillaiyar, (a form of worship) neither do I break his idols".(Nan Thengayum udaipathillai; Pillaiyarum Udaipathillai)
Entry into politics
Annadurai and Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
See also: Justice party (India) and Dravidar Kazhagam
Annadurai's interest in politics made him join the Justice party in 1935. The Justice party was formed by non-Brahmin elites in 1917. The Justice party originated with the Madras United League which was initially started as a work group that helped non-Brahmin students in Madras with accommodation and later grew into a political party under the efforts of leaders like C. Natesa Mudaliar, Sir Pitti Theagaroya Chetty and Dr. T. M. Nair. The party was named South Indian Liberal Federation (S. I. L. F.) – popularly known as Justice party. The party had been in power in Madras Presidency since self-governance was introduced in 1920, until it was defeated by the Indian National Congress in 1937. By the time Annadurai joined the Justice party, Periyar E. V. Ramasami was the party president. Annadurai served as the sub-editor of the Justice magazine. He later became the editor for Viduthalai (Freedom in English) and was also associated with the Tamil weekly paper, Kudi Arasu. He started his own journal Dravida Nadu (named after the Dravida Nadu – an independent state that the party called for). In 1944, Periyar renamed the Justice party to Dravidar Kazhagam and gave up contesting in the elections.
Differences with Periyar and birth of DMK
The Indian National Congress, which had been fighting for the independence of India from colonial British rule, was dominated by Brahmins. Periyar assumed that independent India would bring South Indians, especially Tamils, under the dominance of Brahmins and North Indians. For these reasons Periyar called for 15 August 1947, the day of Indian independence, to be a day of mourning. Annadurai opposed this move and the schism between his supporters and Periyar widened. He saw the gaining of independence as an overall achievement of India rather than solely that of Aryan North. Moreover, Periyar's decision on giving up participating in democratic elections was also opposed by Annadurai, in reaction to which he walked out of a party meeting in 1948. Periyar considered that candidates in elections must compromise their ideologies. Moreover, it was Periyar's idea that social reformation can be better achieved outside politics, through education and canvassing the masses, rather than governments. Eventually, when Periyar married Maniammai, who was 40 years younger than he, the personal differences between Annadurai and Periyar split their supporters. Annadurai launched his own party with his party fragment, along with E. V. K. Sampath (Periyar's nephew and until then considered his political heir). The new party was named Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. DMK's presence was initially restricted to urban centres and its surrounding areas. But by appealing to the urban lower, lower middle and working classes, students, Dalits and lower castes, Annadurai was able to accelerate its growth and spread. He fought for the social justice of the lower castes and thus rapidly gained popular support.
Protests in 1953
In 1953, Annadurai directed the DMK to undertake three protests:
Condemning Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, for describing the tarring of Hindi letters in railway station boards by DK and DMK activists as "childish nonsense"
Against C. Rajagopalachari (or Rajaji), the then chief minister of Madras State, for introducing a new educational system that indirectly encouraged traditional caste-based occupations called Kula Kalvi Thittam
Against renaming Kallakkudi, Dalmiyapuram as the name Dalmiyapuram symbolised north Indian domination. He was eventually sentenced to three months imprisonment in this protest.
Dravida Nadu magazine owned and edited by Annadurai
During his days in Dravida Kazhagam, Annadurai had supported Periyar's call for an independent Dravida Nadu. The claim for such an independent state stayed alive in the initial days of DMK. E. V. K. Sampath, who had earlier forfeited his inheritance from Periyar to join DMK, saw the call for Dravida Nadu as an unrealistic goal. Responding to Sampath's concern, Annadurai said
We must contest more elections, win more seats and that way, win the confidence of the people; and when it is hot, we can strike and strike hard
Sampath's opposition to using film stars made him cross swords with many other members of the party. Eventually, with looming differences with Annadurai and other leaders on Dravida Nadu, Sampath left the DMK and formed his own party, the Tamil Nationalist Party, in 1961. In 1962, Annadurai said in the Rajya Sabha that Dravidians want the right of self-determination ... We want a separate country for southern India.
However, the reorganisation of states in India on linguistic basis removed Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam speaking regions from the Madras Presidency leaving behind a predominantly Tamil Madras State. Giving in to realities, Annadurai and his DMK changed the call of independent Dravida Nadu for Dravidians to independent Tamil Nadu for Tamils. Annadurai felt that remaining in the Indian Union meant accepting linguistic domination and economic backwardness. Nevertheless, the Sino-Indian war brought about changes in the Indian constitution. The Sixteenth Amendment (most popularly known as the Anti-Secessionist Amendment) banned any party with sectarian principles from participating in elections. When this amendment was presented in the Parliament of India, Annadurai was one of its members. He vehemently debated against the amendment, but eventually could not stop it from being passed. Faced with the new constitutional changes, Annadurai and his DMK left the call for an independent Tamil homeland on the back burner. From then on Annadurai and his DMK aimed at achieving better co-operation between the southern states and claimed more autonomy for Tamil Nadu.
On the party's position, Annadurai said
To make the Dravidian state a separate state was our ideal. A situation has arisen where we can neither talk nor write about this ideal. Of course we can destroy the party by undertaking to violate the prohibition. But once the party itself is destroyed there will not be any scope for the ideal to exist or spread. That is why we had to give up the ideal.
Hindi was first recommended to be an apt language for official purposes in India by a committee headed by Motilal Nehru in 1928. This move was opposed by people and politicians of Tamil Nadu, since they considered that it would make them second class citizens when compared to that of native Hindi speaking North Indians.
Protests of 1938
In 1938, the Congress government in Madras Presidency headed by C. Rajagopalachari (popularly known as Rajaji) proposed the use of Hindi language as a compulsory language in schools. This move was opposed by Tamil leaders. Annadurai, along with other Tamil scholars including the poet Bharathidasan, held demonstrations. Annadurai participated in the first Anti Hindi imposition conference held in Kanchipuram on 27 February 1938. Two members of the protest, Thalamuthu and Natarajan, died as a consequence of police beating the same year. With overwhelming opposition, the government of Madras Presidency finally withdrew the order in 1940.
Madras Anti Hindi agitation, 1965
When India became a republic with its own constitution in 1950, the constitution had given special status to the Hindi language, which was to gain official status after 15 years in 1965. This move was regarded with anxiety by students in Tamil Nadu.[ Speaking of making Hindi as official language of India, Annadurai said It is claimed that Hindi should be the common language because it is spoken by the majority. Why should we then claim the tiger as our national animal instead of the rat which is so much more numerous? Or the peacock as our national bird when the crow is ubiquitous?. In view of continued threat to impose Hindi, the DMK held an open-air conference against Hindi imposition at Kodambakkam, Chennai in August 1960, which Annadurai presided over. He gave black flags to leading functionaries, to be shown to the President of India during his visit to the state. Sensing an uprising, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru assured in the Parliament that English would continue to be the official language of India, as long as non-Hindi speaking people desire. DMK gave up the plan of showing black flags and Annadurai appealed to the Union Government to bring about a constitutional amendment incorporating the assurance.
With no constitutional amendment done, Annadurai declared 26 January 1965, the 15th Republic Day of India and also the day the Constitution, which in essence enshrined Hindi as the official language of India, came into practice, as a day of mourning. This move was opposed by the then Chief Minister of Madras State, Bhakthavatchalam, as blasphemous. Hence Annadurai, who by then had been trying to shake off the secessionist image of his party, declared 24 January as a day of mourning. He also replaced the slogan of the protests to Down with Hindi; Long live the Republic. Nevertheless, violence broke out on 26 January, initially in Madurai which within days spread throughout the state. Robert Hardgrave Jr, professor of humanities, government and Asian studies, suggests that the elements contributing to the riots were not instigated by DMK or Leftists or even the industrialists, as the Congress government of the state suggested, but were genuine frustrations and discontentment which lay beneath the surface of the people of the state.
With violence surging, Annadurai asked the students to forfeit the protests, but some DMK leaders like Karunanidhi kept the agitations going. Nevertheless, Annadurai was arrested for instigating the agitation. Although the violence were not directly instigated by the DMK, the agitation itself aided DMK to win the 1967 elections and Annadurai became the new Chief Minister of Madras State.
Annadurai, known for his excellent oratorical skills, was fond of books. This image shows his private library.
Annadurai was known as one of the best Tamil orators during his time He developed a style in Tamil public speaking using metaphors and pleasing alliterations, both in spoken and written language. Anna was also best known for his extempore speaking ability being very well affluent on rhetoric skills
He has published several novels, short stories and plays which incorporate political themes. He himself acted in some of his plays during his time in the Dravidar Kazhagam. He introduced movie media as a major organ for propaganda of Dravidian politics. In total Annadurai scripted six screen plays.
His first movie Nallathambi (Good Brother, 1948) which starred N. S. Krishnan promoted cooperative farming and abolition of zamindari system. His novels such as Velaikaari (Servant Maid, 1949) and Or Iravu, which were later made into movies, carried the hallmarks of propaganda for Dravidian politics. On Velaikari, Annadurai said that the movie
made it clear that greed and avarice of the rich did not pay in the long run.[...] Some of the elementary principles of socialism and stressed that we should depend upon our own labour for our progress and well being and not some unknown factor.
Velaikari made direct references against the suppressive landlords who were traditionally allied with Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhi. His movies had some elements of Dravidian political ideologies like anti-Brahminism and messages differing against Congress with detailed reasons and scenarios behind. Popular stage and cine actors who stood by Anna in early years were D. V. Narayanasamy, K. R. Ramasamy, N. S. Krishnan, S. S. Rajendran, Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramachandran.
Some of his books had a social approach and its content were debatable, such as "Arya Mayai" (Aryan Illusion) in which he highlighted the view point of bringing an equal living society regardless of any caste dominance and especially drawing similarities which existed by then of the upper-caste Brahmin (Aryan) people. He was fined INR 700 for sedition and was also sent to prison.
Some of his well-known works are his books Annavin Sattasabai Sorpolivukal (Anna's speeches at the state legislative, 1960), Ilatchiya varalaru (History of Ideals, 1948), Valkkaip puyal (Storm of life, 1948) and Rankon rata (Radha from Rangon) His work Kambarasam criticises Ramayana of Kamban. His works of fiction such as Kapothipura kathal (Love in the city of Blind), Parvathy B.A., Kalinga rani (Queen of Kalinga) and Pavayin payanam (Travels of a young lady) carried elements of political propaganda.
At times when Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was extensively using movies for its propaganda, censorship crippled the process. To evade censorships, DMK movies used Annadurai's popular nickname Anna, which also means elder brother in Tamil, as a pun. When praises were bestowed on the Anna on screen, the crowd would break into applause. Kannadasan has criticised Anna's works that apart from Sivaji Kanda Hindu Rajyam and Needhi Devan Mayakkam, the rest lacked even a plot
The provincial conference of the DMK was held at Tiruchirappalli in May 1956. Annadurai stepped down from the General Secretaryship of the party, and Nedunchezhian was elected to that position. It was at the Tiruchirappalli conference that the party decided to contest free India's second general elections which were to be held in 1957. The DMK secured 15 Assembly seats and two parliamentary seats. Anna was elected from his home constituency, Kanchipuram for the first time to the Madras Legislative Assembly. In that election, the DMK won 15 seats and Annadurai became the leader of the opposition in the state. In 1962, the DMK emerged as the major political party in the state outside the Congress, winning 50 seats in the Assembly. Although Annadurai himself lost the elections, he was nominated as a member of parliament to the upper house (Rajya Sabha).
As chief minister
In 1967, the Congress lost nine states to opposition parties, but it was only in Madras state that a single non-Congress party majority was achieved. The electoral victory of 1967 is also reputed to an electoral fusion among the non-Congress parties to avoid a split in the Opposition votes. Rajagopalachari, a former senior leader of the Congress party, had by then left the Congress and launched the right-wing Swatantra Party. He played a vital role in bringing about the electoral fusion amongst the opposition parties to align against the Congress. At that time, his cabinet was the youngest in the country.
Annadurai legalised Self-respect marriages for the first time in the country. Such marriages were void of priests to preside over the ceremony and thus did not need a Brahmin to carry out the wedding. Self-respect marriages were a brainchild of Periyar, who regarded the then conventional marriages as mere financial arrangements which often caused great debt through dowry. Self-Respect marriages, according to him, encouraged inter-caste marriages and caused arranged marriages to be replaced by love marriages. Annadurai was also the first to use subsidising of the price of rice for election victory. He promised one rupee a measure of rice, which he initially implemented once in government, but had to withdraw later. Subsidising rice costs are still used as an election promise in Tamil Nadu.
It was Annadurai's government that renamed the Madras State to its present-day form declaring officially as Tamil Nadu. The name change itself was first presented in the upper house (Rajya Sabha) of the Parliament of India by Bhupesh Gupta, a communist MP from West Bengal, but was then defeated. With Annadurai as chief minister, the state assembly succeeded in passing the bill renaming the states.
Anna was instrumental in organising the World Tamil Conference under the aegies of UNESCO in 1967. Another major achievement of Annadurai's government was to introduce a two language policy over the then popular three language formula. The three language formula, which was implemented in the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, entitled students to study three languages: the regional language, English and Hindi. It was during the period of his Chief Ministership that the Second World Conference was conducted on a grand scale on 3 January 1968. Nevertheless, when a commemorative stamp was released to mark the Tamil conference, Annadurai expressed his dissatisfaction that the stamp contained Hindi when it was for Tamil. Annadurai also issued an order for the removal of the pictures of gods and religious symbols from public offices and buildings. He proceeded on a world tour as an invitee of the Yale University's Chubb Fellowship Programme and was also a guest of the State Department in the US in April–May 1968. He was awarded the Chubb Fellowship at Yale University, being the first non-American to receive this honour. The same year he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Annamalai University.
On 10 September 1968 Annadurai travelled to New York for medical treatment and he was operated for Cancer in the gullet at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He returned to Chennai in November and continued to address several official functions against medical advice. His health deteriorated further and he died on 3 February 1969. His cancer was attributed to his habit of chewing tobacco. His funeral had the highest number of attendees until then, as registered with The Guinness Book of Records. An estimated 15 million people attended it. His remains were buried in the northern end of Marina Beach, which is now called Anna Memorial
The statue of Annadurai at the College of Engineering, Guindy campus of Anna University which is named after him
After his electoral success with his DMK in 1967, the Congress has not yet returned to power in Tamil Nadu. His government was the first in the country to be from a non-Congress party with full majority. When the DMK later split, with M. G. Ramachandran forming his own Dravidian party, the rebel fragment was named after Annadurai as Anna DMK. Anna Nagar, a residential neighbourhood in Chennai is named after him. Sri Lankan Tamil nationalist leaders and writers are considered to be influenced by Annadurai's chaste Tamil movement.Anna University, a premier institution in science and technology was named after him. DMK's current head office built in 1987 is named after him as Anna Arivalayam. One of the major roads in Chennai was named in his honour, Anna Salai—it was previously called Mount Road, and a statue of Annadurai now stands there. The central government issued a commemorative coin of ₹ 5 denomination to mark the centenary celebrations of him on 15 September 2009 in Chennai. Jawaharlal Nehru hailed him as one of the great parliamentarians for speeches in Rajya Sabha. Selig Harrison, a US-based analyst of South Asian and East Asian politics and journalism commented,
There is no doubt that this powerful orator is the single-most popular mass figure in the region
The magazine India Today has listed Annadurai in its "Top 100 people who shaped India by thought, action, art, culture and spirit". In 2010, Anna Centenary Library was established in Chennai in remembrance of Annadurai.
A life-size statue of Annadurai was unveiled on 1 October 2002 in the Parliament House by then President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in his honour and the function was attended by notable politicians.
On 31 July 2020, Alandur metro station in Chennai has been renamed as Arignar Anna Alandur Metro by Government of Tamil Nadu to honor him.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Conrad K. Sangma
6 March 2018
Governor Ganga Prasad
Deputy Prestone Tynsong
Preceded by Mukul Sangma
Finance Minister of Meghalaya
6 March 2018
Constituency South Tura
27 August 2018
Preceded by Agatha Sangma
Constituency South Tura
Preceded by Clement Marak
Succeeded by Clement Marak
19 May 2016 – 27 August 2018
Preceded by P. A. Sangma
Succeeded by Agatha Sangma
Minister of Finance, Power and Tourism
Chief Minister Donkupar Roy
Conrad Kongkal Sangma
27 January 1978
Political party National People's Party
affiliations National Democratic Alliance
Nationalist Congress Party (formerly)
Purno Sangma (father)
Relatives James Sangma (brother)
Agatha Sangma (sister)
Conrad Kongkal Sangma (born 27 January 1978) is an Indian politician who is the 12th and current Chief Minister of the State of Meghalaya. He assumed presidency of the National People's Party in 2016 after the death of his father and former Chief Minister P. A. Sangma. He was also the Member of Parliament from Tura (2016-2018).
Conrad is a former leader of the opposition in the eighth Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, representing the NPP from Selsella constituency in the West Garo Hills. Previously in 2008, Sangma became the youngest Finance Minister of Meghalaya. He served the post as National President of Nationalist Youth Congress, after Jitendra Awhad who is current Housing Minister of Maharashtra State, Nationalist Congress Party is frontal organization of Nationalist Congress Party.
Upon completing his studies, Sangma started his political career in the late 1990s, as the campaign manager for his father, P. A. Sangma for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). He contested his first election in 2004 losing by 182 votes. He was first elected to the State Assembly along with his brother James, both as NCP members in the 2008 state elections and later held several important portfolios in the state cabinet, including the Finance, Power, Tourism, GAD and IT and presented his first annual budget for Meghalaya within 10 days of debuting as a minister. From 2009-2013 Sangma held the post of Leader of Opposition in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. In March 2016 he was elected national president of the National People's Party (NPP) following his father's death earlier that year. In May that year, contesting from Tura at the by-election to the Lok Sabha, he won by a record margin of 1.92 lakh votes.
Chief Minister of Meghalaya
Sangma's party, the NPP, came second behind the Indian National Congress winning 19 seats at the 2018 Meghalaya legislative assembly election. Requiring 30 seats to form a government in the State, the NPP allied with other regional parties taking the number to 34. Subsequently, Sangma staked claim to form government upon meeting the Governor of Meghalaya Ganga Prasad with a letter of support from the 34 members of the legislative assembly, that included 19 from NPP, six from United Democratic Party, four from People's Democratic Front, two each from Hill State People's Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party, and an independent, and was declared the Chief Minister-elect. He was sworn in on 6 March, replacing Mukul Sangma who is not related to him. In August 2018, he contested the by-election for the South Tura seat and polled 13,656 votes. Sangma defeated his nearest Congress rival Charlotte W Momin by a margin of over 8,400 votes.
Conrad Sangma was born on 27 January 1978 in Tura, a town in West Garo Hills district, Meghalaya. His father Purno Sangma was a former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and mother Soradini, a homemaker. His siblings, older brother James and younger sister Agatha, are politicians with the NPP. Another sister Christy, however, has remained non-political. Conrad was brought up in Delhi and was educated at the St. Columba's School there. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration in entrepreneurial management from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, before completing his MBA in finance from Imperial College London.
Sangma married Mehtab Chandee, a doctor by profession, on 29 May 2009, and has two daughters with her: Amara (born c. 2011) and Kaiyyan (born 2017). Apart from politics, Sangma has been associated with social work, as president of the PA Sangma Foundation, which functions for the betterment in sectors of education and environment, and also runs four colleges in rural Meghalaya. He also currently serves as President of the Meghalaya Cricket Association and Sports Academy.
Conrad Sangma plays the electric guitar and is a fan of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. In May 2020, he received significant notice for posting on Instagram a video of himself playing the Iron Maiden song "Wasted Years".
Charanjit Singh Channi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Charanjit Singh Channi
Governor Banwarilal Purohit
Succeeding Amarinder Singh
16 March 2017
Preceded by Satwant Kaur
Constituency Chamkaur Sahib
11 December 2015 – 11 November 2016
Preceded by Sunil Kumar Jakhar
Succeeded by Harvinder Singh Phoolka
Born 1 March 1963
Spouse(s) Kamaljit Kaur
Children Navjit Singh, Rhythmjit Singh
Residence Kharar, SAS Nagar, Mohali
Education B.A, L.L.B and MBA
As of 19 September, 2021
Charanjit Singh Channi (born 1 March 1963) is an Indian politician and the Chief Minister-designate of Punjab. He is a member of the Indian National Congress. He was previously Minister of Technical Education and Training under Amarinder Singh and leader of the opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly.
Early life, education and personal life
Channi is a member of the Dalit community. He was born in the village of Makrona Kalan. He read law at Panjab University and has an MBA from PTU Jalandhar.
He is married and has two children.
Channi was leader of opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly from 2015 to 2016. In 2017, he was appointed Minister of Technical Education and Industrial Training in the second Amarinder Singh ministry.
In September 2021, he succeeded Captain Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister of Punjab after the latter's resignation. He is the first Dalit Sikh Chief Minister of Punjab.
In 2018 a video showed Channi flipping a coin to choose between two candidates to be lecturer. The BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal called on voters to remove him. The minister said that both candidates were equal and suggested the toss themselves.
Channi is alleged to have constructed an illegal road in an auspicious layout on the advice of his astrologer, which was demolished by the Chandigarh authorities. He also is reported to have followed the advice of his astrologer and ridden an elephant at his home.
Sukhpal Khaira of the Aam Aadmi Party accused Channi and his nephew of involvement in illegal mining. Channi responded that the images cited were from public functions and that his family has no involvement in mining.
As the minister of technical education, Channi was accused of recommending the transfer of an Indian Administrative Service officer "whom he didn't like". In another case, he was accused of sending obscene messages to a female IAS officer, Kavita Singh.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kesavan on a 2018 stamp of India.jpg
Born 23 May 1891
Mayyanad, Kerala, India
Died 7 July 1969 (aged 78)
Mayyanad, Kerala, India
C. Kesavan (23 May 1891 – 7 July 1969) was the Chief Minister of Travancore-Cochin during 1950–1952.
He was born in 1891 in the village of Mayyanad, near Kollam in the then princely state of Travancore. For some time he worked as a teacher and then took a law degree from Thiruvananthapuram and started practice in Kollam.
Kesavan was influenced by the work of Padmanabhan Palpu, the social reform campaigner who was a member of the backward Ezhava community and a founder of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana association where he later rose to the general secretary post. He became an activist for the Ezhava caste, seeking an improved socio-economic position for them, and in the 1930s he suggested that they should abandon Hinduism. Thus he was an atheist. C. Kesavan was influenced by the teachings of Sree Narayana Guru, Gandhiji and Karl Marx. He worked for temperance and eradication of untouchability and served as General Secretary of SNDP Yogam.
From 1933, C. Kesavan was one of the prominent leaders of Abstention movement or Nivarthana Prakshobham in Travancore of present day Kerala. Because of a speech he made at a public meeting in Kozhencherry he was arrested on June 7, 1935, tried for sedition, and sentenced to two years imprisonment. In
Kesavan took an active part in organizing Travancore State Congress and became a member of its working Committee. During the agitation for responsible government in Travancore, he was arrested several times. During Quit India Movement in 1942, Kesavan was sentenced to one year simple imprisonment and was released on July 19, 1943. After Independence, Kesavan was elected to Travancore Assembly and became a member of the first cabinet headed by Pattom Thanu Pillai, but resigned after few months. Kesavan became Chief Minister of the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin (Thiruvithamkoor-Kochi) state in 1951 and was elected to State Assembly in 1952. C. Kesavan was considered to be one of the Triumvirate of Travancore (Thiruvithaamkoor) State Congress leadership, the other two being Pattom A. Thanu Pillai and T.M. Varghese.
Kesavan wrote an incomplete autobiography, Jeevitha-Samaram, consisting of two volumes that described his life up to the time of his political prominence. A third volume was planned to cover that later period but was unwritten at the time of his death. The work combined the story of his own life with a wider narrative concerning the plight of the Ezhava caste of which he was a member. Udaya Kumar says that his "early memories are tinged with two lines of injustice: the discrimination he suffered as an Ezhava boy on the streets and other public places, where he was forced to defer to upper-caste people, and the unjust exercise of authority by the elders and the upper sub-divisions within the Ezhava caste".
Statue of C. Kesavan in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Kollam Corporation Town Hall was named the C. Kesavan Memorial Municipal Town Hall in Kesavan's memory. It is a decades-old building situated on the National Highway passing through the Kollam Cantonment. The building is now one of the main venues for several cultural events and meetings] He was instrumental in the starting of Medical College at Thiruvananthapuram. His presence is recorded in the batch photo of first batch of doctors from the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. He has also worked for establishing a Govt Hospital in his home town Mayyanad. Which functioned well in its helm days and later shrinked to a health center.
As Chief Minister
C. Kesavan sworn in as Chief Minister of Travancore-Cochin on March 3, 1951. T.K. Narayana Pillai and A.J. John were the ministers. Both the ministers resigned in September 1951. New ministers sworn in were : K.M. Kora (Finance & Food), G. Chandrasekhara Pillai (PWD), L.M. Pylee (Education & Revenue), P.K. Krishnankutty Menon (Industries & Labour). After the declaration of general election of 1952, C. Kesavan ministry relinquished power on March 12, 1952. The historic Land Reforms Bill was piloted by C. Kesavan, but failed to pass through. The Trivandrum Medical College was opened by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during C. Kesavan’s tenure.
A controversial statement made by C. Kesavan before he becoming Travancore -Kochi CM is history. When the fire broke out in Sabarimala, during May 1950 in the following months C. Kesavan, in his characteristic frankness said: "If a temple is destroyed that much of religious fanaticism will go off."
C.Kesavan was married to Vasanthi who was the daughter of C. V. Kunhiraman, the founder of Kerala Kaumudi. His son K. R. Bhadran died in an Air India Dakota plane crash near Mettupalayam on December 1950. At that time Kesavan was living in Ross House at Thiruvananthapuram which was widely considered as a haunted house and bad omen among political class of Kerala.
10 April 1993 - 11 March 1998
Preceded by Samir Ranjan Barman
Succeeded by Manik Sarkar
1952 - 1967, 1971-1977
Constituency Tripura East
Member of Tripura Legislative Assembly
1977 - 1998
Born 2 February 1916
Boltali Kami (Village), Tripura
Died 14 October 1998 (aged 82)
Political party Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Dasarth Deb (Debbarma) (2 February 1916 –14 October 1998) was a political leader in the Indian state of Tripura. He was chief minister of Tripura from 1993 to 1998. He was a leader of the Ganamukti Parishad and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He was also the vice-president of All India Kisan Sabha and first and yet only Tiprasa chief minister of Tripura.
Dasarath Debbarma was born at Boltali village in the present day Khowai district of Tripura.
Dasarath Deb in 1946.
In 1948, he formed Ganamukti Parishad, which was engaged in an armed struggle from 1948 to 1950. In 1950, he along with his followers, joined the Communist Party of India. He became a member of the central committee of the party in 1951. After the party split in 1964, he joined Communist Party of India (Marxist). In 1964, he founded the Tripura Rajya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, a frontal organization of CPI(M).
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1971 from Tripura East constituency. In 1978, he was elected for the first time in Tripura Vidhan Sabha from Ramchandraghat constituency and became the Minister for Education in the first Left Front government. He was the deputy chief minister in the second Left Front government from 1983 to 1988. In 1988, he became the secretary of the state unit of CPI(M). After the defeat of the Left Front in 1988 elections, he became the leader of the opposition in Tripura Vidhan Sabha from 1988 to 1993.
On 10 April 1993 he became the chief minister of the third Left Front government. He was in office till 11 March 1998. He declined to contest the Vidhan Sabha election in 1998 on health grounds.
Mukti Parishader Itikatha
Samantatantrik Byabasthar Biruddhe Mukti Parishader Sangram
Kokborder jonyo bangla horof keno chai
kokborok lekhar pothrekha
Damodar Raja Narasimha
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Damodar Raja Narasimha
Constituency Andole, Telangana, India
Born 5 December 1958
Secunderabad, Telangana, India = Ex-Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Spouse(s) Padmini Reddy
Cilarapu Damodar Raja Narasimha (born 5 December 1958) is an Indian politician belonging to Indian National Congress, and served as the Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He is a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Andole constituency and holds the portfolios of Higher education and Agriculture (in charge).
Damodar Raja Narsimha was born to Congress politician Raja Narsimha and Janabai. He is an engineer by profession. His father was a three time Congress party MLA from Andole in 1967, 1972 and 1978. The young Damodar Raja Narasimha entered into active politics after the death of his father. He got elected for the first time to the Assembly from Andhol (SC) constituency in 1989. After losing three subsequent elections in 1994, 1998 (bypoll) and 1999, he won again in 2004 and 2009. In 1994 he lost to his nearest TDP candidate M Rajaiah, and in 1999 to TDP candidate and actor P Babu Mohan.
He got elected for the first time to the Assembly from Andhol (SC) constituency in 1989. After losing three subsequent elections in 1994, 1998 (bypoll) and 1999, he won again in 2004 and 2009. In 1994 he lost to his nearest TDP candidate M Rajaiah, and in 1999 to TDP candidate and actor P Babu Mohan. Damodar Raja Narasimha has been elected as a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly from the Andole constituency in Medak district in 1989, 2004 and 2009.
He was Minister for Primary education in 2004 and Minister for Marketing and Warehousing in the 2009 YS Rajasekhar Reddy cabinet and later with K. Rosaiah. He was also Chairman of SC Finance Corporation.
He became Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on 10 June 2011.
Minister for Marketing and Warehousing 2009 - 2010
Minister for Primary Education 2007 - 2009
Chairman — SC Finance Corporation
Damodar Raja Narasimha is married to Padmini. They have a daughter.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
11 January 1960 – 12 March 1962
Preceded by Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Succeeded by Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Born 14 February 1921
Peddapdu Village, Madras Presidency, British India
(now in Andhra Pradesh, India)
Political party Indian National Congress
Cabinet Government of India
Portfolio Minister of Labour and Employment(9 June 1964 – 23 January 1966)
Damodaram Sanjivayya ( 14 February 1921 – 8 May 1972) was the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, India from 11 January 1960 to 12 March 1962.
Damodaram Sanjivayya was born in a dalit family in Peddapadu village of Kallur Mandal in Kurnool district. His father died when he was young. He was a brilliant student at the Municipal school and he took a bachelor's degree in law from Madras Law College. Even as a student, he actively participated in the Indian freedom movement.
Damodaram Sanjivayya was Minister in the composite Madras State. He was the member of the provisional parliament 1950–52. In 1962, Sanjivayya also became the first dalit leader from Andhra Pradesh to become All India Congress Committee president.
He was Minister of Labour and Employment under Lal Bahadur Shastry between 9 June 1964 and 23 January 1966.
He had the distinction of becoming the first chief minister among the first Dalit leaders to have shouldered such high responsibilities in the cause of service to the Nation. He was known for his administrative ability and for his uprightness of character.
He wrote a book on Labour problems and industrial development in India, in 1970 published by Oxford and IBH Pub. Co., New Delhi.
His statue was erected opposite Public Gardens in Nampally, Hyderabad
A park, Sanjeevaiah park on the banks of Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad was named in his honor. His grave is also located inside the park.
Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam one of the premier legal institutions in the country has been named in his honour
India Post issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honour (INR 5.00) on 14 February 2008
Remembering Comrade Dasaratha Deb on His Birth Centenary
AS the oath-taking ceremony of members elected to the first Lok Sabha was in progress in Parliament House, New Delhi, in 1952, a Leftist member of Parliament from West Bengal drew the attention of the Speaker to a fair and handsome tribal youth and said, “He is Dasaratha Deb, elected to Parliament as a Communist candidate from East Tripura (ST reserved) seat. But still he is being hounded by police with arrest warrant. He has been elected while being in underground.” The Leftist member then urged Speaker G V Mavalankar to intervene in lifting the arrest warrant against Dasaratha Deb. Mavalankar assured him to protect the rights of the elected members and directed Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to take urgent measure on lifting arrest warrant against Dasaratha Deb. Only then, the arrest warrant against Deb was withdrawn. This was the story how Dasaratha Deb came out of his almost five years of underground life.
Early Life & Education
Comrade Dasaratha Debbarma, a legendary leader of the Indian Communist movement, was born into a poor peasant family in remote Ampura village of Khowai subdivision on 2nd February, 1916, in an era when Tripura was ruled by a feudal tribal king. The king was never interested in establishing even primary schools for the tribal subject living in villages and hills. Neither there was any pucca road nor any provision of safe drinking water in the tribal-dominated villages of Tripura. Only a few schools were set up in capital town of Agartala and some other towns for the wards of royal families and those of bureaucrats and employees of the administration. Since childhood, Deb was very eager to obtain education. But it was hardly affordable for his poor family to send him to town for education. Due to his indomitable eagerness, he was later admitted in Khowai primary school. And after he passed matriculation examinations, he was admitted in Brindaban College of Habiganj of Sylhet District under erstwhile East Bengal, as Tripura had no college then. After passing Intermediate and BA, Debbarma got admitted in Calcutta University for MA. Simultaneously, he pursued a law degree.
In 1940, CPI Comilla District Committee working under the Bengal Provincial Committee initiated formation of a Party unit in Tripura. The first unit of the Party in Agartala was formed with some local youths including Comrade Biren Datta who, besides Debbarma, was elected to the first Lok Sabha from Tripura. The Agartala Branch of CPI first started building up mass organisations with the working people of Agartala, mostly Bengalis. The tribal masses, though subjected to tremendous exploitation and repression by the feudal kings, were loyal subjects of the monarchy. Since the royal administration was totally against providing education to the tribal masses, the Communist Party gave priority to providing education to the tribal people. Comrade Biren Datta held a secret discussion about spreading the light of education among the tribal people with boarding inmates of Umakanta Academy, the oldest educational institution of Agartala. Only a handful of tribal students joined the first meeting. It was decided that an organisation would be formed with the core objective of spreading education among the tribal people. Comrade Debbarma was contacted in Kolkata and apprised of the mission. Soon, he came to Tripura, leaving his post-graduate study never to go back again.
Formation of Janashiksha Samity
On 27th December, 1945, a group of 11 educated tribal youths formed the historic Janashiksha Samity with Dasaratha Debbarma as its vice-president. Within a few months of its inception, it established no less than 400 schools in tribal-dominated hills and villages. The educated and moderately educated tribal youths were appointed as teachers. The villagers constructed school buildings, provided accommodation and food, and paid minimal allowance to the teachers. Subsequently, the tribal people in their large numbers came out in support of Janashiksha Samity. Alongside establishment of news schools, the leaders of Janashiksha Samity raised demand for recognition of these schools by the royal administration. They submitted a deputation to Mr Brown, a retired British Army Officer who was the then education minister of the king’s administration. After visiting many schools founded by the Samity, Mr Brown accorded recognition to 300 of these schools. Naturally, Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman got very much annoyed with his education minister for according recognition to these schools and Mr Brown had to resign and leave the state.
In 1946, the king passed a secret order to the police to book Janashiksha Samity leaders. On the other hand, the king convened a conference of tribals sarders (village chiefs) with a view to form a parallel organisation to Janashiksha Samity in the name of ‘Tripur Sangha’. Some of the tribal sardars in writing proposed to the king to invite Janashiksha Samity leaders also. But the night before the conference, the police arrested three Janashiksha Samity leaders including its secretary Hemanta Debbarma. Since then Comrade Dasaratha Debbarma had been underground only to come out in public after withdrawal of the arrest warrant at the instance of the Lok Sabha Speaker following his election to Parliament in 1952.
After Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman’s death in 1946, his widow was appointed as Regent King and the central government deputed some ICS officers, all Bengalis, to act as Dewan for assisting the Regent Administration. During the Dewani rule in Tripura, state terror and repression on Janashiksha Samity leaders and supporters was widened and intensified. Military and police forces were given free hand to carry out raids and arsons in tribal villages and arrest tribal youths indiscriminately and kill them at whims. This one-sided drive of barbarism on the innocent tribal people by police and Army jawans continued in 1947 and 1948. To cope with this most adverse situation, the leaders of Janashiksha Samity felt it necessary to form an armed organisation to combat this state terror and for self-defence. Comrade Dasaratha Debbarma discussed the situation with the Communist leaders of the state. In March, 1948, Tripura Rajya Mukti Parishad, headed by Dasaratha Deb, was formed. The Mukti Parishad had two wings -- political and armed. Comrade Dasaratha Debbarma and his colleagues worked hard to form Mukti Parishad units in every village to combat the police and army atrocities. Simultaneously, they outlined a secret political move to hold a massive rally and procession in the capital town of Agartala.
Accordingly, thousands of tribal masses were mobilised in various points, 10 to 20 km away from Agartala. On 15th August, 1948, a stream of thousands of tribal people from Durga Chowdhury Para, a tribal village, 12 km from Agartala, converged in Agartala flooding the entire town and held a rally at the heart of the city and dispersed peacefully. The people of Agartala town were spellbound to see such an undeclared, huge but regimented rally of Mukti Parishad and the police administration including its intelligence wing got baffled as they were completely in dark about it. Before commencing the procession from Durga Chowdhury Para, Dasaratha Deb addressed a gathering there. Mukti Parishad leaders decided not to send Deb to Agartala because they rightly anticipated that if the Supreme Commander of the resistance movement was arrested, it would be a serious setback to the resistance movement. Following the successful rally and procession in Agartala town, Mukti Parishad was fast gaining popularity among the villagers and on the contrary, the Regent administration more aggressively unleashed its barbarism by means of police and military actions. On the advice of Nishan Sardar, a senior tribal sardar, Dasaratha Debbarma attended a meeting of tribal sardars in a village in Khowai subdivision. He addressed the meeting attended by more than thousand sardars, explaining ideals and objectives of the Mukti Parishad and distributed its manifesto among them. This move helped expansion of the organisation in the entire state.
When the Golaghati mass killing in October 1948 evoked tremendous resentment among the tribal masses against the Bengali population, the Mukti Parishad led by Dasaratha Debbarma cautioned the tribal people against this suicidal anti-Bengali ethnic spite. After the Golaghati incident, Deb felt the urgency of forming guerrilla squads to resist police and army atrocities. Mukti Parishad leaders started contacting with tribal youths serving in the police force and those who were appointed in army during the Second World War. Dasaratha Debbarma put priority to form such armed guerrilla units of Mukti Parishad first in Khowai and Sadar subdivisions because these two subdivisions were the worst hit by police and army barbarism.
On 26th March, 1949, the military carried out a raid at Padmabill village at Khowai subdivision in search of Dasarath Deb. In the process, faced with resistance from women and young girls of the village, the military opened fire on the unarmed women and three young women -- Kumari Debbarma, Madhuti Debbarma and Rupashree Debbarma -- were shot to death on the spot. Mukti Parishad decided to form cultural squads to highlight the tales of heroic martyrdom of these three tribal women through folk songs and folk dances. Even today, 26th March is being observed as “Martyrs’ Day” in remembrance of these three young women of Padmabill, the first women martyrs of the state in the movement for democracy. These killings of the tribal farmers at Golaghati and tribal women at Padmabill made the armed resistance movement of the Mukti Parishad even more effective and it spread further with many tribal and non-tribal youths joining the movement.
On 15th October 1949, Tripura acceded to Indian Union, thus ending the ‘regency council’ and ‘Dewani’ rule. The central government led by Congress party appointed civil service officer V Nanjappa as the chief commissioner of the state. Nanjappa boastfully declared that he crushed the armed struggle of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh, so it would be matter of a few days to crush the armed struggle led by the Mukti Parishad in Tripura. With the help of Congress leader Sachindra Lal Singha, Nanjappa revived ‘Tripur Sangha’ to counter Mukti Parishad. Nanjappa first declared ‘military rule’ in whole of the state. But his boastful utterances were soon proved to be a hoax by the guerrilla fighters of the Mukti Parishad. Most of the tribal dominated areas of the state turned ‘free-land’ where the leadership of the Mukti Parishad established a parallel administration. Tribal population of the state would call Dasaratha Debbarma as a ‘King without a Crown’. The relationship between Dasaratha Debbarma, his colleagues and the Communist Party became more cordial during this phase of armed struggle. The news of the armed struggle of the people of Telangana, the armed struggle of the farmers of Kakdwip of West Bengal or the armed struggle of the peasants of Hajong in East Pakistan highly inspired the leaders and followers of the Mukti Parishad. In early fifties, Dasarath Deb and his co-fighter Hemanta Debbarma deduced that the Communists were the only people who stood behind their movement from its beginning. After prolonged discussions, Dasrath Deb sent Hemanta Debbarma to Agartala to contact the leaders of the Communist Party.
Some days later, during a meeting of the Mukti Parishad central committee at Chachu Bazar at Sadar, report came in that the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party had sent Comrade Pranesh Biswas of Assam to meet the leaders of Mukti Parishad. Dasarath Deb invited Comrade Biswas to the meeting. In the meeting, Comrade Biswas explained the aims and ideology of the Communist Party and requested the leaders of the Mukti Parishad to join the Communist Party. All the leaders of the then Mukti Parishad accepted the views expressed by Dasarath Deb in joining the CPI. All the 41 central committee members of the Mukti Parishad filled in the ‘form for membership’ on a white piece of paper and joined the Communist Party. During mid-fifties, the Central Committee of Communist Party sent Comrade Nripen Chakraborty, Dr Bijoy Basu and two other comrades to help build up the Party organisation in Tripura. Comrade Chakraborty and Dr. Basu met Dasarath Deb at an underground place in Khowai for the first time using pseudo names, as the Communist Party was banned during the period.
Dasarath Debbarma was a person with a unique sense of practical intelligence and unparallel organisational acumen who led the armed resistance struggle as its supreme commander, joined the Communist Party in 1950. Within one year he was elected as a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India. In the second half of 1951, the first general election to the Lok Sabha was announced. The situation was fast changing. Although the Mukti Parishad was bent upon to carry on the armed resistance movement, the central government reinforced the army and started setting up of army camps even in remote areas. The situation turned so bad, that it became very hard to carry on the armed struggle. In the Central Committee meeting of the Mukti Parishad, which was attended among others by Nripen Chakraborty and Dr. Bijoy Basu, the new situation was discussed extensively. Dasaratha Debbarma put a proposal in the meeting that Chakraborty should send a note to the party Polit Bureau informing the overall situation of the state and the majority views of Mukti Parishad to take part in the election. But Chakraborty requested Debbarma to write the note. Accordingly, Debbarma prepared a note and sent it to the party central leaders. By this time, the ban on the Communist Party was withdrawn and the Party decided to participate in the election. CPI nominated Comrade Dasaratha Debbarma from the East Tripura (ST) constituency despite the fact that he was carrying a permanent warrant of arrest. In the electoral roll of 1952 Lok Sabha election, instead of ‘Dasaratha Debbarma’ his name was printed as ‘Dasaratha Deb’. Then he was in underground and had no scope to rectify it. He filed his nomination in the later name and since then he was recognised as ‘Dasaratha Deb’.
The name of Tripura Rajya Mukti Parishad was later changed to the Tripura Rajya Gana Mukti Parishad. In 1964 when the Communist Party of India got divided and Communist Party of India (Marxist) came into existence as a separate political party, the name of Tripura Rajya Gana Mukti Parishad was changed to Tripura Rajya Upajati Gana Mukti Parishad, popularly known as GMP, with Dasarath Debbarma continuing as its president till his death.
In 1947, following the Partition, an unprecedented situation set in. A large number of Bengali Hindus started entering the state for shelter from then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). This refugee influx reversed the demographic composition of the state, turning the majority tribal population into a minority. The economically and academically backward and unprivileged tribal people were forced to an uneven competition with the comparatively advanced Bengali community. Simultaneously, after the Partition, Tripura geographically became an isolated state from the mainland. The way the then central government dealt with the refugee problem of Punjab with proper rehabilitation, it was not same for the states of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. On the contrary, the Congress party and its government instigated the Bengali refugees to grab tribal land illegally. A section of vested interests even tried to foment anti-Bengali sentiment among the tribals. Dasaratha Debbarma had to launch an ideological struggle to fight this sectarian tendency.
Dasaratha Deb was first elected to Parliament in 1952, and was re-elected in 1957, 1962 and 1971. In Lok Sabha, he forcefully raised the problems faced by the people of the state and the need for protecting the identity of the indigenous tribal people. He strongly raised the demands for formation of Autonomous Tribal District Council with the tribal inhabited areas of the state, protection of rights of the tribals on their land, and at the same time, proper and judicious rehabilitation of the Bengali refugees. He carried on relentless struggles in Parliament and outside for all-round development of the state. He played a valiant role in maintaining amity between tribal and non-tribal populations. He was in true sense a bridge between tribal and non-tribal communities and a symbol of unity and friendship in the state.
In 1971, when the people of Bangladesh were fiercely fighting for liberation, Dasaratha Deb speaking in Parliament demanded immediate recognition of independent Bangladesh by the Government of India.
During the 1960s and 70s, GMP and CPI(M) started a high pitched mass movement on four-point charter of demands: Formation of Autonomous District Council with the tribal dominated areas of the state according to the 6th Schedule of the Constitution; Restoration of illegally transferred land to the tribal owners from the non–tribal occupiers; Strictly adherence of the constitutional provisions of reservation in government jobs and education for tribals; and Recognition of ‘Kokborok’, the mother tongue of the majority tribals of the state as second language and introduction of different tribal languages in the schools as mode of teaching, thus recognition of mother tongue as medium of education.
As a result of the united movement for decades, the people of Tripura gave a historic verdict in the assembly elections in 1977. In the 60-member assembly, the Left Front bagged 56 seats, TUJS own the rest four. Having failed to build any organisation among the tribal people, the Congress party instigated some middle class tribal youths in 1967 to give birth to a regional party -- Tripura Upajati Yuba Samity (TUJS) -- to counter GMP. Comrade Dasaratha Deb, the legendary leader of the historic Janashiksha Samity, became the education minister in the first Left Front government, led by Nripen Chakraborty. Today, Tripura tops in literacy rate in the whole country, thanks to the unforgettable contributions of Comrade Dasaratha Deb in the sphere of education.
The establishment of Left Front government in Tripura could not be tolerated by the Congress party as well as the communal, sectarian elements of the state and the imperialist forces. The passage of a bill for formation of Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council and setting up of a tribunal for restoration of the illegally transferred land to the indigenous tribal owners in a Bengali majority Tripura assembly enraged the vested interests both inside and outside the state who hatched a conspiracy to dethrone the Left Front government. They instigated fierce ethnic riots in June, 1980, in which about 1,400 innocent men and women lost their lives and 3,15,000 people had to take shelter in relief camps. The perpetrators even conducted a raid on the residence of Dasaratha Deb in Agartala. He was compelled to take shelter in the official residence of the then chief minister, along with his family members.
In December 1978, TUJS started an armed terrorist-secessionist organisation TNV. It sent its cadres to jungles of the Chittagong hills in Bangladesh for arms training, aided by US intelligence agency CIA and Pakistan’s ISI. They unleashed a terror reign committing mass killings, abduction of innocent people and arsons, with a slogan for ‘Independent Tripura’. The main target of their attacks were the leaders and organisers of CPI(M) and GMP. These killing squads of TNV carried out at least three assassination attempts on Comrade Dasaratha Deb during election campaign in 1983. In two of these attempts, though he was narrowly saved, many of his security guards were killed. In 1993, Comrade Dasaratha Deb became the chief minister of Tripura.
Comrade Dasaratha Deb was a prolific writer. He had written many articles and booklets shunning fundamentalism, secessionism and sectarianism. Throughout his life he struggled for unity and integrity of the state of Tripura. He played a vigorous role in ideological struggle inside the Party since he was elected to the Central Committee in 1951. In 1964, he was one of the 32 Central Committee members who disassociated themselves from CPI to form CPI(M) in its 7th Congress in Kolkata. Because of his prolonged illness, he could not attend the 16th Party Congress in Kolkata in 1998. He wrote to the General Secretary of the Party requesting to be relieved from the Central Committee. Just two days after the Party Congress concluded, this great fighting leader of the Indian Communist movement breathed his last on October 16.
The state of Tripura has been observing the birth centenary of Comrade Dasaratha Deb since February 2. Comrade Dasaratha Deb shall remain alive among the people of Tripura as well as of the country for eternity as one of the founder leaders of the historic Janashiksha Samity and as an architect of modern, democratic Tripura.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born 15 July 1899
Died 16 April 1990 (aged 90)
Patna, Bihar, India
Years active 1926–1990
Known for Medical and general academics
Children Six children
Awards Padma Bhushan
Dukhan Ram (1899–1990) was an Indian ophthalmologist, academic, legislator and the vice chancellor of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University. He was the principal of Patna Medical College, one of the oldest medical colleges in India, and the president of Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Sabha, a satellite organization of Arya Samaj, founded by Dayanand Saraswati. He successfully contested the 1962 Bihar Legislative Assembly election from Sasaram constituency, on Indian National Congress candidature and served as the president of All India Ophthalmological Society in 1961. The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan, in 1962, for his contributions to medical science.
Dukhan Ram was born on 15 July 1899 in a Vaisya family with poor financial means in Sasaram in the Indian state of Bihar and did his early education at local schools in Shahabad district in difficult circumstances as his father died when he was only four. It is reported that his studies were with the help of scholarship as well as the earnings from part-time jobs as a tutor and as a garment peddler during holidays. His marriage took place when he was 16 years of age but he continued his education and joined Calcutta Medical College in 1920 to graduate in medicine from there in 1926, during which time he studied Bachelor of Science course concurrently to pass out in 1925. His medical internship was at Patna Medical College from 1927 after which he did higher studies in Ophthalmology (DLO and DOMS) at the Royal College of Surgeons of London. Returning to India in 1934, he joined Patna Medical College as a faculty member of the Ophthalmology and otorhinolaryngology department where he rose in ranks to become the professor of the department in 1944. During his tenure there, the institution started four courses, DO, DLO, MS (Eye) and MS (ENT).
Two years before the Indian independence, the British Government awarded Ram the title of Rai Sahib in 1945. He was involved with Arya Samaj and served as the president of the Bihar chapter of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha in 1951, as the vice president of the national organization in 1956 and presided the International Arya League held in Mauritius in 1957. The same year, he was chosen to operate on Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India. He continued his association with Indian President's office by serving as the honorary ophthalmic surgeon to the next four presidents viz. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Zakir Husain, Varahagiri Venkata Giri and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. In 1959, he was appointed as the principal of Patna Medical College and it was during his tenure as the principal, he was selected as the vice chancellor of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University. As the vice chancellor, he was reported to have contributed in the establishment of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi as well as the medical colleges in Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur. When the Government of India set up a Health Survey and Planning Committee for reviewing medical relief and public health services and proposing guidelines, chaired by A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar (later known as Mudaliar Committee) in 1959, he was selected as a member of the committee.
Ram was the founder president of the Bihar unit of the All India Ophthalmological Society, chaired the organizing committee of Patna and Jamshedpur annual conferences in 1952 and 1956 respectively and was the national president of the organization in 1961. He presided the 1953 and 1961 national conferences of otorhinolaryngologists and ophthalmologists held in Hyderaba and was the president of Bihar chapter of the Indian Medical Association during 1954–55. He was the founder-president of IASINDIA - Institute of Administrative Studies, a Patna-based institution of higher studies in administration and management. He was one of the founders of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and was its elected fellow (1961). The Government of India awarded him the civilian honor of the Padma Bhushan in 1962. Later, he contested the Bihar Legislative Assembly election of 1962 as an Indian National Congress candidate from Sasaram assembly constituency and won against Bipan Behari Sinha of Praja Socialist Party by a margin of 11984 votes.
Dukhan Ram, whose wife had predeceased him, died on 16 April 1990 in Patna, aged 90 and survived by his six children. A public school in Patna, Dr. Dukhan Ram DAV Public School, has been named after him. The Bihar and Jharkhand State Branch of The Association Of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgeons Of India have instituted an annual oration, Dr. Dukhan Ram Memorial Oration, in his honour.
E. Suresh Kumar
THE VICE CHANCELLOR
PROF. E. SURESH KUMAR,
Prof. E. Suresh Kumar has vast teaching and administrative experience in Osmania University, Hyderabad. He has published several books and research articles. He has guided several students in the field of English Language Education.
Prof. Suresh has served as the Registrar of Osmania University for two years (2014-16). He also held several positions in Osmania university as Professor of English, Director, District PG Colleges, Director, Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies, Dean, College Development Council, Head, Dept of English, Director, English Language Training Centre, Director, Centre for English Language Training, Students Advisor, NSS Programme Coordinator (University Level), NSS Training Coordinator (University Level), Director, Canadian Studies Centre, etc. He was the Governor’s Nominee on the Selection Committee of University Teachers.
Countries & Universities visited: The USA, the UK, the UAE, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambridge University, Oxford University, University of Warwick, Stony Brooke University, University of Southern California, Thames Valley University, etc.
International English Language Specialist and Soft Skills Trainer: Trained the employees of different companies such as MyPec, Kuala Lumpur; MyPec, Bangkok; La Champa, Vientiane, Laos, etc.
Educational Qualifications: M.A., M.Sc.(Psychology)., M.A.Litt., PhD.
He assumed charge as the Vice Chancellor of The EFL University on 23.06.2017.
गणपतराव देवजी तपासे
मुक्त ज्ञानकोश विकिपीडिया से
15जुलाई 1909 को जन्में श्री तपासे का विवाह रखामिनीबाई से हुआ। 1938-46 के मध्य वे सतारा नगर कांग्रेस कमेटी के अध्यक्ष रहे। उन्हें महाराष्ट्र प्रदेश कांग्रेस कमेटी की कार्यकारिणी का सदस्य नियुक्त किया गया । 1940 में उन्होंने सविनय अवज्ञा आन्दोलन में भाग लिया और जेल गये। भारत छोड़ो आन्दोलन के दौरान उन्हें पुनः जेल भेजा गया। 1946 में वे सतारा जिले से बम्बई विधानसभा के सदस्य निर्वाचित हुए। 1952 में वे बम्बई से ही पुनः विधानसभा के सदस्य नियुक्त हुए उन्हें मंत्री नियुक्त किया गया तथा वे 11 वर्ष तक मंत्री रहे। 1957 में उन्हें अखिल भारतीय कांग्रेस कमेटी का सदस्य बनाया गया। वे 1962 से 1968 तक राज्य सभा के सदस्य रहे। 1968 से 71 तक वे रेल सेवा आयोग बम्बई के अध्यक्ष रहे। 2 अक्टूबर 1977 को वे उत्तर प्रदेश के राज्यपाल नियुक्त हुए ।
गणपतराव देवजी तपासे
2 अक्तूबर 1977 – 27 फरवरी 1980
पूर्वा धिकारी मैरी चेन्ना रेड्डी
उत्तरा धिकारी चन्द्रेश्वर प्रताप नारायण सिंह
28 फरवरी 1980 – 13 जून 1984
पूर्वा धिकारी सुरजीत सिंह संधावालिया
उत्तरा धिकारी सैयद मुजफ्फर हुसैन बर्नी
जन्म 15 जुलाई 1909
मृत्यु 03 अक्तूबर 1991
राजनीतिक दल भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस
जीवन संगी रूक्मिनी बाई
हरियाणा के राज्यपाल के रूप मे विवादित भूमिका
जीडी तापसे 1980 के दशक में हरियाणा के राज्यपाल बनाए गए थे.
उस समय राज्य में देवीलाल के नेतृत्व वाली सरकार थी. साल 1982 में भजनलाल ने देवीलाल के कई विधायकों को पटा लिया.
राज्यपाल तापसे ने इसके बाद भजनलाल को सरकार बनाने के लिए आमंत्रित किया जिस पर देवीलाल ने कड़ा विरोध जताया.
देवीवाल अपने कुछ विधायकों को लेकर दिल्ली के एक होटल में चले गए, पर विधायक वहां से निकलने में कामयाब रहे. अंत में भजनलाल ने विधानसभा में बहुमत साबित कर दिया और सरकार बनाने में कामयाब हुए.
राजनीति में हम अनेकों वादों से परिचित हैं जैसे सामंतवाद समाजवाद साम्यवाद, पूँजीवाद, फासीवाद, अधिनायकवाद इत्यादि,इत्यादि। थप्पड़ को तमाचा, चमाटा, झापड़ भी कहा जाता है. इस लिए अगर इन शब्दो से कहीं सामना हो तो उसके बारे में बिना किसी भ्रम के थप्पड़ ही समझिये। थप्पड़वाद अभी हाल में प्रकाश में आया है। यह इतना कोई नया भी नहीं है. मेरी सीमित जानकारी के अनुसार इस वाद नें तब मेरा ध्यान आकृष्ट किया जब एक बार सन 1982 में हरियाणा में चौधरी देवीलाल मुखमंत्री की शपथ के लिए आमंत्रित किये जाने की अपेक्षा कर रहे थे हरियाणा के राज्यपाल जी. डी. तपासे ने देवीलाल से कहा कि वह उनके सामने अपने समर्थकों को लेकर आएं ताकि उन्हें भरोसा हो सके कि वह सरकार के गठन में समर्थ हैं। पर देवीलाल जब तक अपने समर्थकों को लेकर राजभवन आते, तपासे ने भजनलाल को शपथ दिला दी। फिर क्या था चौधरी साहब का गुस्सा सातवें आसमान पर था. चौधरी साहब नें एक झन्नाटेदार थप्पड़ राज्यपाल जी डी तपासे के गाल पर रशीद कर दिया। राजयपाल महोदय गांधीवादी थे. शायद इस कारण उन्होंने प्रतिवाद नहीं किया। गांधी जी नें कहा है कि अगर कोई तुम्हारे एक गाल पर थप्पड़ मारता है तो अपना दूसरा गाल भी उसके सामने कर दो. राज्यपाल तपासे महोदय गांधी जी के अनुयायी होने के कारण अन्यथा व्यवहार नहीं कर सकते थे. थप्पड़ कितना ताक़तवर था यह तो थप्पड़ खाने वाला ही बता सकता है. न्यूटन के तीसरे नियम के अनुसार हर क्रिया की बराबर और उलटी प्रतिक्रिया होती है. इस कारण इसकी प्रतिक्रिया को चौधरी साहब के हाथ नें अवश्य महसूस किया होगा। इसके पहले राजनीति में थप्पड़वाद था कि नहीं . इसके बारे में मुझे कहीं से कोई जानकारी नहीं मिल सकी है. थप्पड़वाद के प्रादुर्भाव का लगभग यही समय निश्चित किया जा सकता है. चौधरी देवी लाल को इस नए वाद का प्रणेता माना जायेगा। इसी शृंखला में एक और घटना याद आती है जब परंपरा का निर्वाह करते हुए किसी व्यक्ति नें एक थप्पड़ शरद पवार के गाल पर जड़ा था. इसे घटना कहें या दुर्घटना लेकिन यह काफी चर्चा में रहा था. यहाँ तक कि अन्ना हज़ारे नें भी इसका संज्ञान लिया था. उन्होंने पूछा था कि क्या एक ही थप्पड़ मारा या…….. …… ? इस थप्पड़ मारने के बारे में पूछने के पीछे हज़ारे का क्या मंतव्य था जानकारी मात्र एकत्र करना या इस पर आश्चर्य व्यक्त करना कि मारा तो एक ही थप्पड़ क्यों मारा ज़यादा क्यों नहीं। ऐसा लगता है जैसे थप्पड़वाद को अन्ना हज़ारे जैसे समाजसेवी का समर्थन प्राप्त है. अभी हाल में हरियाणा मुख्यमंत्री हुडा थप्पड़वाद के शिकार हुए हैं. पानीपत में एक युवक नें उनके गालों पर थप्पड़ जड़ दिया। अभी दिल्ली का ही किस्सा है. लोग पानी कि सप्प्लाई में दिक्कत को लेकर आप पार्टी के नवनिर्वाचित विधायक दिनेश मोहिनिअ के पास बातचीत लिए गए थे. उसी बातचीत के दौरान गरमा गर्मी इतनी बढ़ गई कि एक महिला नें विधायक महोदय के गाल पर एक थप्पड़ जड़ दिया।
थप्पड़ मारने के साथ साथ जूता और चप्पल फेंक कर मारने का विकास भी शुरू हो गया है. जूता लगने पर इतना नुक्सान नहीं करता है जितना अन्य अस्त्र शस्त्र करते हैं. इस कारण मैं जूते को Non Lethal Weapon ( NLW ) की श्रेणी में रखना पसंद करता हूँ. जूता चप्पल फेंकने वाले यह भी नहीं सोचते कि इस मंहगाई के ज़माने में जूता चप्पल बड़े मंहगे हो गए हैं. एक बार का फेंका गया जूता या चप्पल लौट कर वापिस नहीं आने वाला है. यह शौक बहुत मंहगा पड़ेगा। एक बात का ध्यान रखिये अगर आप चाहते हैं कि आप के द्वारा फेंका गया जूता जूताखोर के काम आ सके तो पूरी जोड़ी फेकिये। जूते के प्रयोग से पैरों को सुरक्षा तो मिलती ही है, इसके अतिरिक्त इसके अनेक अन्य उपयोग हैं. जैसे अगर कुछ लोगों में आपस में झगड़ा हो तो इसे ‘ जूते में दाल बांटना ‘, ‘ जूतम पैजार ‘ या ‘ जूतम पतरम ‘ कहा जाता है. अगर किसी विरोधी का सम्मान करना हो तो उसको जूते का हार पहनाया जाता है. जूते के नए नए उपयोग प्रकाश में आ रहे हैं. सबसे नया प्रयोग है सम्मानित, प्रतिष्ठित, गण्यमान विशिष्ट व्यक्तियों पर जूता फेंक कर उनका सम्मान करना. जिस पर जूता फेंका जाता है उसे ‘ जूताखोर ‘ कहा जा सकता है. यह सम्मान अभी बिरले व्यक्तियों को ही मिल सका है. वैसे यह आम आदमी के लिए है भी नहीं. यह एक विशिष्ट श्रेणी के लोगों के लिए सुरक्षित है. जममू-कशमीर के मुखयमंती उमर अबदुला भी इस सामान को प्राप्त कर चुके हैं जब उनके उपर भी किसी व्यक्ति द्वारा जूता फेंका गया था. कांग्रेस के जनरल सेक्रेटरी जनार्दन द्विवेदी की सभा में किसी नें उनपर जूता फेंककर उनको सम्मानित किया था. जूता खानेवालों का एक ‘ एक्सक्लूसिव जूताखोर क्लब ‘ है जिसके सदस्य हैं अमेरिका के पूर्व राष्ट्रपति जार्ज बुश, चीन के प्रधानमंत्री वेन जियाबाओ और भारत के गृहमंत्री पी चिदंबरम इत्यादि इत्यादि. इस क्लब में प्रवेश पाने वाले सबसे नये सदस्य हैं पाकिस्तान के पूर्व राष्ट्रपति जनरल परवेज़ मुशर्रफ. यूनाईटेड किंगडम में निर्वासित जीवन जी रहे जनरल मुशर्रफ पर लन्दन की एक सभा में किसी नें जूता फेंका जो सौभाग्य या दुर्भाग्यवश लक्ष्य से चूक गया. इस क्लब में प्रवेश पाने वालों की इज़्ज़त में चार चाँद लग जाते हैं. में तो इनका दुर्भाग्य ही मानूँगा कि जूता फेंकने वाले का निशाना हमेशा ही चूक गया इसलिए सम्मान में कहीं न कहीं कमी रह गई. अगर एक भी जूता निशाने पर लग गया होता तो यह निश्चित ही किसी भी देश के सर्वोच्च सम्मान पाने जैसा होता. ऐसा लगता है कि जूता फेकने वाले निहायत बेवकूफ़ और नौसिखिए थे. यह भी हो सकता है कि जूता फेंकनेवाले जूता खाने वालों को इस सम्मान से वंचित रखना चाहते हों. इसमें विरोधियों का षड्यंत्र भी हो सकता है. विरोधी ईर्ष्यावश नहीं चाहते होंगे कि जूताखोर सर्वोच्च सम्मान से अलंकृत हों. चूंकि एक बार फेंकने के बाद जूता वापस तो मिलता नहीं है, इसलिए जूता फेंकनेवाले को एक एहतियात बरतना होगा कि जूता जितना फटा पुराना हो उतना ही अच्छा, नहीं तो इस मंहगाई के युग में भारी नुकसान की संभावना है. अगर जूता फेंकनेवालों द्वारा लक्ष्य संधान का प्रशिक्षण ले लिया जाय तो और भी बेहतर होगा. सबसे सफल राजनीति तो यह होगी कि जूता फेंकने और जूता खाने को प्रायोजित करा लिया जाय. हमारे देश में अनेकों योग्य व्यक्ति हैं जो इस सर्वोच्च सम्मान के हक़दार हैं लेकिन अभी तक इससे वंचित हैं. हम जैसे अदना आम आदमी के लिए इस सम्मान के बारे में सोचना भी आसमान से तारे तोड़ कर ज़मीन पर लाने के समान होगा। जूते के सदुपयोग का एक और प्रसंग मेरे संज्ञान में आया. उत्तर प्रदेश में पुलिस के एक Dy SP को मुख्यमंत्री सुश्री मायावती के जूते साफ़ करते देखा गया. इसकी तस्वीरें टी वी चैनल्स पर प्रसारित हुईं. पूछे जाने पर Dy SP महोदय का कहना था कि जूते साफ़ करना सेवा का कार्य है. दूसरों की सेवा करना निश्चय ही उत्कृष्ट कार्य है. सेवा करने से ही मेवा मिलता है. सुना है इसके पूर्व भी इमरजेंसी के दौरान शायद सन 1976 में उत्तर प्रदेश के उस समय मुख्यमंत्री श्री नारायण दत्त तिवारी दिवंगत श्री संजय गांधी को चप्पल पहनाते हुए कैमरे में क़ैद किये गए थे और पुरस्कार स्वरुप काफी लम्बे समय तक उत्तर प्रदेश के मुख्यमंत्री रहे. जूते खाने की और जूता पालिश करने की कला में निपुणता हासिल करना सफलता की सीढ़ी है.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
29 December 2019
Governor Draupadi Murmu
Preceded by Raghubar Das
13 July 2013 – 28 December 2014
Governor Syed Ahmed
Succeeded by Raghubar Das
7 January 2015 – 28 December 2019
Governor Syed Ahmed
Chief Minister Raghubar Das
Preceded by Arjun Munda
Succeeded by Babulal Marandi
13 July 2013
11 September 2010 – 18 January 2013
Serving with Sudesh Mahto
Governor M. O. H. Farook
Chief Minister Arjun Munda
Preceded by Hemlal Murmu
23 December 2019 – 6 January 2020
Preceded by Louis Marandi
Succeeded by Basant Soren
24 June 2009 – 7 July 2010
Born 10 August 1975 (age 45)
Nemara, Ramgarh, Bihar (now in Jharkhand) India
Political party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha
Spouse(s) Kalpana Soren
Relations Basant Soren (Brother)
Father Shibu Soren
Hemant Soren (born 10 August 1975) is an Indian politician from Jharkhand, who is the current Chief Minister of Jharkhand. Previously, he had also served as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand from July 2013 to December 2014. He is also the president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, a political party in Jharkhand.
Soren was born in Nemara in Ramgarh district, Bihar (now in Jharkhand) to Roopi and Shibu Soren, former Chief Minister of Jharkhand. Hemant has two brothers and a sister. His educational qualification is Intermediate from Patna High School, Patna, Bihar. As per affidavit filed before Election Commission, Hemant enrolled in BIT Mesra, Ranchi in Mechanical Engineering, but dropped out.
He was a member of Rajya Sabha from 24 June 2009 to 4 January 2010. He started his political career as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) on 23 December 2009. Later on, he became Jharkhand deputy CM on 11 September 2010 till 8 January 2013.
As Chief Minister
He was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand on 15 July 2013 with support from Congress and RJD after President's rule was removed from the state. He was again elected as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand in December 2019, and sworn in on 29 December.
As Leader of Opposition
In 2016, the BJP government in Jharkhand tried amending the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act which would allow owners and tenants of Adivasi land to use it for non-agricultural purposes and the other would allow transfer of Adivasi land for building roads, canals, educational institutions, hospitals, and other "government purposes". This led to huge protests in the state and Hemant had strongly protested against these amendments.
CM Raghubar Das had invited Hemant to the Global Investors Summit in 2017, but Hemant called the summit a "maha chintan shivir of land grabbers" and claimed that it is being organised to loot the land of Adivasis, Moolvasis and the farmers of the state.
In October 2017, he had demanded a CBI inquiry into the death of 11-year-old girl Santoshi Kumari who allegedly died of starvation in Simdega as the family was not given ration since July for not having Aadhaar number seeded to their bank account. Soren also demanded action against Chief Secretary Rajbala Verma, who, he said, had passed an order through video conferencing to remove the names of the families having not linked their Ration Cards with their Aadhaar number.
He has been a vocal protester of the Direct Benefit Transfer in PDS and recently, voiced his concerns on how the scheme has caused tremendous suffering and injustice. In April 2018, a JMM delegation led by Hemant Soren and his father Shibu Soren met the Hon'ble President Ramnath Kovind registering a strong protest on the dilution of the SC/ST by the Supreme Court and proposed amendments to the LARR Bill by the Jharkhand government
In March 2018, Hemant Soren met Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao regarding a possible non-Congress and non-BJP front should be formed in the country. However, he also attended a dinner hosted by UPA Chaiperson Sonia Gandhi where the agenda was to discuss a broader front against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He supports the call for banning liquor in Jharkhand on the footsteps of Bihar. In response to the entry of liquor retail outlets in the state, he said "Now government will open liquor outlets in villages, which will ultimately impact the lives of poor tribals in Jharkhand. I appeal to the rural residents of the state to not allow liquor outlets in their villages." He added women's organizations would have to come forward to launch a struggle against government's liquor campaign.
Chief Minister 2019–
On 29 December 2019, following the victory of the JMM, INC, RJD coalition in 2019 Jharkhand Legislative Assembly election, Hemant Soren was sworn in as Chief Minister of Jharkhand alongside Congress leaders Alamgir Alam and Rameshwar Oraon, and lone RJD legislator Satyanand Bhokta.
Awards and honors
Soren was awarded Champions of Change Award in 2019, for his exceptional work for Dumka and Barhait constituency in the state of Jharkhand. The award was conferred by Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Vigyan Bhavan New Delhi on 20 January 2020.
Soren is married to Kalpana Soren and has two sons. He has a younger brother, Basant Soren, and a sister, Anjali. He is an ardent follower of Birsa Munda, the nineteenth century tribal warrior, and takes inspiration from his courage and valour.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
27 July 2009 – 26 July 2014
Preceded by A. R. Kidwai
Succeeded by Kaptan Singh Solanki
3 March 1989 – 2 February 1990
Preceded by R. D. Pradhan
Succeeded by Mohammad Yunus Saleem
6 June 1980 – 13 July 1981
Governor Raghukul Tilak
Succeeded by Shiv Charan Mathur
Born 15 January 1932
Died 19 May 2021 (aged 89)
Spouse(s) Shanti Pahadia
Jagannath Pahadia (15 January 1932 – 19 May 2021) was an Indian politician and a leader of the Indian National Congress party. He was the Governor of Haryana, and Governor of Bihar and former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, his home state. He died on 19 May 2021 from COVID-19.
Early life and education
He was born in Bhusawar city of the present-day Bharatpur district of Rajasthan state in a Dalit family on 15 January 1932 to Nathilal Pahadia and Chanda Devi. He held M.A., LL.B., M.S.J. College, Bharatpur, Maharaja College, Jaipur and Law College Rajasthan University. He was an Ambedkarite.
He was Chief Minister of Rajasthan state from 6 June 1980 to 14 July 1981 and was the first Dalit from Rajasthan to hold this position.
Pahadia served Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from 1998 till 2008 and 1980 to 1990.
He represented Sawai Madhopur (Lok Sabha constituency) in the 2nd Lok Sabha and Bayana constituency in Rajasthan in the 4th, 5th and 7th Lok Sabha His wife Shanti Pahadia was also a member of Lok Sabha. He was governor of Bihar from 3 March 1989 to 2 February 1990. Later, he served and was appointed the governor of Haryana from 27 July 2009 to 26 July 2014.
Babu Jagjivan Ram (5 April 1908 – 6 July 1986), known popularly as Babuji, was a freedom fighter and a social reformer hailing from the scheduled castes of Biharin India. He was from the Chamar caste and was a leader for his community. He was instrumental in foundation of the 'All-India Depressed Classes League', an organisation dedicated to attaining equality for untouchables, in 1935 and was elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1937, that is when he organised, rural labour movement.
In 1946, he became the youngest minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's provisional government, the First Union Cabinet of India as a Labour minister, and also a member of Constituent Assembly of India, where he ensured that social justice was enshrined in the Constitution. He went on serve as a minister in the Indian parliament with various portfolios for more than forty years as a member of Indian National Congress (INC), most importantly he was the Defence Minister of India during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, which resulted in formation of Bangladesh. His contribution to the Green Revolution in India and modernising Indian agriculture, during his two tenures as Union Agriculture Minister are still remembered, especial during 1974 drought when he was asked to hold the additional portfolio to tide over the food crisis.Though he supported Indira Gandhi during the Emergency in India (1975–1977), he left Congress in 1977 and joined Janata Party alliance in 1977, along with hisCongress for Democracy, he later served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India (1977–1979), then in 1980, he formedCongress (J).
Jagjivan Ram was born at Chandwa near Arrah in Bihar, to a family of five siblings, elder brother Sant Lal, and three sisters. His father Sobhi Ram was with British Indian Army, posted at Peshawar, but later resigned due to some differences and bought some farming land in his native village Chandwa, and settled there. He also became a Mahant of Shiv Narayani sect, skilled in calligraphy he illustrated many book of the sect and distributed locally.
Young Jagjivan started going a local school in January 1914, but shortly afterward his father died prematurely, leaving him and his mother Vasanti Devi to economic hardships. He joined Aggrawal Middle School in Arrah in 1920, where the medium of instruction was English for the first time, and joined Arrah Town School in 1922, it was here that is faced caste discrimination for the first time, yet remained unfazed. An often cited incident occurred in the school, there was this tradition of having two water pots in the school, one for Hindus and another for Muslims, so when Jagjivan drank water from the Hindu pot, while being from an untouchable class, the matter was reported to the Principal, who placed a third pot for "untouchables" in the school, but this pot was broken by him twice, eventually the Principal decided against placing the third pot. A turning point in his life came in 1925, when Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya visited his school, and impressed by his welcome address, invited him to join Banaras Hindu University.
Jagjivan Ram passed his matriculation in the first division and joined the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1927, where he was awarded the Birla scholarship, and passed his Inter Science Examination; while at BHU he organised the scheduled castes to protest against social discrimination. As a Dalit student, he would not be served meals in his hostel, denied haircut by local barbers, a Dalit barber would arrive from Ghazipur from occasionally to trim his hair, eventually he left BHU and pursued graduation from Calcutta University. In 2007, the BHU set up a Babu Jagjivan Ram Chair in its faculty of social sciences to study caste discrimination and economic backwardness.
He received a BSc degree from the University of Calcutta in 1931, here again he organised conferences to draw the attention towards issues of discrimination, and also participated in the anti-untouchability movement started by Mahatma Gandhi.
Divide and Rule by British
British introduced the 1935 Act and the scheduled castes were given representation in the legislatures, both the nationalists and the British loyalists sought him because of his first-hand knowledge of the social and economic situation in Bihar, Jagjivan Ram was nominated to the Bihar Council. He chose to go with the nationalists and joined Congress, which wanted him not only because he was valued as an able spokesperson for the depressed
classes, but also that he could counter Ambedkar; he was elected to the Bihar assembly in 1937. However, he resigned his membership on the issue of irrigation cess..
In 1935, he contributed to the establishment of the 'All-India Depressed Classes League', an organisation dedicated to attaining equality for untouchables. He remained President in the organisation from 1936 to 1946.He was also drawn into the Indian National Congress, in the same year he proposed a resolution in the 1935 session of the Hindu Mahasabha demanding that temples and drinking water wells be opened up to Dalits. and in the early 1940s was imprisoned twice for his active participation in the Satyagraha and the Quit India Movements. He was among the principal leaders who publicly denounced India's participation in the World War II between the European nations and for which he was imprisoned in 1940.
In 1946 he became the youngest minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's provisional government and also the subsequent First Indian Cabinet, as a Labour Minister, where he is credited for laying the foundation for several labour welfare policies in India.
Babu Jagjivan Ram & Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha after returning from International Labour Conference, 1947.
He was a part of the prestigious high profile Indian delegation that attended to attend the International Labour Organization(ILO)'s International Labour Conference on 16 August 1947 in Geneva along with the great Gandhian Bihar Bibhuti Dr.Anugrah Narayan Sinha his chief political mentor and also the then head of the delegation, and few days later he was elected President of the ILO. He served as Labour minister until 1952, later he several Ministerial posts in Nehru's Cabinet,Communications (1952–56), for Transport and railways (1956–62), and for Transport and communications (1962–63).
In Indira Gandhi's government he worked as minister for Labour, employment, and rehabilitation (1966–67), and Union minister for Food and agriculture (1967–70), where he is best remembered for having successfully led the Green Revolution during his tenure. When the Congress Party split in 1969, Jagjivan Ram joined the camp led by Indira Gandhi, and became the president of that faction of Congress (1969-71). He worked as the Minister of Defence (1970–74) making him the virtual No. 2 in the cabinet, minister for Agriculture and irrigation (1974–77). It was during his tenure as the minister of Defence that the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was fought, and Bangladesh achieved independence. While loyal to prime minister Indira Gandhi for most of the Indian Emergency, in 1977 he along with five other politicians resigned from the Cabinet and formed theCongress for Democracy party, within the Janata coalition.
A few days before the elections, on a Sunday, Jagjivan Ram addressed an Opposition rally at the famous Ram Lila Grounds in Delhi. The national broadcaster Doordarshan allegedly attempted to stop crowds from participating in the demonstration by telecasting the blockbuster movie Bobby. The rally still drew large crowds, and a newspaper headline the next day ran "Babu beats Bobby" . He was the Deputy Prime Minister of India when Morarji Desai was the prime minister, from 1977 to 1979, though initially reluctant to join the cabinet, and was not present at the oath-taking ceremony on 27 March 1977; he eventually did so at the behest of Jai Prakash Narayan, who insisted that his presence for necessary, "not just as an individual but as a political and social force" and took oath later on. However, he was once again given the defence portfolio. Disillusioned with the Janata party he formed his own party, the Congress (J). He remained a member of Parliament till his death in 1986, after over forty years as a parliamentarian. He was elected from Sasaram parliament constituency in Bihar. His uninterrupted representation in the Parliament from 1936 to 1986 is a world record..
He formed Agricultural Labour Union in Bihar in 1937 and a member of AITUC since 1940. He remained in Jail from 1940 to 1942 for participating in civil disobedience and Quit India movement. He was a member of Congress Working Committee since 1948.
He holds the record for being the longest-serving cabinet minister in India for 30 years. (Ref. Kendriya Mantripraishad 1947–2004, published by Loksabha Secretriate) Union Minister of Labour, 1946–1952. Union Minister for Communications, 1952–1956. Union Minister for Transport and Railways, 1956–1962. Union Minister for Transport and Communications, 1962–1963. Union Minister for Labour, Employment and Rehabilitation, 1966–1967. Union Minister for Food and Agriculture, 1967–1970. Union Minister of Defence, 1970–1974, 1977–1979. Union Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, 1974–1977. Founding Member, Congress for Democracy party (aligned with Janata Party), 1977. Deputy Prime Minister of India, 23 March 1977 – 22 August 1979. Founder, Congress (J). He served as President of the Bharat Scouts and Guides from September 1976 to April 1983.
In August 1933 his first wife died after a brief illness, thereafter in June 1935 he married Indrani Devi, a daughter of Dr. Birbal, a well-known social worker of Kanpur, and the couple had two children, Suresh Kumar and Meira Kumar.
The place he was cremated has been turned into the memorial Samata Sthal, and his birth anniversary is observed as Samatha Diwas., (Equality Day) in India, his centenary celebrations were held all over the nation in 2008, especially at his statues at the Parliament and at Nizam College; demands for awarding him posthumousBharat Ratna have been raised from time to time Hyderabad. Andhra Universitywhich had conferred an honorary doctorate on him in 1973, and in 2009 on the occasion of his 101st birth anniversary, his statue was unveiled on the university premises .
His daughter, Meira Kumar, is a prominent INC leader, who has won his former seatSasaram, both 2004 and 2009 and was later the Minister for Social Justice in theManmohan Singh government (2004 – '09), thereafter she became the Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009. To propagate his ideologies, the 'Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation', has been set up by Ministry of Social Justice, Govt. of India in Delhi.
The first indigenously built electric locomotive to have been built in India, a WAM-1 model, was named after him, which was recently restored by the Eastern Railway.
BABU JAGJIVAN RAM—A PROFILE
Jagjivan Ram, endearingly called Babuji, was a freedom fighter and a crusader for social justice. His meteoric rise in public life saw him emerge as an eminent and popular political leader, who devoted his entire life working for the welfare of the country. He belonged to the vintage era of modern Indian politics. As national leader, parliamentarian, Union Minister and champion of depressed classes, he had a towering presence and played a long innings spanning half a century in Indian politics. His enduring and quintessentially twentieth century political legacy reminds us of the fervour, idealism and indomitable spirit of India's political leadership that not only fought and won freedom for the country, but also laid the firm foundation for a modern, democratic polity. Gifted with a flair for political leadership and moved by the ideals and goals of the socio-political events that enveloped the country, Babu Jagjivan Ram played a significant role in scripting our country's political and constitutional development and social change. A passionate leader dedicated to public life, he enjoyed immense respect from all quarters. Widely admired for his leadership qualities and organizational abilities, he always remained a force to be reckoned with in Indian politics.
Jagjivan Ram was born on 5 April, 1908 at Chandwa, a small village, in Shahabad district, now named Bhojpur, in Bihar. His father, Shobhi Ram was in the British Army where he learnt English and became proficient in it. He was posted in Peshawar, but due to differences with the British he resigned. Thereafter Shobhi Ram returned to Bihar, bought agricultural land in Chandwa and settled there with his family. Being of religious disposition, he became the Mahant of the Shiv Narayani Sect. Sant Shobhi Ram was a skilled calligraphist and spread the teachings of his Sect by writing and illustrating books and distributing them among his followers. In January 1914, at the age of six, Jagjivan Ram was sent to the village pathshala. He had barely started school, when his father died leaving the young Jagjivan in the care of his mother Vasanti Devi , who despite the social and economic hardships, insisted on Jagjivan continuing his education. In 1919, at the age of eleven, Jagjivan Ram passed the upper primary examination. He was an exceptional student. The deep and abiding impressions of his Late father, religious atmosphere at home and love and affection of his mother and the village schoolmaster, Pandit Kapil Muni Tiwari were instrumental in shaping his character. After the upper primary education, Jagjivan Ram joined the Middle School, Arrah in January 1920. The medium of instruction in Middle School was English. Young Jagjivan worked day and night to learn English and eventually mastered the foreign language. He was advised by many to avail the scholarship offered to Harijan students. Confident of his ability to compete with the students in the general category, the young Jagjivan refused the scholarship offered to Harijan students. Instead, he competed with the other students and earned the scholarship based on his meritorious academic performance. Jagjivan's love for books and knowledge opened up a whole new world of ideas, thought and intellectual discourse. He would spend an hour in the library everyday to read books on different subjects. Jagjivan was fluent in many languages, besides Bhojpuri. He read extensively in Hindi, English, Bengali and Sanskrit. At 6:00 every morning he would walk 3 kilometres to the Arrah railway station to read ‘The Statesman’ newspaper as to keep abreast of all national and international news and developments. He came across Bankim Chandra's—Anand Math, a Bible for the young revolutionaries and freedom fighters. He was so inspired by it that he learnt Bengali to read the book in its original form. Jagjivan Ram joined the Arrah Town School in 1922. It was here for the first time that the young Jagjivan came face to face with the oppressive caste discrimination and bigotry of the upper castes that shackled his community for centuries and put abhorrent limits on him and his community's life. The school had separate water pitchers for Hindu and Muslim students. Some upper-caste boys refused to drink water out of the earthen pitcher touched by Jagjivan Ram and a separate pitcher was installed for the schedule castes. Outraged, Jagjivan Ram refused to tolerate this insult and broke the pitcher and when it was replaced he broke it again. Taking note of his protest the headmaster ordered that a common pitcher be installed for all the students. Though Jagjivan won his point, the discriminatory treatment meted out to him filled his heart with both grief and anger. In spite of this he passed his matriculation in first division and hundred per cent both in Sanskrit and Mathematics. By the time he passed out of the High School, he had earned the reputation of being a cut above the rest. In 1925, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya visited Arrah and Jagjivan Ram, on the basis of his being the best student in the school, was asked to read the welcome address. Deeply impressed by the erudition and panache of the young Ram, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, invited Jagjivan Ram to study at the Banaras Hindu University. At the same time the Christian Mission at Chandwa had also offered to bear the expense of his education and urged his mother to send Jagjivan to Lucknow and then to America for higher studies. However, after some deliberations she turned them down. Vasanti Devi felt that changing religion was not an answer to the oppressive caste system and advised Jagjivan to join the Banaras Hindu University. Jagjivan Ram was to face further caste-based prejudices and hostility at Banaras Hindu University. Servants would not serve him, or wash his plates in the students' mess. But even as a new student, he commanded such respect and loyalty that the entire student body stood up in his support and resolved that henceforth each student would wash his own plate. But Jagjivan Ram did not want to create inconvenience to the entire hostel and decided to shift out. After passing the Inter Science Examination from BHU, Jagjivan Ram joined B.Sc. at Calcutta University and passed with distinction. Within six months of coming to Calcutta he organized a mazdoor rally at Wellington Square with about 35,000 people. The huge success of this rally brought him into the limelight and leaders like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose took notice of him. During this period he got acquainted with Chandrshekhar Azad, Manmath Nath Gupt and other leading revolutionaries. He read Das Kapital, Communist Manifesto and other socialist literature that greatly influenced his ideology of a casteless and classless society. Since childhood Jagjivan Ram had dreamed of being a scientist. But as he grew up he could no longer ignore the socio-politico situations enveloping the country and he sacrified his personal ambitions to answer the call of his motherland. The student years strengthened his resolve to fight on two fronts, for the freedom of the country and for social equality. Foray into Politics and Freedom Struggle In 1934, an earthquake struck Bihar. Jagjivan Ram rushed back to North Bihar to organize relief work. He worked day and night to organize clothing, shelter, medical aid and other relief supplies for the people affected by the calamity. It was here during his work in the relief camps that he met Gandhiji for the first time, and realized that Mahatma Gandhi was the only national leader, who was fighting not only for the independence of the country but also for the emancipation of the depressed classes and Harijans. Gandhiji's fight was on both fronts. All other leaders chose one over the other. During his student years, Jagjivan Ram successfully organized a number of Ravidas Sammelans and had started celebrating Guru Ravidas Jayanti in the different districts of Calcutta. In 1934, he founded the Akhil Bhartiya Ravidas Mahasabha in Calcutta. The other organizations that he founded for social reforms were Khetihar Mazdoor Sabha for agricultural labour and the All India Depressed Classes League. Through his organizations he involved the depressed classes in the freedom struggle and also rallied that all Dalit leaders should unite, and not only fight for social reform but also demand political representation. On 1 June, 1935, Jagjivan Ram married Indrani Devi, daughter of Dr. Birbal, a renowned medical practitioner and a social worker of Kanpur. Dr. Birbal was earlier in the British army and was awarded the Victoria Medal by Viceroy Lord Lansdowne for his services in the Chin-lushai war in 1889-90. Indrani Devi was herself a freedom fighter and an Educationist, who stood by Jagjivan Ram through all his years of struggle. They had two childrena son, Suresh and a daughter, Meira. The subsequent years saw greater political participation and intervention by Jagjivan Ram and his fight for independence became inseparably intertwined with his struggle for social reform. On 19 October, 1935, Babuji appeared before the Hammond Committee at Ranchi and demanded for the first time voting rights for Dalits. In 1936, when he was just 28 years old, Jagjivan Ram began his parliamentary career as a nominated member of the Bihar Legislative Council. In 1937, he stood as a candidate of the Depressed Classes League and was elected unopposed to the Bihar Legislative Assembly from the East Central Shahabad (Rural) and he also ensured the unopposed victory of his Depressed Classes League candidates in all the 14 reserved constituencies. With such an unopposed and decisive victory, Babuji emerged as the kingmaker. Subsequently, the Congress invited him to join them. Under their policy of divide and rule, the British wanted to set up a puppet government in Bihar. For this they needed his support. They offered a large sum of money and a Ministerial berth and other political benefits to buy his support. He did not even consider it. All national leaders and the masses praised this act of patriotism and integrity. Gandhiji said that Jagjivan Ram had emerged as pure as gold in the test of fire. After the failed attempt of a puppet government, a Congress government was formed. Babuji was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Co-operative Industry and Village Development. In 1938, he resigned along with the entire Cabinet on the issue of the Andaman prisoners and the British policy of involving India in the Second World War. Inspired by Gandhiji's Civil Disobedience Movement of 1940, Jagjivan Ram courted arrest on 10 December 1940 by giving a notice to the District Collector. He was arrested at Arrah and sent to the Hazaribagh Jail. In Jail, he had long discussions with socialist prisoners on varied subjects ranging from Marxism to Gandhism which made a deep impact on Babuji. After his release, Babuji entrenched himself deeply into the Civil Disobedience Movement and Satyagraha. He went to Wardha and stayed at Gandhiji's ashram. During their morning walks Babuji and Gandhiji discussed matters close to their hearts—a vision for an independent India with a society free from the highly discriminatory dogmas of the past. Jagjivan Ram's participation in the freedom struggle and his activities as a Congress leader were inseparable. As a leader of the party, Jagjivan Ram strengthened the national cause by his strong organizational work and effective participation in the various programmes the party undertook in its struggle for freedom. In 1942, the Indian National Congress launched the Quit India Movement. On that occasion Jagjivan Ram had joined the Congress leadership in Bombay. The AICC passed the historic Quit India resolution. Soon after, most other Congress leaders were arrested and it was left to Jagjivan Ram to make the Quit India Movement a success. He headed to Bihar to organize a mass movement against the British. Due to his revolutionary activities and the impact he had on garnering support for the Quit India Movement , Babuji was arrested in Patna from his house on 19 August 1942. Jagjivan Ram was released on 5 October, 1943 and in the following years, he organized many meetings and rallies and condemned the British Government for their suppression of Indian freedom movement. He won unopposed in the 1946 Central Elections from the constituency of East Central Shahabad (Rural). The same year he deposed before the Cabinet Mission in Shimla as a representative of the depressed classes and strongly defended their cause and the unity of the nation. He frustrated the designs of the British and other divisive forces to further divide the country. On 30 August, 1946, Babu Jagjivan Ram was one of the twelve leaders of the country, who were invited by Viceroy/Lord Wavell, to become a part of the Interim Government. He was the only representative of the Dalits in the Interim Government formed on 2 September 1946 and held the portfolio of Labour. While returning from Geneva after attending the International Labour Conference, Babuji’s aeroplane crashed in the desert of Basra, Iraq on 16 July 1947. Babuji had a providential escape, though he had severe injuries in his right leg and foot. In this crash all the employees of the BOAC aircraft had died. Independence and After In post-Independent India, his contribution to nation-building has left an indelible mark. As one of the founding fathers of the Constitution and as an important leader of the Constituent Assembly, he ensured the importance of social justice as one of the ideals enshrined in the Constitution. After Independence, when India embarked upon the task of nationbuilding and fulfilling the dreams of the people, there were formidable developmental challenges before the nation which required the formulation of sound policy and new initiatives. Jagjivan Ram proved an ever-dependable parliamentarian who assumed the charge of various key Ministries to handle the challenging tasks when the country was passing through sensitive and delicate times and people looked towards governmental assistance and schemes to face the crises and overcome the struggling phase. As Labour Minister, he introduced time-tested policies and laws for labour welfare. He was instrumental in enacting some of the important legislations for labour, viz. the Minimum Wages Act, 1946; the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; the Indian Trade Union (Amendment) Act; the Payment of Bonus Act, etc. He actually laid down the foundation of social security by way of enacting the two important Acts, namely the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 and the Provident Fund Act, 1952. In 1952 Lok Sabha elections, Jagjivan Ram chose Sasaram as his parliamentary constituency since his earlier constituency was a part of it. The people elected him as their representative to parliament and he was given a Ministerial berth. As Minister of Communication (1952-1956), he nationalized the private airlines and spread the postal facilities to the remote villages. In 1957, Babuji was returned unopposed for the second time from his constituency of Sasaram. During 1956-62, as the Railways Minister, he modernized Railways and gave a new momentum to the expansion of Railways in the country. He took innumerable welfare measures for Railway employees and set a record by not allowing any increase in passenger fares for five years. In 1962, the people of Sasaram elected Jagjivan Ram once again and during 1962-63, he was Minister of Transport and Communications. In 1963 he resigned under the Kamaraj Plan and worked to strengthen the Congress organization. During 1966-67, he shouldered the responsibility of the Labour and Rehabilitation Ministry. As Food and Agriculture Minister during 1967-70, he pulled the country out of the clutches of a severe drought, heralded the Green Revolution and for the first time made India self-sufficient in food. In March 1971 the stage was set for mid-term election. Babuji returned victorious once again to the Lok Sabha. As the Defence Minister during 1970-74, he changed the political map of the world and made history by liberating Bangladesh and made the Pakistan Army surrender unconditionally. The way the war was fought was unprecedented and he kept the promise he had made to the people of India that the war would not be fought on a single inch of Indian soil. In 1974, Jagjivan Ram took charge of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. He organized the Public Distribution System to ensure that food was available to the masses at a reasonable price. As Minister, he had unparalleled ability to look after the affairs under his Ministry and he had his priorities well defined to take on the challenges ahead. In all the Ministries and Departments at the Centre, where Babu Jagjivan Ram had held charge, he left his mark of qualitatively high performance. In political power, he saw the opportunity to transform people's lives and promote their welfare by bold and well thought-out plans. He played a dominant role in the Indian National Congress right from 1937.
During the pre-Independence period Babuji held important offices at the State level in the Congress. After Independence, he became the axis of the Party and indispensable for party affairs as well as governance of the country. He was a member of All India Congress Committee from 1940 to 1977 and was in the All India Congress working Committee from 1948 to 1977. He was in the Central Parliamentary Board and All India Congress Committee from 1950 to 1977. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Smt. Indira Gandhi could not afford to spare him due to his astute political acumen. He was the mind of the Government and the Party. In 1966, following the death of the then Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Congress Party witnessed some inner power struggle and the age-old party deteriorated due to groupism. On one side were the old guards like Morarji Desai, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and K. Kamaraj who were called the Syndicate and on the other side were the Progressives such as Smt. Indira Gandhi, Jagjivan Ram and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. In 1969 the conflict between the two groups came to its head and the party split into two, the Congress (O) and the Congress led by Babu Jagjivan Ram. In the Bombay Session of the Congress in December 1969, Babuji was elected unanimously as the party president and thereafter worked hard to strengthen the party which had weakened its hold in many States. His hard work paid off. His diligence, organizational skills and leadership ensured that the Congress came back to power with a thumping majority in March 1971. In a turn of events, Emergency was declared on 26 June 1975. The fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution stood suspended. However, Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi recommended the dissolution of the Lok Sabha on 18 January 1977 and to hold fresh General Elections. As the impact of emergency was felt by everyone, Babu Jagjivan Ram resigned from the Cabinet and the Congress Party on 2 February 1977.
He formed his own party, ‘Congress for Democracy’ (CFD) on 5 February 1977. He returned victorious once again to Lok Sabha in General Elections from Sasaram Constituency in Bihar. On 25 March 1977 he joined the Janata Government and became Defence Minister. He merged CFD with Janata Party on 1 May 1977. Babu Jagjivan Ram became the Deputy Prime Minister of the country on 24 January 1979 and continued to handle the charge of Defence Ministry till 28 July 1979. The internal conflicts of the Janata Party resulted in losing its majority in Parliament and the Government led by Shri Morarji Desai fell in July 1979. Thereafter, Chaudhary Charan Singh was sworn in as Prime Minister on 28 July 1979 and Babuji close to remain as leader of the opposition. But, Chaudhary Charan Singh could not prove his majority in the House. After the fall of his Government, many members of Lok Sabha rallied around Babu Jagjivan Ram and asked him to stake his claim. The President, however, dissolved the Lok Sabha on 22 August 1979 and ordered fresh Elections. In January 1980, the people of Sasaram re-elected Babuji to the Lok Sabha and for the first time he sat in the Opposition. After the fall of the Janata Government, Babuji launched his own party the Congress (J) on 5 August 1981 and in the General Election of December 1984, he once again returned victorious to the Lok Sabha. His long tenure is a reflection of a fearless and dedicated life. Since the inception of the Parliament, till his death, he represented the same constituency and fought and won every election. His uninterrupted legislative career from 1936-1986 spanning half a century is a world record. Leaving behind the message of equality, he breathed his last on 6 July, 1986. Champion of the Depressed Classes Babu Jagjivan Ram had shown complete solidarity with the depressed classes since his early life. He was highly convinced of the need to improve the lot of the oppressed and the downtrodden sections of the society. The most remarkable facet of Jagjivan Ram's political life had been his nationwide recognition as one of India's tallest leaders. He was committed to dealing with the scourge of casteism, which had taken deep roots in Indian society for ages. A large number of people were denied equal opportunities in social, political and economic spheres due to casteism, which was inconsistent with a modern society and its concept of basic human dignity. Jagjivan Ram had experienced its ill-effects, such as untouchability and marginalisation and was of the view that it is the most important barrier in the full development of human potential. Deeply hurt by the then existing situation in the country, particularly the practice of rampant caste-based discrimination and the resultant marginalization of a vast section of the society, Jagjivan Ram dedicated his leadership prowess and faculties for the upliftment of the depressed classes. Promoting people's welfare in general and the upliftment of the oppressed, in particular, became his passion in life. From his student days, he was actively involved in organising the youth from depressed classes and sought to create awareness among the members of his community to fight for their rights and to draw the attention of political leaders. During his formative years, he had witnessed the sufferings and privations perpetrated on the depressed classes under the feudal value system. However, he did not surrender to the unjust order of the day, rather he picked up the gauntlet and made it a mission to remedy the social malaise in every possible way. He too had to suffer ostracism and persecution at the hands of the same forces. Such experiences toughened his resolve to fight for justice and he made it his life-long goal to strive for eliminating the social malady that crippled a vast population. For his unwavering support and relentless struggle for the cause of the downtrodden, he has been rightly called a 'Messiah' of Dalits. He wanted a place of respect for the Dalits within the Hindu fold. Babuji felt that conversion to another faith would not rid the society of the malaise of casteism, for casteism was a rot, which has affected all religions and the only way to fight it was to reform the Hindu faith and change social attitudes. The temple entry movement gained momentum largely due to his efforts and today the doors of Jagannath temple at Puri, Vishwanath Mandir in Kashi and Meenakshi temple in Madurai, to name a few, are open for upper and lower castes alike. It is said that in him were symbolized the hopes and aspirations of the backward and the downtrodden people. He never minced words and boldly advocated the path of self-reliance for Harijans. He advised them to carry on a relentless struggle against social prejudices and unfair treatment meted out to them by society and wrest their legitimate right from the unwilling hands of unbending orthodoxy. Organising the Depressed Classes His impressive organizing capabilities saw him elected to the post of Secretary of Bihar State Harijan Sevak Sangh in 1933. In 1934, Jagjivan Ram successfully organized the All India Ravidas Sammelan in Calcutta. During this Conference, he met several social workers, with whom he shared his views and suggested that all Harijan leaders should speak from one platform. The Depressed Classes Unity Conference was held in Kanpur in 1935. In 1936, Jagjivan Ram was chosen to preside over the Lucknow Session of the All India Depressed Classes League, to be followed by many such conferences in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bombay and Punjab. He mobilized the backward classes and tried to articulate and air their genuine grievances. While remaining a Congress party worker and leader, Jagjivan Ram was overwhelmingly identified as a champion of the depressed classes who took up their advancement and social justice as an agenda close to his heart. In 1937, even before joining the Congress he had ensured the unopposed victory of all 14 candidates of his Depressed Classes League. In the 1946 national elections, it was under his leadership that the All India Depressed Classes
League members contested as Congress candidates and obtained a convincing majority. Consequently, in 1946, he was invited by the visiting Cabinet Mission to present his views on the depressed classes. On the issue of conversion, he was of the view that the injustices on the Harijans would neither end, nor can they get social status by adopting another religion. He rather exhorted them to raise themselves with their own effort, join the mainstream of the nation and work for its advancement. In this connection, he once said : "In the progress of the country lies our progress; in its salvation our salvation and in its emancipation, our emancipation.” Like Gandhiji, Jagjivan Ram attached greater importance in his life to true religion, while fighting for uprooting the social evils and injustice existing in our society. Definitely, he had done so because of his enriched faith in true religion. He vehemently opposed the evils of casteism and orthodoxy in Hindu society, but never hammered on the very root of Hinduism as a whole. Towards a New Social Order Babuji symbolised the dawn of a new era of assertion, equality and empowerment for the depressed classes. His life was a positive statement for the backward classes, who were immensely inspired by the sustained presence of Babuji at the national political scene. His sincerity, dedication and political clout instilled confidence and courage among them. His achievements were seen as part of remarkable advancement for his community. Jagjivan Ram once appealed to the depressed classes: "To struggle for a 'socially interdependent society which would be so changed and revolutionised that they could participate in it on terms of equality of rights and obligations." As a member of the Constituent Assembly, he played an active role in formulating provisions for the safeguard of the depressed classes. He also ensured that the Constitution of India should have enough provisions to forbid any practice of untouchability, or discrimination of persons on grounds of caste. The provision for State intervention for the advancement of socially backward classes by way of reservation in public employment and reservation of seats in legislatures for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes also owes its success to leaders like Jagjivan Ram. He was instrumental in the making of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955. These provisions were meaningfully and effectively translated into instruments of socio-political empowerment and economic progress, with people's active participation enabled by the towering presence of stalwarts like Jagjivan Ram. All these have resulted in giving a better deal to the depressed sections and bringing social changes in the country with a new mindset and social outlook. Jagjivan Ram did not nurse any utopian hopes that caste system would be eliminated at one go. His strategy and approach to the scourge of casteism was based on his abiding faith in the values of a democratic society and the process of transformation through constitutionally established system. He contributed in his own way for a national debate on the depressed classes welfare. In breaking the shackles of the caste system and transforming society, he believed in the use of sustained campaign to educate people to assert their rights and promote their welfare. Throughout his life, he believed passionately in human dignity and individual freedom. He abhorred oppression and believed in the philosophy of 'with malice towards none and charity for all'. As a Parliamentarian Shri Jagjivan Ram had the unique distinction of serving as a Member of the Central Legislature uninterruptedly for as long as 40 years. In the 1930s itself, Jagjivan Ram had emerged as a popular leader with strong mass support base. Since his nomination as a member of the Bihar Legislative Council in 1936, followed by his unopposed election to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1937, he never looked back and continued to get elected from the same constituency so long as he stood as a candidate. Till his last breath, he was a sitting member of the Lok Sabha —his Eighth term—never missing a Lok Sabha since the First General Election. Jagjivan Ram has had the distinction of being the longest—serving Minister in the history of Indian Parliament. A man of old world political morality, he had mass following in his own right, before and after Independence. In his capacity as a member of Parliament, during the major part of which he was a Minister, he sought to address many long term issues before the country in the socio-economic spheres by shaping public opinion, policy and consensus. Jagjivan Ram was known for his apt handling of parliamentary business. As a Union Minister, he introduced numerous Bills in the Lok Sabha and piloted their passage in Parliament. He was one of the best image-builders for the ruling party. He was a down-to-earth, unassuming leader who displayed exceptional political realism and accommodative spirit in presenting a responsible and responsive Executive. He had tremendous grasp of Indian political situations, problems facing the country and offered practical solutions for the many challenges. He was one of those parliamentarians who enriched the country's parliamentary democracy by his mature and dignified participation. Almost always a Minister and on the Treasury Benches, Jagjivan ARLIAMENT Ram played his role in an exceedingly impressive manner. He had his points sent across the various sections in the House effortlessly. He never pursued an evasive approach in Parliament and spared no efforts in keeping the Members satisfied with detailed and informative replies and statements. Jagjivan Ram was an effective debater since his young days and in Parliament, his oratory was well-acknowledged and admired. He is still remembered for his calm and composed demeanour even amidst the stormiest moments of the House. He had tremendous persuasive power and logical arguments which helped him drive home his points. He spoke both Hindi and English with equal ease and eloquence. During those days, Parliament had many outstanding parliamentarians with great debating skills and many of them were known for their ability to put the heat on the Ministers. One of Babuji's sterling qualities was that he was not the one to be easily provoked by Opposition attacks. Armed with facts and figures, he faced the House, especially the Opposition benches with dignified confidence and when the occasion demanded, he displayed his toughness and even a pinch of sarcasm for the Opposition. One of his junior Ministers, Shri V.C. Shukla, remembers Jagjivan Ram in the following words: "A great quality of Shri Jagjivan Ram, one that instantly put him among the select few anywhere, is his imperturbability. He remains his unruffled, serene self, no matter what storm may be raging around. Many must no doubt have had the occasions to see the deft, confident manner in which he handles even the stormiest debates on the floor of Parliament. It comes out on such occasion that the unruffled, unhurried, even amicable man, is also capable of retorting hard, and woe betake the member who sought to underestimate this capacity of Shri Jagjivan Ram. He was known for his unfailing courtesy to the House, taking due note of the opinion from all sections of the House and was also an effective spokesperson of the Government on the floor of the House. Recounting from his memory of Jagjivan Ram, Sardar Hukam Singh, former Speaker, Lok Sabha said : "He would make out his case convincingly, taking criticism calmly, and give back with force and redoubled vigour, without offending anybody. He is not a dry bore. On the other hand, he can utilize wit and introduce humour at suitable occasions." Jagjivan Ram was known for his calmness and composure even in the most trying circumstances. He would sit in the House fully in control of himself, composed and attentive, listening to the debate with rapt attention.
Dr. L.M. Singhvi, an eminent parliamentarian, very impressed by Babuji's parliamentary performance, said : "I have had the privilege of seeing Shri Jagjivan Ram functioning on the floor of the Lok Sabha as well as in the Committees and other meetings. I have always had the feeling that in tact, as well as in talent, in skill as well as in effectiveness, in exposition and in eloquence and in elaborate replies as well as in casual repartee, Shri Jagjivan Ram is one of our best parliamentarians of eminence". One of the most effective parliamentarians, Jagjivan Ram made significant contributions to strengthen the parliamentary institutions of our country. In his talent and expertise, the successive Prime Ministers had put unflinching faith. Jagjivan Ram gave his best to the party, Government and Parliament. He formed part of the political elite that shaped and strengthened the working of parliamentary institutions in the country and ensuring people's faith therein. The esteem, goodwill and image of Jagjivan Ram and his wealth of experience combined to make him a unique leader. Dr. Karan Singh, former Union Minister of Health and Family Planning, recalls Jagjivan Ram's parliamentary days in the following words: "Over the last 10 years I have been in Parliament. I had occasions to witness at close quarters Babu Jagjivan Ramji's performance in Parliament. His tremendous grasp over his portfolio in particular and national affairs in general, his imperturbability in the face of provocation and his effective delivery, both in English and Hindi, combined to make him one of our ablest Parliamentarians." A True Democrat Throughout his life, Babuji was a firm believer in democracy and democratic values. He stood by his principles and never compromised with values even during turbulent political situations. In spite of being one of the veteran Congress members and a close confidante of Smt. Indira Gandhi, Babuji did not hesitate to differ from her views. Jagjivan Ram tried to persuade Smt. Gandhi to revoke the Emergency and restore normalcy in the country. After failing in his effort to do so, he sent in his resignation to Smt. Gandhi. In his resignation letter on 2 February, 1977 to Smt. Gandhi, Babuji wrote: "A fear psychosis has overtaken the whole nation. People are living in a state of constant fear and are silently suffering. This is bad for any country, more so for a democracy. Therefore, it is necessary that the emergencies are ended, all extraordinary laws are made inoperative and freedom of the people restored, so that the entire nation can be rescued from the stage of impotence to which it has been reduced at present........... It is difficult for me to associate myself with such a dispensation any longer. I am, therefore, sending my resignation herewith from your Cabinet and request you for its immediate acceptance". After resigning from Smt. Gandhi's Cabinet, he addressed the Press and said : "The motherland calls once again to guard and preserve democracy, to protect human values so that India and India alone becomes strong and prosperous". Coalition Politics After quitting the Congress, the same day he formed a new party, the "Congress for Democracy". A man of the masses, he could sense the people's desire for a change and could foresee the results of the Sixth General Election. Indeed, he became a unifying force for the Opposition. As things unfolded, his assessment turned out to be prophetic. The multi-party alliance, which his party—the Congress for Democracy had joined, secured a landslide victory. When India's parliamentary system was entering a new phase of coalition politics, Jagjivan Ram was one of the key political actors in shaping national politics. There was a strong opinion and expectation that Jagjivan Ram should be chosen to head the first non-Congress Government at the Centre, but this was not to be. In the Janata Government, Jagjivan Ram took charge of the Defence portfolio on 25 March 1977. Soon after, Babu Jagjivan Ram merged his party, the CFD with the Janata Party. Babuji became the Deputy Prime Minister, in addition to handling the Defence portfolio. Later, as the Janata Party disintegrated and the Morarji Desai Government resigned in 1979, there was political crisis. Although Chaudhary Charan Singh was sworn-in as the Prime Minister, he could not prove his majority in the House. The first coalition experiment at the Centre thus came to a premature end. In the Seventh Lok Sabha, the Congress came back to power and the Janata Party succumbed to disintegration. Following the disintegration of the Janata Party, Jagjivan Ram formed a new party, namely, Congress (J). Though he did not return to the Congress Party, he was always consulted by many of its national leaders. People from various walks of life sought his advice on various issues, particularly related to Indian politics and administration. He led the unquestioned leader of his long-term constituency—Sasaram in Bihar. In the Seventh and Eighth General Elections to the Lok Sabha, Jagjivan Ram won from the same constituency, unaffected by the changed political equations and other factors. An Accomplished Administrator Since the Interim Government in 1946, Jagjivan Ram had been a Cabinet Minister for more than three decades, except when he relinquished ministerial position and did party work under the 'Kamaraj Plan' during 1963-66. He enriched India's parliamentary system of governance, both as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister. Three decades as the Union Cabinet Minister speaks volumes of his administrative capabilities and acumen. He held important portfolios such as Labour, Railways, Transport, Communications, Food and Agriculture, Defence, etc. He had shown great political wisdom and understanding in dealing with the country's challenges, be it in Defence or Agriculture. He also demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm for India's development. Under his direction and guidance, various Ministries pursued development-oriented programmes and introduced services, which were highly appreciated and welcomed by the people. He took lead in the formulation of sound and result-oriented policies and programmes concerning the Ministries and Departments under his charge and implemented them efficiently. He was sensitive to the people's needs and development requirements and was prompt at taking appropriate measures to manage various crises in the country. He knew how to handle the bureaucracy and the art of getting the best out of it. In translating the untold dreams of the people into perspective planning and meeting the many challenges before the nation, Jagjivan Ram's expertise was invaluable. He was the Minister of Labour during 1946-52, a portfolio he held again in 1966-1967. Besides the Labour Ministry, the other Ministries he held were Communications (1952-56), Railways (1956-1962), Transport and Communications (1962-63), Food and Agriculture (1967-1970), Defence (1970-1974) and Agriculture and Irrigation (1974-77). When the Janata Party Government headed by Morarji Desai was formed in 1977, Jagjivan Ram joined it as a Cabinet Minister holding Defence portfolio. He also became the Deputy Prime Minister and held the Defence portfolio from 24 January 1979 to 28 July 1979. As Minister of Labour Labour portfolio fell on the shoulders of Jagjivan Ram first in 1946 and later during 1966-67.
When he became Labour Minister in 1946, it was a time Labour welfare was receiving much attention—both nationally and internationally, to create more humane conditions for workers and ensure them remunerative wages and other rights. He was convinced that unless the problems of poverty, unemployment and low standard of living of the vast masses were successfully dealt with, it would be difficult to address labour problems. He laid the foundation for a new era of labour welfare, industrial climate and productivity with new policy measures and an enabling working environment. He was instrumental in bringing many progressive labour laws incorporating sound labour policy befitting a Welfare State, which provided the labour force in the country great relief and incentives to work. A number of labour friendly laws were enacted during his tenure, viz., the Minimum Wages Act, the Coal Mines Provident Fund and Bonus Scheme, The Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund and the vast network of Employees' State Insurance Corporation. Such measures saved the labour force from pitiable and exploitative conditions and also ensured social and financial security and dignity. In 1947, he piloted the enactment of the Industrial Disputes Act, which was a landmark legislation heralding in an era of hope and mutual goodwill for settlement of industrial disputes. This was further modified with the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950. In November 1947, he introduced the Dock Workers (Regulation and Employment) Bill in the Central Legislative Assembly. Another social security measure was the Workmen's State Insurance Bill that Jagjivan Ram introduced in November 1947. In 1948, the Factories Act was enacted which inter alia, prohibited the employment of women and children in dangerous occupations. The Act also regulated hours of work, payment of overtime wages, weekly holidays, leave with pay, etc. Another major enactment was the Indian Trade Union (Amendment) Act, 1946 seeking to strengthen the Indian Trade Union Act,1929 which had proved ineffective. This constant liaison with labour stemmed from his early association with the oppressed classes and he had made a bold and original contribution for the amelioration of their lot by his constant and untiring endeavours. Babuji was a champion for the cause of labour. But at the same time, he frequently reminded the labour force of their responsibility towards building a vibrant and modern India. While addressing a convocation at the Banaras Hindu University he said: ".....I need hardly emphasise the importance of the new political role of the labour, except to say that increase in power means increase in responsibility. These two go together and cannot be separated. Power with irresponsibility will lead to disaster, that may even spell the loss of liberty and the downfall of the State".
He further added: "I am myself a firm believer in the efficiency of negotiations, conciliation, and adjudication. It is only when all these avenues have exhausted that the last weapons in the armoury of labour may be wielded and that also only for economic reasons. A strike, as political weapon, is doomed to failure and will be resisted with all the energy and resources at disposal of the government." In June 1947, Shri Jagjivan Ram led the Indian delegation to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Conference. He had the honour of becoming the first Asian Chairman at the Conference of the ILO held at Geneva in 1950. By tackling issues on the labour and employment front and adding to industrial peace and productivity, Jagjivan Ram had contributed much to the productive potential of the country. He was always sympathetic to the cause of the labour and the poor workers. During his second tenure as the Labour Minister in 1966, he brought the Contract Labour Bill that was aimed at the abolition of contract labour from certain categories of trade unions and for regulating working conditions where the total abolition of contract labour was not possible. The welfare of the labour class was always in his mind. He appointed the National Commission on Labour, headed by Shri Gajendragadkar, to review the changes in conditions of Labour since Independence and to report on their existing conditions. The report, submitted to the Government in 1969, provided a wealth of information and included many useful recommendations. Jagjivan Ram’s term as Labour minister was indeed a boon for the working class in the country. As Minister of Communications and Transport Jagjivan Ram held charge of the Ministry of Communications from May 1952 to December 1956. He also held both—the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Transport from April 1962 to August 1963. Nationalization of air transport was one of the most significant developments of his term. He piloted the Air Corporation Bill, 1953 amidst great opposition and ensured its successful enactment. The Air Corporation Act provided for reorganization and development of the Civil Aviation sector and resulted in the genesis of Air India and Indian Airlines as nationalized air carriers. There was tremendous expansion of civil aviation infrastructure during his tenure. On his behest, a number of aerodromes were built and auxiliary facilities were augmented. Equal importance was attached to the improvement of the existing aerodromes and completion of ongoing works. Though he attached great importance to Civil Aviation and regarded it as the second line of defence, he did not agree to the demand of handing over this Department to the Defence Ministry. While replying to the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Communications, he once said :
"If Civil Aviation is to be treated as a second line of defence, the very argument justifies that it should be separate from the Defence Ministry and should be allowed the fullest scope for development so that in times of emergency, it can function as an efficient second line of defence." In the field of Communications, he took key initiatives and made radical changes. He laid the foundation for expansion of this vital service for the progress of the country. It was his policy decision that every village with a population of 2,000 must have a post office. For villages in far-flung areas, the provision was suitably relaxed, so that no one would be made to walk for more than two miles to utilize postal facilities. It was also his decision to have a telegraph office for every Tehsil town. As a matter of policy, he decided that telephone exchanges should be opened in all District towns and Public Call Offices at sub-divisional towns. Such a far-sighted step enhanced the communication network to a great extent. It also proved to be very useful for the educated unemployed of the nation. Realising the huge potential of the Shipping sector, Jagjivan Ram emphasized the expansion of its fleet and covered all the important trade routes of the world. Indian ports were modernized and developmental works were undertaken in major ports viz. Cochin, Visakhapatnam, Kandla, Tuticorin, Mangalore and also at Calcutta and Haldia Dock Projects. All these initiatives resulted in substantial increase in the total cargo shipment and in turn gave a boost to foreign trade and increase in foreign exchange resource. This apart, he also took steps for the development of roadways during his tenure. The number of national highways and the total length of roads registered a significant growth. A Transport Development Council was set up. It made important recommendations pertaining to motor vehicle taxation, schemes for establishment of National Road Safety Council, framing model rules for the transport of goods by road and development of inland water transport. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an ardent lover of Hindi language and literature. As a visionary, he realized the importance of Hindi and encouraged the staff to be initiated into Hindi. During his tenure, a new practice was started to issue all the circulars and postal notices released by the Director-General in Hindi, as well as in English. Stamps and seals in Devnagari script were introduced in the circles, where Hindi was used as an important language of communication. In other cities, bilingual stamps and seals were supplied.
As Railway Minister Jagjivan Ram was entrusted with the Railway portfolio in December 1956. Indian Railways was under tremendous strain at that time. It was perceived that by allocating the Railways portfolio to Babuji, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru brought the right man to ensure that the Railways attained adequate growth to cater to the increasing passenger and freight traffic in the country. With wisdom, intuition and an unorthodox approach, he endeavoured to overhaul the Indian Railways which had come under strain and stagnation in growth. His efforts paved the way for the accelerated growth of Indian Railways, making it the fourth largest in the world and the largest in Asia. During his tenure, all areas like modernization, economy measures, better management practices, self-sufficiency in indigenous production of railway requirements, etc. received special attention. Undoubtedly, the Railways took great strides forward. The Indian Railways network proliferated under the dynamic leadership of Babuji. It was indeed given a facelift. Remarkably, this was achieved without raising the fares in all the five Railway Budgets, which were presented by Jagjivan Ram in Parliament. Some other achievements during his term included-construction of about 650 kilometres of broad-gauge line, 610 kilometres of metre-gauge line and doubling of about 1,500 kilometres of existing single line. With his vast experience, zeal and unparalleled innovative skill, Babuji introduced a number of amenities for all classes of passengers without raising fares. He paid special attention to the welfare of the railway workers. The most noteworthy step was the introduction of a Pension Scheme in December 1957, similar to one applicable to the Central Government employees. On his behest, several staff training schools were opened and the existing ones were expanded to facilitate the Railway men to equip themselves for more responsible work and thereby improve their career prospects. It was during his time that reservations were made for departmental promotions of employees from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and these were strictly implemented. Attention of the recruiting authorities was constantly drawn to the necessity of filling all vacancies for the candidates belonging to the reserved category. As Minister of Food and Agriculture During his tenure as the Minister of Food and Agriculture, first from March 1967 to June 1970 and then again from October 1974 to February 1977, he handling this Ministry at a difficult juncture. It was in the late sixties, the country was reeling under a severe food shortage following two years of drought. Jagjivan Ram concentrated on the growth of agriculture, food production and Public Distribution System (PDS). He worked hard and helped in enabling the country to ensure food security and availability of food at reasonable price for millions of people in the country. When he began his tenure in this Ministry, India was dependent on foodgrain imports and was struggling to find some innovative measures to increase agricultural production. Babuji was convinced that the growth of the national economy rests heavily on the growth of agriculture. He was, therefore, of the opinion that self-sufficiency in India's agricultural economy should be achieved as quickly as possible, so that dependence on foodgrain imports could be eliminated. He initiated a number of new measures and reoriented agricultural policies and programmes to achieve record food production. Important among them were—acceleration of irrigation programmes, resolving inter-state water disputes, National Seeds Programme for production of quality seeds, promotional campaign for fertilizer use, etc. Through adoption and application of improved agricultural practices, cultivation of high-yielding varieties, increased use of fertilizers and pesticides, assured irrigation, improved water management practices, expansion of agricultural credit, development of marketing and storage, crop production was taken to new heights. To overcome the food scarcity situation in the country, due to the unprecedented droughts of 1965 and 1966, Babuji took several measures and dealt with the situation successfully. Large-scale feeding programmes were organized for the benefit of the vulnerable sections of the population. The distribution of foodgrains from fair price shops was maintained with a view to safeguarding the interests of the consumers. Vigorous efforts were made to maximize domestic procurement of foodgrains and to supplement the domestic supplies through imports. In 1970, when he switched over to the Defence Ministry, food shortage had been reduced to a mere bad dream. Jagjivan Ram realized that Public Distribution System was an effective mechanism to manage the supply chain of foodgrains to the common people. To meet the requirements of the Public Distribution System, increased emphasis was laid on domestic procurement and the country's dependence on imports was progressively reduced. Public distribution of foodgrains was made a regular feature of food management in the country. Another important contribution of Jagjivan Ram was in the field of Land Reforms, to which he accorded much priority as an effective step to transform the rural economy. Following the Chief Ministers' Conference in 1976, considerable progress was made in implementing land reforms. Development of animal husbandry and dairying, inland fisheries, improving the forest cover, procurement of foodgrains from domestic markets for public distribution, making PDS a regular feature for better food management in the country, building buffer stock, incentive prices for farmers, etc. were also given emphasis during Babuji's tenure. In 1975, during his second term as the Food Minister, there was a worldwide shortage of foodgrains. India managed the crisis with effective policy measures such as de-hoarding campaigns, expansion and streamlining of the PDS and increased inputs of foodgrain production. In fact, the whole approach to food and agriculture policy under the leadership of Jagjivan Ram was of practical significance. They not only succeeded in meeting the crisis in those times, but also came to be part of the long-term policy framework on food and agriculture in the country. As Minister of Defence Jagjivan Ram was the Defence Minister of the country at an important juncture and proved to be a tough taskmaster. He took over the reins of this Ministry in June 1970, when the threat of war was knocking at India's eastern and western fronts. By December 1971, India successfully fought and concluded a war against Pakistan in which our Armed Forces proved its might and capability. Given that, India had not emerged victorious in any of the wars fought previously, he had the uphill task of preparing the armed forces for the eventuality of a war and keeping them fit and war-worthy. With his unmatched ingenuity, he managed the affairs of the Defence forces at that critical juncture. He not only motivated the Armed Forces to fight for the liberation of another country, but also kept his promise to the people that the war would not be fought on Indian soil. In the build-up to the war, he visited the places where Armed Forces were stationed and also addressed civilians in other areas explaining to them the emerging situation. This helped in readying the entire nation to fight the war. In October 1971, when the Army was preparing for the war, Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi and Defence Minister, Shri Jagjivan Ram visited many Army divisions and units in Punjab and the border areas in other States. Lt. Gen. K.P. Candeth who was the Commander of the Army's Western Command during the 1971 war, has recounted their visit in the following words : "Shri Jagjivan Ram went down well with the soldiers. He is a wonderful speaker who can carry his audience with him and he never makes the mistake of talking down to them, but manages to convey the impression one of them....I had to brief him on the operational situation and war plans and was struck by his incisiveness and quick grasp of the root of a problem. My admiration grew during the initial reverses we had....He used to ring me, normally in the morning, and in his slow drawl ask me how it was going and if I could cope with the situation, and being told that there was no cause to worry and that I could deal with it, he used to wish me good luck and ring off. He never seemed excited, bothered or flurried and his phlegmatism did much to inspire confidence.” The internal situation in the erstwhile East Pakistan had spilled over to India, with hundreds of thousands of refugees crossing over to the Indian territory. He considered the refugee influx to India as a humanitarian problem and emphatically said, "....which civilized country, least of all, one with the tradition like ours, could seal off borders and allow innocent civilians to face the bullets." His inspiring leadership galvanized the entire nation and the Armed Forces to deal with the crisis in East Pakistan, which ended with the creation of a new country, Bangladesh. The moments of acute national crisis in December 1971, bear testimony to the quiet confidence, patience and immense courage of Babuji. Babu Jagjivan Ram displayed unparalleled resoluteness during those historic days. His 'warrior with a humane face' image is still fondly remembered by the Armed Forces. He proved a good samaritan for the men in uniform in several ways. He took steps for the rehabilitation of the families of the jawans who had laid down their lives to uphold the honour of the country, or sustained grievous injuries, a new scheme of family pension for widows of the deceased officers and "sheltered" appointments for the disabled jawans and officers. The provision of "War Injury Pay" was made for those who could not be accommodated in service. Several other welfare measures like free land and employment to war widows, medical treatment for the families at military hospitals and education for children of martyred soldiers were also launched. He also extended such benefits to the servicemen and ex-servicemen disabled in the 1947-48, 1962 and 1965 wars. Showing his concern for the welfare of the Armed Forces servicemen he once said: "The members of our Armed Forces have proved to the world that in the final analysis it is the man behind the machine who counts. It is his valour, dedication, determination, morale and skill which brought success to our arms. It is his conduct and his regard for human values, which earned us and our forces a good name from our friends in Bangladesh and from foreign observers.
As the Defence Minister, Jagjivan Ram shouldered the crucial responsibility of strengthening the defence apparatus of the country. In his endeavour to ensure that the defence apparatus of the country was kept in perfect order with all defence requirements, he attached great importance to the research and development aspect of the Defence organizations. In this regard, while replying as Defence Minister to the discussion on the working of the Ministry of Defence in Rajya Sabha in 1972 in the wake of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, Jagjivan Ram said: " It is gratifying when my Ministry receives universal support from all sides of the House for strengthening our Armed Forces, for modernising the Army, for modernising the Navy and for modernising the Air Force. It gives me added strength. We are taking certain steps for modernising the three wings of the Armed Forces. We are producing some of the arms and military hardware that we require. But to think that so far as sophisticated weapons are concerned we have become self-reliant, well, it will be far from the reality. It will take time. And in this connection, I would like to say that so far as our research and development are concerned, it will be my effort to see that the research and development activities are strengthened to the maximum extent in the Defence Ministry, and work will not be permitted to suffer for want of requisite funds, and when I have got support of both Houses, I am sure it will be possible to provide adequate funds for research and development." On International Relations Jagjivan Ram was keen on rebuilding and improving bilateral ties with Pakistan and developing friendly relations with other countries. After the war was over, he took several steps in this direction. On the issue of Indo-Pak bilateral relations, he said, "In our view, there is no dispute between our two countries which cannot be settled by friendly negotiations between ourselves...........It will now be our endeavour to forge, through bilateral negotiations, a new relationship with Pakistan, based not on conflict but on cooperation..........assuring to the peoples of the two countries freedom from fear of recurring wars and an opportunity to devote their full attention to economic and social progress."
BABU JAGJIVAN RAM IN PARLIAMENT
Jagjivan Ram also contributed to the growth of India's cooperative and friendly relations with other nations. It was during his tenure as the Defence Minister that India entered into the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation. His Last Journey Jagjivan Ram passed away in New Delhi on 6 July 1986, at the age of 78 after a period of illness. As a leader who shared his political career with many generations from Mahatma Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi, he has left an indelible imprint on the polity of India. He was a stalwart among the leaders of his time and a doyen of Indian Parliament. Leaders, media, general public and the entire nation expressed grief over the passing away of Jagjivan Ram. He was given a national honour, with his cremation being attended by President Giani Zail Singh, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers, leaders of various parties and thousands of his followers. With Jagjivan Ram's passing away, came an end an era representing perhaps the most important phase of the country's transition from preIndependence to Independence and on to a vibrant, democratic society. He has left the legacy of a sincere and dedicated political leader, a committed public servant, freedom fighter, social reformer, revolutionary and a true humanist. He will be remembered for a long time to come for his varied contributions towards socio-economic development of the country. A democrat to the core and a conscientious political leader, he enriched Indian politics with his mature and principled positions. He was a pillar of strength for the Indian polity during periods of great challenge and transition. He played a significant role in the upliftment of the depressed classes, ensuring justice for the oppressed and the deprived, enhancing the country's infrastructure development and in accelerating India's march to emerge as a stronger power in the world. In his passing away, the country lost a unique leader, a patriot, a visionary and a great nationalist. His legacy will live on and continue to inspire the coming generations in social and political activities and in the continuous search for a better society.
PART–II ARTICLES MEMORIES OF BABU JAGJIVAN RAM —
Pranab Mukherjee* Babu Jagjivan Ram was a valiant fighter in India’s freedom struggle and a great inspirer and organizer of people against oppression. He was a powerful orator, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator. Babuji was born in a poor Harijan family in a small village of Bihar on 5 April 1908. His life is a story of rise from abysmal depths to great heights and exalted position which was not achieved with anybody’s patronage but simply by sheer merit, competence, self respect and self sacrifice. As a student, he was meritorious right from the beginning. While studying in the Kolkata College, he was inspired by the ideals of Gandhiji and plunged into the freedom movement under the able leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and others. He got himself educated despite social and economic disabilities and chronic poverty. This gave him a unique position in the prevailing political situation in the country. He recognized the need of freedom from political slavery to address the problems of untouchability, social discrimination and backwardness. To him freedom meant not just change in the colour of the leaders from white to black or so, but it encompassed freedom from political slavery, economic bondage and cultural stagnation. He participated actively in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930 and the Quit India Movement in 1942. By appearing before the Cabinet Mission in April 1946 as a representative of the depressed classes, he frustrated the designs of the British and other divisive forces to further divide India. Babuji had arrived on the political scene as the representative of the Scheduled Castes and the Congress leadership looked to him as an able spokesman of the depressed classes. Throughout his life, he worked for these ideals and tried to implement them through administration of various Ministries/Departments over which he presided for a very long time. He was inducted in Bihar Government in 1937 as a parliamentary secretary under the premiership of Babu Sri Krishna Sinha. He joined the Interim Government under Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in September 1946 and continued to be the Union Minister till July, 1979. However, Shri Jagjivan Ram resigned from the Council of Ministers under the Kamaraj Plan for revitalizing the party in 1963 and again became Union * He is the Union Minister of Defence. Minister in 1966. In his long ministerial career, he proved to be one of the best Ministers the country had ever produced. He dealt with various portfolios ranging from Labour, Communications, Railways to Agriculture and Defence where he made his presence felt by sheer competence. As Defence Minister, he was always a source of inspiration to the officers and jawans. I still remember during the Bangladesh War when the US establishment threatened to send the 7th Fleet to the Bay of Bengal in order to embolden Pakistan, the bold and famous utterances of Babuji that the 7th Fleet will be sunk in Bay of Bengal, which not only demonstrated courage and conviction of a nation, but also helped in the freedom struggle of a neighbouring country. This speaks of the courage and determination of a leader of his stature. His legislative career is as illustrious as his administrative career. He represented Sasaram in Bihar from 1952 till his death which is unique. His popularity was so much that a couple of times he was elected unopposed in general elections. At the personal level, I had privilege of having his care and affection as a junior ministerial colleague. Whenever I wanted something from him for my State of West Bengal (Bengal was his second home state and he could speak Bengali flawlessly) he used to meet my request. After the formation of Congress Government in 1972, there was an acute shortage of foodgrains in West Bengal to support the Public Distribution System. Additional requirement was needed over and above the normal allocation to manage the situation. The request of the State Government to the Food Minister was regretted as the demands from all other States were equally acute. I met Babuji along with the then Food Minister of West Bengal, Satada ( Shri Praful Kanti Ghosh) and requested him for additional allocation. Babuji made special provision for West Bengal when we explained the critical situation prevailing therein. Throughout my political career, till his death, I always received support and encouragement from him whenever I needed it Srad Pawar at leaders and personalities participated in India’s Freedom Movement and later shaped its destiny in the post-Independence period. One of the stalwarts amongst them was Jagjivan Ram—popularly known as ‘Babuji’. Born on 5 April, 1908 in a small village, Chandwa in Shahabad district, now known as Bhojpur in Bihar. He rose from a very humble beginnings to shape the political, social and economic future of our country. A true man of the masses, his simplicity and intelligence endeared him to all sections and strata of people of our country. He caught the attention of Dr. Rajendra Prasad who was greatly impressed by his oratorical skills and his forceful articulation of people’s grievances and aspirations. With his initiation into the Indian National Congress, began the meteoric rise of one of the greatest personalities of our times. He emerged as the leader of masses and came to be looked upon as a representative of the millions of the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and the depressed sections of our society who had suffered socio-economic deprivation over the centuries. In the Congress, Jagjivan Ram emerged as a staunch supporter of Mahatma Gandhi and the principles which he stood for. His early social and political life was also refined and sharpened when he was nominated to the Bihar Legislative Council and later to the Legislative Assembly. In 1946, he became the youngest Minister in the Interim Government. In the Constituent Assembly, he actively participated in shaping the Constitution of our country. He remained a Member of the House of People (Lok Sabha) continuously from the First to the Eighth Lok Sabha. Babu Jagjivan Ram was also an important symbol of the struggle waged by the Scheduled Castes and depressed classes for equality and empowerment. As the Member of the Constituent Assembly, he ensured that free India would be rid of the pernicious practices such as untouchability and social discriminations based on caste consideration. Reservations provided to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Legislatures, public employment, education etc. were strongly supported by him to ensure economic progress * He is the Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. and socio-political empowerment for them. He believed in educating the people in order to make them conscious of their rights and privileges as citizen of a free country and enable them to lead a life of dignity and freedom. He worked ceaselessly for the unity and solidarity of the socially and economically depressed sections and led the All India Depressed Classes League while continuing to be in the Congress. In a significant divergence of views with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, he urged the Scheduled Castes and the Backward Class People to fight for the rights and dignity within the existing social set-up; he never wanted a schism between them and the forward classes. He was always in favour of social and communal harmony for the betterment of the society and for the growth and development of the nation as a whole. Babu Jagjivan Ram had a deep and abiding faith in the efficacy of democratic polity, value-based politics and necessity for establishing an egalitarian society. He dedicated his life to strengthen such institutions and fight against casteism and bring about social transformation. His organizational skills, administrative capabilities were displayed at its best when he was entrusted with a variety of Ministries during his long political career in the Union Government. Among the Ministries which he held included: Communications, Railway and Transport, Food and Agriculture and Defence. Babu Jagjivan Ram was the Union Labour Minister from 1946 to 1952 and again from 1966 to 1967. During his tenure some important legislations were enacted. Mention may be made of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and the Factory Act of 1948. The Industrial Disputes Act was a very important labour legislation which provided the mechanism for settling industrial disputes and creation of healthy work environment. The Factory Act of 1948 regulated the working conditions of children and women in the Factories and Industries in conformity with the Directive Principles of State Policy as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Other important labour legislations enacted during his tenure were the Plantation Labour Act, 1961 and the Bidi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966. His pro-labour attitude also saw the appointment of the National Labour Commission which made many a recommendation that resulted in improving the conditions of the workers in the industries—both in the organized and unorganized sector. These far-reaching legislations went a long way in creating a congenial, industrial environment, providing benefits to millions of workers, boosting production and putting the country firmly on the road towards development of being a Welfare State. Among the Ministries on which Babu Jagjivan Ram left an indelible impression were the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Earlier as the Defence Minister and presently as the Minister for Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, I have come across the remarkable imprint he has left behind during his tenure. His dexterous handling of issues in these Ministries is still recalled with great appreciation and admiration. He was the Defence Minister during1970-71when Indian Armed Forces proved their superiority and professionalism beyond any doubt by fighting a successful war against Pakistan. He managed the affairs of the Defence Forces during this period with great efficiency. He used to frequently visit the jawans posted in the far-flung areas and boosted their morale by impressing on them that it was the man behind the machine which made a difference. Through his calm resolve and intelligent observations, he also won admirations of the Generals and Commanders of all the three wings of the Armed Forces while taking strategic decisions and policy formulations. He was very concerned about the modernization of the Armed Forces and laid great emphasis on achieving self-sufficiency in defence preparedness. He also encouraged indigenous research and development in the sphere of Defence and ensured that funds were never a restraining factor in this regard. The welfare of the jawans was also very close to his heart. He evolved many beneficial programmes for their resettlement—like medical treatment at army hospitals and employment opportunities for the disabled, education and family pensions for the families of the deceased. He is still very fondly remembered by our officers and jawans. In January 1967, Babu Jagjivan Ram took over the charge as the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation. The day he entered Krishi Bhawan to preside over one of the most vital Ministries of the Government of India, it rained heavily. The rain Gods also seemed to have changed their moods and it was a pointer of the shape of things to come. His years in this Ministry proved to be a boon for the country. He was responsible for formulation of new policies for food production and procurement. As a result of these policies, the production of wheat increased from 12 million tonne to 23 million tonne. Such near doubling of production in about four years’ time was not witnessed even in developed countries like the United States and Canada. In fact, the total production of foodgrains increased from 74 million tonne to 98 million tonne during his tenure as the Food and Agriculture Minister. In order to improve the well beings of the farmers, he introduced the price support policy and issued instruction for fixing maximum price support in the case of wheat and paddy. During his tenure, build up of the buffer stock of foodgrains was 8 million tonne. As a result of these policies of price support and procurement, the import of foodgrains was stopped. India became self-sufficient in foodgrains. Surely, a very proud moment for our country. To Babu Jagjivan Ram also goes the credit for providing a pragmatic and stable sugar policy which has stood the test of time. Under this policy, sugar mills were allowed a definite and substantial free sale quota which increased the viability of the sugar industry and ensured higher cane price payment to cultivators. At the same time, release mechanism which was put in place, ensured that prices did not rise abnormally. The welfare of consumers was further protected by a stable policy of obtaining levy sugar from sugar factories and supply through the Public Distribution System. The net result of these policies was a substantial increase in sugar production in 1967-68 and record production in 1969-70. The policies also took care of the concerns of all stakeholders and placed Indian Sugar Industry on a firm path of growth. Another important decision taken by Babu Jagjivan Ram pertained to channelising the import of tractors through the state owned Agro Industrial Corporations. Thus, the huge profits which were being usurped by the importers at the cost of farmers were stopped. The various policy initiatives and programmes launched by Shri Jagjivan Ram during his tenure as the Food and Agriculture Minister(1967-70) improved the well-being of farmers as well as the consumers. However, his single largest contribution was to make India self-sufficient in foodgrains. He was a Cabinet Minister for over thirty years during which he was incharge of number of Ministries. As a pragmatic leader and person with vision and clear understanding he implemented policies and programmes very effectively and with great expertise. His sensitivities to people’s needs, management skills and the uncanny art of getting the best from the civil servants were keys to his success. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an outstanding parliamentarian. His sharp intellect, oratorical skills, the ability to remain calm in the most adverse circumstances stood him in good stead. Since his entry into the Bihar Legislative Council in 1936 and later from the First Lok Sabha till the Eighth Lok Sabha, he remained a legislator till his last breath. He had the unique distinction of being not only the youngest but also the longest serving Minister in the annals of Indian Parliament. He was greatly admired by his colleagues in the Congress Party and also by the Opposition for his ability to carry them along on many issues through his dignified approach and also caring for the sensibilities of his opponents in the House. He was ever willing to discuss any issue and share information with all his colleagues and left them happily satisfied by his answers. He was a very quick learner, who had a tremendous grasp over the subjects handled by his Ministries. This enabled him not only to carry out the routine administrative work efficiently, but also offer new and innovative ideas and directions. Jagjivan Ram’s abiding faith in democracy and freedom prompted him to leave the Congress when his effort to persuade the Congress leadership to revoke the emergency failed. He formed his own political party called the Congress for Democracy which later joined the Janata Party to form the Government at the Centre. A great organizer, administrator and social crusader, Babu Jagjivan Ram carved out a special niche for himself in India’s modern political history. In his long and remarkable political career he had become a legend during his lifetime. He earned respect and admiration from all sections of the society. His contribution to our nation-building is invaluable—in the political, economic and social sectors. His life and work will undoubtedly continue to inspire generations to come. ——————
—Meira Kumar* It is not easy for a daughter to write dispassionately about her father because the bonds are too close, the sentiments too deep and the images get blurred. Ever since I remember, I saw him as a national figure, a performer at centrestage, bathed in limelight. He was called upon to meet the most difficult challenges facing the nation in his times and he met them all with devastating success. Equipped with remarkable grit, intellectual rigour and a strong commitment to moral and quintessentially human values, Babuji remained the longest in that rarefied atmosphere at the top where even the best survive only briefly. As a growing child therefore, I was naturally overawed by the aura of supermanship that always surrounded him. I loved him as my father. While the world was curious about his work, his influence and the power he wielded, I was only concerned about his person, his childhood, his youth, his struggles and his dreams. As a little girl, I loved to listen to the tales of his childhood pranks which grandmother narrated as bed-time stories. She narrated them in a style so picturesque that I see them before my eyes as paintings coloured in great detail by a very fine brush. Whenever, Barka Baba, my father’s elder brother, twenty-four years his senior, came to Delhi, I would shower him with questions about Babuji’s childhood. I have treasured every word that grandmother and Barka Baba spoke about Babuji and have used them painstakingly to reconstruct his early life. The earliest scene, then, is set in the first decade of the 20th century against the backdrop of Chandwa, a small, backward village in Bihar in a country reeling under the shame of being a British colony. Babuji was born here on 5 April, 1908 amidst poverty and untouchability. For thousands of years Indian society had treated the untouchables with utter scorn and contempt. The repression and exploitation had crippled their very psyche so that they could not even entertain the idea of protesting against the unjust social system. They were the disinherited ones, a casualty of history, too feeble and with wounded souls to fight back. But Babuji was different. He was made of sterner stuff. It was against his grain to accept injustice. As life began to unfold and he felt the trauma of his * She is the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment. circumstances, he took the reins of destiny into his own hands and strode ahead unstoppable—to a new dawn. I can visualize him as an ill-clad, dusty little boy out to conquer the world. Babuji was admitted to the village school at the age of six. It was Basant Panchami day and after offering prayers to Goddess Saraswati, he was sent to school, attired in a new yellow dhoti and velvet cap, a piece of jaggery in his mouth for good luck and a slate tucked under his arm. My grandfather Sant Shobi Ram had set great hopes in him—the youngest of his eight children. Grandfather was tall, handsome and very upright. As a young man, he had resigned from his job in the British Army, to protest against their unjust conduct. Thereafter, he worked in the Calcutta Medical College, but retired prematurely to settle down to a quiet, ascetic life in Chandwa. The produce of his land somehow sustained the family. As the priest of the Shiva-Narayani Sect, most of his time was spent in praying and writing the holy book “Anayas” in his beautiful, long hand to distribute among his disciples. He died young, when my father was only six. His last words to my father were “I have taught English to your elder brother but I have not even taught Hindi to you. May you scale great heights in life”. It was then that my grandmother Vasanti Devi, a lady of rare wisdom and courage, made a silent vow to her departing husband that she would spare no effort to give the best education to her young son. The village school was his temple of learning. There were new books to read and there was so much to learn. He had just learnt to spell his long name but one of his friends invariably spelt it wrong in order to tease him. Once the teasing led to a heated argument followed by fist cuffs. The friend went crying to Panditji, who not only scolded Babuji, but also thrashed him without giving him a chance to explain. This was his first encounter with injustice. Furious at the treatment meted out to him, he took a long stick and climbed atop a mango tree instead of going home for lunch. When grandmother made inquires, she was told that he was very angry and threatened to beat anyone who dared to go near the tree. When further inquiries revealed that he was beaten for no fault of his, she headed for Panditji’s house. She told Panditji’s wife in no uncertain terms that her husband was not only guilty of gross injustice to her little son, but was also responsible for beating him and keeping him without food. She made these charges in a manner so forceful and so appealing that she won instant support from the Panditani who joined her in her mission against injustice. The two accosted Panditji who was already suffering from pangs of remorse. The child he had wrongly punished was the brightest he had seen in his long, teaching career and he had the intuition that the little boy would do him proud one day. He apologized to grandmother and the Panditani, who were still in a belligerent mood, and then proceeded to the mango tree to beckon his favourite student. Babuji politely came down, but declared his refusal to study in Panditji’s school. Panditji was finally able to pacify him, but the little crusader had won his first battle. The incident, which left a lasting impact on him, occurred when he was around seven. It was rainy season and the tiny rivulet Gangi, which crisscrossed the eastern side of the village, had swelled. One hot afternoon Babuji and his friend went for a swim after school. The current was too powerful for the young swimmers. Being closer to the shore, the friend managed to come out, Babuji could not. Overcome by fierce mid-stream current he was fast drifting away when a woman spotted him. She had a long stick for driving her pigs. She rushed and extended the stick to rescue him. He saw the stick, outstretched his arm, held it tight and using all his might came out. It all happened in a flash, but it kindled a light within him forever. By accident, he had chanced upon the Moolmantra, the basic philosophy of his life, which he never allowed himself to forget. That the elderly lady thereafter was accorded the same respect, which was reserved for his mother, is another matter. What is significant is that the incident became a reference point in his life, one to which he referred again and again for sustenance, especially in trying moments. Perched on his knees as a little girl, or sitting by his side when I grew up, I often heard him talk of it. The elderly lady was, no doubt, a help, he would explain, but what really mattered was that he had the presence of mind to hold on to the stick and the strength within him to pull himself out. After finishing middle school, Babuji joined the high school in Arrah town. Although his reputation as a topper had already preceded him, it was eclipsed by the social prejudices prevalent at the time—prejudices that unfortunately exist even today. The most unusual reception awaited him upon his arrival at the school. To the school verandah which hitherto had accommodated two earthen pitchers, the Hindu and the Muslim pitcher, was added a third one—the untouchable pitcher. At the sight of this, his innocent face quivered in anguish and his young frame froze with incapacitating humiliation. He bent, picked up a stone and, as if in a trance, hurled it at the pitcher with all the force at his command. The next day the broken pitcher was replaced by a new one. Once again he aimed a stone, shattering it, as if he shattered not the pitcher but what lay behind it, that age-old practice of inhuman discrimination which heaped untold hurt and insults on the likes of him. The breaking of the untouchable pitcher remained a mystery for the headmaster and the others in the school. But with every new pitcher meeting the same fate, the exasperated headmaster gave in and what followed can only be termed revolutionary by all standards in the Bihar of 1920s. The school verandah thereafter had only one earthen pitcher for every one. At the age of ten when most of his classmates were content with the monotonous and uneventful life of that sleepy little village, Babuji was possessed by a strong urge to know what was happening outside its narrow confines. Reading the newspaper was one way, but the village provided no such opportunity. So, every morning without fail he would walk considerable distance to the Arrah railway station just to read a newspaper. While in the high school, he regularly spent two hours in the town library. Gandhiji’s “Young India” and Bankim Chandra’s “Anand Math”, were of special interest. He specially learnt Bengali to read ‘Anand Math’ in original. The coming of the monsoon was always welcomed in Chandwa, but that year it spelt disaster. Days of continuous and heavy downpour brought unprecedented floods. Babuji’s humble mudhouse caved in. Barka Baba was in Calcutta on work. Babuji, then in his teens, spent the whole day moving the household goods and the stock of foodgrains to the tiny hillock nearby where he and grandmother took shelter along with the other villagers. Alone he had to make innumerable trips to and fro, carrying heavy items on his frail shoulders. By sunset when he had managed to retrieve almost everything, it suddenly occurred to grandmother that some silver coins, her savings of years buried in the kitchen wall had been left behind. Scared to send her son at that hour to dig out the coins she went herself. Babuji naturally followed. But they could not go far. The water level had risen erasing every trace of their home as also of the earthern pot which contained their modest savings. Bewildered and helpless, they returned. The water receded in a few days and the house was rebuilt. But the experience, as Babuji so often recalled had toughened him beyond his age. I must write about his eventful journey to Khopira where the family owned a small piece of land. Harvesting had begun in right earnest in the vast stretches of paddy fields, as lilting melodies of Bhojpuri folk songs filled the winter air. Soon a relative came from Khopira to inform Dadi that harvesting being completed, the paddy should be collected. Since the high school was closed for winter vacations, Babuji volunteered himself for the task. The two proceeded to Khopira in a bullock cart which wound its way through the thicket and narrow pathways. There was chill in the air and dew drops shimmered in the golden light of the morning sun. Birds twittered and occasionally a stray hare darted from the bushes as they went swinging and swaying to the rhythm of their wagon. As they approached the village, the relative nudged Babuji to the side of the cart.
They were in the vicinity of the colony of the Babu Sahebs. According to the custom, untouchables had to get down from their bullock carts, take off their shoes, fold their umbrellas and walk through that part of the village with bowed heads. If they did not, they would attract abuse and assault. No one had ever questioned the demeaning custom. Some did not have the courage, others the conscience. Babuji decided to defy the custom. Refusing to fold his umbrella, take off his shoes, or get down from the wagon, he forced his relative to follow suit. The terror stricken relative trembled and quivered and begged him not to invite doom while Babuji firmly held him from falling off the cart. The Babu Sahebs were too taken aback to react and the cart slowly passed through the narrow lanes and by-lanes, trampling over the outdated system they had so zealously guarded. They pretended not to look, but watched stealthily from the corners of their eyes a new era emerge from the trail of dust raised by the cart. The elan and panache of the fearless boy aboard the cart dazzled the inhabitants of Khopira and changed the course of their lives in the days to come. Of the myriad colours in the kaleidoscope of Babuji’s childhood, I have brought into focus just a few. It is not that others do not deserve to be highlighted, but taken together, they all serve to point to the informing principle of his life, to instill courage, to fight for the oppressed and to take charge of one’s destiny. —————— T. N. Chaturvedi* There are times in the history of every country when it seems that titans walk the earth. For India, that time came during the period when the country was fighting for its freedom from alien rule under the inspired and inspiring leadership and guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. But these stalwarts —Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad, to name a few, vanished much too soon, leaving our country poorer. But, we were fortunate that some of the founding fathers remained with us for almost 40 years after the dawn of freedom, giving us the benefit of their wisdom, experience and courage. Notable among these was Babu Jagjivan Ram, who was much younger and emerged as the indomitable champion of the poor and the downtrodden. Without a brief recapitulation of his life, it is well-nigh impossible to have an adequate and proper assessment of his place in our national life. The Life and Political Career of Jagjivan Ram Jagjivan Ram was born on 5 April 1908 in Chandwa, a small village in Bhojpur, in Bihar in a Scheduled Caste family. His grandfather, Shiva Narain, was an agricultural labourer. Jagjivan’s father, Shobhi Ram, was born in 1864. He lost his mother at a young age and was brought up by his grandmother. Shiva Narain died soon after, and Shobhi Ram was, more or less, adopted by an uncle, who worked in the army in Punjab. Shobhi Ram learned English and got a job in an army hospital. He had a spiritual bent of mind, and joined the Shiva Narayani Sect. He married Vasanti Devi, and had eight children — three boys and five girls—of whom Jagjivan Ram was the youngest. Young Jagjivan’s schooling began on Basant Panchmi in January 1914. He went to a pathshala run by Pandit Kapil Muni Tewari. After passing the Upper Primary School Examination in 1919 he began to attend the Agarwal Middle School. Jagjivan became a proficient debater in school, a trait which was to stand him in good stead in later life. Jagjivan did not show much interest in politics at this time, but was quite aware of the momentous events that were taking place in the country. Those were the days of the Khilafat movement, and he read about it and its underlying causes in the newspapers that he used to devour vociferously—another habit that continued throughout * He is the Governor of Karnataka. Earlier he was a member of the Rajya Sabha and Comptroller and Auditor-General of India. life. It was at this time that he began to wear a Gandhi cap, which became something of a trademark—he was probably one of the last Congressmen to wear it as part of his daily dress, well into late life, when the cap became an accoutrement, one wore only at party meetings. After a visit to Calcutta, where his elder brother lived, Jagjivan returned to Bihar. In 1925, he attended the Bihari Student’s Conference as a delegate. He took away from the Conference a deep impression of the personality of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, one of the early leaders of the Congress. This would soon prove to be crucial in his life. Greater contacts in future created strong bonds of mutual affection and respect between the grand old man and a young man of promise. Jagjivan passed the Matriculation Examination in 1926. He had taken Sanskrit and Mathematics as extra subjects, in addition to the compulsory subjects. He passed in the First Division, and with full marks in Mathematics. It so happened that Pandit Malaviya and Mohammad Ali paid a visit to Arrah the same year. An Address was presented by the Scheduled Caste community, and read out by the young Jagjivan. Impressed, Malaviya urged him to come to Banaras and join the Banaras Hindu University and study for Intermediate Science, which Jagjivan did in July 1926. However, it was here that he began to face caste prejudice for the first time on a sustained basis. While there had been no particular discrimination at the pathshala, Jagjivan had faced some unreasonable prejudice in the Middle School, when he was forced to drink water from a pitcher meant exclusively for him, and not from the one used by the upper caste hindu boys. The situation in Banaras became frightful due to rampant caste prejudices and he moved out of the university campus and began to live in an area of the city known as Lanka. However, the situation did not improve and Jagjivan Ram organized his first campaign against untouchability. The provocation was the refusal of the barber to cut his hair after having discovered his caste. Jagjivan organized a boycott of all barbers by members of the Scheduled Castes. After six months, the barbers gave in. Jagjivan had won his first battle. At Banaras, Jagjivan Ram studied Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Hindi and English. He was a keen participant in the Student Parliament of the Banaras Hindu University, where he honed his already considerable skills. He was an inveterate sportsman and became a devotee of Hindi language. Banaras, at this time, had a number of eminent Hindi literary persons such as Shyam Sundar Das, Ramchandra Shukla, and Lala Bhagwan Din teaching there. He also attended meetings of the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society, and heard a number of Annie Besant’s lectures. His was a searching mind trying to learn more and more and also ruminating all along as to what path or course of action he should take at that stage of his life. A COMMEMORATIVE VOLUME 41 But the matter that exercised his mind the most was that of prevailing caste prejudice. He undertook an extensive study of the Vedas, Brahmin Granths, and the 18 Puranas (in original Sanskrit), and their extensive commentaries in order to discover whether untouchability was divinely ordained. He concluded that it was not, instead it was an ugly manifestation of the stratification of Hindu society. He also understood that the only way for the community to break the barriers thrown up by caste prejudice was to assert its rights. The only way they could be assertive was through organizing themselves. A look towards the East showed him that a large number of members of his community, from his own home province, lived in Calcutta, working in hospitals and jute mills. Jagjivan, therefore, resolved to go to Calcutta and wake his community to their intrinsic power and create awareness of their potential strength and significance in national life. Jagjivan joined the Vidyasagar College at Calcutta in 1928. After Banaras, standard at the Vidyasagar did not prove difficult at all. In fact, in his third year, Jagjivan finished the curriculum for the next year. This left him ample time for what he was determined to do in life i.e. to ameliorate the conditions of his people. He began to contact important members of the community in Calcutta, and began to organize Ravidas Sabhas in different parts of the city. A Meeting was also organized at the Wellington Park. Even Jagjivan was surprised by the presence of 15,000 people at the venue. The 25-year-old student was now seen to be an upcoming leader of greatest promise in his own right. Jagjivan took two further steps to consolidate his position. Within the community, he began to argue for social reforms. He worked against consumption of meat, and drinking of wine. This brought him into touch with senior leaders of the community. Some of them treated him in a condescending fashion, others declared their adherence—but all found in him an emerging leader of ability and determination. He also established links with the leaders of the Congress party in Bengal, such as J.M. Sengupta, Dr. B.C. Roy, P.C. Ghosh and Subhas Chandra Bose. He also came into touch with the influential Marwari Community of CalcuttaJugal Kishore Birla, Sita Ram Seksaria and Basantlal Murarka, to name a few. Ironically, Jagjivan had entry into the highest ranks of the Congress leadership in Calcutta, much before he met any senior Congressman from his home province of Bihar. Jagjivan attended the Calcutta Session of the Congress in 1928 presided over by Motilal Nehru. He fell ill and was unable to give his examinations, which he finally did in 1932 and received his B.Sc. degree. He received his initiation into jail-entry when one day he observed some policemen 42 BABU JAGJIVAN RAM IN PARLIAMENT lathicharging a group of Congressmen near the Presidency College. Though an observer, he was hit by a policeman. His pride hurt, he immediately decided to court arrest and was taken to jail. The country was electrified by the fast of Mahatma Gandhi at the act of the British Government in separating Caste Hindus and Scheduled Castes in electoral representation. When the action was nullified after the Poona Pact, Jagjivan wrote an angry letter to the Mahatma, questioning his reasons for not permitting the Scheduled Castes from having seats reserved for them in the Assemblies. He received a reply from Gandhiji’s Secretary, stating that the Mahatma believed that any separation of this kind would have a negative impact on the Scheduled Castes themselves. An Anti-untouchability League was set up with Shri G.D. Birla as its provisional President. The Organization was later renamed the Harijan Sevak Sangh. Its purpose was social and economic upliftment of the Harijans, as Gandhi now described the Scheduled Castes. However, due to his increased political activity, Jagjivan had to end his links with the Harijan Sevak Sangh later. Due to his burgeoning reputation, Jagjivan Ram was also invited to attend the Leaders Conference in 1932 at Bombay. He also attended the Bihar Provincial Anti-untouchability Conference at Patna. Leaders of the Congress, Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha also attended. Jagjivan Ram was offended by the nature of the speeches being made, which cast the onus for untouchability on the scheduled castes themselves. He retorted that only the upper castes needed to reform themselves. This created a furore, but one of the Congress leaders present was Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He told Jagjivan Ram to devote more time to Bihar and he readily agreed to do so. He also became the Secretary of the Bihar branch of the Harijan Sevak Sangh. For the rest of his life, Bihar was to be the epicentre of his activities. Jagjivan Ram had married at an early age and his wife died in 1933. He married Indirani Devi in 1934. They had a son and a daughter. The son unfortunately, died at an early age. The daughter Smt. Meira Kumar after quitting the Indian Foreign Service followed the footsteps of her father. She joined politics, was elected to the Parliament and became a Minister in the U.P.A. Government in 2004. At the All India Depressed Classes Leaders Unity Conference in Kanpur in 1935, Jagjivan Ram proved to be the guiding spirit. He pointed out that the Harijans would not be able to advance their efforts at social and economic upliftment if they were not able to secure representation for themselves in elected bodies. Moreover, there had to be unity among them, as they would otherwise nullify their efforts by working through a number of different and separate organizations. He also emphasized that it was important to be linked to the mainstream of the freedom movement, as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress. As a result of his efforts, the All India Depressed Classes League was formed, with Rasiklal Biswas as its President and P.N. Rajbhoj and Jagjivan Ram as Secretaries. He also became the President of the Bihar branch of the Depressed Classes League. A new and perplexing question arose, when Dr. Ambedkar threatened that the Scheduled Castes in the country would embrace a religion other than Hinduism in view of the blatant caste discrimination and Jagjivan Ram was opposed to this view. He attended the All India Mahasabha Conference at Pune in December 1936 with a 30-member strong delegation. The Party President, Malaviya appealed that all the disabilities put before Harijans should be removed. All went well, until an amendment was moved that while Harijans could enter temples, they could not enter the main shrine room. Taking objection to it, Jagjivan Ram threatened to leave. Malaviya stepped in and the move was dropped. This goes to show the stature and prestige that Jagjivan Ram had acquired in just a few years. As noted, Jagjivan Ram had strongly opposed Ambedkar’s views on conversion. He made his disagreement public and in the campaign for the Assembly elections in 1937, exhorted Harijans across the country not to cut themselves off from the national mainstream. A major event took place in 1936, when Jagjivan Ram was nominated to the Bihar Legislative Council. This followed the separation of Orissa from Bihar. As a result, the position of a nominated member from the Scheduled Castes became vacant, since the member was from Orissa and had shifted to the Orissa Assembly. Jagjivan Ram stunned everyone on the first day of the Council. As a nominated member, it was expected that Jagjivan Ram would normally vote with the Treasury Benches on all issues. However, Jagjivan Ram thought that the Opposition’s demand that canal rates be cut was justified and voted against the rates. He had proved that he was his own man, a man with vision and determination. In the elections to the Bihar Assembly in 1937, the League contested all 15 reserved constituencies and won 14 of them. The Congress had adopted all the 15 candidates as its own. The Interim Chief Minister of Bihar, Mohammad Yunus tried to get Jagjivan Ram to join his Ministry. He, however, declined the offer and even refused to consider any negotiations, making it clear that the League must support the Congress Party in the Legislature. Dr. Rajendra Prasad brought Jagjivan Ram’s stand to the notice of Gandhiji who publicly described him as a “jewel”. He became a Parliamentary Secretary in the First Congress Ministry, later on with responsibility for Development, Cooperatives and Industries. During his brief tenure, Jagjivan Ram did pioneering work in organizing the Department of Rural Development. He added an electrical and mechanical section to the Department of Industries. Even while he was Parliamentary Secretary, he organized the Khetihaar Mazdoor Sabha to uphold the rights of agricultural labourers. He was opposed by the socialists, who floated their own outfits. He left office when the Congress Ministries resigned to protest against the forced entry of India in the Second World War without consulting Indian opinion. In 1940, Jagjivan Ram was elected Secretary of the Bihar Provincial Congress, an office he held till 1946. He was also elected to the All India Congress Committee, a position he was to hold until his departure from the party in 1977. He offered individual satyagraha and was arrested. After his release, he became involved in the Quit India Movement. He tried to organize resistance against the British, doing his best to ensure that at no point did it turn violent. He was finally arrested again, but released in 1943 due to illness. On 12 August, 1946, the Viceroy Lord Wavell, invited Jawaharlal Nehru to form a coalition government consisting of representatives of the Muslim League, Congress and other elements in India. The Muslim League refused to join, on the ground that all Muslim Ministers should be from their party, and, therefore, Maulana Azad could not be a Minister. The Interim Government was finally installed in September 1946. On 2 September 1946, Jagjivan Ram, at the age of 38 was sworn in as the Minister for Labour. He was to stay in office till the first General Elections of 1952. Jagjivan Ram was a Member of the Indian Government from 1946 to 1979, with two short breaks. In 1963, he resigned under the Kamraj Plan to revitalize the Congress party. Again in February 1977 he resigned from the Government and Party to form the Congress for Democracy. He became a Minister again in March 1977. He was thus a Member of the Central Legislative Assembly and the Constituent Assembly (1946-50), a Member of the Provisional Parliament (1950-52) and also a Member of the first Eight Lok Sabhas. He was the Minister of Communications (1952-56), Minister for Transport (1956-57), Minister for Railways (1957-62), Minister for Transport and Communications (1962-63), Minister for Labour, Employment and Rehabilitation (1966), Minister for Food, Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation (1967-70), Minister of Labour, Employment and Rehabilitation (1969-79), Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation (1974-77), Minister for Defence (1970-74 and 1977-79). He was also President of the Congress Party (1969-71). It has not been given to many in public life to have such a vast and varied experience of public affairs. He was also a Member of the All India Congress Working Committee (1948-77), Congress Economic Planning Sub-Committee, Central Parliamentarian Board (1950-77), Congress Central Election Committee (1951-56 and 1961-77), Chairman of the Reception Committee of the 67th Session of Indian National Congress at Patna (1962), Member of the Vallabhbhai Patel Trust and Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Trustee, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust. Jagjivan Ram served with distinction in all the Ministries that he held for over 30 years. We will have a look at his brief achievements in this sphere. Nevertheless, it will not be out of place to refer to two major events here. First, as the Defence Minister during the India-Pakistan War of 1971, it was Jagjivan Ram who saw to it that the armed forces had all that they required for the task before them and was instrumental in keeping their morale and that of the country, at a high level. Secondly, Jagjivan Ram made a reference at one point of time on the need to have a “committed” bureaucracy. What he meant was that the bureaucracy should be committed to the implementation of the programmes of the Government of the day and the ideas and ideals of the Constitution without fear or favour. This was, however, interpreted in certain circles as calling for the bureaucracy to be committed to the ruling party as that had come to prevail on the perspective of looking at administration in certain vocal political circles. It is necessary, therefore, to quote the relevant passage, as it is not easily available today. The following is what Jagjivan Ram said as the Congress President at Bombay: “We have had to depend all these years on an administrative apparatus which was set up for entirely different purposes. It was originally colonial and was meant to subserve British interests and perpetuate British rule. It did not then have the much-publicized civil services neutrality. It was very much a committed service-committed to the maintenance of British rule at any cost. In the post-Independence era, the administrative apparatus did undergo certain changes but the basic structure remained unaltered. The machinery, in the higher layers, is manned today by the best products of Indian universities and it swears by British principles and traditions. But, at best, it may be said to be only a pale imitation of its British counterpart. Neutrality of the services, in a country where social disparities are extremely glaring and where the privileged classes control all the levers of power, invariably operate to the advantage of the privileged and the disadvantage of the havenots. Moreover, in a country which has stagnated for centuries and where centuries of delayed progress are sought to be compressed into a decade, where the pace of economic change has to be accelerated beyond measure, the so-called neutral administrative machinery is a hindrance, not a help. The theory, moreover, of a neutral bureaucracy is hardly relevant to Indian conditions. The society in which the concept emerged and got institutionalized was different and had a different background. To regard that development, therefore, as an integral part of the democratic structure is not wholly tenable, nor necessary. Has our bureaucracy, particularly at the lower echelons, that dedication to duty and that pride of work which characterizes its British counterpart? Does it have that impartiality which is another name for neutrality? We need, therefore, clearly and inevitably, an apparatus with a purpose, a mind. We need a service committed to the ideal of democracy, socialism and secularism. I know it calls for a major revolution in the thinking of the services, in the administrative procedures, rules, regulations. The recruitment policy and the recruiting agencies will have to be so re-oriented that the personnel manning the administrative machinery at various levels will be helpful in effecting the social and economic changes required for the establishment of democracy, socialism and secularism on a firm and secure basis”. After over 30 years of association in the Congress, Jagjivan Ram left the Party in 1977, just before the general elections were to take place. He formed a new party, the Congress for Democracy. The party allied with the Janata Party in the general elections and joined the new coalition of Janata Party Government, before merging into it. When the time came for the alliance to choose a Prime Minister to head the new Government, Jagjivan Ram was expected to be the clear front runner. However, the mantle finally fell on the shoulders of Morarji Desai and Jagjivan Ram went back to his old job as the Defence Minister to the great satisfaction of the Defence forces. From January to July 1979, Jagjivan Ram was also the Deputy Prime Minister. Many in the country, felt that a great injustice had been done to a political stalwart, one with unprecedented experience of public affairs in general and of governmental functioning in particular. When the Government of Morarji Desai fell in 1979, following the decision of a section of the Janata Party to move out, President N. Sanjeeva Reddy asked Charan Singh to form a Government. Following Charan Singh’s inability to prove his majority in Parliament, it was expected that the President would turn again to the new leader of the Janata Party, Jagjivan Ram and offer him a chance to try and form a Government. However, the President decided that any further attempt to form a Government was futile, dissolved the Lok Sabha and ordered fresh elections. Thus, the country found that Jagjivan Ram had, once again, been denied the chance to head a Government. Though he retained his seat in the subsequent election, he never again held office. Among his last work was the publication of a landmark sociological study, “Caste Challenge in India”. He passed away on 6 July 1986.
HIS CONTRIBUTION AS A MINISTER
As Minister of Labour The selection of Jagjivan Ram as the Labour Minister in the interim Government from 1946 to 1950 proved to be the right choice. During his six years in office, he laid the foundations of labour welfare in India, which, after more than 50 years, still bear the imprint of his firm hand. Till this time, all the laws relating to labour were those which were heavily tilted towards the big business and factory owners. For the first time, the pendulum swung the other way and laws were now enacted in favour of labour. As the Labour Minister, Jagjivan Ram worked out a five-year plan, which he proceeded to implement. It was based on the promise made by the Congress that it would implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission, 1931 and the Labour Investigation Committee, 1946. He put through laws that guaranteed the rights and privileges of labour. During his tenure, he ensured that the consultative machinery comprising the Government, the labour and the employers yielded results and did not stagnate. During this period, he also led the Indian delegation to the International Labour Organisation’s Conference, where he was elected President of the Asian Regional Conference of the Organisation. The landmark laws that were passed during this period included Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946; Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1946; Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948; Factories Act, 1948; The Minimum Wages Act, 1948; Coal Mines Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1948; Industrial Tribunal (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950; Plantation Labour Act, 1951; Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. As Minister of Transport and Communications After the first General Election, Jagjivan Ram was shifted to the Transport and Communications, a charge that he was to hold twice. The transport and communication systems in India were still at a rudimentary stage, with the bare minimum possible having been done under the British rule. Whatever had been done was with a view to the firm and easy working of British rule and enhancement of trade favouring the British. The focus of Jagjivan Ram as the Minister was on developing the transport and communication system in the country in an integrated, holistic manner and as per the needs of India. Jagjivan Ram first turned to the question of civil aviation. An Air Transport Inquiry Committee reported in 1950 that the Sector should be left in private hands for five years. If, during that period, it proved unable to break even, the Government should take it over. Another factor was the fact that the aircraft being used were antiquated and the industry was not in a position to buy new one. It was, therefore, thought prudent to take over the industry. The Air Corporation Act, 1953, took over eight air companies and combined them into two-Indian Airlines for domestic service and Air India for international services. New aerodromes were also built across the country. Jagjivan Ram also emphasized the improvement of meteorological services, realizing that they were important not only for aviation but also for river valley projects, Railways, Defence services, etc. Jagjivan Ram was the first to understand and enunciate the need for a National Transport Policy for independent India. He set up a Committee under K.C. Neogy to formulate such a policy. He understood that a modernizing economy needed a comprehensive system of transport which would also ensure that there was no wastage or duplication of efforts. Apart from air transport, he also placed shipping, ports and highways on a priority list for development during his administration. The Shipping Corporation of India expanded its fleet and covered all trade routes across the sea lanes. A programme was set up for the rapid expansion and modernization of ports. These included the Calcutta and Haldia Dock projects, the Wet Dock at Madras (Chennai), expansion of Mormugao, Visakhapatnam, Cochin, Tuticorin, Mangalore and Kandla. Apart from these, 160 minor ports across the coast were also brought into use. The number of national highways went up and the total length of roads increased tremendously. In Delhi, the Delhi Transport Corporation’s fleet was expanded. The Border Roads Development Board was also set up. A National Transport Development Council was set up, which made important recommendations related to taxation, establishment of a National Road Safety Council and framing rules for transport of goods by road and development of inland water transport. The Ministry of Communications covered a huge number of different organizations spread throughout the country. These included all the posts and telegraph organizations, as well as the Post Office Savings Bank, National Savings Certificates, Postal Insurance, collection of licence fee, and also, in later years, enterprises such as the Indian Telephone Industries (Bangalore) and Hindustan Teleprints (Chennai). One of the major achievements of Babuji was to bring post offices to rural areas. During his tenure, the number of post offices doubled. He laid down a rule that every village with a population of 2,000 should have a post office. He also laid down that if there was no such village nearby, then the criteria should be that no one should have to walk for more than two miles to reach a post office.Another innovation was to motorise mail services wherever possible, thus improving delivery time. He also emphasized ancillary services such as the Post Office Savings Bank, which brought the banking system to many parts of the country for the first time. He also considerably improved and expanded the service of the money orders, which proved to be extremely popular with people in rural areas. The quality of stamps was also improved with the aid of modern technology. He also set up the Regional Post and Telegraph advisory bodies, which gave inputs as to what was required in a certain area and the problems that were being faced by the public. Such advisory bodies ensured that there was no wastage of resources, improved efficiency and brought the public into the policy-making loop. He also focused on the expansion of overseas communications services, noting that it was an absolute necessity in a modernizing country. The telephone system in the country had expanded during the Second World War due to the need of the military for instant communication. During this time, the Government also took over a number of private companies, which were integrated to form a single, unitary, modern telephone system. By 1955, the number of telephone exchanges had gone up to 759, from 321 in 1947. Long-distance Public Call Offices, Local Call Offices and Rural Public Call Offices sprang up all over the country. As a matter of policy, in 1955 it was decided that every district town should have a telephone exchange and every sub-division public call offices. Ninety per cent of district towns were covered by 1956. In the same period, 70 per cent of sub-divisions were also covered. To save valuable foreign exchange, it was decided to set up the Indian Telephone Industries to manufacture telephone instruments and other instruments needed by the telephone exchanges. A new trend began when instruments and exchanges began to be exported to countries such as Egypt, Nepal, Kuwait, Uganda, Sri Lanka, etc. Thus, in both transport and communications, the foundations for a modern India were laid early on, during Jagjivan Ram’s tenure. At no point was there any slackness in the system. He also ensured that the morale of the employees in these crucial areas was never affected adversely, by taking into consideration all their needs and making provision for them. As Minister of Railways The Railways were the key to India’s economic development during this time. Without a functioning Railways System, the integration of the States following Independence would have been difficult. However, there was a major difference between the Railway System before and after Independence. Before 1947, the Railways were geared to taking raw materials, minerals etc. from the interior to the coast for export. After Independence, the focus shifted to providing a viable transport system for both people and for the movement of goods and materials within the country, given the great distances which needed to be traversed. Moreover, the system had been shattered following Partition and had to be reconstituted. It was with this in view that in 1956 Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru shifted Jagjivan Ram to Railways, a tribute to his effective handling of his earlier responsibilities with brilliant results. The basic objectives of the Railways’ Five-Year Plan for rehabilitation was to provide the needed capacity for freight and coaches, while modernizing equipment, keeping financial constraints in view and to maximize efficiency. Major steps were taken towards the goal of self-sufficiency in equipment and the basis for a rolling stock industry was laid. The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works made progress and a modern Integral Coach Factory was also set up and the Ganga Bridge project was soon underway. Jagjivan Ram placed great emphasis on the expansion of the existing network. New lines were laid, single lines were doubled and electric traction took place. A number of railway yards were remodelled. The Minister insisted that regular meetings took place of a Committee of railway engineers, public works department and irrigation and forest departments of State Governments in order to iron out problems. Shri Jagjivan Ram also initiated action for electrification of Railway on a big scale during his tenure. As in other Ministries that he had to look after, Jagjivan Ram in Railways, too, laid great emphasis on the welfare of Railway workers. For the first time, Railway workers got a Pension Scheme in 1957. He also examined ways and means by which promotions could be faster. He insisted on Joint Committees of Officers and Staff at all levels “to make the staff feel as partners in common endeavour”. He also started a number of staff training schools to inculcate the necessary skills in an expanding workforce for an ever-expanding network. An interesting measure that he took for staff welfare was to start two holiday homes for rail workers at Srinagar and Pahalgam in Kashmir, after discovering that they were becoming favoured destinations. It was during Jagjivan Ram’s stint at the Railways that reservations were made for promotion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. More than that, he forced through measures which led to the building of new quarters for rail staff across the country. New railway hospitals and dispensaries were also opened. By June 1959, some 500 primary schools were opened for the children of rail workers. Hostels were also set up in areas where staff were forced to send their children for education. All children were given a free uniform at these schools. As Minister of Food/Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation The Ministry was usually looked upon as a graveyard for reputations. Jagjivan Ram took charge at a time when the country was reeling under drought. But, as was his wont, he faced the challenge and viewed it as an opportunity. As he once remarked: “The growth of the national economy is, in a way, the growth of agriculture itself. And development of agriculture in a rational way is, to a considerable extent, the promotion of social justice for the weaker sections”. The Green Revolution in the future brought by agricultural scientists would have been impossible without the unstinting support that Jagjivan Ram gave them from early days during his stewardship of the Ministry. This was possible only because of the new food policy initiated by Jagjivan Ram. Its basic components were as follows: “Domestic procurement must be always undertaken without fail, public distribution of foodgrains should be a regular feature of food management, a buffer stock needed to be built up, incentive prices needed to be paid to farmers and high-yield seeds should be used.” He also elaborated on the need for introducing machinery in agriculture. It is this integrated approach which paid dividends and helped to turn the country from a food-deficient to a food-surplus nation. As Minister of Defence This, unquestionably, was Jagjivan Ram’s finest hour. When refugees began to pour into India from East Pakistan, he made it clear that India would not stop them from coming in and it would also not force them into East Pakistan as long as President Yahya Khan was in power. As the rhetoric became more and more belligerent from the Pakistan side, the Defence Minister made it clear, time and again, that the armed forces were ready for any misadventure from the other side. He also noted that if any conflict took place, it would be on Pakistani soil. The changes in the nuances of Indian policy could be seen in the statements being made by Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi and the Defence Minister. Both naturally hardened their tone as time went by. But, the Prime Minister concentrated on diplomacy, while the Defence Minister made the country ready for conflict, all along maintaining and boosting the morale of the armed forces. He had the unstinted support of the Prime Minister and his colleagues and earned the confidence of the Defence forces at all levels. After the successful conclusion of the War, which ended with the creation of Bangladesh, Jagjivan Ram proved through his imagination and deft handling as to why he had been given this job in the first place. He liberalized the pensions for the families of those killed in the war. The families received three-fourths of the pay which the officer was drawing at the time of his death, till the time he would have retired. After that, the family would receive the pension that he would have drawn otherwise after retirement. All those wounded would be employed in the army in some capacity. Those who were disabled would receive their full pay for life. Other benefits were also extended to the families of those killed in action. These actions showed the extent of Jagjivan Ram’s humanity. As the Defence Minister he made changes in the organization of the armed forces to make them more efficient. For one, he ended the system of recruitments to regiments on a caste basis and also ensured that recruitment centres were spread all over the country, giving ample scope for all to join the armed forces. He also focused on the indigenization of defence equipment. As part of this, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was given a major boost in the budget. Jagjivan Ram was rightly acclaimed with great enthusiasm in a public reception at Red Fort by his countrymen. The Political, Social and Economic Philosophy of Babu Jagjivan Ram Being a busy politician and a senior Minister he did not have enough time to express his thinking in any holistic and academic framework despite his intellectual sharpness, deep understanding and intensive as well as extensive experience of men and public affairs. He did not put his thoughts down in a systematic manner, except on the question of caste (in the book “Caste Challenge in India”) at a later stage. However, it is possible to make a brief survey of his outlook and thinking by sifting through the numerous speeches, addresses and interviews that he gave, as well as the records of his debates in Parliament which bear testimony to a wide ranging mind and a keen observer with capacity to analyse every problem threadbare with an eye on constructive and practical solution. Political Philosophy Jagjivan Ram’s political convictions came from certain observations that he made of society and his personal experience of politics in actual life. The first was that caste had been perverted from its original intention, into a social reality in which one group considered itself to be superior to another and deprived it of all rights. The only way to end this was for the oppressed to unite and through the strength of their numbers, bring to an end this discrimination. Simultaneously, the oppressed group must work with other sections of society and not against them. If it worked against other groups, it was not likely to end discrimination, but might even end up increasing it. One discerns a sense of agony but no acrimony in his approach to this thorny problem. It was for this reason that the Depressed Classes League joined hands with the Congress. Jagjivan Ram maintained his strength through his own organizations, while simultaneously working in tandem with those he believed harboured a view of society similar to his. In this manner, he hoped to bring about harmony and cohesiveness in society. As a Minister, while he took particular interest in the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, he did not confine himself to them. He looked after the welfare of the entire broad spectrum of those who constituted society. This could only be possible in a democratic system. He worked for a participatory democracy, as could be seen in the manner in which he tried to involve as many people as possible in the making of policies in many of the Ministries that he headed, consulting widely and deeply with sincerity and sensitivity. On Economic Issues Jagjivan Ram was a firm believer in a Planned economy. According to him, it was the only way in which not just the narrow interests of one section of society, who held all power in their hands, but the interests of all sections of society, could be served. It was also the only tool through which the wastage of scarce resources could be prevented. It is interesting to consider the lengthy reply that he gave to a question on whether the adoption of democratic socialism in India had been correct: “Ideologies and concepts do change from time to time. Gandhiji made the village the centre-piece in his concept of planning. He stressed as imperative of planning, the utilizing of the unutilized or under-utilised rural labour and their skill through organization of agriculture and village industries. He advocated the democratic decentralization and dispersal of economic and political power. All his constructive programmes were related to his ideal of making a new man in a new society. When power shifted into the hands of the people, the ideals took the shape of actions. Therefore, soon after independence, India embarked upon planned socio-economic development to transform quickly her colonial village economy, feudal agrarian pattern and backward rural technology into a highly developed or an economic society of an advanced nation, so as to cater to the social requirements of the masses and achieve the goal of democratic socialism”. He always stood strongly for equity and egalitarianism in economy and society. Views on Education Jagjivan Ram believed that education was one of the effective means for the downtrodden to stand up for their rights. He believed that if all had equal access to education, then their natural abilities would flower. He supported reservation for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in educational institutions, because it was the one way in which they could escape the burden placed upon them by their economic backwardness. Since they did not have adequate financial resources, they could not access education; since they could not access education, they could not get jobs—and so, the vicious circle continued. From his own personal experience as well as from his observations over the years of happenings within the country and outside he realised that education is a powerful tool of empowerment—a source of sure and steady socio-economic advancement. But he would also plead that the disadvantaged sections ought to develop a spirit of self-reliance and selfrespect through hard work thus averting the dependency syndrome. He also had strong views on the nature of education that was being provided in India. He once said: “The present education system is defective. The so-called upper middle class and affluent community have imitated the English ways and manners. We have introduced the public school system simply because it prevails in England. In the USSR, there is no public school system, nor is it in Japan, France, America, etc. But they have their own educational systems. When we talk of equality, democracy and socialism, then what is the need for such systems of education. What I wish to emphasise is that we must not sow the seeds of disintegration and inequality right from the primary and secondary stage. Equality of opportunity is the soul of democracy. Where lies this equality when, on the one hand we see a promising child reading in an ordinary school and at home besides an earthen lamp, while on the other hand, a dull child of a rich family is reading in a public school. By denying due facilities of education to all those who deserve and by creating a situation where facilities of better education are available only to those, who afford enormous fees, we are doing nothing but creating inequality in society, establishing aristocracy, snobbery and spreading the feeling of disunity and disintegration.” Social Thinking Though ample mention has been made to his social thinking, Jagjivan Ram’s views on the prevailing situation on the matter of caste can better be summarized in this extract from the speech that he gave as the Congress President at Bombay: “I have always maintained that the problems of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes cannot be fully appreciated much less solved except in the framework of a radical reorganization of the socio-economic order. That will take long. But even the scope of welfare projects and the manner of their implementation leaves much to be desired. It was to be expected that when the condition of these communities improved they would aspire to live as decent human beings. It was equally to be expected that with the growth of consciousness and an understanding of their rights, they would refuse to be treated as before. But wherever this trend has manifested itself, particularly in the rural areas, oppression and harassment have been renewed. It is an indication of the fact that upper caste psychology has not undergone any real change, there has been only some kind of a grudging adjustment. Even the so-called liberals share the same attitude; only its expression is different. How else would one explain the much-vaunted talk of pity, the much publicized desire to do some good to the depressed and suppressed communities.” Thus vividly and with deep sense of hurt as well as social sensitivity he realistically portrays as to how the matter stood. His Personality Jagjivan Ram was no ordinary individual. He was endowed with a strong intellect, a stout heart, great strength of character, firmness of conviction and purpose and an astounding capacity for sustained hard work. He had a vision along with capability and clarity of approach towards its realization. As a young boy, he was deeply involved in his studies. He enjoyed going to school, but he had one great regret. That the other boys had books to carry, while he had none. Thus, one day he carried to school a few books belonging to his elder brother, given to him by his father. Jagjivan Ram was a deeply religious person throughout his life. The Ramayana was a great favourite. When Ramayana Paath, took place at his house on Sundays, he would read out to the gathering the meaning of each verse in the epic. Probably, this was not only a source of delight and wisdom but also of spiritual strength. Jagjivan Ram was also a great sports enthusiast. During his school days, he used to wrestle and play football. His favourite sport was swimming and at times, he would swim across the river and back, with apparent little effort, at Banaras.
He was also a voracious reader of newspapers, a habit he imbibed at young age and continued. While he was still in High School, he began to subscribe to Gandhiji’s Young India. Once he came across a few Hindi translations of books written in Bengali. Jagjivan Ram was so impressed that he decided to read them in the original. He, therefore, learnt Bengali and was soon reading the works of Bankim Chandra, Sarat Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore and others. It is not generally known that Jagjivan Ram was a great enthusiast and devotee of Hindi. In the Constitutent Assembly, he said that merely enshrining the language in the Constitution was not enough. Much work would have to be done to popularize the language with sympathy, understanding and meticulous hardwork. As Minister for Communications, he was instrumental in bringing out an in-house publication in Hindi, “Dak Samachar”, which was a bulletin carrying news of the important actions taken in the Ministry. Jagjivan Ram had a quiet and dignified air about him. He never lost his temper, in public, in Parliament or with his ministerial staff. He would evoke loyalty from his subordinates at various echelons and he would also stand by them. His composure even in troubled times was remarkable. With his wit and humour and charming smile he could disarm his vocal opponents. But he was always logical and clear in his arguments and exposition. He was the embodiment of old world courtesy. After having voted against the Bihar government on canal rates, as a nominated member in the Assembly, Jagjivan Ram went on to receive the Governor at the railway station. When some elements criticized him for this step, he said that common courtesy and decency should not be given the go by. This same politeness was witnessed in Parliament, where he always made it a point to thank members who had raised an important point or made a valuable suggestion. Jagjivan Ram was not only an astute politician, an outstanding parliamentarian but also a great administrator. He combined idealism and pragmatism in his approach to problems. He would give opportunity to all of his advisers or officers to express freely and frankly their reactions or views and listen to them quietly and intervene occasionally to seek clarifications or elaboration of some vexed points. Having done this he would succinctly and clearly give his definitive opinion or decision. There was a finality about his decision and his personality was such that those responsible for execution of the decision would do so without demur or doubt as they always were confident of guidance and support as and when necessary. He could therefore produce results as desired by him in his various exacting spheres of ministerial responsibility. His memory was phenomenal and his decisiveness was proverbial. In any discussion or debate he would manage to his final say persuasively and logically. He had an uncanny sense of humour, capacity for repartees and thorough grasp or mastery of the subject in detail and in depth. The happy blending as those qualities made him a front rank parliamentarian whom everyone would like to listen to with attention and respect. Jagjivan Ram was highly and widely respected as a person and a statesman. This is what H.M. Patel, a former member of the Indian Civil Service and later Union Home and Finance Minister, had to say about Jagjivan Ram in 1977: “I had occasion to see him in action in Parliament. He was called upon to express Government’s case on more than one occasion and on each occasion he gave a dazzling display of eloquence and wit on the one hand and a superb mastery of the subject matter under discussion on the other. From the opposition benches, I could not but admire such skill. No one else could have put up a better justification and defence of Government’s policy and actions. But Shri Jagjivan Ram has a claim to recognition for more solid achievements. He has undoubtedly proved himself to be one of the most successful ministers. He has a real understanding of the problems of the rural areas and has shown that he is capable of seeking solutions for them in a realistic manner. Even when we in the opposition do not agree with his policies, we know that he is sincere and not motivated by political considerations.” And Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, the economist and once a Cabinet colleague wrote: “I found him always alert and with the vast experience he has had of many portfolios and his quick grasp of the essence of every problem he tackled, he could always make a valuable contribution whenever he chose to intervene in Cabinet discussions. He commands the respect of the bureaucracy in whichever portfolio he functions and at the same time, there is no doubt that he is in command”. To sum up, Jagjivan Ram had a chequered, purposive and a remarkable career as a public man. Jagjivan Ram participated in the freedom movement, became a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly and then the Central Legislative Assembly and from 1946 onwards, till almost his death, he served as a member of the Government under every Prime Minister from Jawaharlal Nehru to Morarji Desai. During this time, he made varied and lasting contributions to the political life of the nation and its economic and social development the likes of which we rarely see and are not likely to see easily in future. Jagjivan Ram fought against caste prejudices all his life. But while deploring the conduct of those who practised caste prejudice, he never directed his ire against them, he never harboured hate or animus for them. He was keen for social solidarity and social progress and amity and for removal of social inequity of every kind and complexion. Like Gandhiji, he hated the sin, not the sinner. He did not want to pit caste against caste, prejudice against prejudice, hate against hate. He wanted, quite simply, equality for all and harmony between everyone. Is it a wonder that his birth anniversary is observed throughout the country as Samta Diwas? Though profoundly concerned with the problems of the Scheduled Castes and deprived sections in society throughout his life he transcended the narrow frontiers of caste, community, religion and region and rose to be a popular mass leader interested in the welfare, progress and future of all of his countrymen. Though I did not have the opportunity to serve directly in any Ministry presided over by Jagjivan Ramji while in office, he having been a witness to those times, particularly 1946-50 as a university student and subsequently as an officer did have the opportunity to see him in action and meet him during his visits to States for political as well as official reasons. One thing which was particularly noticeable was the silent authority that he carried with him with ease while in office or out of it. Whether party workers, common people or officers everyone will defer to him and try to gather around him and carry out his wishes as if he was one in office even when he had left the Government under Kamaraj Plan. It seemed quite natural that his equanimity, his habitual courtesy, his prodigious memory, his capacity to explain in simple language the most difficult issue would leave a mark on everyone around him. The brief or occasional opportunities that I have had to meet him would leave their mark on me. As chance would have it, I came in fairly close and personal contact with him on a continuing basis when Shri Ashok Mehta could persuade him to accept the Chairmanship of the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi. Shri Ashok Mehta had expressed his desire to relinquish the office for his personal reasons during early seventies. As a member of the Executive Council or its Committees or for about two years as Director of the IIPA, I had to be in touch with him on a regular basis. One could see how he would steer through smoothly and with good humour the heated discussion in some of its very controversial meetings. His word would be final. As Director, when even I sought guidance on any matter his sagacious advice and adequate response would come with utmost promptness and clarity. His old world charm and consideration for all and sundry would win over people easily. Thus I invariably enjoyed his confidence and his encouragement and once I came to know him well enough since early seventies till he passed away. Such memories I do cherish along with many of his admirers. It has been a rewarding experience to have met him and known Jagjivan Ramji. I deem it a privilege to pay my humble tribute and homage to his memory. ——————
JAGJIVAN BABU: A DYNAMIC LEADER AND A TRUE STATESMAN —Bali Ram Bhagat* Jagjivan Babu whom I had known and admired and with whom my association is spread over for almost four decades, was one of the shining and seasoned parliamentarians with a rare distinction of winning eight terms consecutively from First to the Eighth Lok Sabha (1952-84) that also from the same parliamentary constituency. In true sense of the term, he was a statesman. The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician places the services of the nation for his own self whereas a statesman places his services for the nation and its people. By any yardstick, Jagjivan Babu was a proven dynamic leader of the 20th century. He was a force to be reckoned with on the national scene till his demise in July 1986. He spoke the voice of the masses and often mooted original ideas for solving the problems. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1933 and plunged into the freedom struggle. He began his political career as Parliamentary Secretary to the Bihar Vidhan Sabha in 1937 and rose to the post of the Deputy Prime Minister in 1979. His services to the people as Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister with different portfolios speak volumes of his administrative acumen. His ability to understand and judge the issues quickly was superb. Some of the social service measures, which he initiated, are milestones in our march towards achieving a cherished goal of Bapu – that is wiping tears from every eye. Our Enduring Association My association with late Jagjivan Babu lasted for almost four decades, which could be divided into two phases. The first phase began in 1950 when I became member of the Provisional Parliament coming into direct contact with him and this came to an end in 1977 when he quit the Congress and formed his own party, Congress for Democracy (CFD). During this first phase both of us were the members of the Treasury Benches and were in the Council of Ministers of the first three Prime Ministers holding different portfolios as well as occupying various positions in party. I gained immensely from his rich and varied experience. We had had the distinction of working under the 59 * He is the former Speaker of Lok Sabha.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru succeeded by Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri and Smt. Indira Gandhi. Both of us also belonged to the same region of Bihar and his Parliamentary constituency ‘Sasaram’ and my constituency ‘Arrah’ were neighbouring and contiguous. Both of us worked together with shared perception and used to campaign jointly for the success of the party. As a result, we won all the elections from First to Fifth Lok Sabha comfortably with massive majority. He was my senior in terms of position, age and experience. I had a great respect and admiration for him. He was a towering personality and achieved a nation-wide fame. Despite achieving all the success and occupying high offices in Government, he remained very humble and down to earth. A Clash of Personalities: Jagjivan Babu versus Morarji Desai I vividly recall an event of 1961, which could be considered as a very significant event in the destiny of our country. When the nation had a towering leader of Nehru’s stature, a question always confronted many as to what would be the nation’s future when he would disappear from the scene. The question was raised even when Nehru was alive. It was the period of Nehru who was at the apex of the governance with considerable influence over the rank and file of the party. But a debate had already begun on “After Nehru Who”? After the demise of Govind Ballabh Pant, the then Union Home Minister, the seat of the Deputy Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha became vacant. During those days, the post of the Deputy Leader was considered most important. Virtually it was second to the Prime Minister who himself was the Leader of the House. Consequently, a vigorous tussle and search for this post began. Both Morarji Desai and Jagjivan Babu who were aspirants for the post, decided to contest the election and started lobbying. It was very difficult for me to take a stand. I was a colleague of Morarji Desai in the Ministry of Finance. He wanted that “I must take his side openly”. On the other hand, Jagjivan Babu was from our State and the District then known as ‘Shahabad’. It was his gentlemanliness that he did not pressurize me to extend him my support. I remained neutral and my stand was appreciated by Jagjivan Babu. Finally, with the intervention of Nehru, the issue was resolved amicably. The post of the Deputy Leader of the House was given to a non-Minister. Later, the post was further devalued as provision of separate Deputy Leader was made for each House. I was happy that Jagjivan Babu praised and appreciated my stand. The chapter was closed for the time being. The clash of the two personalities and struggle for supremacy revived again in 1977 but at that time both were not in the Congress Party. Winning 1971 War: Pinnacle of his Career Keeping in view his superb administrative skill and leadership qualities, Jagjivan Babu was given the portfolio of Defence by Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1970. It was a period, which witnessed the gradual deterioration of our relations with Pakistan and finally a war broke out in December 1971. Under his inspiring leadership the Indian Defence forces fought against Pakistani aggression and liberated the oppressed people of Bangladesh. During the events of December 1971, Shri Jagjivan Ram displayed unparalleled resoluteness and immense courage and added a golden chapter and made us proud. No doubt, it was Jagjivan Ram’s superb leadership and his able and masterly handling of the Defence Affairs of the country which won us the war in 1971. This is perhaps the greatest contribution a Defence Minister can make to the motherland. Jagjivan Babu always showed his worth in the midst of bitter crisis, conflict and challenge. During mid-70s when there was drought and shortage of food, he was given the charge of Agriculture. In the field of agriculture he did a marvellous job. With his dependable leadership he served the nation and guided the people like a friend and philosopher in moments of crisis and calamity. Parting with the Congress The second phase of our relations began in 1977 and continued till his demise. The National Emergency was imposed in June 1975. It was the period of turmoil. I became the Speaker of Lok Sabha. After Emergency was lifted in January 1977, General Elections for the Sixth Lok Sabha were announced. All the major Opposition parties came together and decided to fight jointly against the Congress. Jagjivan Babu and H.N. Bahuguna decided to quit the Congress and joined the Opposition. Jagjivan Babu approached me and tried to prevail upon me to quit Congress. I did not agree with him on the issue of deserting the Congress Party. I told him in clear terms that, “my conscience does not permit to do so”. Whatever I am today including the prestigious Constitutional post of Speaker, I got from Congress. In principle and spirit I turned down his proposal. In fact, I reminded him that it was he who played a key role on the Floor of the House for getting the parliamentary approval for the Emergency. But he was not pleased and he threw an open challenge to me that he would see that how I would win the election. In the election, he campaigned vigorously in my constituency and I lost the parliamentary election for the first time. Although, there was a wave against the Congress in the wake of some excesses during the Emergency and the Congress lost all the seats from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Even if he had not campaigned, I am sure, I would have been defeated. What I could not appreciate was his personal campaign against me. When I look back I feel proud even today that I took a principled stand. A Missed Opportunity A new party, Congress for Democracy, was formed by Jagjivan Babu and it became a constituent of the Opposition and later on it merged with the Janata Party. His party did well in the election and he rose to the post of Deputy Prime Minister with Defence portfolio. But the Janata regime did not treat him well. He never got the due respect, that he was getting in the Congress. He was considered as one from outside the Janata Party. When Morarji Desai’s Government fell in July 1979 due to infighting within Janata Party, Jagjivan Babu emerged as a strong candidate for the post of Prime Minister. But he could not achieve as other partners of the Janata Party were inimical. So, despite his ability and superb quality of leadership, he could not become the Prime Minister. Even today, I think Jagjivan Babu was the most suitable for the post of the Prime Minister. In private conversation, he admitted time and again the uneasiness of quitting the Congress. When Rajiv Gandhi came to power in 1984, he wanted Jagjivan Babu to rejoin the Congress Party. I was also in favour of his rejoining the Congress. We also sent such feelers to him. But he declined saying that he had gone far away from the Congress. A Quality Administrator The qualities of a good administrator differ according to the nature and form of the governance. In colonial days, or in a dictatorship, or in a dynastic rule, execution of orders is the prime consideration of an able administrator. What distinguishes a good administrator from others in a parliamentary democracy, in a country trying to modernize the tradition-ridden social structure and in a developing economy, definitely calls for a different character. In such a set of circumstances, Jagjivan Babu was a representative of not merely a territorial constituency he hailed from, but he represented the hopes and aspirations of the entire nation. He was the leader to whom the country and the masses looked up to. He gave expression to their aspirations and hopes, to the unspoken thoughts of the less articulate and the less fortunate people and to their dreams for a better social order. He was a man of vision. The vision extended beyond the immediate future, to perspective planning for decades ahead. While he was a great planner, he was firm in the execution of the policies as well. He used to think, consult and discuss but once a decision was arrived at, he was quite firm. The position he had come to occupy did not distance him from the masses. He always sought to maintain a close rapport with the people. A Down to Earth Man Jagjivan Babu was born of poor parents in the village ‘Chandwa’ near Arrah in 1908. The family, though, belonged to Dalit community, was endowed with high spiritual values. He knew what poverty and hardship were. He understood the social impediments, and constraints one had to face in life. His early childhood and the struggle paved the way for him to rise up in life, moulding his character. His simplicity and mild manner hid an iron-will strong determination. His success which began rather early in life endowed him with self-confidence. His unique and characteristic smile made him most lovable. Mahatama Gandhi wanted Indians to walk erect and have self-respect. He felt he could help achieve this dream only when he was able to make Indians self-reliant and revive their moral fibre. A True Gandhian Jagjivan Babu was a true Gandhian. He not only had great respect for Gandhiji but he also practised Gandhian principles in letter and spirit. He believed in non-violence and Satyagraha. Jagjivan Babu’s approach to the Harijan problem was almost identical to the thinking of Mahatma Gandhi. Many people are mistaken when they consider him as a leader of Dalits. His appeal had nationwide effect. He wanted the upliftment of Harijans and backward classes and worked towards the restoration of a rightful place for them in society. It was a gargantuan task. But Babuji’s determination was equally strong. He did not believe in any melodrama or a magic wand for their amelioration. He was confident that it was by making them realize their potential rights, by infusing in them confidence and by removing first the shackles that bound their mental horizons that the Harijan problem could be solved. This clearly showed his farsightedness as a leader and also his sensing rightly the general attitude of the suppressed masses he was spearheading. Organising Capacity Jagjivan Babu displayed his organising capacity and administrative capability rather early in his life. Even in his student days, he organised Ravi Das Sabhas in order to bring under one platform the leaders and men of his community. He began reforming the community, trying to rid it of some pernicious habits and had to face on that count opposition from the people of the sect. He was dictated by what was right and did not fear the opposition and could carry on his task relentlessly with patience and perseverance even under heavy odds. He soon came to be recognized as a leader in his own right to be reckoned with. The first opportunity for real public work as a leader which would put his administrative acumen, his organising capacity and leadership to test, during the relief operation following the Bihar earthquake of 1934, which caused enormous misery to the people and heavy damage to life and property. He came in close contact with Rajendra Babu during the relief operation and toured with Mahatma Gandhi in Bihar in providing the much needed succour to the affected people. Both Mahatma and Rajen Babu recognized the great potentialities in young Jagjivan.
His First Political Assignment The year 1937 saw the Congress entering the Legislatures and forming Governments in the Provinces. By that time Jagjivan Babu was the recognized leader of the Harijans in Bihar. Though everyone recognized his right to be included in the Bihar Council of Ministers headed by Late Shri Krishna Singh, he conceded the place to a senior leader—Shri Jaglal Choudhary. As long as one is spurred by an ardent desire to serve the people, the position one holds makes only relative difference. He showed that when the cause is right he need not bother about opposition to his work, but with determination he went ahead, leaving the opposition to realize their mistake in time and recognize the beneficial results of the measures taken by him. The same attitude we find in Shri Jagjivan Ram when he occupied the position of Minister of Labour in the Interim Government also and later in his long parliamentary career. The period of six years when he was the Labour Minister saw the laying of firm foundations of a sound labour policy. Many of the labour legislations aiming at the amelioration and welfare of the workers were piloted by him and found place in the statute book. A Versatile and Dynamic Personality Since his entry in the Union Cabinet in 1946 Jagjivan Babu had the opportunity to give his versatile and dynamic leadership in many and varied fields. Whichever portfolio he was called upon to shoulder he did so with dedication and determination. He proved that he was a rebel against injustice, a fearless fighter for the weaker and vulnerable sections of the community. One of the astute qualities of an able administrator is capacity to take the officers and staff along with him. Jagjivan Babu always carried and enthused his officers with his point of view. He felt that this was absolutely necessary if the policy were to be implemented not only in letter but in the spirit in which it was laid down. The officers who had the opportunity to serve under him always spoke highly of him, his open-mindedness and free and frank discussion to which he patiently listened. Jagjivan Babu was not satisfied merely by the civil servant carrying out the orders or policies laid down as a matter of course. He desired them not merely to be the implementing authority but wanted them to be active participants in the socio-economic transformation process. Towards this end he wanted them to be dynamic in their thinking. He desired a sense of participation on the part of the civil servants in the nation-building activities. Seasoned Parliamentarian A dynamic leader need not necessarily be a successful one as well. But, Jagjivan Babu had been a uniquely successful administrator whichever portfolio he held. In a parliamentary democracy, the Parliament is the testing ground for a parliamentarian. It is the forum to testify how able and articulate a people’s representative is. But more than that this success depends on the type of leadership he is able to provide for his Ministry in Parliament. Many an otherwise able and experienced administrator flounder when facing the vigilant Opposition in the House. Parliament is a training ground and helps the Minister in many ways. It enables him to understand more intimately the working of his own Ministry. He is in a position to assess the impact of its functioning on the masses. In other words, it serves as a spring board for the measures he may have in mind. He is able to feel the pulse of the people. Secondly, by his performance in the House, by his ability to face Opposition and answer their criticisms, he is able to command the respect and regard of the bureaucracy. The administrators know that no amount of briefing will alone be enough for a Minister. It is only the personal ability and skill that will sustain him. Here his sense of proportion and judgment is often on test. Jagjivan Babuji was one of our ablest and seasoned parliamentarians. Effulgent with self-confidence, he used to remain fully composed with that familiar smile on his face, patiently following the proceedings of the House. He was never to be seen in ruffled tempers. When some unjustified remarks were made, he did not jump up to counter it. He used to get up when his turn came and answered all points squarely with clarity and composure. He fully met the criticisms voiced by the Opposition. He answered them in a matterof-fact way giving full information and justifying his stand. In his long cherished parliamentary career hardly can we cite an instance when he had not risen to disarm the criticisms with his logical and precise arguments. He was not a flowery orator but whatever he spoke was full of wisdom and logic. As a colleague I may conclude, “whatever he said, he meant, and whatever he meant he did”. Members knew this and admired him. Disciplined Political Worker Yet another character which goes to mark Jagjivan Babu as a successful dynamic leader was the close rapport he maintained with his leader and the deference he showed to the leadership. He was a disciplined soldier. He was a man of strong convictions and firm commitments. When he was in the Congress, he remained committed to the principles of the party. When he quit, he never looked back. In the Congress split (1969), he instinctively recognized the leadership that was likely to take control and lead the country onward on the way to socialism. He aligned himself with the progressive forces under the leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhi. I was fully with him on these issues. It is a pleasure for me and as well for millions of Jagjivan Babu’s followers and admirers to learn that Lok Sabha Secretariat is bringing out a 66 BABU JAGJIVAN RAM IN PARLIAMENT commemorative volume on his life and works. Though it is being brought out after two decades of his demise, it is indeed a very laudable step. Definitely the publication would be a guiding force for younger generations in the years ahead and they will be able to understand the vision and wisdom of Jagjivan Babu and his invaluable contribution to nation-building. Here my reminiscences go back to 1976-77 when ‘Smriti Granth’ was brought out by his colleagues to mark his glorious four decades in Parliament. I am happy that then as the Speaker, Lok Sabha, I was associated with that publication and after 28 years today, I am able to pen my reminiscences of our longcherished association. Among the galaxy of leaders of the 20th century, Jagjivan Babu definitely is one of them. I feel proud to say that Jagjivan Babu possessed numerous noble qualities but I was highly impressed by his simplicity from core of the heart and his dedication to the well-being of the people at large. ——————
BABU JAGJIVAN RAM : A STATESMAN WITH RARE QUALITIES —Dr. Mohan Dharia* Babu Jagjivan Ramji was perhaps a privileged person to be a Central Minister in the Government almost continuously from 1946 to 1979. He was in the Council of Ministers in 1946, as the youngest Minister in the Interim Government. Since 1952 he got elected from Bihar for Lok Sabha and represented his Constituency (Sasaram, Bihar) from 1952 to1986. Babu Jagjivan Ram belonged to a backward family. Though he was persuaded to join hands with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, as a freedom fighter he preferred to remain with the Congress Party till 1977. Babu Jagjivan Ram was incharge of several Central Ministries like Labour, Agriculture, Defence, Railways, Transport, etc. and in all his Ministries he has left permanent impression as one of the most able Ministers. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an able Parliamentarian and an efficient administrator, who had unprecedented skill to handle all officers. Though he always used to take them into confidence, he was never swayed away by the bureaucrats. He had his own opinion on every issue and every time through his persuasive skill he prevailed upon the bureaucrats to the extent that after his retirement from the Ministry there was always a word of praise even from senior bureaucrats. Babu Jagjivan Ram was, many a time, instrumental in changing the policies of the Government to serve the weaker sections. Babu Jagjivan Ramji never forgot that millions of his fellow people were looking at him as their saviour. Whenever necessary he used to raise his voice to protect the interests of the poor in the country. When we had raised our voice in Parliament for politics of commitment as against the politics of convenience, Babuji in his own style supported the cause that we were serving. He was well aware of our concern for the poor and extended his support both directly and indirectly. His existence in Parliament and in the Council of Ministers was itself a great strength for many. Babu Jagjivan Ram was not only a politician. As a Minister he led several delegations to various countries and during negotiations or deliberations he succeeded because of his capability of convincing. He had command over * He is the former Union Minister and former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.
Hindi, Bhojpuri and English languages and was always fond of Tulsi’s Ramayana. In Parliament, whenever serious issues were discussed, Babu Jagjivan Ram was known for his wit and wisdom in giving a befitting reply. He commanded respect from all sections of the House particularly from the Opposition parties because of his modest behaviour. He was a great humanitarian. He firmly believed that a society based on caste has no place in modern secular India. It is not a crime to take birth in a particular family, belonging to any caste, sub-caste or religion. It is all decided not because of the faith of the individual—but because of his or her birth in a particular family. For such an act beyond the control of any individual, a society that penalizes the individual cannot be a just society; it is tantamount to penalizing the humanity itself. Throughout his life, Babu Jagjivan Ram stood firmly so that one’s fate should not be decided on the basis of birth. Babu Jagjivan Ramji represented India’s Civilisation and Culture. He was a lover of music and art. Every year, Holi was celebrated at his residence where hundreds of people used to come and join the gala function. Being his neighbour I participated in the function and enjoyed it. Both of us mixed with the people forgetting our Ministerial status. That was a rare quality of Babu Jagjivan Ramji. Unfortunately, he had not written much, but his speeches in Parliament speak volumes about Babu Jagjivan Ram and about his capacity, ability, understanding and humane nature. Many are tempted to compare Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Jagjivan Ram. I believe that such a comparison is not fair as both of them had their unique personalities and different approaches. While Dr. Ambedkar was a rebellious revolutionary, Babu Jagjivan Ram who as a freedom fighter was grown in the non-violent movement believed in the process of evolutionary reforms. He always felt that without converting the minds of the majority of citizens and securing their support, minorities would not be able to enjoy sustainable social justice and lead honourable life. Both of them had dedicated their lives for the upliftment of the downtrodden. Dr. Ambedkar was the founder of the Republican Party and Babu Jagjivan Ram was the creator of the All Indian Depressed Classes League. Both of them prevailed on whole of the society to recognize the agonies and injustices suffered by the depressed classes and set a role model through their leadership. On the occasion of his Anniversary, I sincerely pay my homage to the memories of Babuji, a great son of mother India. ——————
JAGJIVAN RAM : THE CHAMPION OF THE POOR AND DOWNTRODDEN —K.C. Pant* Babu Jagjivan Ram carved out a special place for himself in the public life of India. After a brief stint in Bihar, he came to the Centre at a young age and made his mark as a skillful parliamentarian and an efficient and effective Minister. As his stature continued to rise in national affairs, the poor and downtrodden found in him a powerful champion of their cause. He raised his voice against injustice and exploitation. He did so uncompromisingly but persuasively, and without generating hatred. That is why his words had an impact on all segments of society. Babu Jagjivan Ram was a formidable figure in Parliament. His grasp of men and matters, apart from his thorough, knowledge of his Ministry enabled him to handle Parliament with ease. He was equally forceful in English and Hindi. One speech of his, which I particularly enjoyed, was when he intervened on behalf of the Government in the course of a heated debate on a No-Confidence Motion. The opposition was building up case accusing the Government of wanting to stay in power inspite of the litany of failures compiled by the opposition. Babuji’s reply was disarming. He asked the Opposition whether the purpose of the No-Confidence Motion was not for the opposition to displace the Government and come to power itself. What struck me was not just the repartee but the friendly and pleasant manner in which he spoke. As I came to know him better, I realised that he enjoyed a fund of goodwill in all Parties, and had cordial relations with Opposition leaders. I also saw that, regardless of party affiliations, caste, community or region, his approach was helpful and sympathetic. I also had the occasion to see Babuji as a senior Minister in the Cabinet as well as in the Political Affairs Committee during the seventies when many momentous events took place. His contribution is now a part of history. Another event which is still fresh in my mind is a Holi Milan at PM’s residence about forty years ago when I was a young MP. Panditji was sprinkling rose water on his guests while Babuji was regaling the audience * He is the former Defence Minister and former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. with a string of good natured barbs, sparing no one. It was a sophisticated version of a common feature of Holi revelries, a wonderful example of ready wit, delivered extempore, capturing the Holi spirit in a polished form. Babu Jagjivan Ram treated me with great affection. Regardless of political changes, I always kept in touch with him and found him invariably preoccupied with national affairs and deeply worried about some trends which he saw coming and which are now very much in evidence in Bihar. My saddest memory was when his son Suresh died. On receiving the information, I rushed to his house and found him all alone. —————— * She is the former Member of Parliament and former Union Minister of State.
THE MAN OF WISDOM —
Dr. (Smt.) Sarojini Mahishi* It was just the beginning of the 20th Century that saw the rise of the great son of Bihar, Shri Jagjivan Ram. He was born in 1908, in Sasaram district. His father was Shri Sobhi Ram. Jagjivan Ram, though born in a Scheduled Caste family, had the rare opportunity of getting higher education in Banaras. He had completed his B.Sc. under difficult circumstances. By that time, the British people had already started collecting cheap labour from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh to Fiji and Mauritius. Gandhiji’s movement had also gained momentum at that time. Hazaribagh, Motihari and Champaran in Bihar had occupied a very important place in the movement. Gandhiji started walking and gained the moral support of the farmers fighting for indigo production and protection. Dr. Rajendra Prasad and others in Bihar had already entered in the Congress movement for freedom. The movement had attracted a large number of younger people and Babu Jagjivan Ram was one among them. In response to the demand for ‘Home Rule’ made by the Congress, the Imperial Government had brought out number of reforms in India and had also sent a number of Commissions to India. They ultimately called the Round Table Conferences and invited Mahatma Gandhi and a few others to participate in the discussions at the Round Table Conference. Physical participation was accompanied by mental reservations on the part of the Indian representatives. To overcome all these obstacles, the Imperial Government introduced, in 1937 “Provincial Autonomy” at the State level in India. Shri Jagjivan Ram found himself a fitting candidate and he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar unopposed. He continued to serve through the Legislative Assembly in Bihar till 1940. He came to Centre as a Member of Central Legislative Assembly and Constituent Assembly of India, 1946-50 and Provisional Parliament, 1950-52. He made substantial contribution in framing the Constitution along with top national leaders. From this period onwards until 1979, when the Janata Government under Shri Morarji Desai’s leadership fell, Shri Jagjivan Ram continued to be in power. In fact, he was the Deputy Prime Minister in the Janata Government. Shri Jagjivan Ram had held almost all important portfolios from 1946 to 1980. When he was the Cabinet Minister for Food and Agriculture, I had an opportunity to contact him for some work in my State. I had already communicated the problem to him. When I approached him, the concerned officer was sitting with him. Babu Jagjivan Ram asked him as to why he had not attended to the concerned work. The officer was trying to give him some excuse which the Minister did not like. The Minister immediately said, “I can afford to lose you but I cannot afford to lose her—a talented Member”. I was taken aback by his remark! His birthday was being celebrated in all pomp and glory in New Delhi. When well-known sweetmeat sellers also used to gather there with their contribution of sweets. Once when I was invited by my friends to attend the same, I did so when I was asked to speak on the occasion, I spoke a few sentences in Sanskrit, concluding by saying (may he live for hundred autumns) Within a few minutes, I heard him speaking a few sentences quoting from Upanishads and looking at me, indicating his knowledge of Sanskrit at the same time. In 1971, when he held the portfolio of Defence he used to say in public, “From now onwards, if there is any war between India and Pakistan, it will not be on our soil but it will definitely be on their soil.” And he would immediately turn to his right and smile to his satisfaction. War in Bangladesh where India participated in favour of Mujibur Rehman and against Pakistan ended in fourteen days. Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was crowned with success and she was awarded the ‘Bharat Ratna’ title immediately. But the question remained hanging before some people “Why should not the Defence Minister also be awarded this title”. The whole of India, rather, the whole world was an open book for him. Off and on he read the same. And Shri Jagjivan Ram, there, was the “Man of Wisdom.” —Avtar Singh Rikhy* I had the privilege of observing the finesse and the rare administrative acumen with which Hon’ble Shri Jagjivan Ram discharged the onerous responsibilities as a leading Minister of the Government for nearly 30 years. He was a born leader who nurtured his team of senior administrators with a clear vision of the goal. He was a strategic thinker and inspired confidence in the team players to contribute their best in national interest. Two instances come to my mind. The first one goes back to his taking over in December 1956 as a Railway Minister after Hon’ble Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned over the tragic loss of lives of a large number of passengers in a railway accident due to sudden caving in of railway bridge near Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu. Hon’ble Shri Jagjivan Ram on taking charge of the responsibility, did not start any witch hunt to penalise the top railway officials etc., instead he took to a calm and in-depth analysis of the systemic causes of failure specially inadequate maintenance of railway bridges, railway track, signals etc. so as to initiate concerted measures on priority basis to rectify the deficiencies. He gave the railway men, numbering over a million the reassuring feeling that they were doing a great job in running the life line of the nation and that the deficiencies and shortcomings had to be recognized and tackled effectively on a programme basis within an accelerated time-frame. He showed mature statesmanship in steering the Railways—one of the largest undertakings in the world—out of the psychological shock and galvanizing them to improve the operations. The second instance relates to a persistent demand voiced in 1978 in Lok Sabha to increase the number of languages in which simultaneous interpretation facilities were provided in Parliament. This was a sensitive matter. He appreciated the concern of those who had raised the issue, at the same time he was cognizant of the logistic and other problems which could arise. His approach as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee, appointed * He is the former Secretary-General of Lok Sabha (18 June 1977–31 December 1983). for this purpose, was to hear out the viewpoint of all sections of the House with sympathy but also in the process make them aware of the practical implications particularly in respect of the logistic. The sudden unexpected fall of the Govt. in 1979, followed by dissolution of Lok Sabha, deferred the sensitive issue to a later date. It goes however, to the credit of Hon’ble Shri Jagjivan Ram that he could contain the issue and channelise it into the orderly proceedings of a Parliamentary Committee. He had phenomenal patience, a retentive memory, an analytical and constructive approach. He had a persuasive way of articulating sensitive issues. While he was truly nationalistic in his approach his deep sympathies and commitment was there to better the lot of the underprivileged particularly the Scheduled Castes. He was a gifted man of destiny endowed with diplomatic finesse who understood the limits of practical politics and managed to stay within the acceptable norms of democratic functioning. He understood the finer nuances of the Constitutional provisions for reservation of jobs for the Scheduled Castes etc. and persisted with its implementation in an orderly manner. That is why there was no back-lash despite these radical but essential reforms of the polity. This surely was a unique achievement for one truly dedicated to the cause of bringing the under-privileged into the mainstream. ——————
Jitan Ram Manjhi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jitan Ram Manjhi
Manjhi (on left) meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
23rd Chief Minister of Bihar
20 May 2014 – 20 February 2015
Preceded by Nitish Kumar
Succeeded by Nitish Kumar
Born 6 October 1944 (age 74)
Political party Hindustani Awam Morcha(2015—present)
affiliations Janata Dal (United) (2005—2015)
Rashtriya Janata Dal (1996—2004)
Janata Dal (1990—1996)
Indian National Congress (1980—1990)
Spouse(s) Shanti Devi
Children 2 sons and 5 daughters
Jitan Ram Manjhi (born 6 October 1944) is an Indian politician from the eastern state of Bihar who served as its 23rd Chief Minister from 20 May 2014 to 20 February 2015. Previously, he had served as minister for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes welfare in Nitish Kumar's cabinet. He has been a minister in several Bihar state governments, under multiple chief ministers like Chandrashekhar Singh, Bindeshwari Dubey, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Jagannath Mishra, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi.
Manjhi has been a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly since 1980. He was affiliated with several political parties, Indian National Congress (1980–1990), Janata Dal(1990–1996), Rashtriya Janata Dal (1996–2005) and JD(U) (2005–2015). He was expelled from JD(U) following the February 2015 political crisis and subsequently Jitan Ram Manjhi emerged as a major Dalit face in Bihar. In May 2015, he announced the new political party, Hindustani Awam Morcha. In July 2015, Jitan Ram Manjhi was accorded "Z"-plus security cover by the Union Home Ministry.
Manjhi was born on 6 October 1944 in Mahakar village were under Khijarsarai area in Gaya district of Bihar. His father Ramjit Ram Manjhi and mother Sukri Devi were farm labourers from the Musahar community, known in the West as rat-eaters. He was tutored by a teacher after getting the reluctanct permission of his upper-caste landlord until 7th class. After completing his graduation from Magadh University, he worked at the Gaya telephone exchange for 13 years until his younger brother became a policeman. He is married to Shanti Devi since he was 11 and has two sons and five daughters.
Indian National Congress
Jitan Ram Manjhi entered politics in 1980. On the ticket of the Indian National Congressparty, he contested and won the assembly elections from the Fatehpur segment in Gaya district. He became a minister for the first time in the Chandrashekhar Singh-led government in Bihar. He won from the same constituency in the 1985 election, but lost in 1990. Between 1980 and 1990, he served as a minister of state in successive cabinets headed by Congress chief ministers Bindeshwari Dubey, Satyendra Narayan Sinha and Jagannath Mishra.
Rashtriya Janata Dal
Immediately after losing the 1990 election, Manjhi switched to the Janata Dal. But when the Janata Dal split in 1996 and Laloo Prasad Yadav formed his own Rashtriya Janata Dal, Manjhi moved to the RJD under Yadav and won the Barachatti seat in the 1996 by-election (the previous incumbent Bhagwati Devi had left this seat to become a Member of Parliament from Gaya constituency). In the following election in 2000, he again won the same seat on an RJD ticket. Throughout 1996 to 2005, Manjhi was a minister in the RJD state government in Bihar, first under the chief ministership of Yadav himself, and then under Rabri Devi, Yadav's wife who took the chair of CM after Yadav himself was convicted and jailed for the Fodder Scam.
Janata Dal (United)
When Yadav's RJD lost the October 2005 elections to the Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal (United) NDA coalition, Manjhi switched loyalties to the JDU. He won the election from Barachatti putting behind Samta Deva of his previous party RJD.
However, Manjhi was asked to resign immediately on the next day when his involvement in a corruption scam surfaced. Manjhi was involved in a fake B.Ed. degree racket in Bihar as the state education minister in the RJD government during the 1990s. As a junior minister in the Rabri Devi government, he was alleged to have given illegal permissions to institutes to run fake degree courses. He was later re-inducted in the state government cabinet by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2008 after having absolved of the charges.
During the 2008 food crisis in Bihar, Manjhi promoted eating rats as they caused damage to food grains and as rats and chickens had "equal food values, not only in terms of protein, but in all areas of nutrition". Rat catching is common with people of the socioeconomically backward Musahar caste, to which Manjhi belongs.
In the 2010 Bihar elections, he was elected to state legislative assembly from Makhdumpur in Jehanabad district. After Kumar split his party Janata Dal (United) from the NDA to oppose coalition leader Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Manjhi contested from Gaya but lost heavily and came a poor third behind winner Hari Manjhi (BJP) and Ramji Manjhi (RJD).
As Chief Minister
Manjhi once considered as a close confidant of Bihar present CM and JDU supremo Nitish Kumar, but is not known for his administrative skills. Following the JDU's poor showing in the 2014 general election, Kumar accepted responsibility for the defeat and resigned. Manjhi, minister for SC and ST welfare in Nitish's cabinet, replaced him as the 23rd Chief Minister of Bihar. Manjhi's promotion, despite his loss in the general elections to the Lok Sabha and a miserable third-place finish in Gaya, has been criticized in the media for being a cynical political ploy of Kumar deliberately choosing a puppet whom he could control as well as to rouse casteist emotions. Opposition leader Sushil Kumar Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party called Manjhi a "dummy chief minister", to which Manjhi responded by saying he was "not a rubber stamp." But after taking oath on 20 May 2014, Manjhi stated that he would "continue to seek guidance from Nitish Kumar." Due to the breakup of the JDU from the BJP-led NDA and the desertion of some JDU MLAs, CM Manjhi's government faced instability and appeared unlikely to pass the trust vote in the state legislative assembly. However, Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD and Sonia Gandhi's Congress party provided outside support to Manjhi because he belongs to a backward caste.
After ten months, the party asked him to resign to make way for Nitish Kumar to return as the Chief Minister. He refused and was expelled from the party for refusing on 9 February 2015, resulting in a political crisis in the state.The governor asked Manjhi to seek a vote of confidence on 20 February 2015, the first day of budget session of assembly. BJP announced it would support Manjhi but Manjhi was short of numbers he needed to prove the majority.On 20 February 2015, Manjhi resigned from the post of chief minister in morning before vote. He told that the legislators who supported him were threatened with death and the speaker of assembly did not allow a secret ballot so he chose to resign. He said that people of the state is watching these politicians and will show them the power of democracy.
During a speech in a meeting of Bihar State Foodgrain Businessmen's Association, Manjhi commented that his government is ready to forgive allegations against small-scale traders that indulge in black marketing and hoarding of food grains. He defended their action by adding that small-scale hoarding by these traders were a means to provide sustenance to their families and education to their children, both of which, in his view, were "noble causes." Widely criticised by the Indian media as "shocking," the comment came at a time when soaring prices of essential commodities was exacerbating India's food inflation, which the credit rating agency Moody's attributed to "structural problems that have widened the gap between demand and supply of food.".
Hindustani Awam Morcha
He floated new political front, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), on 28 February 2015 and clarified that the political party was not formed due to technical difficulties. Jitan Ram Manjhi is also active on social media like Facebook. On 8 May 2015, he announced the formation of the new political party. On 11 June 2015,Jitan Ram Manjhi announced his party Hindustani Awam Morcha alliance with BJP for the upcoming Bihar Legislative Assembly election, 2015. In July 2015, Election Commission recognised the Hindustani Awam Morcha as political party. Manjhi contested from two assembly seats: Makhdumpur and Imamganj assembly seat in the 2015 state elections. He won from Imamganj, though lost in Makhdumpur.
K. R. Narayanan
Kocheril Raman Narayanan
10th President of India
25 July 1997 – 25 July 2002
Prime Minister I. K. Gujral
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Vice President Krishan Kant
Preceded by Shankar Dayal Sharma
Succeeded by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Vice President of India
21 August 1992 – 24 July 1997
President Shankar Dayal Sharma
Preceded by Shankar Dayal Sharma
Succeeded by Krishan Kant
Born 27 October 1920
Perumthanam, Travancore, British India
(now in Kerala, India)
Died 9 November 2005 (aged 85)
Political party Indian National Congress
Alma mater University of Kerala (B.A., M.A.)
London School of Economics (B.Sc)
Kocheril Raman Narayanan (27 October 1920 – 9 November 2005) was the tenth President of India. He was the first Dalit and the first Malayali to become President.
Born in Perumthanam, Uzhavoor village, in the princely state of Travancore (present day Kottayam district, Kerala), and after a brief stint with journalism and then studying political science at the London School of Economics with the assistance of a scholarship, Narayanan began his career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service in the Nehru administration. He served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, People's Republic of China and United States of America and was referred by Nehru as "the best diplomat of the country". He entered politics at Indira Gandhi's request and won three successive general elections to the Lok Sabha and served as a Minister of State in the Union Cabinet under former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Elected as the ninth Vice President in 1992, Narayanan went on to become President in 1997.
Narayanan is regarded as an independent and assertive President who set several precedents and enlarged the scope of the highest constitutional office. He described himself as a "working President" who worked "within the four corners of the Constitution"; something midway between an "executive President" who has direct power and a "rubber-stamp President" who endorses government decisions without question or deliberation. He used his discretionary powers as a President and deviated from convention and precedent in many situations, including – but not limited to – the appointment of the Prime Minister in a hung Parliament, in dismissing a state government and imposing President's rule there at the suggestion of the Union Cabinet, and during the Kargil conflict. He presided over the golden jubilee celebrations of Indian independence and in the country's general election of 1998 became the first Indian President to vote when in office, setting another new precedent.
K. R. Narayanan was born in a small thatched hut at Perumthanam, Uzhavoor, as the fourth of seven children of Kocheril Raman Vaidyar, a physician practicing the traditional Indian medical systems of Siddha and Ayurveda, and Punnaththuraveettil Paappiyamma. His family (belonging to the Paravan caste, whose members are assigned the task of plucking coconuts as per the caste system) was poor, but his father was respected for his medical acumen. He was born on 27 October 1920, but his uncle, who accompanied him on his first day in school, did not know his actual date of birth, and arbitrarily chose 27 October 1920 for the records; Narayanan later chose to let it remain official.
Narayanan had his early schooling in Uzhavoor at the Government Lower Primary School, Kurichithanam (where he enrolled on 5 May 1927) and Our Lady of Lourdes Upper Primary School, Uzhavoor (1931–35). He walked to school for about 15 kilometres daily through paddy fields, and was often unable to pay the modest fees. He often listened to school lessons while standing outside the classroom, having been barred from attending because tuition fees were outstanding. The family lacked money to buy books and his elder brother K. R. Neelakantan, who was confined to home as he was suffering from asthma, used to borrow books from other students, copy them down, and give them to Narayanan. He matriculated from St. Mary's High School, Kuravilangad (1936–37) (he had studied at St. John's High School, Koothattukulam (1935–36) previously). He completed his intermediate at C. M. S. College, Kottayam (1938–40), aided by a scholarship from the Travencore Royal family.
He obtained his B. A. (Honours) and M.A. in English literature from the University of Travancore (1940–43) (present day University of Kerala), standing first in the university (thus becoming the first Dalit to obtain this degree with first class in Travancore).
With his family facing grave difficulties, he left for Delhi and worked for some time as a journalist with The Hindu and The Times of India (1944–45). During this time he once interviewed Mahatma Gandhi in Bombay on his own volition (10 April 1945).Narayanan then went to England (1945) and studied political science under Harold Laski at the London School of Economics (LSE); he also attended lectures by Karl Popper, Lionel Robbins, and Friedrich Hayek. He obtained the honours degree of B. Sc. (Economics) with a specialisation in political science, helped by a scholarship from J. R. D. Tata. During his years in London, he (along with fellow student K. N. Raj) was active in the India League under V. K. Krishna Menon. He was also the London correspondent of the Social Welfare Weekly published by K. M. Munshi. He shared lodgings with K. N. Raj and Veerasamy Ringadoo (who later became the first President of Mauritius); another close friend was Pierre Trudeau (who later became Prime minister of Canada).
Diplomat and academician
When Narayanan returned to India in 1948, Laski gave him a letter of introduction to Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Years later he narrated how he began his career in the public service:
When I finished with LSE, Laski, of his own, gave me a letter of introduction for Panditji. On reaching Delhi I sought an appointment with the PM. I suppose, because I was an Indian student returning home from London, I was given a time-slot. It was here in Parliament House that he met me. We talked for a few minutes about London and things like that and I could soon see that it was time for me to leave. So I said goodbye and as I left the room I handed over the letter from Laski, and stepped out into the great circular corridor outside. When I was half way round, I heard the sound of someone clapping from the direction I had just come. I turned to see Panditji [Nehru] beckoning me to come back. He had opened the letter as I left his room and read it. [Nehru asked:] "Why didn't you give this to me earlier?" [and KRN replied:] "Well, sir, I am sorry. I thought it would be enough if I just handed it over while leaving." After a few more questions, he asked me to see him again and very soon I found myself entering the Indian Foreign Service.
K. R. Narayanan with then President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 3 October 2000.
In 1949, he joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) on Nehru's request.
He worked as a diplomat in the embassies at Rangoon, Tokyo, London, Canberra, and Hanoi. He was the Indian ambassador to Thailand (1967–69), Turkey (1973–75), and the People's Republic of China (1976–78). He taught at the Delhi School of Economics (DSE) (1954), and was Jawaharlal Nehru fellow (1970–72) and secretary to the ministry of external affairs (1976). He retired in 1978. After his retirement, he served as the Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi from 3 January 1979 – 14 October 1980; he would later describe this experience as the foundation for his public life. Subsequently he was called back from retirement to serve as Indian Ambassador to the United States from 1980–84, under the Indira Gandhi administration. Narayanan's tenures as Indian ambassador to China, the first such high level Indian diplomatic posting in that country after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, and to the USA where he helped arrange Ms. Gandhi's landmark 1982 visit to Washington during the Reagan presidency helped mend India's strained relations with both these countries. Nehru, who had also been the Minister for External Affairs during his 16 years as PM, held that K. R. Narayanan was "the best diplomat of the country."(1955)
While working in Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar), K. R. Narayanan met Ma Tint Tint, whom he later married in Delhi on 8 June 1951. Ma Tint Tint was active in the YWCA and on hearing that Narayanan was a student of Laski, approached him to speak on political freedom before her circle of acquaintances. Their marriage needed a special dispensation from Nehru per Indian law, because Narayanan was in the IFS and she was a foreigner. Ma Tint Tint adopted the Indian name Usha and became an Indian citizen. Usha Narayanan (1923–2008) worked on several social welfare programs for women and children in India. She also translated and published several Burmese short stories; a collection of translated stories by Thein Pe Myint, titled Sweet and Sour, appeared in 1998. She is the only woman of foreign origin to have become the First Lady. They have two daughters, Ms. Chitra Narayanan (Indian ambassador to Switzerland and The Holy See) and Amrita.
Parliamentarian, Union Minister and Vice President
Narayanan entered politics at the request of Indira Gandhi and won three successive general elections to the Lok Sabha in 1984, 1989, and 1991, as a representative of the Ottapalam constituency in Palakkad, Kerala, on an Congress ticket. He was a Minister of State in the Union cabinet under Rajiv Gandhi, holding the portfolios of Planning (1985), External Affairs (1985–86), and Science and Technology (1986–89). As a Member of Parliament, he resisted international pressure to tighten patent controls in India. He sat in the opposition benches when the Congress was voted out of power during 1989–91. Narayanan was not included in the cabinet when the Congress returned to power in 1991. K. Karunakaran, Congress Chief Minister of Kerala, a political adversary of his, informed Narayanan that he was not made a minister because of him being a "Communist fellow-traveller". He did not, however, respond when Narayanan pointed out that he had defeated Communist candidates (A. K. Balan and Lenin Rajendran, the latter twice) in all three elections
K. R. Narayanan was elected as the Vice President of India on 21 August 1992, under the Presidency of Shankar Dayal Sharma. His name had been proposed initially by V. P. Singh, former Prime Minister and the then leader of the Janata Dal parliamentary party. The Janata Dal and the Left Front had jointly declared him as their candidate, and this had later garnered support from the Congress under P. V. Narasimha Rao, leading to a unanimous decision on his election. On his relationship with the Left front, Narayanan later clarified that he was neither a devotee nor a blind opponent of Communism; they had known of his ideological differences, but had supported him as Vice President (and later as President) because of special political circumstances that prevailed in the country. He had benefited from their support, and in turn, their political positions had gained acceptability. When the Babri Masjid was demolished on 6 December 1992, he described the event as the "greatest tragedy India has faced since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi
K. R. Narayanan was elected to the Presidency of India[ (17 July 1997) with 95% of the votes in the electoral college, as a result of the Presidential poll on 14 July. This is the only Presidential election to have been held with a minority government holding power at the centre. T. N. Seshan was the sole opposing candidate, and all major parties save the Shiv Sena supported his candidature., while Seshan alleged that Narayanan had been elected solely for being a Dalit.
He was sworn in as the President of India (25 July 1997) by Chief Justice J. S. Verma in the Central Hall of Parliament. In his inaugural address, he said:
That the nation has found a consensus for its highest office in some one who has sprung from the grass-roots of our society and grown up in the dust and heat of this sacred land is symbolic of the fact that the concerns of the common man have now moved to the centre stage of our social and political life. It is this larger significance of my election rather than any personal sense of honour that makes me rejoice on this occasion.
Golden jubilee of independence
The principal event of the golden jubilee of Indian independence was President K. R. Narayanan's midnight address to the nation during the special session of Parliament convened on the night of 14 August; in this address, he identified the establishment of a democratic system of government and politics to be the greatest achievement of India since independence. The following morning, Prime Minister I. K. Gujral, addressing the nation[ from the ramparts of the Red Fort, said:
When Gandhiji dreamt of India's future, he had said that the country will attain the real freedom only on the day when a Dalit would become the President of this country. This is our great fortune that today on the eve of golden jubilee of independence, we have been able to fulfil this dream of Gandhiji. In the person of Shri K. R. Narayanan we have been able to fulfil the dream of Gandhiji. Our President of whom the whole country is proud of, is from a very poor and downtrodden family and today he has endowed the Rashtrapati Bhavan with a new pride and respect. It is a matter of further happiness that the President has a very high place among the intellectuals of this country. This is a feather in the cap of our democracy that the backward sections of the society today are attaining their rightful place in society. All the countrymen today whether they are from minorities, scheduled castes [Dalits], or scheduled tribes [Adivasis]-- are working unitedly for the development of the country.
Participation in the elections
In the general elections of 1998, K. R. Narayanan became the first sitting President to vote (16 February 1998), casting his vote at a polling booth in a school within the Rashtrapati Bhavan complex after standing in a queue like an ordinary citizen. He insisted on casting his vote, despite the departure from precedent being pointed out to him. Narayanan sought to change what was a long-standing practice of Indian presidents not voting during general elections. He also exercised his franchise as President in the 1999 general elections.
Golden jubilee of the Republic
President K. R. Narayanan's address to the nation on the golden jubilee of the Indian Republic (26 January 2000) is considered a landmark: it was the first time a President attempted to analyse, with due concern for growing disparities, the several ways in which the country had failed to provide economic justice to the Indian people, particularly the rural and agrarian population; he also stated that discontent was breeding and frustrations erupting in violence among the deprived sections of society. In his address to Parliament later that day, he praised the work of B. R. Ambedkar on the Indian constitution and cautioned against attempts to change its basic structure, concurring with Ambedkar's preference for accountability and responsibility over the stability of the government. He reiterated this in stronger terms in his next Republic day address (2001); on this occasion, he took exception to certain proposals seeking to abridge the franchise, and pointed out the wisdom of reposing faith in the common men and women of India as a whole, rather than in some elite section of society.
In these addresses, he articulated opinions which departed in many ways from certain views of the A. B. Vajpayee government
Exercise of Presidential discretion
President Narayanan introduced the important practice of explaining to the nation (by means of Rashtrapati Bhavan communiqués) the thinking that led to the various decisions he took while exercising his discretionary powers; this has led to openness and transparency in the functioning of the President.
Appointment of the Prime minister and dissolution of Parliament
During his Presidency, Narayanan dissolved the Lok Sabha twice after determining through consultations across the political spectrum, that no one was in a position to secure the confidence of the house. Congress president Sitaram Kesri withdrew his party's support of the I. K. Gujral government and staked his claim to form the government on 28 November 1997. Gujral advised Narayanan of the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. President Narayanan determined that no one would be able to secure a majority in the Lok Sabha and accepted Gujral's advice (4 December). In the ensuing general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party, leading the largest pre-election coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the coalition leader Vajpayee staked his claim to form the government, though at that point he did not have a majority. Narayanan asked Vajpayee to furnish letters of support to demonstrate the NDA's ability to secure a majority. Vajpayee was able to meet this demand after support for the NDA grew, and subsequently he was appointed Prime Minister (15 March 1998) on the condition (which was met) that a vote of confidence be secured within 10 days.
One of the coalition partners supporting the minority government (the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam under J. Jayalalithaa) wrote a letter to the President withdrawing support on 14 April 1999, and Narayanan advised Vajpayee to seek a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha. This motion was defeated (17 April). Both Vajpayee and the Leader of the Opposition, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, then staked claims to form the government. Narayanan asked the NDA and the Congress party to show proof of support since the loss of the confidence vote. When evidence from neither party was forthcoming, Narayanan informed the Prime minister that fresh elections seemed to be the only way to resolve the crisis in governance. The Lok Sabha was then dissolved at Vajpayee's advice (26 April). (In the ensuing general elections, the NDA secured a majority and Vajpayee was reappointed Prime minister (11 October 1999) in a straightforward manner.)
In these decisions, President Narayanan set a new precedent concerning the appointment of a Prime minister — if no party or pre-election coalition had a majority, then a person would be appointed Prime minister only if he was able to convince the President (through letters of support from allied parties) of his ability to secure the confidence of the house. In doing so, he diverged from the actions of his predecessors who had been faced with the task of appointing a Prime minister from a hung parliament, Presidents N. Sanjiva Reddy, R. Venkataraman, and Shankar Dayal Sharma: the latter two had followed the practice of inviting the leader of the single largest party or pre-election coalition to form the government without investigating their ability to secure the confidence of the house.
Imposition of President's rule
President Narayanan returned for reconsideration the advices from the Union cabinet to impose President's rule in a state, in accordance with Article 356, in two instances: one from the Gujral government (22 October 1997) seeking to dismiss the Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh, and the other from the Vajpayee government (25 September 1998) seeking to dismiss the Rabri Devi government in Bihar. In both instances, he cited the Supreme court judgement of 1994 on S. R. Bommai vs. Union of India and exercised his discretion. In both cases, the cabinet honoured the President's reservations. These remain the only occasions when a President urged such a reconsideration, and has set an important precedent concerning federalism and the rights of state governments.
A military conflict was developed in Kargil on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in May 1999. The Vajpayee government had lost a no-confidence vote in Lok Sabha earlier that year and the opposition failed to form the next government. The Lok Sabha had been dissolved and a caretaker government was in office. This caused a problem with democratic accountability, as every major government decision is expected to be discussed, deliberated and consented by the parliament. Narayanan suggested to Vajpayee that the Rajya Sabha be convened to discuss the conflict, as demanded by several opposition parties (citing the precedent of Nehru convening a parliamentary session on Vajpayee's demand during the Sino-Indian war in 1962 ) though there was no precedent of convening the Rajya Sabha in isolation during an interregnum. Further, Narayanan was briefed by the chiefs of the three arms of the Indian Armed Forces on the conduct of the conflict. His Republic day address next year began by paying homage to the soldiers who had died defending the nation.
Concern for social and economic justice
President Narayanan in his speeches consistently sought to remind the nation of its duties and obligations towards the Dalits and Adivasis, the minorities, and the poor and downtrodden. He called the nation's attention to various recalcitrant social ills and evils, such as atrocities against women and children, caste discrimination and the ingrained attitudes it nurtured, abuse of the environment and public utilities, corruption and lack of accountability in the delivery of public services, religious fundamentalism, advertisement-driven consumerism, and flouting of human rights, and lamented the absence of public concern, political debate, and civic action to address them. Drawing from the experiences of his own home state Kerala, he pointed out that education was at the root of human and economic development. He hoped that the establishment would not fear the awakening of the masses through education, and spoke of the need to have faith in the people.
President Narayanan spoke on various occasions on the condition of the Dalits, Adivasis, and other backward sections of society, and the various iniquities they faced (often in defiance of law), such as denial of civic amenities, ostracism, harassment and violence (particularly against women), and displacement by ill-conceived development projects
He felt that the policy of reservations for the backward sections in education and the public sector had remained unfulfilled due to administrative distortions and narrow interpretations, and needed to be implemented with renewed vigour and sincerity; apprehensive of what he described as a counter-revolution among some privileged sections seeking to reverse progressive policies, he reminded the nation that these benefits were not charity, but had been provided by way of human rights and social justice to sections constituting a large portion of the population and contributing to the economy as landless agricultural labourers and industrial workers. In his 2002 Republic day address, he drew attention to the Bhopal declaration on the Dalit and Adivasi agenda for the 21st century and spoke of the necessity of the private sector adopting policies to promote equitable representation of the backward sections in their enterprises. In a governmental note on higher judicial appointments (which leaked to the press; January 1999), he observed that eligible persons from the backward sections were available and that their under-representation or non-representation was not justifiable; K. G. Balakrishnan, a Dalit, was elevated to the Supreme court (8 June 2000), the fourth such instance, and the only one since 1989.
He felt that Ambedkar's exhortation to "educate, organise, agitate" continued to be relevant; with the Dalits forming a quarter of the population in a democracy with universal adult franchise, he felt that the ultimate destiny of the backward sections lay in the hands of the backward sections themselves, organised socially and politically.
When the Australian missionary and social worker Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burned alive (22 January 1999), President Narayanan condemned it as a barbarous crime belonging to the world's inventory of black deeds.
Towards the end of his Presidency, communal riots broke out in Gujarat (February 2002). President Narayanan was deeply pained and anguished, and described it as a grave crisis of the society and the nation; he called it the duty of every Indian to strive to restore peace and thus preserve and strengthen the foundations of the state and the tradition of tolerance. He did not stand the election for a second Presidential term due to the lack of support from the ruling government. After the demission of Presidential office, he lent his support to alternative globalisation movements like the World Social Forum. After he had left the Presidency, and after the Vajpayee government had been voted out of power in the general elections of May 2004, in an interview on the third anniversary of the riots (in February 2005), he said;
There was governmental and administrative support for the communal riots in Gujarat. I gave several letters to Prime Minister Vajpayee in this regard on this issue. I met him personally and talked to him directly. But Vajpayee did not do anything effective. I requested him to send the army to Gujarat and suppress the riots. The military was sent, but they were not given powers to shoot. If the military was given powers to shoot at the perpetrators of violence, recurrence of tragedies in Gujarat could have been avoided. However, both the state(the Narendra Modi government) and central government did not do so. I feel there was a conspiracy involving the state and central governments behind the Gujarat riots.
He also stated that constitutional limits on his powers had prevented him from doing anything further.Throughout his Presidency, Narayanan adopted the policy of not visiting places of worship or godmen/godwomen; he is the only President to have followed this practice.
Demission of office
As Narayanan's tenure neared its end, various sections of public opinion looked forward to a second term of his Presidency. The NDA had a slender majority in the electoral college. Narayanan offered to be a consensus candidate. The Opposition parties (including the Congress, the Left Front, Janata Dal (Secular), and various regional parties) supported a second term for him, and Sonia Gandhi met him to request his candidature; Vajpayee then met Narayanan, informed him that there was no consensus within the NDA on the question, and advised against his candidature. The NDA then proposed to elevate the Vice President Krishan Kant as a consensus; this drew support from the Opposition and an agreement to this effect was conveyed by Vajpayee's representative to the Congress. However, within a day, the NDA unable to reach an internal consensus, decided to propose another candidate Dr.P. C. Alexander. Alexander's candidature drew disapproval of the Opposition parties. The Opposition parties approached Narayanan and renewed their request to seek a second term. The NDA then put forth a third candidate Abdul Kalam as their official choice, without seeking consensus; one opposition party (the Samajwadi Party under Mulayam Singh Yadav) dissipated the unity of the Opposition by supporting this proposal. Narayanan opted himself out from a contest at this point.
When asked about these events later,Narayanan accused the BJP of scuttling a second term of his Presidency.
In his farewell address to the nation(24 July 2002), K. R. Narayanan set his hopes for social action and progress on the service of the nation by its youth. He reflected on his varied experiences of the essential goodness and wisdom of the Indian people, recalling how he had grown up in Uzhavoor among adherents of several religions, how religious tolerance and harmony had prevailed, how upper-caste Hindus and well-off Christians had helped him in his early studies, and how upper-caste Hindus as well as Christians and Muslims had worked together enthusiastically for his election campaigns in Ottapalam. He said that the credibility and endurance of India's unity and democracy are founded on its tradition of tolerance, and spoke of the need for Hindus, who form the majority, to express the traditional spirit of their religion.
Reflecting on his Presidency, K. R. Narayanan said:
As the President of India, I had lots of experiences that were full of pain and helplessness. There were occasions when I could do nothing for people and for the nation. These experiences have pained me a lot. They have depressed me a lot. I have agonised because of the limitations of power. Power and the helplessness surrounding it are a peculiar tragedy, in fact.
After his retirement as President, K. R. Narayanan, along with his wife Usha, lived his remaining years in a central Delhi bungalow (on 34 Prithviraj Road).
At the World Social Forum (WSF) in Mumbai (21 January 2004), he lent his support to the alternative globalisation movement. Addressing the forum at its concluding session, he praised the WSF for demanding freedom in its most comprehensive form, and was happy that people had assembled under an important idea, rather than for narrow political ends; after reflecting on corporations displacing governments in various countries, and on how Mahatma Gandhi had fought British colonisers non-violently with the strength of the masses, he predicted that vocal masses the world over would successfully fight by non-violent means the capturing of the world's resources by a few corporations in the name of globalisation. He urged the people to struggle against power corporates and militarism and fight those aspects of globalisation which were against the interests of the people; he hailed people's power as a renascent factor of international politics.
K. R. Narayanan dedicated (15 February 2005) his tharavaadu at Uzhavoor to the Santhigiri Ashram in Pothencode for the purpose of establishing the Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru research centre for Siddha and Ayurveda. This turned out to be his last return to Uzhavoor.
K. R. Narayanan died on 9 November 2005 at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, New Delhi, after being briefly ill with pneumonia and consequent renal failure. He was cremated with full state honors at sunset the following day; the last rites were performed by his nephew Dr. P. V. Ramachandran, at Ekta sthal on the banks of the River Yamuna (adjacent to Shanti van, the memorial of his mentor Jawaharlal Nehru).
His daughter, Chitra (Indian ambassador to Switzerland & The Holy See), on behalf of her mother (Usha), sister (Amrita), and the rest of his family, expressed her appreciation for the outpouring of grief from all over the country and abroad; she added that K. R. Narayanan would be remembered for his great love for the nation and for his immense moral strength and courage.
Four siblings, K. R. Gowri, K. R. Bhargavi, K. R. Bharathi, and K. R. Bhaskaran, survived him; two elder brothers had died when Narayanan was in his twenties. His elder sister Gowri (a homoeopath, who remained unmarried) and his younger brother Bhaskaran (a teacher, also unmarried) had been living in Uzhavoor. Villagers of Uzhavoor marched silently to the tharavaadu of K. R. Narayanan and paid him reverent homage.
From the sidelines of society
About his life and its message, K. R. Narayanan said:
I see and understand both the symbolic as well as the substantive elements of my life. Sometimes I visualise it as a journey of an individual from a remote village on the sidelines of society to the hub of social standing. But at the same time I also realise that my life encapsulates the ability of the democratic system to accommodate and empower marginalised sections of society.
Narayanan died in New Delhi at the age of 85.
The K. R. Narayanan Foundation
The K. R. Narayanan Foundation (K.R.N.F) founded in December 2005, aims at propagating the ideals and perpetuating the memory of K. R. Narayanan. K.R.N.F is a mission of collective action to provide better future to the most vulnerable sections of Kerala Society – women, children, disabled persons, the aged and other disadvantaged groups – by providing educational training, protecting their health and environment, improving their living conditions and strengthneing their family and community. The paradigms of K.R.N.F revolves around five crucial elements;
research and development on science and technology for the dissemination of eco-friendly rural technology to the poor human resource development attitudinal change and self management economic empowerment to the poor. The Foundation is to identify and honor the best in areas of national importance like Integrity in Public Life, Journalism, Civil Service, Medical Science, Social Service, Literature, Sports, Entertainment, Politics etc.
K.R.N.F is also producing a documentary (both in Malayalam and English) on the life of K. R. Narayanan, entitled The Footprints Of Survival, aimed at propagating the ideals and perpetuating the memory of K.R.Narayanan. This documentary will be directed by Mr. Sunny Joseph, a senior journalist. The script will be based on a biography of the late President written by Eby J. Jose, who is also the General Secretary of the K.R.N.F. The Foundation has planned to distribute DVD copies of the creative work to all schools, colleges and public libraries.
The Foundation General Secretary Eby J. Jose has written a biography of the late president titled K. R. Narayanan Bharathathinte Suryathejassu. It is written in Malayalam, the mother tongue of Dr. K. R. Narayanan. This book traces the not-so-rosy paths through which this great man had to travel
K. K. Viswanathan
Governor of Gujarat
4 April 1973 – 13 August 1978
Born 4 November 1914
Died 17 August 1992 (aged 77)
Kambanthodath Kunhan Viswanathan or K. K. Viswanathan (4 November 1914 – 17 or 18 August 1992) was governor of the Indian state of Gujarat.
K.K. Viswanathan was born in Mattancheri, Cochin on 4 November 1914 to an Ezhava family. He was educated at St. Thomas College, Trichur, Maharaja's College, Earnakulam and Law College, Trivandrum. He took his bachelor's degree in Law from the Madras University in 1938 and started his legal practice in Cochin the same year. Simultaneously, he took up the management of a High School there and also evinced great interest in trade union work. Viswanathan was one of the founders of a major Port-workers' Union by name the Cochin Thuramukha Thozhilali Union.
Afterwards, he joined the Cochin Praja Mandal, a constituent of the All India State People's Conference, which carried on in the princely State the policies and programmes of the Indian National Congress. In 1948, he was elected to the Cochin Legislative Council on the Praja Mandal ticket and, on the merger of Travancore and Cochin in 1949, he automatically became a Member of the integrated State Assembly.
Viswanathan, however, resigned from the State Assembly in 1950 along with his other colleagues in response to a call from the Cochin Praja Mandal to that effect. He then turned his attention to welfare activities among the masses and soon came to be known as a leading social worker as also an astute Congressman in and around the Cochin region.
In 1957, when the EMS-led Communist Ministry was installed in office after the first general elections, after the formation of Kerala State in November 1956, Viswanathan was also a Member of the Assembly and was eventually elected as Secretary of the Kerala Congress Legislative Party. He dedicated himself to the cause of the weaker sections with missionary zeal and ardently advocated several progressive measures and legislations for the amelioration of their condition. By then he had become one amongst front-ranking Parliamentarians in Kerala and gained recognition even of members of Opposition parties as an expert in land reforms. During this period he decided to give be up even his lucrative law practice in order to be able to devote his full-time and care to the party work.
Viswanathan was returned to the State Assembly with a huge margin of votes when fresh elections were held in 1959 after the exit of the Communist Ministry headed by E.M.S. Namboodiripad as a result of the liberation struggle launched by the people against it. He lent his powerful support and guidance first to the Coalition Government and later to the Congress Ministry in bringing about various land reform measures in the State.
Vishwanathan edited a Malayalam Weekly named The Republic and ably projected Congress policies and programmes which gained acceptance and support from the common people. He was the Secretary of the State Congress Legislative Party during 1957-60 and 1960–64 and the General Secretary of the KPCC from 1966 to 1969. The first ever AICC session held in Kerala was successfully organized by him in Ernakulam in 1966. After the split in Congress ranks in 1969, he, as the Convener of the ad hoc KPCC, was responsible in establishing the Congress Party on strong foundations. He was later elected as President of the KPCC in 1970, followed by his re-election to the same post in December, 1972.
In addition to his Parliamentary work, Viswanathan was Chairman of the State Evaluation Committee of Programmes for the Scheduled Casters and the Scheduled Tribes during the first and the Second Five Year Plans; was a member on the Kerala State Food Advisory Committee, the Public Health Advisory Committee, the High Power Committee on Land Reforms, the Estimates Committee, the Assurance Committee and the Rules Committee. He organized an All India exhibition during the Centenary of Narayana Guru in 1956.
As president of various important trade unions, he actively participated in several labor welfare programmes for nearly two decades. Besides, he played a prominent role in the adult franchise movement as a pre-condition to the induction of Responsible Government in the Cochin State.
During his tenure in the Congress, Viswanathan took a very keen interest in reorganizing the KPCC and secured far better representation on it for the Harijans, minority communities and the youth which enhanced the party's involvement in the lives of all categories of people in the State, lending it a greater democratic touch. He also helped opening of hotels and restaurants managed by the Harijans. He played a notable role in raising and developing the Congress Seva Dal into a 25,000 strong trained volunteer organization.
During his long and eventful public life in Kerala, Viswanathan could see through many an ambitious and progressive reform in political as well as social spheres. He was able to elicit all round admiration and respect for his intellectual honesty and wisdom even from his seniors. He came to be considered a friend, philosopher and guide by his junior colleagues. Even amongst opposition party members there was great appreciation of his transparent sincerity and he was held in high esteem and affection for his qualities of head and heart.
He took over as the Governor of Gujarat on April 4, 1973, and continued to serve Gujarat till August 13, 1978. He later served as the president of SNDP Yogam. He continued in office till his death on August 17, 1992, aged 78.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thiyagachudar K. Kamaraj Commemorative Stamp
3rd Chief Minister of Madras State
13 April 1954 – 2 October 1963
Governor Sri Prakasa
A. J. John, Anaparambil
Pakala Venkata Rajamannar(acting)
Preceded by C. Rajagopalachari
Succeeded by M. Bhakthavatsalam
Member of Parliament
Preceded by A. Nesamony
Succeeded by Kumari Ananthan
Member of Madras State Legislative Assembly
Preceded by S. Ramaswamy Naidu
Succeeded by S. Ramaswamy Naidu
Preceded by Rathnaswamy and A. J. Arunachala Mudaliar
Succeeded by V. K. Kothandaraman
Member of Parliament
Preceded by None
Succeeded by S. S. Natarajan
Preceded by Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Succeeded by S. Nijalingappa
President of the Madras Provincial Congress Committee
Succeeded by P. Subbarayan
Born 15 July 1903
(now in Tamil Nadu, India)
Died 2 October 1975 (aged 72)
Awards Bharat Ratna (1976) (posthumously)
Kumaraswami Kamaraj (15 July 1903 – 2 October 1975), was a leader of the INC, widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He served as INC president for two terms i.e. four years between 1964–1967 and was responsible for the elevation of Lal Bahadur Shastri to the position of Prime Minister of India after Nehru's death and Indira Gandhi after Shastri's death. Kamaraj was the 3rd Chief Minister of Madras State (Tamil Nadu) during 1954–1963 and a Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha during 1952–1954 and 1969–1975. He was known for his simplicity and integrity. He played a major role in developing the infrastructure of the Madras state and worked to improve the quality of life of the needy and the disadvantaged.
He was involved in the Indian independence movement. As the president of the INC, he was instrumental in navigating the party after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. As the chief minister of Madras, he was responsible for bringing free education to the disadvantaged and introduced the free Midday Meal Schemewhile he himself did not complete schooling. He was awarded with India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976.
Kamaraj was born on 15 July 1903 in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, to Kumaraswami Nadar and Sivakami Ammal. His name was originally Kamatchi, later changed to Kamarajar. His father Kumarasamy was a merchant. Kamaraj had a younger sister named Nagammal. Kamaraj was first enrolled in a traditional school in 1907 and in 1908 he was admitted to Yenadhi Narayana Vidhya Salai. In 1909 Kamaraj was admitted in Virudupatti High School. Kamaraj's father died when he was six years old, his mother was forced to support the family. In 1914 Kamaraj dropped out of school to support his mother.
As a young boy, Kamaraj worked in his uncle's provision shop and during this time he began to attend public meetings and processions about the Indian Home Rule Movement. Kamaraj developed an interest in prevailing political conditions by reading newspapers daily. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was the decisive turning point in his life - he decided to fight for national freedom and to bring an end to foreign rule. In 1920, when he was 18, he became active in politics. He joined Congress as a full-time political worker. In 1921 Kamaraj organised public meetings at Virudhunagar for Congress leaders. He was eager to meet Gandhi, and when Gandhi visited Madurai on 21 September 1921 Kamaraj attended the public meeting and met Gandhi for the first time. He visited villages carrying Congress propaganda.
In 1922 Congress boycotted the visit of the Prince of Wales as part of the Non-Cooperation Movement. He came to Madras and took part in the event. In 1923–25 Kamaraj participated in the Nagpur Flag Satyagraha. In 1927, Kamaraj started the Sword Satyagraha in Madras and was chosen to lead the Neil Statue Satyagraha, but this was given up later in view of the Simon Commission boycott.
Kamaraj went to jail for two years in June 1930 for participating in the "Salt Satyagraha".led by Rajagopalachari at Vedaranyam; he was released before he served the two year sentence as a result of 1931 Gandhi-Irwin Pact. In 1932, Section 144 was imposed in Madras prohibiting the holding of meetings and organisation of processions against the arrest of Gandhi in Bombay. In Virdhunagar, under Kamaraj's leadership, processions and demonstrations happened every day. Kamaraj was arrested again in January 1932 and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. In 1933 Kamaraj was falsely charged in the Virudhunagar bomb case. Varadarajulu Naidu and George Joseph argued on Kamaraj's behalf and proved the charges to be baseless. At the age of 34, Kamaraj entered the Assembly winning the Sattur seat in the 1937 election.
Kamaraj conducted a vigorous campaign throughout the state asked people not to contribute to war funds when Sir Arthur Hope, the Madras Governor, was collecting contributions to fund for the Second World War. In December 1940 he was arrested again at Guntur, under the Defence of India rules for speeches that opposed contributions to the war fund, and sent to Vellore Central Prison while he was on his way to Wardha to get Gandhi's approval for a list of Satyagrahis. While in jail, he was elected as Municipal Councillor of Virudhunagar. He was released nine months later in November 1941 and resigned from this post as he thought he had greater responsibility for the nation. His principle was "One should not accept any post to which one could not do full justice".
In 1942, Kamaraj attended the All-India Congress Committee in Bombay and returned to spread propaganda material for the Quit India Movement. The police issued orders to all the leaders who attended this Bombay session. Kamaraj did not want to be arrested before he took the message to all district and local leaders. He decided not to go to Madras and decided to shorten his trip; he saw a large number of policemen waiting to arrest Congress leaders in Arakonam but managed to escape from the police and went to Ranipet, Tanjore, Trichy and Madurai to inform local leaders about the Quit India movement. He reached Virdhunagar after finishing his work and sent a message to the local police that he was ready to be arrested. He was arrested in August 1942. He was under detention for three years and was released in June 1945. This was his last prison term. Kamaraj was imprisoned six times by the British for his pro-Independence activities, that added up to more than 3,000 days in jail.
On 13 April 1954, Kamaraj became the Chief Minister of Madras Province. To everyone's surprise, Kamaraj nominated C. Subramaniam and M. Bhakthavatsalam, who had contested his leadership, to the newly formed cabinet.
As Chief Minister, Kamaraj removed the family vocation based Hereditary Education Policyintroduced by Rajaji. The State made immense strides in education and trade. New schools were opened, so that poor rural students had to walk no more than three kilometers to their nearest school. Better facilities were added to existing ones. No village remained without a primary school and no panchayat without a high school. Kamaraj strove to eradicate illiteracy by introducing free and compulsory education up to the eleventh standard. He introduced the Midday Meal Scheme to provide at least one meal per day to the lakhs of poor school children. Later it was expanded to four more schools. This was the precursor to the free noon meal schemes introduced by K. Kamaraj in 1960's and expanded by M. G. Ramachandran in the 1980s.. He introduced free school uniforms to weed out caste, creed and class distinctions among young minds.
Kamaraj Statue in Marina Beach, Chennai depicting his contribution to education in the state
During the British regime the education rate was only 7%. But after Kamaraj's reforms it reached 37%. Apart from increasing the number of schools, steps were taken to improve standards of education. To improve standards, the number of working days was increased from 180 to 200; unnecessary holidays were reduced; and syllabi were prepared to give opportunity to various abilities. Kamaraj and Bishnuram Medhi (Governor) took efforts to establish IIT Madras in 1959.
Major irrigation schemes were planned in Kamaraj's period. Dams and irrigation canals were built across higher Bhavani, Mani Muthar, Aarani, Vaigai, Amaravathi, Sathanur, Krishnagiri, Pullambadi, Parambikulam and Neyyaru among others. The Lower Bhavani Dam in Erode district brought 207,000 acres (840 km2) of land under cultivation. 45,000 acres (180 km2) of land benefited from canals constructed from the Mettur Dam. The Vaigai and Sathanur systems facilitated cultivation across thousands of acres of lands in Madurai and North Arcot districts respectively. Rs 30 crores were planned to be spent for Parambikulam River scheme, and 150 lakhs of acres of lands were brought under cultivation; one third of this (i.e. 56 lakhs of acres of land) received a permanent irrigation facility. In 1957–61 1,628 tanks were de-silted under the Small Irrigation Scheme, and 2,000 wells were dug with outlets. Long term loans with 25% subsidy were given to farmers. In addition farmers who had dry lands were given oil engines and electric pump sets on an installment basis.
Industries with huge investments in crores of Rupees were started in his period: Neyveli Lignite Corporation, BHEL at Trichy, Manali Refinery, Hindustan raw photo film factory at Ooty, surgical instruments factory at Chennai, and a railway coach factory at Chennai were established. Industries such as paper, sugar, chemicals and cement took off during the period.
Kamaraj's council of ministers during his first tenure as Chief Minister (13 April 1954 – 31 March 1957):
K. Kamaraj Chief Minister, Public and Police in the Home Department
M. Bhaktavatsalam Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries, Cinchona, Rural Welfare, Community Projects, National Extension Scheme, Women’s Welfare, Industries and Labour, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary
C. Subramaniam Finance, Food, Education, Elections and Information, Publicity and Law (Courts and Prisons)
A. B. Shetty Medical and Public Health, Co-operation, Housing, Ex-servicemen.
M. A. Manickavelu Naicker Land Revenue, Commercial Taxes, Rural Development
Shanmugha Rajeswara Sethupathi Public Works, Accommodation Control, Engineering Colleges, Stationery and Printing including establishment questions of the Stationery Department and the Government Press
B. Parameswaran Transport, Harijan Uplift, Hindu Religious Endowments, Registration, Prohibition
S. S. Ramasami Padayachi Local Administration
Following the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, A. B. Shetty quit the Ministry on 1 March 1956 and his portfolio was shared between the other ministers.
Kamaraj's council of ministers during kamarajars second tenure as Chief Minister (1 April 1957 – 1 March 1962):
K. Kamaraj Chief Minister, Public Planning and Development (including Local Development Works, Women's Welfare, Community Projects and Rural Welfare), National Extension Scheme
M. Bhaktavatsalam Home
C. Subramaniam Finance
R. Venkataraman Industries
M. A. Manickavelu Naicker Revenue
P. Kakkan Works
V. Ramaiah Electricity
Lourdhammal Simon Local Administration
Kamaraj's council of ministers during his third tenure as Chief Minister (3 March 1962 – 2 October 1963):
K. Kamaraj Chief Minister, Public Planning and Development (including Local Development Works, Women's Welfare, Community Projects and Rural Welfare), National Extension Scheme
M. Bhaktavatsalam Finance and Education
Jothi Venkatachalam Public Health
R. Venkataraman Revenue
S. M. Abdul Majid Local Administration
N. Nallasenapathi Sarkarai Mandradiar Cooperation, Forests
G. Bhuvaraghan Publicity and Information
Kamaraj remained Chief Minister for three consecutive terms, winning elections in 1957 and 1962. Kamaraj noticed that the Congress party was slowly losing its vigour.
Kamaraj statue at East Tambaram, Chennai
On Gandhi Jayanti day, 2 October 1963, he resigned from the post of the Chief Minister. He proposed that all senior Congress leaders should resign from their posts and devote all their energy to the re-vitalization of the Congress.
In 1963 he suggested to Nehru that senior Congress leaders should leave ministerial posts to take up organisational work. This suggestion came to be known as the Kamaraj Plan, which was designed primarily to dispel from the minds of Congressmen the lure of power, creating in its place a dedicated attachment to the objectives and policies of the organisation. Six Union Ministers and six Chief Ministers including Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjivan Ram, Morarji Desai, Biju Patnaik and S.K. Patil followed suit and resigned from their posts. Impressed by Kamaraj's achievements and acumen, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru felt that his services were needed more at the national level. In a swift move he brought Kamaraj to Delhi as the President of the Indian National Congress. Nehru realized that in addition to wide learning and vision, Kamaraj possessed enormous common sense and pragmatism. Kamaraj was elected the President of Indian National Congress on 9 October 1963.
After Nehru's death in 1964, Kamaraj successfully navigated the party through turbulent times. As the president of INC, he refused to become the next Prime Minister himself and was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi in 1966. For this role, he was widely acclaimed as the "kingmaker" during the 1960s.
When the Congress split in 1969, Kamaraj became the leader of the Indian National Congress (Organisation) (INC(O)) in Tamil Nadu. The party fared poorly in the 1971 electionsamid allegations of fraud by the opposition parties. He remained the leader of INC(O) until his death in 1975.
1937 MLA Sattur INC Unopposed 1937 elections Won
1946 MLA Sattur-Aruppukottai INC Unopposed 1946 elections Won
1952 MP Srivilliputtur INC G. D. Naidu Indian General Elections, 1951 Won
1954 MLA Gudiyatham INC V. K. Kothandaraman By Election Won
1957 MLA Sattur INC Jayarama Reddiar Madras legislative assembly election, 1957 Won
1962 MLA Sattur INC P. Ramamoorthy Madras legislative assembly election, 1962 Won
1967 MLA Virudhunagar INC P. Seenivasan Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1967 Lost
1969 MP Nagercoil INC M. Mathias By Election Won
1971 MP Nagercoil INC(O) M. C. Balan Indian General Elections, 1971 Won
During his tenure as Chief Minister, when the municipality of Virudhunagar provided a direct water connection to his house in his hometown, Kamarajar ordered it to be disconnected immediately as he did not want any special privileges. He refused to use the Z-level security that was provided to him as the CM of Tamil Nadu and instead traveled with just one police patrol vehicle. He did not marry, did not own any property and was never tempted by power. When he died, he left behind 130 rupees, 2 pairs of sandals, 4 shirts, 4 dhotis and a few books.
Kamaraj Memorial in Chennai
Kamaraj died at his home, on Gandhi Jayanti day (2 October 1975), which also the 12th anniversary of his resignation. He was aged 72 and died in his sleep.
Kamaraj was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976. He is widely acknowledged as "Kalvi Thanthai" (Father of Education) in Tamil Nadu. The domestic terminal of the Chennai airport is named "Kamaraj Terminal". Marina beach road in Chennai was named as "Kamarajar Salai". North Parade Road in Bengaluru and Parliament road in New Delhi were also renamed after Kamaraj. Madurai Kamaraj University is named in his honour. In 2003, the Government of India released a commemorative coin on his birthday.
In 2004 a Tamil-language film titled Kamaraj was made based on the life history of Kamaraj. The English version of the film was released on DVD in 2007.
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee
16 May 1975 – 18 August 1979
Governor B.B. Lal
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Nar Bahadur Bhandari
Born 11 October 1904
Pakyong, East Sikkim, Kingdom of Sikkim (now Sikkim, India)
Died 28 July 2007 (aged 102)
Political party Indian National Congress (after 1975)
Sikkim National Congress (before 1975)
Spouse(s) Elisa Maria
Kazi Lhendup Dorjee (11 October 1904 – 28 July 2007), also spelled Lhendup Dorji or Lhendup Dorji Khangsarpa, was the first chief minister of Sikkim from 1975 to 1979 after its union with India.
Lhendup Dorjee was born in 1904 in Pakyong, East Sikkim, Sikkim. He was born into the Khangsarpa family, who were Sikkimese nobility and was of Bhutia origin. Dorji Khangsarpa entered the Rumtek monastery at the age of 6 years. His uncle, Tshurfuk Lama Rabden Dorji was the then Head Lama of the monastery and Dorjee became his disciple. Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal, then Maharaja of Sikkim, while visiting the monastery took a great liking to the hong monk and took him to Gangtok, where he placed him in a Tibetan School. At the age of 16, Dorjee returned to Rumtek monastery and under strict training for priesthood for two years. Thereafter on completion of his training he succeeded as the Head Lama of Rumtek monastery and its estates on the retirement of Lama Ugen Tenzing. Dorjee remained as the Head Lama in Rumtek monastery for eight years and then left the monastery to work with his brother the late Kazi Phag Tshering, who founded the Young Men Buddhist Association at Darjeeling. The two brothers founded a large number of schools in West Sikkim and were instrumental in bringing about a number of social and other reforms.
Dorjee founded the Sikkim Praja Mandal in 1945 and served as its first president. Dorjee also became president of the Sikkim State Congress in 1953 and served as president until 1958.
In 1962, Dorjee helped to found the Sikkim National Congress political party. The Sikkim National Congress was founded by Dorjee as a non-communal political party. The unity themed political platform of the party helped the Sikkim National Congress to win eight of the eighteen seats up for grabs in Sikkim's third general election. The Sikkim National Congress merged with India's Congress Party in the 1970s following Sikkim's annexation by India. Dorjee also formed the Sikkim Council to promote "communal harmony."
Dorjee was considered to be a key figure in the 1975 union of Sikkim with India. Dorjee served as the first Chief Minister of Sikkim from 1975, the year before the official merger, until 1979. Dorjee was honoured by the government of India with the Padma Vibhushan in 2002. He was also awarded the Sikkim Ratna by the state government of Sikkim in 2004.
Kazini Elisa Maria
Dorjee's wife, Kazini Elisa Maria, formerly Elisa-Maria Langford-Rae, was a Belgian aristocrat and divorcee. She was of Scottish extraction and had studied law at Edinburgh University. She converted to Buddhism and took Sangharakshita as her teacher. In the 1920s she had been in Burma where for a while she was unsuccessfully pursued by the author George Orwell. Her birth name may have been Ethel Maud Shirran, according to her granddaughter.
Dorjee died of a heart attack on 28 July 2007 at his home in Kalimpong, North Bengal in the Indian State of West Bengal. Kalimpong is located just across the state border from Sikkim. Dorjee was 102 years, 290 days at the time of his death. Though he died of a heart attack, Dorjee had been suffering from liver problems for several years.
Dorjee's funeral took place at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim on 3 August 2007.
The Chief Minister of Sikkim at the time, Pawan Kumar Chamling, called Dorjee a distinguished statesman who helped to motivate Chamling to join Sikkim's democracy movement in 1973.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a statement following Dorjee's death saying, "I am deeply shocked and grieved to learn of the sad demise of Shri Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khang Serpa, the first Chief Minister of Sikkim. He played a historic role as the architect of Sikkim's accession to the Indian Union and had the distinction of spearheading the State as its first Chief Minister from 1974 to 1979. The pride of place occupied by Sikkim as an important State of our country and its impressive progress in many spheres owe a lot to numerous policies initiated by him. In his unfortunate passing away the country in general and the State of Sikkim in particular has lost a veteran public figure whose many sided contributions to nation building endeared him to the people."
- Founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party
(founded on 14 April 1984, On Lal Quila,Delhi)
2006) was an Indian politician. He founded the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a political party with the stated goal of serving the traditionally lower castes of Indian society (that historically also included untouchables). He transferred the BSP's leadership to Mayawati. His leadership brought the party to power in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh in 1995, at that point Mayawati became the state's Chief Minister.
Kanshi Ram was born to Bishan Kaur and Hari Singh, of Dalit Ravidassia/Ramdassia/Chamar Sikh background, at Khawaspur village in Ropar district of Punjab.
He completed his Bachelor's degree in Science (B.Sc) from the Government College at Ropar affiliated to The Punjab University.
Kanshi Ram joined the offices of the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), then part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in Pune, through a reserved quota for Scheduled Caste.
During his tenure in the DRDO in 1965 he joined the agitation started by Scheduled Caste Employees of Government of India to prevent the abolition of a holiday commemorating B.R. Ambedkar's birthday.
In 1978 he formed the, BAMCEF-Backward(SC/ST & OBC) and Minority Community Employees Federation. The BAMCEF was purely non political,Non Religious & Non Agitional organisation. Later on he formed another Social organisation known as DS4.He started his attempt of unifying the Dalit vote bank in 1981 and by 1984 he founded the Bahujan Samaj Party.
He represented the 11th Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur Constituency, Kanshiram was also elected as member of lok sabha from ETAWAH (UP) . In 2001 he publicly announced Kumari Mayawati as his successor.
On October 9, 2006, he died of a severe heart attack in New Delhi. Ram, who suffered from multiple ailments such as stroke, diabetes and hypertension, was virtually bed-ridden for more than two years.
According to his wish, last ritual were performed as per buddhist tradition, the pyre of Kanshi Ram was lit by his soul heir Kumari Mayawati.His ashes were placed in Urn and kept at Prerna Sthal, with huge procession accompanied by lakhs of supports.,
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanshi_Ram"
Lankapalli Bullayya (1918–1992) was an innovative Indian educator and vice-chancellor of Andhra University, Andhra Pradesh. He was the first Dalit to be appointed vice-chancellor of an Indian university.
Life and career
Bullayya was born in 1918 in Peravali, near Vemuru, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. He had to travel long distances to receive his education. Bullayya received a B.A. degree with honours from Andhra University, and served as principal of a B.Ed. college in Kurnool. He later became a District Educational Officer in Kurnool, Krishna and other districts and served in the Education Department as a senior-level officer. After the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1953, Bullayya was appointed Director of Public Instruction. As Director of Higher Education for the government of Andhra Pradesh, he was instrumental in bringing about educational reform.
He considered the 10+2+3 plan in Andhra Pradesh before it was recommended by the Kothari Commission, and was given the responsibility of strengthening the educational system from primary to university level. In November 1968 Bullaya was appointed vice-chancellor, continuing in that post until December 1974. He sympathised with socially- and economically-disadvantaged students, and was concerned about their welfare. Academic, curricular and examination reforms (among them the introduction of the semester system), abolition of external examinations and the detention system, and continuous assessment marked his tenure. During this period the departments of education, geography, biochemistry, human genetics and physical anthropology were established along with foreign-language courses (German, French and Russian).
Six affiliated colleges were permitted to establish postgraduate departments in select subjects for the purpose of decentralisation. Coaching classes for civil-service examinations and the Continuing Education Scheme were introduced. For the first time in South India, a School of Correspondence Courses was established due to Bullayya's efforts. He was an able administrator and maintained a rapport with the central and state governments, directed toward the betterment of the university. When university buildings were badly damaged after the 1970 cyclone which struck Visakhapatnam Bullayya showed photographs of the damage to University Grants Commission authorities in New Delhi, seeking grants for the repair of the buildings. The UGC granted funds not only for repairs, but for constructing new buildings.
Bullayya later served at the Union Public Service Commission in an advisory capacity on behalf ofTelugu-speaking candidates at the UPSC Interview Board. He was chairman of the Andhra Pradesh and all-India units of the Boy Scouts and a director on the Andhra Bank Board. Bullayya's wife, Samyuktha, was also an educator and former chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Housing Board. His nephews Lankapally Ramesh Babu and Suresh Babu are public servants in Sanjeeva Reddy Nagar,Hyderabad. Dr. Bullayya College at Visakhapatnam was named for him. He founded the Dr. V.S. Krishna Government College in remembrance of his predecessor as vice-chancellor Vasireddy Sri Krishna, and was more concerned about that school than the one named after himself. A bust of Bullayya has been installed in the School of Distance Education in Visakhapatnam.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born Uttar Pradesh, India
Occupation Retired IAS Officer
Awards Padma Bhushan
Mata Prasad is a retired Indian Administrative Service officer. He was one of the first people from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to become an IAS officer. He is a former chairman of the Union Public Service Commission of India. He served as the chief secretary of the state of Uttar Pradesh from June 1995 to October 1996, thus becoming the first Scheduled Caste officer to head the state bureaucracy. The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan, in 2012, for his contributions to civil service.
Born in a scheduled caste family in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Mata Prasad secured his master's degree in first class from Allahabad University and started his career as an assistant professor in October 1960 at the department of economics of the university. He resigned from the academic post when he was selected to the Indian Administrative Service in 1962 and served the civil service for over 35 years till his superannuation as the secretary of Water Resources of the Government of India. In between he held several positions such as District Collector of the districts of Almora, Etah, Lakhimpur and Bareilly as well as the Divisional Commissioner of Agra district. Subsequently, he served as the Managing Director of the Cement Corporation of Uttar Pradesh before returning to revenue department posts as the secretary to the Government of Uttar Pradesh and headed various departments including Public Enterprises, Administrative Reforms, Planning, Home, Jail, Home Guards, Civil Defence, Political Pensions and Official Language. Moving to the Union Government as a Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Human Resource Development, he headed the Department of Youth Affairs and served as a Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and later, as a Secretary at the Ministry of Welfare, in charge of the Department of Personnel Training.
It was during his tenure as the Secretary, he made news by becoming the subject of a power struggle between Sitaram Kesari, the then Minister of Welfare who wanted Prasad to stay at his ministry, and Mulayam Singh Yadav, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh during that time, who invited Prasad to head the state bureaucracy. Prasad, eventually, decided to accept the latter post and became the first dalit chief secretary of the state, starting his stint in June 1995 during Mayawati's first incumbency as the state chief minister, holding the post till October 1996. His tenancy as the chief secretary or his relationship with Mayawati were not reported to have been smooth He returned to central government service in 1996 as the secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources and retired from civil service in February 1999, after getting a one-year extension of service. It was reported that he was a candidate to become a cabinet secretary, supposedly the first dalit to get to the rank, but his candidature was overlooked. However, he was appointed as a member of the Union Public Service Commission on 23 April 1998 and, after a stint of five years, he became the chairman of the agency on 8 September 2003. He retired from the position on 4 January 2005, succeeded by S. R. Hashim. He is associated with Sitapur Shiksha Sansthan, a Lucknow-based educational organization, as a member of its Board of Advisors. The Government of India included him in the Republic Day Honors list for the civilian award of the Padma Bhushan in 2012
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
16 May 2009 – 2014
Preceded by Bagun Sumbrai
Succeeded by Laxman Giluwa
14 September 2006 – 23 August 2008
Governor Syed Sibtey Razi
Preceded by Arjun Munda
Succeeded by Shibu Soren
Born 6 January 1971
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Geeta Koda (m. 2004)
Children 1 Daughter
Residence Jagannathpur, Jharkhand
Madhu Koda (born 6 January 1971) is an Indian politician who had served as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand from 2006 to 2008 (UPA alliance). He was sworn in as the fourth Chief Minister of Jharkhand on 14 September 2006, and remained in office until he resigned on 23 August 2008.
Koda is the third independent legislator to assume the office of chief minister of an Indian state, including Bishwanath Das in Orissa in 1971 and Flinder Anderson Khonglam in Meghalaya in 2002.
His wife Geeta Koda, MP from West Singhbhum district is among the six MLAs representing smaller regional parties led by Hemant Soren formed on 13 July 2013. In December 2017, he was convicted by a court of law and sentenced to three-years in jail and fined ₹25 lakh (US$33,000).
Madhu Koda was born in Vill. Gua, District. West Singhbhum in Jharkhand. An ethnic Ho, his father is Rasika Koda, a tribal farmer, who lives in Vill. Pathhatu in District. Singhbhum. He is a graduate from IGNOU centre, Bhubneshwar. His father wanted Madhu to have a "normal life" and remain a farmer or iron worker, but after experiencing corruption in the iron industry, he eventually began a career in politics.
Koda is married to Geeta, who is an MLA from his previous constituency Jaganathpur from the Jai Bharat Samanta Party. They have two daughters.
Madhu Koda began his political career as an activist with the All Jharkhand Students Union. He won in the 2000 Bihar Assembly elections from Jaganathpur as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate. On 15 Nov 2000 the state of Jharkhand was carved out from the southern part of Bihar. Koda's constituency Jaganathpur was included in Jharkhand and he became a member of the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly. Babulal Marandi of BJP became the first CM of Jharkhand on 15 Nov 2000.
In this government, Madhu became the Minister of State, Rural Engineering Organisation (Ind. Charge). But there was revolt against Marandi by rebels and he finally resigned. Arjun Munda took over and became the CM on 18 Mar 2003 and in this government Koda became the minister of Panchayati Raj of Special Arrangement.
During the 2005 Assembly Elections in Jharkhand, the BJP denied Koda a ticket. He contested as an Independent candidate and won from Jaganathpur once again, defeating his nearest rival from the Indian National Congress by over ten thousand votes. Koda extended his support to the BJP-led NDA.
On 2 March 2005, after much political bargaining and quid pro quo Shibu Soren of Congress-JMM alliance was invited to form the government in Jharkhand by the Governor of Jharkhand, Syed Sibtey Razi.
He resigned as Chief Minister nine days later, on 11 March, following his failure to obtain a vote of confidence in the assembly. Then Arjun Munda of BJP-led NDA became the CM, whom Koda supported and he was appointed as the Minister of Mining Geology and Cooperative
In September 2006, Madhu and three other independent legislators withdrew support to the Munda government, bringing it into the minority and led to resignation of MundaThe United Progressive Alliance decided on him as consensus candidate to become Chief Minister and Koda became the next CM of Jharkhand on 14 Sept, 2006.
His government included the representatives of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Jaua Manjhi group, Nationalist Congress Party, All India Forward Bloc, three independent MLAs (besides himself), and the outside support of the Indian National Congress. On 12 Aug 2008 Shibu Soren again staked claim for the post of CM and wanted Koda to resign. On 17, Aug, 2008 JMM withdrew support from the Koda government, and Koda resigned on 23 Aug 2008 from the post of CM of Jharkhand. Koda became the UPA in charge of Jharkhand state. Shibu Soren again became the CM of Jharkhand on 27 Aug 2008.
But Soren suffered a humiliating defeat in the assembly bypoll on 8 Jan 2009 from Tamar constituency and failed to enter the Jharkhand assembly. He was defeated by Gopal Krishna Patar of Jharkhand Party, now a MLA from JD(U) – a constituent of NDA – by a margin of 9,062 votes. Soren subsequently resigned on 12 Jan 2009[ and after this President's rule was imposed in Jharkhand on 19 Jan 2009 and till 29 Dec 2009. Koda then won the MP seat from Singhbhum parliamentary constituency again as an independent candidate, the results of which were declared on 16 May 2009.
In the next assembly elections of Jharkhand held 25 Nov 2009, his wife Geeta Koda won from his constituency Jaganathpur from Jai Bharat Samanta Party, the results of which were declared on 23 Dec 2009. In 2014 Jharkhand Assembly Election, Madhu Koda lost from the Majhgao constituency. Koda was defeated by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate Nial Purty by over 20,000 votes.
Mining scam conviction
It was alleged that Madhu Koda was involved in a mining scam that occurred in Jharkhand in India. It was alleged by investigative agencies that Madhu Koda took huge bribes for illegally allotting iron ore and coal mining contracts in Jharkhand when he was the chief minister of the state. As per estimates, Koda and his associates collected over ₹4,000 crore (US$530 million) by allotting mines to business houses. On orders of Jharkhand High Court CBI is investigating the scam.
Koda was arrested by state police's vigilance wing on 30 November 2009 in connection with the mining scam. On 31 July 2013, he was released on bail from Birsa Munda Prison in Ranchi.
A Special money-laundering court in Delhi attached Koda's properties worth ₹144 crore (US$19 million) in a disproportionate assets case against his alleged associates. It found that the properties were involved in the offence of laundering under the provisions of The Prevention Of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a case probed by Enforcement Directorate (ED). Some of the attached assets also belonged to Anil Adinath Bastawde, who was arrested by the ED in January 2013 from Jakarta and Manoj B Punamiya, an associate of Koda and an accused in the case. ED sources had said the amount of scam, which had allegedly taken place during Koda's regime between 2006 and 2008 had gone up to ₹3,400 crore (US$450 million) in the course of investigation and the amount excluded Bastawde's assets, who was an absconder for long time. In December 2017, the court of justice Bharat Parashar convicted Madhu Koda and awarded him a three-year jail term and imposed a fine of ₹25 lakh (US$33,000).
Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare
21 August 2007 – 9 March 2013
Preceded by Rameshwar Thakur
Succeeded by S. C. Jamir
Born 10 December 1928
Profession Advocate Politician
Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare (born 10 December 1928 in Mumbai) is an Indian politician. He was a senior Indian National Congress leader from Maharashtra and a former Rajya Sabha member for three terms during 1980–1982, 1982–1988 and 1988–1994. He practices as Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of India and was President of Supreme Court Bar Association for two terms. Appointed Governor of Odisha on 19 August 2007, he was sworn in on 21 August. He continued in the office until the appointment of S. C. Jamir on 9 March 2013.His close aid was Ravi Pehlwan from haryana.
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Official portrait, 2015
29 May 2015
Preceded by Goodluck Jonathan
31 December 1983 – 27 August 1985
Chief of Staff Tunde Idiagbon
Preceded by Shehu Shagari
Succeeded by Ibrahim Babangida
11 November 2015
Minister of State Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu
Preceded by Diezani Allison-Madueke
March 1976 – June 1978
Head of State Olusegun Obasanjo
3 February 1975 – 15 March 1976
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Mustapha Amin
1 August 1975 – 3 February 1976
Head of State Murtala Mohammed
Preceded by Musa Usman
Succeeded by Office abolished
Born 17 December 1942
(now Daura, Nigeria)
Political party All Progressives Congress (2013–)
affiliations Congress for Progressive Change (2010–2013)
All Nigeria Peoples Party (2002–2010)
(m. 1971; div. 1988)
Website Official website
Branch/service Nigerian Army
Years of service 1961–1985
Rank Major general
Battles/wars Nigerian Civil War
Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (born 17 December 1942) is a Nigerian politician who has been President of Nigeria since 2015.
Buhari is a retired Nigerian Army Major General and has served as military head of state in Nigeria between 1983 to 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état. The term Buharism is ascribed to the authoritarian policies of his military regime. Buhari has said that he takes responsibility for anything over which he presided during his military rule, and that he cannot change the past. He has described himself as a "converted democrat".
Buhari ran for president of Nigeria in 2003, 2007, and 2011 In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress party for the 2015 general election Buhari won the election, defeating incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This was the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost a general election. He was sworn in on 29 May 2015. In February 2019, Buhari was re-elected, defeating his closest rival former Vice President Atiku Abubakar by over 3 million votes.
Buhari was born to a Fulani family on 17 December 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, his father was called Mallam Hardo Adamu, a Fulani chieftain from Dumurkul in Mai'Adua, and his mother's name was Zulaihat, who had Hausa and Kanuri ancestry. He is the twenty-third child of his father and was named after ninth-century Persian Islamic scholar Muhammad al-Bukhari. Buhari was raised by his mother, he was about four years old when his father died. He attended primary school in Daura and Mai'adua, in 1953, Katsina Middle School, and attended Katsina Provincial Secondary School from 1956 to 1961.
Buhari enrolled at age 19 in the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in 1962. In February 1964, the college was upgraded to an officer commissioning unit of the Nigerian Army and renamed the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) (prior to 1964, the Nigerian government sent cadets who had completed their NMTC preliminary training to mostly Commonwealth military academies for officer cadet training).
From 1962 to 1963, Buhari underwent officer cadet training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in England. In January 1963, at age 20, Buhari was commissioned a second lieutenant and appointed Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta, Nigeria. From November 1963 to January 1964, Buhari attended the Platoon Commanders' Course at the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna. In 1964, he facilitated his military training by attending the Mechanical Transport Officer's Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, United Kingdom.
From 1965 to 1967, Buhari served as commander of the Second Infantry Battalion and appointed brigade major, Second Sector, First Infantry Division, April 1967 to July 1967. Following the bloody 1966 Nigerian coup d'état, which resulted in the death of Premier Ahmadu Bello. Lieutenant Buhari alongside several young officers from Northern Nigeria, took part in the July counter-coup which ousted General Aguiyi Ironsi replacing him with General Yakubu Gowon.
Buhari was assigned to the 1st Division under the command of Lt. Col Mohammed Shuwa, the division had temporarily moved from Kaduna to Makurdi at the onset of the Nigerian Civil War. The 1st division was divided into sectors and then battalions with Shuwa assisted by sector commanders Martin Adamu and Sule Apollo who was later replaced by Theophilus Danjuma. Buhari's initial assignment was as Adjutant and Company Commander 2 battalion unit, Second Sector Infantry of the 1st Division. The 2 battalion was one of the units that participated in the first actions of the war, they started from Gakem near Afikpo and moved towards Ogoja with support from Gado Nasko's artillery squad. They reached and captured Ogoja within a week with the intention of advancing through the flanks to Enugu, the rebel capital. Buhari was briefly the 2 battalion's Commander and led the battalion to Afikpo to link with the 3rd Marine Commando and advance towards Enugu through Nkalagu and Abakaliki. However, before the move to Enugu, he was posted to Nsukka as Brigade Major of the 3rd Infantry Brigade under Joshua Gin who would later become battle fatigued and replaced by Isa Bukar. Buhari stayed with the infantry for a few months as the Nigerian army began to adjust tactics learnt from early battle experiences. Instead of swift advances, the new tactics involved securing and holding on to the lines of communications and using captured towns as training ground to train new recruits brought in from the army depots in Abeokuta and Zaria. In 1968, he was posted to the 4 Sector also called the Awka sector which was charged to take over the capture of Onitsha from Division 2. The sector's operations was within the Awka-Abagana-Onitsha region which was important to Biafran forces because it was a major source of food supply. It was in the sector that Buhari's group suffered a lot of casualties trying to protect food supplies route of the rebels along Oji River and Abagana.
After the war
From 1970 to 1971, Buhari was Brigade Major/Commandant, Thirty-first Infantry Brigade. He then served as the Assistant Adjutant-General, First Infantry Division Headquarters, from 1971 to 1972. He also attended the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, in 1973. From 1974 to 1975 Buhari was Acting Director of Transport and Supply at the Nigerian Army Corps of Supply and Transport Headquarters.
In the 1975 military coup d'état, Lieutenant Colonel Buhari was among a group of officers that brought General Murtala Mohammed to power. He was later appointed Governor of the North-Eastern State from 1 August 1975 to 3 February 1976, to oversee social, economic and political improvements in the state. On 3 February 1976, the North Eastern State was divided into three states Bauchi, Borno and Gongola. Buhari then became the first Governor of Borno State from 3 February 1976 to 15 March 1976.
In March 1976, following the botched 1976 military coup d'état attempt which led to the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, his deputy General Olusegun Obasanjo became the military head of state and appointed Colonel Buhari as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources (now minister). In 1977, when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was created, Buhari was appointed as its Chairman, a position he held until 1978.
During his tenure as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, the government invested in pipelines and petroleum storage infrastructures. The government built about 21 petroleum storage depots all over the country from Lagos to Maiduguri and from Calabar to Gusau; the administration constructed a pipeline network that connected Bonny terminal and the Port Harcourt refinery to the depots. Also, the administration signed the contract for the construction of a refinery in Kaduna and an oil pipeline that will connect the Escravos oil terminal to Warri Refinery and the proposed Kaduna refinery.
From 1978 to 1979, he was Military Secretary at the Army Headquarters and was a member of the Supreme Military Council from 1978 to 1979. From 1979 to 1980, at the rank of colonel, Buhari (class of 1980) attended the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in the United States, and gained a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies. Upon completion of the on-campus full-time resident program lasting ten months and the two-year-long, distance learning program, the United States Army War College (USAWC) college awards its graduate officers a master's degree in Strategic Studies.
Divisional commands held in the Nigerian Army:
General Officer Commanding, 4th Infantry Division: August 1980 – January 1981
General Officer Commanding, 2nd Mechanised Infantry Division: January 1981 – October 1981
General Officer Commanding, 3rd Armed Division: October 1981 – December 1983
Coup d'état of 1983
Major-General Buhari was one of the leaders of the military coup of December 1983 that overthrew the Second Nigerian Republic. At the time of the coup plot, Buhari was the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Third Armoured Division of Jos. With the successful execution of the coup by General Buhari, Tunde Idiagbon was appointed Chief of General Staff (the de facto No. 2 in the administration). The coup ended Nigeria's short-lived Second Republic, a period of multi-party democracy revived in 1979, after 13 years of military rule.
According to The New York Times, the officers who took power argued that "a flawed democracy was worse than no democracy at all". Buhari justified the military's seizure of power by castigating the civilian government as hopelessly corrupt and promptly suspended the constitution. Another rationale for the coup was to correct economic decline in Nigeria. Sani Abacha in the military's first broadcast after the coup linked 'an inept and corrupt leadership' with general economic decline. In Buhari's New Year day speech, he too mentioned the corrupt class of the Second Republic but also as the cause of a general decline in morality in the society.
Head of State (1983–1985)
Consolidation of power
The structure of the new military leadership which was also the fifth in Nigeria since independence resembled the last military regime, the Obasanjo/Yaradua administration. The new regime established a Supreme Military Council, a Federal Executive Council and a Council of States. The number of ministries was trimmed to 18 while the administration carried out a retrenchment exercise among the senior ranks of the civil service and police. It retired 17 permanent secretaries and some senior police and naval officers. In addition, the new military administration promulgated new laws to achieve its aim. These laws included the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree for the prosecution of armed robbery cases, the State Security (Detention of Person) Decree which gave powers to the military to detain individuals suspected of jeopardizing state security or causing economic adversity. Other decrees included the Civil Service Commission and Public Offenders Decree which constituted the legal and administrative basis to conduct a purge in the civil service.
According to Decree Number 2 of 1984, the state security and the chief of staff were given the power to detain, without charges, individuals deemed to be a security risk to the state for up to three months. Strikes and popular demonstrations were banned and Nigeria's security agency, the National Security Organization (NSO) was entrusted with unprecedented powers. The NSO played a wide role in the cracking down of public dissent by intimidating, harassing and jailing individuals who broke the interdiction on strikes. By October 1984, about 200,000 civil servants were retrenched. Buhari mounted an offensive against entrenched interests. In 20 months as Head of State, about 500 politicians, officials and businessmen were jailed for corruption during his stewardship. Detainees were released after releasing sums to the government and agreeing to meet certain conditions. The regime also jailed its critics, including Fela Kuti. He was arrested on 4 September 1984 at the airport as he was about to embark on an American tour. Amnesty International described the charges brought against him for illegally exporting foreign currency as "spurious". Using the wide powers bestowed upon it by Decree Number 2, the government sentenced Fela to five years in prison. He was released after 18 months, when the Buhari regime was overthrown.
In 1984, Buhari passed Decree Number 4, the Protection Against False Accusations Decree, considered by scholars as the most repressive press law ever enacted in Nigeria. Section 1 of the law provided that "Any person who publishes in any form, whether written or otherwise, any message, rumour, report or statement [...] which is false in any material particular or which brings or is calculated to bring the Federal Military Government or the Government of a state or public officer to ridicule or disrepute, shall be guilty of an offense under this Decree". The law further stated that offending journalists and publishers will be tried by an open military tribunal, whose ruling would be final and unappealable in any court and those found guilty would be eligible for a fine not less than 10,000 naira and a jail sentence of up to two years.
In order to reform the economy, as Head of State, Buhari started to rebuild the nation's social-political and economic systems, along the realities of Nigeria's austere economic conditions.The rebuilding included removing or cutting back the excesses in national expenditure, obliterating or removing completely, corruption from the nation's social ethics, shifting from mainly public sector employment to self-employment. Buhari also encouraged import substitution industrialisation based to a great extent on the use of local materials. However, tightening of imports led to reduction in raw materials for industries causing many industries to operate below capacity, reduction of workers and in some cases business closure.
Buhari broke ties with the International Monetary Fund, when the fund asked the government to devalue the naira by 60%. However, the reforms that Buhari instigated on his own were as or more rigorous as those required by the IMF.
On 7 May 1984, Buhari announced the country's 1984 National Budget. The budget came with a series of complementary measures:
A temporary ban on recruiting federal public sector workers
Raising of Interest rates
Halting Capital Projects
Prohibition of borrowing by State governments
15 percent cut from Shagari's 1983 Budget
Realignment of import duties
Reducing the balance of payment deficit by cutting imports
It also gave priority to the importation of raw materials and spare parts that were needed for agriculture and industry.
Other economic measures by Buhari took the form of counter trade, currency change, price reduction of goods and services. His economic policies did not earn him the legitimacy of the masses due to the rise in inflation and the use of military might to continue to push many policies blamed for the rise in food prices.
Mass social mobilization
One of the most enduring legacies of the Buhari government has been the War Against Indiscipline (WAI). Launched on 20 March 1984, the policy tried to address the perceived lack of public morality and civic responsibility of Nigerian society. Unruly Nigerians were ordered to form neat queues at bus stops, under the eyes of whip-wielding soldiers. Civil servants who failed to show up on time at work were humiliated and forced to do "frog jumps". Minor offences carried long sentences. Any student over the age of 17 caught cheating on an exam would get 21 years in prison. Counterfeiting and arson could lead to the death penalty.
Buhari's administration enacted three decrees to investigate corruption and control foreign exchange. The Banking (Freezing of Accounts) Decree of 1984, allotted to the Federal Military Government the power to freeze bank accounts of persons suspected to have committed fraud. The Recovery of Public Property (Special Military Tribunals) Decree permitted the government to investigate the assets of public officials linked with corruption and constitute a military tribunal to try such persons. The Exchange Control (Anti-Sabotage) Decree stated penalties for violators of foreign exchange laws.
Decree 20 on illegal ship bunkering and drug trafficking was another example of Buhari's tough approach to crime. Section 3 (2) (K) provided that "any person who, without lawful authority deals in, sells, smokes or inhales the drug known as cocaine or other similar drugs, shall be guilty under section 6 (3) (K) of an offence and liable on conviction to suffer death sentence by firing squad." In the case of Bernard Ogedengebe, the Decree was applied retroactively. He was executed even if at the time of his arrest the crime did not mandate the capital punishment, but had carried a sentence of six months imprisonment. In another prominent case of April 1985, six Nigerians were condemned to death under the same decree: Sidikatu Tairi, Sola Oguntayo, Oladele Omosebi, Lasunkanmi Awolola, Jimi Adebayo and Gladys Iyamah.
In 1985, prompted by economic uncertainties and a rising crime rate, the government of Buhari opened the borders (closed since April 1984) with Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon to speed up the expulsion of 700,000 illegal foreigners and illegal migrant workers. Buhari is today known for this crisis; there even is a famine in the east of Niger that have been named "El Buhari". His regime drew criticism from many, including Nigeria's first Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, who, in 2007, wrote a piece called "The Crimes of Buhari" which outlined many of the abuses conducted under his military rule.
Ahead of the 2015 general election, Buhari responded to his human rights criticism by saying that if elected, he would follow the rule of law, and that there would be access to justice for all Nigerians and respect for fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
Coup d'état of 1985
In August 1985, Major General Buhari was overthrown in a coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida and other members of the ruling Supreme Military Council (SMC). Babangida brought many of Buhari's most vocal critics into his administration, including Fela Kuti's brother Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor who had led a strike against Buhari to protest declining health care services. Buhari was then detained in Benin City until 1988.
Buhari spent three years of detention in a small guarded bungalow in Benin. He had access to television that showed two channels and members of his family were allowed to visit him on the authorization of Babangida.
In December 1988, after his mother's death he was released and retired to his residence in Daura. While in detention, his farm was managed by his relatives. He divorced his first wife in 1988 and married Aisha Halilu In Katsina, he became the pioneer chairman of Katsina Foundation that was founded to encourage social and economic development in Katsina State.
Buhari served as the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), a body created by the government of General Sani Abacha, and funded from the revenue generated by the increase in price of petroleum products, to pursue developmental projects around the country. A 1998 report in New African praised the PTF under Buhari for its transparency, calling it a rare "success story".
Presidential campaigns and elections
Buhari (left) with Governor Abiola Ajimobi (right)
Buhari with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (left)
2003 presidential election
In 2003, Buhari ran for office in the presidential electio as the candidate of the All Nigeria Pe