Jagjivan Ram

Jagjivan Ram

Jagjivan Ram (Devanāgarī: जगजीवन राम) (5 April 1908 - 6 July 1986), known popularly as Babuji was a freedom fighter and a social reformer hailing from the backward classes of Bihar in India. He served as a minister in the Indian parliament with various portfolios for more than forty years, and also served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India.

Early life

Jagjivan Ram was born at Chandwa near Arrah in Bihar. Jagjivan Ram passed his matriculation in the first division and joined the Banaras Hindu University where he was awarded the Birla scholarship. He received a B.Sc. degree from the University of Calcutta in 1931. When popular rule was introduced in 1935, both the nationalists and the British loyalists sought him because of his first-hand knowledge of the social and economic situation in Bihar. He chose to go with the nationalists, and 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 organization dedicated to attaining equality for untouchables. He was also drawn into the Indian National Congress, and in the early 1940s was imprisoned twice for his active participation in the Satyagraha and the Quit India Movements.

Parliamentary career

In 1946 he became the youngest minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's provisional government and, as a Labour minister, he was a part of the prestigious high profile Indian delegation that attended the International conference on labour on 16 August 1947 in Geneva along with the great Gandhian "Bihar Bibhuti" Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha; [cite web
title=Biography: Anugrah Narayan Sinha
publisher=Kamat's archive
] his chief political mentor and also the then head of the delegation. He served as Labour minister until 1952. Later he also held the posts of minister for 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), minister for Food and agriculture (1967–70). 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. He worked as the minister of Defence (1970-74) making him the virtual No. 2 in the cabinetinote|congsandesh|1, 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 to form the Congress 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" inote|R. C. Rajamani-bobby|2. He was the Deputy Prime Minister of India when Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister, from 1977 to 1979. 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. His uninterrupted representation in the Parliament from 1936 to 1986 was a world record, until Tony Benn overtook him by serving 51 years (1950-2001) in the British parliament. inote|free-india.org|world-record.


He served as President of the Bharat Scouts and Guides from September 1976 to April 1983.


The place he was cremated has been turned into the memorial "Samata Sthal", and his birth anniversary is observed as "Samata Diwas."His daughter, Meira Kumar, is a prominent INC leader and is the Minister for Social Justice in the Manmohan Singh government.


* [http://www.kamat.com/database/biographies/anugrah_narayan_sinha.htm Bihar Bibhuti Anugrah Narayan Sinha]
* [http://www.indiarightsonline.com/Sabrang/india7.nsf/38b852a8345861dd65256a980059289d/43f22a268865987a652570de007d9457?OpenDocument Bihar's first exemplary government:The Sri Babu-Anugrah Babu regime]

External links

* http://www.bsgindia.org/

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