Friday, December 9, 2011

Chaudhary Charan Singh: A Great Nationalist and the Voice of Rural India-Dr. Ravindra Kumar

“The passage of real development of India is evolved through its villages only. Farmers are the backbone of country’s socio-economic structure; therefore, overlooking the peasantry in India is not only unfortunate, but like a suicidal step…”   –Chaudhary Charan Singh          
Clarity in views, direct mass appeal and a mature national political approach –these three were the extraordinary qualities in the personality of Charan Singh, affectionately called as Chaudhary Saheb –born on December 23, 1902 as a son to Netrakaur Devi and Amir Singh of village Noorpur in Meerut district, UP, on the basis of which he elevated to the post of the Prime Minister of India.
It is true that politics always takes new dimensions in constantly changing situations of space and time. Politics is also considered as an art; it is accepted as a game of conveniences, compromises and adjustments etc. Despite this, if a politician maintains in him till the last breath of his life characteristics like these and simultaneously receives public recognition, he will definitely be a source of inspiration for compatriots for years, besides being great. It is true about Chaudhary Charan Singh.
Charan Singh had to pass through various difficulties in his childhood. His father was a small farmer. He had no sufficient means even to arrange for primary education of his son. But, by courage, enthusiasm and other qualities of Charan Singh he was so much impressed that by bearing all hardship he managed for his son’s education. On the other hand, Charan Singh also worked hard and after finishing his primary and secondary levels of education he entered into the University of Agra and earned degrees of B. Sc., M. A. and LLB in the third decade of the Twentieth Century from there. Ninety years ago it was not a small achievement for a son of a small tiller. Rather, it was, and is, a great source of inspiration for crores of those less privileged people who live in lacs of villages in India.
For his quality of heart-touching appeal, Charan Singh became very popular among his colleagues during his studies in Agra. In those days Mahatma Gandhi was busy in preparation for a ground for the second face of his mass movement for the freedom of the country. People of India were becoming ready to fight under his leadership by Ahimsak means. How then a youth like Charan Singh could remain untouched by it? Soon after completing his higher studies, Charan Singh started practicing at Meerut on the one hand, and he jumped in the fight for freedom on the other. Along with Swami Dayananda and Swami Vivekananda, now Mahatma Gandhi became his ideal; the source of his socio-political ideas. Under his leadership he actively participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement [1930], the Individual Satyagraha [1940-41] and the Quit India Movement [1942] and was each time arrested by imperialists and sent to jail  for several months. In the meantime he was elected to the UP Legislative Assembly in 1937 and 1946 respectively.
After the freedom of India, he left a deep impact of his personality and views on regional and national politics, both. Besides services he rendered as an astute and awakened Legislator, a Member of Parliament, an able Minister and Chief Minister, the steps taken by him for the abolition of Zamindari system in UP, bringing reforms in departments of agriculture and revenue, and saving educational institutions and universities from anti-social elements, will be remembered for a long. His commitment making public life and administration clean and honest, and policy of taking quick and impartial decisions, will also be cherished for a long. For this, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel remained his ideal.
Chaudhary Charan Singh was a social reformer and he was committed to the secular character of India. Throughout his life he raised voice against Casteism. He supported inter-caste marriages and spoke for the self-reliance of women.
He was in fact a true representative of rural India and a solid voice of peasantry. He was a nationalist to the core and to him there was nothing above to nationalism. In this regard, the following portion from his historical speech of March, 1976 in the UP Legislative Assembly is worth quoting here, “Those who have taken a pledge to serve the nation they at the time of clash between self and national interest must give up their self-interest. Otherwise, fall of the nation is certain…”
Chaudhary Saheb breathed his last in Delhi on May 29, 1987

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kanjibhai Desai: A Selfless Servant of the People –Dr. Ravindra Kumar

 “Until and unless discipline is not made an indivisible part practices; discipline is not followed in all walks of life, there is no possibility of achievement in life…The one who wants success and desires to achieve a goal in life, he needs to abide himself by discipline. In the absence of discipline forwarding steps of man suddenly get slackness; his wish to serve and spirit of duty turn up to the state of dearth.”  Kanjibhai Desai
Kanhaiyalal Desai, popularly known as Kanjibhai Desai, was one among those most leading personalities of Gujarat who sacrificed their all for the cause of freedom of India in the Gandhian era of national liberation movement. He was born in a prosperous Nagar Brahmin Zamindar family of Surat on January 19, 1886. His father Nanabhai Ratilal Desai was a Zamindar of Olpad Taluka of the District of Surat. A nationalist to the core he had a friendly attitude towards his tenants while his mother Jugalben was an ideal God-fearing, but hardworking housewife. Kanjibhai was filled by these parental qualities.
Soon after passing the matriculation from the Surat High School in 1904 Kanjibhai started studying the law as he desired to practice in the High Court of Bombay. But, due to illness of his parents –mother and father both– he had to give up his studies to help to his father in Zamindari work.
It was the time when Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak had given to his compatriots a clarion call for freedom. He, along with other stalwarts like Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal, was preparing for the Swadeshi Movement. Kanjibhai Desai could not remain untouched and unaffected by such a call. He was only 18 then, but decided to enter public life through social service and not to join politics directly. However, in the same year he participated in the Mumbai session of the Indian National Congress and extended full support to the Swadeshi Moment in the ensuing year. He was one of the members of the reception committee of the historical Surat session of the Congress in 1907, which was held under the Presidentship of Sir Phirozeshah Mehta.
Kanjibhai Desai extended full support to all national activities from time-to time between 1907 and 1927 including actively participating in the Home Rule League Movement [1915-6] and the Non-Cooperation Movement, started by Gandhiji in 1920. Yet his life was fully changed during the Bardoli Kisan Satyagraha, started by Vallabhbhai Patel in 1928. Kanjibhai not only actively participated in this historical movement, but played a vital role in planning strategies and their implementation for the success of the Satyagraha. From there he emerged as a leading public figure of Gujarat. With a firm determination he stayed in the forefront during Civil Disobedience Movement [1930], Individual Satyagraha [194-41] and Quit India Movement [1942]. He was arrested every time he participated in nationalistic activities and imprisoned for months and years. Not only this, by following the footsteps of the father his daughter Rohiniben and both sons Pramodbahi and Hitendrabhai also joined non-violent battle for freedom under the leadership of the Mahatma. Kanjibhai Desai used to say, “The English Rule in India is the extreme of injustice. Never bow before injustice; for seeking justice be ready always to bear any kind of atrocity…” 
After freedom, as the first Chairman of the Gujarat State Samaj Sikshan Samiti [1947-61], Kanjibhai Desai started a number of projects related to adult and women-education; through this he also started work to propagate Khadi and prohibition in villages. Moreover, with the sole purpose of self-reliance for women he founded the Surat Mahila Sahakari Udyoga Mandir in 1948.
He created history by converting lease of lands into permanent ownership to his tenants and, thus, set an example to be followed by other indigenous Zamindars all over India. For this, a title of Socialist Zamindar was bestowed on him.
Kanjibhai Desai was elected as a member to the Constituent Assembly [1946-50], the Interim Parliament [1950-2] and the first Lok Sabha [1952-7]. Moreover, succeeding Sardar Patel he served the Gujarat Prantik Congress Committee as its third President till the day of his passing away on December 26, 1961. As a parliamentarian and provincial party chief his work for the masses was, and still is, incomparable and a source of inspiration particularly for the youth. His contribution in completion of the two known power projects of Gujarat namely Kakrapara and Ukai will be remembered for a long.
Disciplines, service to the poor and being honest in public life were the chief qualities of his personality. Morarjibhai Desai in his rich tribute to Kanjibhai Desai had said, “He sacrificed his all in the service of the people. For the cause of the nation he not only left all his comforts, but even from time-to-time sold out his land… Kanjibhai was a humble and matchless servant of the people and I have not found any other in my life, who could be compared to him in this regard…”