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Babu Jagjivan Ram

Focus: GS I- Modern History

Why in News?

The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Babu Jagjivan Ram on his Jayanti.

About Jagjivan Ram:

  • Jagjivan Ram was born on April 5, 1908, to a Dalit family in Chandwa, Bihar.
  • His father served in the British army but eventually left to obtain farming land in his hometown.
  • He attended school in the nearby town of Arrah, where he first encountered discrimination. He had to sip water from a different pot since he was regarded ‘untouchable.’ By shattering the pot, Jagjivan Ram expressed his displeasure with this. The school’s separate pot had to be removed by the principal.
  • In 1925, Jagjivan Ram met scholar Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and was greatly inspired by him. On Malaviya’s invitation, he joined the Banaras Hindu University and faced discrimination there too. He also organised the scheduled castes to protest against injustice.
  • He was noted by Subhas Chandra Bose because of his organisational skills. In 1935, he assisted with the formation of the All-India Depressed Classes League. He joined the Congress Party where he was appreciated as a brilliant spokesperson for the Depressed Classes.
  • In 1935, he proposed at a session of the Hindu Mahasabha that drinking water wells and temples be open to untouchables.
  • He took part in the freedom movement as well and was imprisoned during the Quit India Movement.
  • When Jawaharlal Nehru formed the provisional government, Jagjivan Ram became its youngest minister.
  • After independence, he was appointed the country’s first labour minister.
  • Jagjivan Ram was a member of the Parliament uninterrupted from 1936 to 1986 and this is a world record. He also holds another record for being the longest-serving cabinet minister in India (30 years).
  • He was a champion of social equality and equal rights for the Depressed Classes.
  • He passed away on 6 July 1986. His memorial at his cremation place is named ‘Samata Sthal’.
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