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Jagjivan Ram

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Jagjivan Ram

Jagjivan Ram
Deputy Prime Minister of India
In office
24 March 1977 – 28 July 1979
Serving with Charan Singh
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Preceded by Morarji Desai
Succeeded by Yashwantrao Chavan
Minister of Defence
In office
24 March 1977 – 1 July 1978
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Preceded by Sardar Swaran Singh
Succeeded by Sardar Swaran Singh
In office
27 June 1970 – 10 October 1974
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Preceded by Bansi Lal
Succeeded by Chidambaram Subramaniam
Personal details
Born (1908-04-05)5 April 1908
Chandwa, Bhojpur District, Bihar, British Raj (now India)
Died 6 July 1986(1986-07-06) (aged 78)
Political party Indian National Congress-Jagjivan (1981–1986)
Other political
Indian National Congress (Before 1977)
Congress for Democracy (1977)
Janata Party (1977–1981)
Spouse(s) Indrani Devi (1935-1986)
Children Suresh, Meira kumar
Alma mater Banaras Hindu University
University of Calcutta

Jagjivan Ram (5 April 1908 – 6 July 1986), known popularly as Babuji, was an Indian independence activist and politician from Bihar. He belonged to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1937, after which he organised the rural labour movement.

In 1946, he became the youngest minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's interim government, the first 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 to serve as a minister with various portfolios for more than forty years as a member of the Indian National Congress (INC). Most importantly, he was the Defence Minister of India during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, which resulted in the creation 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.[1][2]

Though he supported Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the Emergency (1975–77), he left Congress in 1977 and joined the Janata Party alliance, along with his Congress for Democracy. He later served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India (1977–79), then in 1980, he formed Congress (J).[3]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Early career 2
  • Parliamentary career 3
  • Positions held 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Legacy 6
  • Works 7
  • Books on Jagjivan Ram 8
  • Further reading 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Early life and education

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 the British Indian Army, posted at Peshawar, but later resigned due to some differences, and bought farming land in his native village Chandwa and settled there. He also became a Mahant of the Shiv Narayani sect, skilled in calligraphy he illustrated many book of the sect and distributed locally.[4][5]

Young Jagjivan started going a local school in January 1914. Upon the premature death of his father, Jagjivan and his mother Vasanti Devi were left in a harsh economic situation. 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.[4][5] 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

Catgory:Indian atheists

Political offices
Preceded by
Bansi Lal
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Chidambaram Subramaniam
Preceded by
Morarji Desai
Deputy Prime Minister of India
Served alongside: Charan Singh
Succeeded by
Yashwantrao Chavan
Preceded by
Sardar Swaran Singh
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Sardar Swaran Singh
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Dharma Vira
President of the Bharat Scouts and Guides
Succeeded by
Shankarrao Chavan
  • Babu Jagjivan Ram, Tribute website
  • Babu Jagjivan Ram, Info website
  • Babu Jagjivan Ram, a Centenary Celebrations Special

External links

  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b c "Prez, PM call for a second green revolution".  
  3. ^ "Jagjivan Ram".  
  4. ^ a b Profile Jagjivan Ram:Early life
  5. ^ a b Bakshi, S. R. (1992). Jagjivan Ram: The Harijan Leader. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. pp. 1–2.  
  6. ^ a b Jagjivan ram Research Reference and Training Div., Ministry of I & B, Govt. of India.
  7. ^ "Denied table, given Chair".  
  8. ^ "BHU News: A chair for late Jagjivan Ram inaugurated".  
  9. ^ "Valedictory Centenary Lecture by President of India on Jagjivan Ram Centenary Function".  
  10. ^ Past Presidents Indian National Congress INC Official website.
  11. ^ "Jagjivan Ram an example of development politics".  
  12. ^ Kamat. "Biography: Anugrah Narayan Sinha". Kamat's archive. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  13. ^  
  14. ^ "Babu Jagjivan Ram Bhavan to be built".  
  15. ^ "Emergency: Memories of the dark midnight".  
  16. ^ Mirchandani, G.G. (2003). 320 Million Judges. Abhinav Publications. p. 178.  
  17. ^ Bharat Souts and Guides
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Confer Bharat Ratna on Jagjivan Ram: Naidu".  
  21. ^ "Tributes paid to Jagjivan Ram".  
  22. ^ "Jagjivan Ram's services recalled".  
  23. ^ "A brief on Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation" (PDF). 


  • "Valedictory Centenary Lecture by President of India on Jagjivan Ram Centenary Function".  
  • "PM's Address at Babu Jagjivan Ram Centenary Seminar on Agriculture".  

Further reading

  • Sharma, Devendra Prasad (1974). Jagjivan Ram: the man and the times. Indian Book Co. 
  • Chanchreek, Kanhaiyalal (1975). Jagjivanram: a select bibliography, 1908–1975.  
  • Singh, Nau Nihal (1977). Jagjivan Ram: symbol of social change. Sundeep Prakashan. 
  • Ram, Jagjivan (1977). Four decades of Jagjivan Ram's parliamentary career. S. Chand. 
  • Ramesh Chandra, Sangh Mittra (2003). Jagjivan Ram And His Times. Commonwealth Publishers.  
  • Secretariat, Lok Sabha (2005). Babu Jagjivan Ram in parliament: a commemorative volume.  
  • Maurya, Dr. Omprakash. Babu Jagjivan Ram. Publications Division,  
  • Dr.U., Subramanian. Babu Jagjivan Ram. Tamilvendanpathippagam. 

Books on Jagjivan Ram

  • Ram, Jagjivan; Shachi Rani Gurtu (1951). Jagjivan Ram on labour problems. Ram. 
  • Ram, Jagjivan (1980). Caste challenge in India. Vision Books. 


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.

His daughter, Meira Kumar, is a prominent INC leader, who has won his former seat Sasaram, both 2004 and 2009 and was later the Minister for Social Justice in the Manmohan 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.[23]

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 posthumous Bharat Ratna have been raised from time to time Hyderabad.[20][21] Andhra University which 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 .[22]


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 who was infamously reported in Menaka Gandhi's Surya newspaper, having marital relationship with a 21-year-old woman named Sushma Chaudhary from a lower middle class Jat family.[18][19] and Meira Kumar.

Personal life

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.[17]

Positions held

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" .[15] 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.[16] 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. .

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.[2][14] 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 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 the Congress for Democracy party, within the Janata coalition.

He was a part of the prestigious high profile Indian delegation that attended to attend the ILO)'s International Labour Conference on 16 August 1947 in Geneva along with the great Gandhian Bihar Bibhuti Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha[12] his chief political mentor and also the then head of the delegation, and few days later he was elected President of the ILO.[13] 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).

Babu Jagjivan Ram & Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha after returning from International Labour Conference, 1947.

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.

Parliamentary career

In 1935, he contributed to the establishment of the 'All-India Depressed Classes League', an organisation dedicated to attaining equality for untouchables. 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.[2] 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.[11]

1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake occurred he got actively involved in the relief work and his efforts were appreciated.[9] When popular rule was introduced under 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.[10]

Early career

He received a BSc degree from the Mahatma Gandhi.[6]

[8][7] from occasionally to trim his hair, eventually he left BHU and pursued graduation from Calcutta University. The incidents in BHU turned him an atheist. In 2007, the BHU set up a Babu Jagjivan Ram Chair in its faculty of social sciences to study caste discrimination and economic backwardness.Ghazipur As a Dalit student, he would not be served meals in his hostel, denied haircut by local barbers, a Dalit barber would arrive from [6]

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