A Strong Blend Of Politics & Humanity

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Icons, The NamoLeague Times
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Fervor, practical forcefulness in politics and spirituality are a rare combination that acts like a tripod on which the Indian Politics is built. Shri Morarji Desai is one such unique blend of brightness and reserved nature.

A veteran freedom fighter and former Prime Minister of India, Shri Morarji Desai was born on 29 February, 1896 at Bhadeli village in Gujarat. He was the eldest son to an Anavil Brahmin family of Shri Ranchhodji Desai, a school teacher and Vajiaben (or Maniben) Desai. Morarjibhai grew up under the atmosphere of orthodox religious upbringing and strict discipline that prevailed in his house. He was educated St. Busar High School and passed his matriculation examination. After graduating from the Wilson Civil Service of the then Bombay Province in 1918, he served as a Deputy Collector for twelve years before embarking on a long and varied political career.

The biggest achievement of Shri Morarji Desai was that he was the only person to receive the highest civilian awards from both India and Pakistan, namely the Bharat Ratna and Nishaan-e-Pakistan. Also, he was the world’s oldest (83 years old) and India’s first Non Congress Prime Minister.

In 1930, Morarjibhai quit his reputed job to join the Freedom Movement spearheaded by Gandhiji. Being a man of principles, he had said: “When it was a question of the independence of the country, problems relating to family occupied a subordinate position.” Morarjibhai spent many years in jail for the freedom struggle and soon he was a favorite among the freedom fighters for his leadership skills and tough spirit.

Morarjibhai had a wide-ranging political career. When provincial elections were held in 1934 and 1937, he was elected and served as the Revenue Minister and Home Minister of the then Bombay Presidency. Morarjibhai was arrested for participating in the Satyagraha initiated by Mahatma Gandhi during this time and was freed in October 1941. He was rearrested in August 1942 at the time of the Quit India Movement and was released in 1945. After this, he became the Minister for Home and Revenue at Bombay following the State Elections in 1946. Also, after independence, he remained active on the Indian political scene and was elected as the Chief Minister of Bombay in 1952.

Morarjibhai changed his ministerial portfolio to finance after he became the Minister for Commerce and Industry in the Union Government on November 14, 1956. After working under Lal Bahadur Shashtri’s leadership, he rose to become the Deputy Prime Minister in 1967 Cabinet of Indira Gandhi. But soon disenchantment started cropping up between Mrs. Gandhi and Morarjibhai and the latter resigned in 1968 from his post. In 1974 he supported political agitation in Gujarat, and the following year began a fast in support of elections in the state. He was detained when a state of emergency was proclaimed. After his release in 1977 he was appointed leader of the Janata Party, a coalition opposed to Mrs. Gandhi’s rule, and he finally became Prime Minister after the elections that same year. The Janata Government was, however, characterized by much internal strife, and Desai was forced to resign in 1979, at the age of 83.

During this vast career, some landmark achievements crowned the glory of Morarjibhai. He improved the relations with Pakistan which were derailed after the 1971 war and also restored the political relations with China which had received a setback since the 1962 war. His chief contribution was that his Government enhanced popular faith in democracy. His Government annulled some of the legislations passed during the emergency and made it difficult for any future Government to impose emergencies.

Morarjibhai was a staunch follower of the Gandhian principles and it is also believed that he used to drink his own urine to stay healthy. Morarjibhai as a PM believed that people of India must be assisted to become fearless to an extent where even if the highest in the land commits a wrong, the humblest should be able to point it out to him. “No one, not even the Prime Minister”, he had repeatedly said “should be above the law of the land”.
Shri Morarjibhai Desai passed away at the age of 99, on 10 April, 1995.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=A%20Strong%20Blend%20Of%20Politics%20and%20Humanity_104

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