New Delhi: On the 26th death anniversary of freedom fighter and ex-Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjivan Ram, his daughter and Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar paid floral tribute at his memorial Samta Sthal.
As per the reports, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment (SJ&E) Mukul Wasnik and Minister of State for SJ&E D Napoleon were among those who paid tribute to the leader.
Jagjivan Ram, popularly known as Babuji, was born on April 5, hailing from the scheduled castes of Bihar. He was the eldest son of Sobhi Ram and Vasanti Devi. His father was with British Indian Army, posted at Peshawar, but later resigned due to some differences.
He passed his matriculation in the first division and joined the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1927, where he was awarded the Birla scholarship, and completed his Inter Science Examination. He organized the scheduled castes to protest against social discrimination at BHU.
As a Dalit student, he would not be served meals in his hostel, denied haircut by local barbers. Dalit barber would arrive from Ghazipur from occasionally to trim his hair. He later left BHU and joined University of Calcutta and pursued graduation.
He again organized conferences to draw the attention towards issues of discrimination, and also participated in the anti-untouchability movement started by Mahatma Gandhi.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose took notice of him at Kolkata, when in 1928 he organized a Mazdoor Rally at Wellington Square, in which approximately 50,000 people participated. 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.
In 1937, he was elected to the Bihar assembly but he resigned his membership on the issue of irrigation tax.
He 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
In 1946, he became the youngest minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's provisional government and also the subsequent First Indian Cabinet, as a Labour Minister. He laid the foundation for various labour welfare policies in India.
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).
He worked as minister for Labour, employment, and rehabilitation (1966-67), and Union minister for Food and agriculture (1967-70) in Indira Gandhi's government, where he is best remembered for having successfully led the Green Revolution during his tenure.
The freedom fighter held various positions and headed several ministries in his more than 40 year-long political career.
He served as the Defence Minister during the 1971 Indo-Pak war which resulted in creation of Bangladesh. Jagjivan Ram joined Janata Party alliance in 1977 and served as the Deputy Prime Minister of the country from 1977 to 1979.
Meira Kumar is Jagjivan Ram's daughter from his second wife Indrani Devi. She followed her father's footsteps and joined politics. She became the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister in 2004 and elected as the first woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha in 2009.