Jagjivan Ram, popularly known as Babuji was a national leader, a freedom fighter, a crusader of social justice, a champion of depressed classes, an outstanding Parliamentarian, a true democrat, a distinguished Union Minister, an able administrator and an exceptionally gifted orator.
He had a towering personality and played a long inning, spanning over half a century in Indian politics with commitment, dedication and devotion.
Jagjivan Ram was born in a small village, Chandwa in Shahabad District, now Bhojpur, in Bihar on 5 April 1908 to Shobhi Ram and Vasanti Devi. Jagjivan Ram imbibed his idealism, humanitarian values and resilience from his father, who was of a religious disposition and the Mahant of the Shiv Narayani Sect. He was still in school when his father passed away leaving young Jagjivan in the care of his mother. Under his mother's guidance, Jagjivan Ram passed his Matriculation in first division from Arrah Town School. Despite facing caste based discrimination, Jagjivan Ram successfully completed the Inter Science Examination from the Banaras Hindu University and later graduated from the Calcutta University.
Jagjivan Ram had organized a number of Ravidas Sammelans and had celebrated Guru Ravidas Jayanti in different areas of Calcutta (Kolkata). In 1934, he founded the Akhil Bhartiya Ravidas Mahasabha in Calcutta and the All India Depressed Classes League. Through these Organizations he involved the depressed classes in the freedom struggle. He was of the view that Dalit leaders should not only fight for social reforms but, also demand political representation.
on 19 October 1935, Babuji appeared before the Hammond Commission at Ranchi and demanded, for the first time, voting rights for the Dalits.
Babu Jagjivan Ram played a very active and crucial role in the freedom struggle. Inspired by Gandhiji, Babuji courted arrest on 10 December 1940.
After his release, he entrenched himself deeply into the Civil Disobedience Movement and Satyagraha. Babuji was arrested again on 19 August 1942 for his active participation in the Quit India Movement launched by the Indian National Congress.
Babuji had a long and distinguished political career of over five decades. Starting his public life as a student activist and freedom fighter, he went on to become a Legislator at the young age of 28 in the year 1936 as a nominated member of the Bihar Legislative Council.
He was a member of the All India Congress Committee from 1940 to 1977 and was in the Congress Working Committee from 1948 to 1977. He was in the Central Parliamentary Board from 1950 to 1977. Due to his astute political acumen, he was dear to stalwarts like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Smt. Indira Gandhi.
Babu Jagjivan Ram had the unique distinction of serving as a Member of the Central Legislature uninterruptedly for over four decades. Till his last breath, he was a sitting member of the Lok Sabha- his Eighth term- consecutively since the First General Election. Babuji has had the distinction of being the longest-serving Minister in the Government of India. Jagjivan Ram was known for his apt handling of Parliamentary business. His oratory skill was well-acknowledged and admired in Parliament. As a Union Minister, he introduced numerous Bills in the Lok Sabha and piloted their passage in Parliament.
In post-independent India, Babuji's contribution to nation-building has left an indelible mark. He was the Minister of Labour during 1946-52, a portfolio he held again in 1966-67. Besides the Labour Ministry, the other Ministries he held were Communications (1952-56), Railways (1956-62), Transport and Communications (1962-63), Food and Agriculture (1967-70), Defence (1970-74), and Agriculture and Irrigation (1974-77). When the Janata Party Government, headed by Morarji Desai was formed in 1977, Jagjivan Ram joined it as a Cabinet Minister, holding the Defence portfolio. He also became the Deputy Prime Minister and held the Defence portfolio from 24 January 1979 to 28 July 1979.
As Labour Minister, he introduced time-tested policies and laws for labour welfare. He was instrumental in enacting some of the landmark legislations for labour, viz. the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Indian Trade Union (Amendment) Act, 1960; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, etc. He laid the foundation of social security by way of enacting two important Acts, namely, the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 and the Provident Fund Act, 1952.
Babu Jagjivan Ram symbolized the dawn of a new era of assertion, equality and empowerment for the depressed classes. As a member of the Constituent Assembly, he played an active role in formulating the provision for State intervention for the advancement of socially backward classes by way of reservation in public employment and reservation of seats in legislatures for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. He was instrumental in the making of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955. For his unwavering support and relentless struggle for the cause of the downtrodden, he has been rightly called the 'Messiah of Dalits'.
Leaving behind the message of equality, Babuji breathed his last on 6 July 1986 at New Delhi. As a national leader who shared his political career with many generations, from Mahatma Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi, he has left the legacy of a sincere and dedicated political leader, a committed public servant, freedom fighter, social reformist, revolutionary and true humanist.
Department of Posts released commemorative postage stamp on
Issued Date :05.04.1991
Denomination :100 Paise