Kalam pays rich tributes to the leader on his birth centenary
NEW DELHI: Putting Babu Jagjivan Ram in the league of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Thursday said transforming India into a developed nation before 2020 would be the greatest homage to the leader who was an example of development politics.
Delivering the lecture as part of the Babu Jagjivan Ram centenary celebrations here at Vigyan Bhavan, the President said the leader saw political power as an opportunity to transform people's life and promote their welfare by bold and well thought-out plans.
Dr. Kalam said he was honoured to deliver a lecture commemorating the legacy of a veteran freedom fighter, great organiser, brilliant orator, committed social activist, distinguished parliamentarian, true democrat and able administrator.
Recalling Jagjivan Ram's initial years in politics, Dr. Kalam said he wanted to become a scientist but instead decided to answer the call of his motherland.
"While in Calcutta (for his B. Sc. degree) Babu Jagjivan Ram organised a mazdoor rally at Wellington Square which was attended by over 35,000 people. This brought him into the limelight and leaders like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose took notice of him," the President recalled. He added that Jagjivan Ram was greatly influenced by the ideology of casteless and classless society.
Dr. Kalam also recalled that Jagjivan Ram was one among the principal leaders who delivered a public speech against the participation of India in the war between the European nations and for which he was imprisoned by the British in 1940.
Referring to his political vision, Dr. Kalam said Babu Jagjivan Ram was an important member of the Constituent Assembly and ensured that social justice, as one of the ideals, was enshrined in the Constitution.
Enumerating Babu Jagjivan Ram's contributions in his capacity as Union Minister for various portfolios, the President said: "As Labour Minister, he laid the foundation for a new era of labour welfare, industrial climate and productivity in the form of Minimum Wages Act and Employees' State Insurance Act... As Railway Minister, he gave a new thrust for modernisation of the Railways. As Agricultural Minister, he pulled the country out of the clutches of severe drought and heralded the first Green Revolution. As a Defence Minister, under the dynamic leadership of Indira Gandhi, he oversaw the liberation of Bangladesh," recounted the President.
President Kalam also said great leaders share the qualities of sacrifice and forgiveness. "It was these sterling qualities that Babu Jagjivan Ram brought to bear during the freedom movement and thereby accelerated the dawn of Independence in India," he said.
Dr. Kalam also recalled how Jagjivan Ram had rebuffed the attempts of the British to give him huge sums of money and also a ministerial birth to get his political support under their divide and rule policy.