The nation is remembering freedom fighter Ram Manohar Lohia on his 113th birth anniversary. Lohia, the forebearer of backward caste and agrarian assertion that changed politics in the heartland forever, was born on March 23, 1910.
Several leaders on the occasion tweeted Thursday to pay their tributes to the great freedom fighter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Remembering Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Ji on his birth anniversary. He was a towering intellectual and prolific thinker who contributed immensely to India’s freedom struggle and later as a dedicated leader as well as MP. We are working hard to fulfil his vision for a strong India”.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, Maharastra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Delhi Environment minister Goapal Rai, Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan, were among the leaders who paid their respects.
Remembering Ram Manohar Lohia:
Lohia was born in Akbarpur, modern-day Uttar Pradesh’s Balia into a family of merchants. He was raised mostly by his grandparents after his mother died when he was two, although his father’s passion to Indian nationalism influenced him during his upbringing. Lohia studied first in Varanasi and then in Calcutta before going abroad and earning a doctoral degree from Berlin with his PhD thesis on salt taxation in India in 1933 (an early evidence of the impact of Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha on young men across the country).
He became active in the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in 1934, when it was created as a left-wing faction within the Indian National Congress. He was jailed for anti-British statements in 1939 and again in 1940, for a tenure of 18 months.
Lohia was a known critic of Jawaharlal Nehru. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1963 and used to sharply criticise the government policies. In 1967, he played a key role in bringing together disparate parties — including the Bharatiya Jana Sangh — on a common platform to form the first non-Congress government in Uttar Pradesh.
Although his parliamentary impact was ultimately limited, many Indians found his progressive ideals, which he espoused in several publications, to be inspirational. Lohia passed away on October 12, 1967 in Delhi’s Willingdon Nursing Home at the age of 57.