UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Dec 8

8 December 1875

Birth of independence activist Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru


What happened?

On 8 December 1875, leader of the Liberal Party and lawyer, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru was born in Aligarh in present-day Uttar Pradesh.

Biography

  • Sapru was born in a Kashmiri Hindu family to Ambika Prasad Sapru and Gaura Hukku in Aligarh in the United Provinces. He was a distant cousin of Allama Iqbal (Urdu poet who composed Saare Jahan Se Achha).
  • Educated at the Agra College, he went on to work as a lawyer in the Allahabad High Court. He also later became the Dean of the Law School in the Benaras Hindu University.
  • Sapru was at first a member of the Indian National Congress. He advocated Swaraj. But he was not in favour of unconstitutional means to achieve it. He was even the President of the UP Congress Committee before leaving the Party and joining the Liberal Party of India.
  • He believed that dialogue with the British authorities is the only manner in which political rights and freedom could be achieved for the country.
  • As a prominent founder-member of the Liberal Party, he collaborated with the Congress on various movements like the non-cooperation movement, the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India Movement.
  • He was a member of the Legislative Council of the United Provinces between 1913 and 1916 and also in the Imperial Legislative Council from 1916 to 1920.
  • He was also the law member of the Viceroy’s Council from 1920 to 1923.
  • He participated in the British government setup in order to achieve more political rights for the people through dialogue and cooperation.
  • He was a respected lawyer among both the Congress and the British authorities.
  • On many occasions, he mediated between various factions and tried to resolve deadlocks. He mediated between Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin and facilitated the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.
  • Sapru also intervened between Gandhi and Dr Ambedkar over the issue of separate electorates for the Depressed Classes and helped bring about the Poona Pact.
  • He became a member of the Privy Council in 1934.
  • He represented the Liberal Party in the Round Table Conferences in London.
  • Unlike most Indian political activists of that time, he supported the Viceroy’s decision to make India a party to the Second World War without consulting Indians.
  • As a lawyer, he fought cases like the Meerut Conspiracy Case and also defended the rebel soldiers of the Indian National Army.
  • He had helped draft the Nehru Committee Report of 1928. After independence, although he was unable to serve in the Constituent Assembly owing to worsening health, he had always contributed to creating constitutional reforms with his brilliancy in law and reforms.
  • He had established the Indian Council of World Affairs in 1943 and served as its president till 1949.
  • Sapru passed away on January 20, 1949 in Allahabad.
Also on this day

1978: Death of Golda Meir, Israel’s first and only woman Prime Minister till date.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

Also read: