UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Mar 19

19 March 1982

Death of Acharya Kripalani


What happened?

Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani, better known as Acharya Kripalani died on 19 March 1982 at a hospital in Ahmedabad aged 93.

Biography

As a UPSC aspirant, you must be aware of the contributions of veteran leaders and personalities who made a mark in the history of modern India. Acharya Kripalani was one such personality.

  • Kripalani was born in Hyderabad in the Sindh region of present-day Pakistan on 11 November 1888 in an upper-middle class family. He was educated at Pune’s Fergusson College.
  • He worked as a teacher for a while but later quit that job to join the freedom movement of the country. He was greatly inspired by the principles of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He took part in the non-cooperation movement of the 1920s. He also joined Gandhi’s ashrams in Maharashtra and Gujarat to work in the fields of education and social reform.
  • He actively took part in various movements like the civil disobedience movement, Quit India Movement and so on. He was also imprisoned many times.
  • From 1920 to 1927, he worked as the principal of Gujarat Vidyapeeth which was an educational institution set up by Gandhi. There, he earned the epithet ‘Acharya’.
  • He was elected the General Secretary of the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1934 and continued to serve in that post for a long time till 1945.
  • In November 1946, he was elected the President of the Congress Party and steered the party in that position during the crucial partition period and the transfer of power.
  • He was involved in a number of committees in the Constituent Assembly of India.
  • As a congressman, he was an outspoken leader and not a meek follower of Gandhi despite being a Gandhian himself. He was a true democrat in that respect and held the view that this should be the basis of the political party.
  • After 1947, differences cropped up between Kripalani and Nehru and other leaders. He resigned from the party in 1950 and formed his own party, the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party. Later, this party joined forces with the Socialist Party of India to form the Praja Socialist Party.
  • He was elected as an MP to the Lok Sabha in 1952, 1957, 1963 and 1967. Despite being an independent MP, he was given from benches in the House.
  • His wife, Sucheta Kripalani was also a politician although she remained loyal to the INC and even became the first woman chief minister of a state, when she was elected the CM of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Kripalani was an astute parliamentarian and even became the first person to introduce a no-confidence motion on the floor of the House. This was in 1963 immediately after the Sino-Indian War.
  • During the Indira Gandhi years, he agitated against her autocratic methods and was also arrested during the Emergency.
  • Acharya Kripalani passed away on 19 March 1982 in an Ahmedabad hospital.
Also on this day

1978: Death of MA Ayyangar, the second Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
1998: Death of EMS Namboodiripad, veteran communist leader and the first chief minister of Kerala.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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