Jivatram Kripalani, also referred to with the prefix Acharya (Teacher), was an Indian freedom fighter, who became a nationwide leader of the Janata Party revolt against the Indian Emergency. Jivatram (also spelled Jiwatram) Bhagwandas Kripalani was born in current-day Gujarat in 1888. He was of Sindhi and Gujarati roots. He received college education, and was a learned and scholarly young man when he became a member of the Indian National Congress. He was a school teacher when he soon became a disciple of rising nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi, and adopted his teachings and leadership. Kripalani was involved in the Non-Cooperation Movement of the early 1920s, and worked in Gandhi's ashrams in Gujarat and Maharashtra on tasks of social reform and education, and later left for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in northern India to teach and organize new ashrams. He also courted arrest on numerous occasions in the national struggles and smaller occasions of organizing protests and publishing what the British considered seditious materials. With the support of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Gandhi, Kripalani joined the All India Congress Committee and became its General Secretary in 1928-29, an important position. He would hold the position for many years. He was popular with nationalists and the common people in northern as well as western India. Kripalani drew close to Patel, and was prominently involved over a decade in top Congress party affairs, and in the organization of the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India Movement. Kripalani served in the interim Government of India (1946-1947) was also the earliest supporters of Patel and Nehru over the Partition of India, and served in the Constituent Assembly of India. In 1946, when the Congress Working Committee met to elect its new President, who would also become the head of the first all-Indian government, the contest was between Sardar Patel, the choice of 15 provincial Congress organizations, and Jivatram Kripalani, the choice of one. But Jawaharlal Nehru was recommended by the Working Committee at the last moment. Before Gandhi pressured Patel to drop his candidacy in favor of Nehru, Kripalani withdrew his name and backed Nehru. After Patel's death in 1950 and Nehru's increasing popularity in the 1950s, Kripalani left the Congress. Kripalani remained a critic of Prime Minister Nehru's policies and administration, while working for social causes for the common people of India. He was now respectfully addressed as Acharya Jivatram Kripalani by his admirers and supporters, but did not attempt to resuscitate his political career. But in 1974, Kripalani joined Jaya Prakash Narayan in organizing major student and union strikes and protests nationwide against the rule of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter.
|Date of Birth ||1888 |
|Date of Death ||Mar 19, 1982 |
|Place of Birth ||Gujarat |
Kripalani and Narayan felt that Gandhi's rule had become dictatorial and anti-democratic, and her conviction on charges of using government machinery for her election campaign galvanized her political opposition and public disenchantment against her policies. Both Kripalani and Narayan were arrested during the Indian Emergency (1975-1977), when Gandhi suspended political activities and elections under the Emergency clause in the Constitution of India. When Gandhi released all political prisoners and called fresh elections in 1977, Kripalani helped Narayan organize the coalition of political parties opposed to Gandhi's Congress Party, called the Janata (People's) Party. Janata Party swept the elections and Morarji Desai became India's new Prime Minister, but Kripalani receded to the background due to ill health and old age. He died on March 19, 1982, at the age of 94. His wife Sucheta Kripalani was also an Indian freedom fighter, a renowned singer and the first lady Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.