‘Chaudhary Charan Singh’ a True Representative of Rural India

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“The passage of real development of India is evolved through its villages only. Farmers are the backbone of country’s socio-economic structure; therefore, overlooking the peasantry in India is not only unfortunate, but like a suicidal step…”-Chaudhary Charan Singh

Clarity in views, direct mass appeal and a mature national political approach -these three were the extraordinary qualities in the personality of Charan Singh, affectionately called as Chaudhary Saheb -born on December 23, 1902 as a son to Netrakaur Devi and Amir Singh of village Noorpur in Meerut district, UP, on the basis of which he elevated to the post of the Prime Minister of India.

It is true that politics always takes new dimensions in constantly changing situations of space and time. Politics is also considered as an art; it is accepted as a game of conveniences, compromises and adjustments etc. Despite this, if a politician maintains in him till the last breath of his life characteristics like these and simultaneously receives public recognition, he will definitely be a source of inspiration for compatriots for years, besides being great. It is true about Chaudhary Charan Singh.

Charan Singh had to pass through various difficulties in his childhood. His father was a small farmer. He had no sufficient means even to arrange for primary education of his son. But, by courage, enthusiasm and other qualities of Charan Singh he was so much impressed that by bearing all hardship he managed for his son’s education. On the other hand, Charan Singh also worked hard and after finishing his primary and secondary levels of education he entered into the University of Agra and earned degrees of B. Sc., M. A. and LLB in the third decade of the Twentieth Century from there. Ninety years ago it was not a small achievement for a son of a small tiller. Rather, it was, and is, a great source of inspiration for crores of those less privileged people who live in *lacs* of villages in India.

For his quality of heart-touching appeal, Charan Singh became very popular among his colleagues during his studies in Agra. In those days Mahatma Gandhi was busy in preparation for a ground for the second face of his mass movement for the freedom of the country. People of India were becoming ready to fight under his leadership by Ahimsak means. How then a youth like Charan Singh could remain untouched by it? Soon after completing his higher studies, Charan Singh started practicing at Meerut on the one hand, and he jumped in the fight for freedom on the other.

Along with Swami Dayananda and Swami Vivekananda, now Mahatma Gandhi became his ideal; the source of his socio-political ideas. Under his leadership he actively participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement [1930], the Individual Satyagraha [1940-41] and the Quit India Movement [1942] and was each time arrested by imperialists and sent to jail for several months. In the meantime he was elected to the UP Legislative Assembly in 1937 and 1946 respectively.

After the freedom of India, he left a deep impact of his personality and views on regional and national politics, both. Besides services he rendered as an astute and awakened Legislator, a Member of Parliament, an able Minister and Chief Minister, the steps taken by him for the abolition of Zamindari system in UP, bringing reforms in departments of agriculture and revenue, and saving educational institutions and universities from anti-social elements, will be remembered for a long. His commitment making public life and administration clean and honest, and policy of taking quick and impartial decisions, will also be cherished for a long. For this, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel remained his ideal.

Chaudhary Charan Singh was a social reformer and he was committed to the secular character of India. Throughout his life he raised voice against Casteism. He supported inter-caste marriages and spoke for the self-reliance of women.

He was in fact a true representative of rural India and a solid voice of peasantry. He was a nationalist to the core and to him there was nothing above to nationalism. In this regard, the following portion from his historical speech of March, 1976 in the UP Legislative Assembly is worth quoting here, “Those who have taken a pledge to serve the nation they at the time of clash between self and national interest must give up their self-interest. Otherwise, fall of the nation is certain…”

Chaudhary Saheb breathed his last in Delhi on May 29, 1987

Dr. Ravindra Kumar is an eminent writer, Indologist, political scientist and a former vice chancellor of Meerut University, India, who authored and edited over 100 works on great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and on various social-cultural issues.