Morarji Desai


Morarji Desai
Morarji Desai
મોરારજી દેસાઈ
Prime Minister of India
In office
24 March 1977 – 28 July 1979
President Basappa Danappa Jatti (Acting)
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Preceded by Indira Gandhi
Succeeded by Charan Singh
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
1 July 1978 – 28 July 1979
Preceded by Charan Singh
Succeeded by Yashwantrao Chavan
Deputy Prime Minister of India
In office
13 March 1967 – 16 July 1969
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Preceded by Vallabhbhai Patel
Succeeded by Charan Singh
Jagjivan Ram
Minister of Finance
In office
13 March 1967 – 16 July 1969
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Preceded by Sachindra Chaudhuri
Succeeded by Indira Gandhi
In office
13 March 1958 – 29 August 1963
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Preceded by Jawaharlal Nehru
Succeeded by Tiruvellore Thattai Krishnamachari
Personal details
Born 29 February 1896(1896-02-29)
Bhadeli, British India
Died 10 April 1996(1996-04-10) (aged 100)
New Delhi, India
Political party Janata Dal (1988–1995)
Other political
affiliations
Indian National Congress (Before 1969)
Indian National Congress-Organisation (1969–1977)
Janata Party (1977–1988)
Alma mater Wilson College, Mumbai
Profession Civil servant
Activist
Religion Agnostic

Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (Gujarati: મોરારજી રણછોડજી દેસાઈ) (29 February 1896 – 10 April 1996) was an Indian independence activist and the fourth Prime Minister of India from 1977–79. He was the first Indian Prime Minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress. After assuming the office, Desai promoted his policies and peace initiatives between Pakistan and India to avoid conflicts, such as Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. For this, he was conferred with Nishaan-e-Pakistan (Order of Pakistan). Desai is the first Indian national to receive the highest civilian award from Pakistan, the Nishaan-e-Pakistan. Actor Dilip Kumar was the second Indian to receive the Nishaan-e-Pakistan Award.

Contents

Early life

Morarji Desai was born into an Anavil Brahmin family in Bhadeli, Valsad in Bombay Presidency (now in Gujarat). His schooling life is in Bai Ava Bai High Schhol, Valsad. After graduating from Wilson College, Mumbai, he joined the civil service in Gujarat. Later, he left the service of the British in 1924 and joined the civil disobedience movement against British rule in India in 1930. He spent many years in jail during the freedom struggle and owing to his sharp leadership skills and tough spirit, he became a favourite amongst freedom-fighters and an important leader of the Indian National Congress in Gujarat. When provincial elections were held in 1934 and 1937, Desai was elected and served as the Revenue Minister and Home Minister of the Bombay Presidency.

In government

Morarji Desai in 1937, as Congress Home Minister of Bombay Presidency

Before the independence of India, he became Bombay's Home Minister and later was elected as Chief Minister of Bombay State in 1952. The state was home to Marathi linguistic movements, with calls for the creation of a separate linguistic state. Considered as a tough leader, Desai was also known for pioneering beliefs and enforcing strict discipline and authority. By Desai's orders in 1960, a demonstration by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was fired upon by the police resulting in the deaths of 105 demonstrators. 105 demonstrators were killed in the incident leading to public outrage that shook the central government. The incident led to the formation of the present State of Maharashtra.

As Home Minister, Desai outlawed any portrayals of indecency (which included "kissing" scenes) in films and theatrical productions. Although a staunch Gandhian, Desai was socially conservative, pro-business, and in favour of free enterprise reforms, as opposed to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's socialistic policies.

Rising in Congress leadership, Desai was at odds with Prime Minister Nehru and his allies, and with Nehru's age and health failing, he was considered as a possible contender for the position of Prime Minister. Outflanked in the leadership contest after Nehru's death in 1964 by the Nehruvian Lal Bahadur Shastri, Desai remained content to build support within the ranks.

After Shastri's death in 1966, he contested for Prime Minister and fought a closely contested election with Indira Gandhi. Desai obtained 169 votes but lost to Indira Gandhi who garnered 351.

Prime minister

Morarji Desai became the prime minister after the landslide victory of the Janata coalition in 1977. The coation, later the janata party, was full of personal and policy friction and thus failed to achieve much owing to continuous in-wrangling and much controversy. With no party in leadership of the coalition, rival groups vied to unseat Desai. Controversial trials of prominent Congress leaders, including Indira Gandhi over Emergency-era abuses worsened the fortunes of his administration. Desai worked to improve relations with neighbour and arch-rival Pakistan and restored normal relations with China, for the first time since the 1962 war. He communicated with Zia-ul-Haq and established friendly relations. Diplomatic relations were also re-established with China. His government undid many amendments made to the constitution during emergency and made it difficult for any future government to impose national emergency.

Since India's first nuclear test in 1974, Desai kept India's nuclear reactors stating "they will never be used for atomic bombs, and I will see to it if I can help it". [1] In 1977, the Carter administration sold India, heavy water and uranium for its nuclear reactors but required American on-site inspection of nuclear materials. Desai declined, seeing the American stance as contradictory, in light of its own nuclear arsenal. [2]

Retirement and death

In 1979, Raj Narain and Charan Singh pulled out of the Janata Party, forcing Desai to resign from office and retire from politics at the age of 83. Desai campaigned for Janata Party in 1980 General Election as a senior politician but did not contest the election himself.

In retirement, he lived in Mumbai, and died at the age of 100. He had been honoured much in his last years as a freedom-fighter of his generation.

Morarji Desai is most often remembered for his championing of Urine Therapy. He told journalist Khushwant Singh that he was advised to try drinking his own urine when in his 40s to cure piles (hemorrhoids), and he got immediate results. Thereafter he continued the practice and was quite open about it, saying that you should not do anything you would be ashamed of.[citation needed]

Morarji Desai was a strict follower of Mahatma Gandhi's principles and a moralist.

Feud with R&AW

Morarji Desai had described the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency, as the praetorian guard of Indira Gandhi and had promised to stop all activities of the R&AW after becoming prime minister. He closed down much of the agency, and reduced its budget and operations. B. Raman, the former head of the Counter-Terrorism Division of R&AW and noted security analyst, reveals that, in an unguarded moment, Morarji Desai indiscreetly told Pakistan's Chief Martial Law Administrator General Zia ul-Haq that his government was well aware of Pakistan's nuclear development.[1]

Social Service

Morarji Desai was a true Gandhian follower, social worker, institution builder and a great reformer. He was the Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith (university established by Mahatma Gandhi). Even during his term as the Prime Minister he used to visit and stay at Vidyapith during the month of October. He exemplified simplicity and used to write post cards himself even when he held the office of Prime Minister. Sardar Patel deputed him to conduct meetings of farmers in Kaira district which finally led to the establishment of the AMUL Cooperative movement. During his rule, he withdrew intervention in Public Distribution System and rationing shops were literally lost due to cheap sugar and oil available in the market.

Family

Morarji Desai is survived by his son Kanti Desai, two grandsons Bharat and Jaideep Desai and four great grand children. All of whom have no political ambitions besides one of his great grand children, son of Jaideep Desai, Madhukeshwar Desai[2] Who has taken it upon himself to revive the legacy of his illustrious great grandfather.[3]

Vishal Desai, son of Bharat Desai, is an aspiring filmmaker[4] and writer.

References

Political offices
Preceded by
Jawaharlal Nehru
Minister of Finance
1958–1963
Succeeded by
Tiruvellore Thattai Krishnamachari
Preceded by
Vallabhbhai Patel
Deputy Prime Minister of India
1967–1969
Succeeded by
Charan Singh
Succeeded by
Jagjivan Ram
Preceded by
Sachindra Chaudhuri
Minister of Finance
1967–1969
Succeeded by
Indira Gandhi
Preceded by
Indira Gandhi
Prime Minister of India
1977–1979
Succeeded by
Charan Singh
Chairperson of the Planning Commission
1977–1979
Preceded by
Charan Singh
Minister of Home Affairs
1978–1979
Succeeded by
Yashwantrao Chavan

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  • Morarji Desai — en 1978. Morarji Desai (n. el 29 de febrero de 1896 10 de abril de 1995; en guyaratí: મોરારજી રણછોડજી દેસાઈ) es un activista por la independencia india y político indio que ocupó el cargo de Primer Ministro de la India en 1977 y 1979; siendo así… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Morarji Desai — (1978) Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (Hindi: मोरारजी देसाई, Morārjī Desāī) (* 29. Februar 1896 in Bhadeli, Bombay [heute Gujarat]; † 10. April 1995 in Bombay, Maharashtra) wa …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Morarji Desai — (1937) Morarji Desai est un homme politique indien (29 février 1896 10 avril 1995). Il participe au mouvement de désobéissance civile contre les Britanniques et devient un membre influent du Congrès au sein de son État du Gujerat. Ministre du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Morarji Desai Ministry — Morarji Desai was sworn in as Prime Minister of India on 24 March 1977. Here is the list of ministers in his ministry with portfolios. Cabinet ministers Morarji Desai Prime Minister Charan Singh Deputy Prime Minister of India Home Jagjivan Ram… …   Wikipedia

  • DESAI (M.) — Morarji DESAI 1896 1995 Dirigeant éminent du Parti du Congrès, Premier ministre de l’Inde de 1977 à 1979, Morarji Desai reste une figure controversée de la vie politique indienne. Sa personnalité dérange et rebute. Ses idées politiques, mélange… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Desai — is an administrative title and surname [1] derived from the Vedic Sanskrit words desh sai meaning lord of the land. Desai is a surname attributed to Hindus who were feudal lords and revenue collectors. Some people were sometimes honored with the… …   Wikipedia

  • Desai — ist der Name folgender Personen: Anita Desai (* 1937), indische Schriftstellerin Chandrakant S. Desai (*1936), indisch US amerikanischer Bauingenieur für Geotechnik Kiran Desai (* 1971), indische US amerikanische Autorin Morarji Desai (1896–1995) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Desai —   [ deisai],    1) Anita, indische Schriftstellerin, * Mussoorie (Uttar Pradesh) 24. 6. 1937; schreibt als eine der feinsinnigsten und stilistisch anspruchsvollsten Schriftstellerinnen Indiens in englischer Sprache vornehmlich über geistige… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Desai, Morarji — ▪ prime minister of India in full  Morarji Ranchhodji Desai  born Feb. 29, 1896, Bhadeli, Gujarat province, India died April 10, 1995, Bombay [now Mumbai]       prime minister of India (1977–79), first leader of sovereign India not to represent… …   Universalium

  • Desai, Morarji Ranchhodji — ▪ 1996       Indian politician (b. Feb. 29, 1896, Bhadeli, Gujarat, India d. April 10, 1995, Bombay, India), as prime minister of India (1977 79), was the austere and uncompromising leader of that nation s first non Congress Party government.… …   Universalium


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