Homage to Jamnalal Bajaj
A leading Businessman, patriot, and Social reformer are the main
characteristics of Jamnalal Bajaj. He was the devotee of the liberation
struggle, who remained , inspite of the wealth he inherited, a humble
worker in a movement which embraced many.
He was the third son of father Kaniram and mother Birdibai. He had born in a village
Kashi. Later he adopted as a grandson by Seth Bachhraj and his wife Sadibai
a Rajasthani merchant of Wardha.
He had chosen to become the fifth son of Mahatma Gandhi.
He converted to faith in the
innocent folk which Mahatma Gandhi had, who saw light in eyes of the villagers
in the darkness around him, and who awakened the people to see God
as truth, by Satyagraha-which means seizing
the truth, by Ahimsa, or non-hurting , from love, even of the enemy.
in the family business as a kind of duty, without undue pride in his good
fortune. He acquired the practical wisdom of tradesman, like keeping strict
accounts, buying and selling in a fair way even after Seth Bachhraj passed
During the first World War time, British Government used to keep the native tradesman on their
side. They had honoured Seth Bachhraj in his life time. Later, they made
Jamnanlji an Honorary Magistrate. And, as he gave money for the war fund,
they conferred on him the title of Rai Bahadur which he surrendered when
he joined Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921.
After the Mahatmas return from
Jamnalalji found that the Gandhiji was saying that spinning
wheel was the answer to
He was impressed by the Ashram routine of prayer, physical work, including cleaning latrines, cooking, washing up and looking after the cows. And he got the permission to bring your wife Jankidevi and children to stay in the Ashram.
Gandhiji quenched the spiritual thirst of Jamnalal and guided
him towards his lifes goal. Jamnalal impressed by the love that
the Mahatma communicated to the people around hime, even while moulding
their character, through a strict routine of worship and work, as also
by bringing awareness of their own inherited sense
of non-hurting and the truth of Truth.
He was the first Indian Capitalist, who genuinely accepted
Mahatma Gandhis injunction that all wealth should be held in trust
for poor by the rich.
Jamanalal Bajaj have been elected in 1920, a Chairman of the
Reception Commettee for the Nagpur Session of the Congress. Later in 1923,
he successfully led the famous Flag Satyagraha with thousands of volunteers
defied the ban of flying National flag in Nagpur by British Government
and courted arrest. This was the first Satyagraha of an all-India character
which won him admiration all over the country.
Jamnalalji desired to make Wardha the Centre of Gandhian activity
and persuaded Gandhiji to wend Acharya Vinoba Bhave to Wardha to establish
Satyagraha Ashram in 1921. After Dandi March, when Gandhi declare that
he would not return to Sabarmati Ashram till Swaraj was achieved, Jamnalal
prevailed upon him to make Wardha his headquarter. In
April 1935 Gandhiji came to Wardha and, subsequently, shifted to
Sewagram, a small village near Wardha, as he wanted to identify
himself with the rural populace.
Jamnalalji nominated as the president of Gandhi Seva Sangha,
a institution of creating a body of workers who would devote all their
time to constructive work. Later he also elected the member of Congress
Working Committee and Treasurer of Congress in 1933.
Jamanalal Bajaj also deeply interested in constructive programmes
like the removal of untouchability, promotion of Hindi, Khadi and
Village Industries. To promote the mission of propagation of Khadi he
ceaselessly toured the country. In 1925 he was chosen the Treasurer of
the All- India Spinners Association.
He was elected President of the All India Hindi Sahitya Sammelan
for promoting Hindi-Hindustani, which was another Gandhis for sighted
method for uniting Indians.
Late he also began to take concrete steps to promote Hindistani
Talimi Sangh in favour of Hindi. Later he persuaded Gandhiji to bring
out Hindi edition of magazine , Navjiwan and you were instrumental in
starting a number of Hindi Journals like Karamvir and Pratap and Rajasthani
Kesari. He initiated the Gandhi Hindi Pustak Bhandar in Mumbai and started
the Sasta Sahitya mandal.
He along with C. Rajagopalchari helped to found the Dakshin
Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha which was to teach the Hindi to several thousand
people specially in South Indian side.
In the movement against untouchability, you took up the challenge
of non-admission of Harijans in temples, to begin with, right in your
hometown Wardha. As the orthodox Brahmin priests and Hindus objected to
this proposal, he opened his own family temple, the Laxmi Narayan Mandir,
in Wardha, to the Harijans in 1928.
Thereafter he began the campaign for eating a meal cooked by Harijans
and asks for throwing open of public wells to them. He opened his own
well in Bachhraj Dharmashala compound at Wardha as well as in all his
fields and gardens.
Due to his devotion was recognized by the Jaipur Rajya Praja Mandal when they elected him their chief in 1938 and hi activated the humble worker of the Mandal.
One of the time as a Head of Praja Mandal, he had made negotiations
between the peoples of Rao Raja of Sikar and Maharaja of Jaipur due to
happings of some violences.
After he adopted Gandhiji as his father, his wife and children
also became part of Gandhijis spiritual family and took to Khadi
and Swadeshi, latter he passed away, continued his work of Gosewa with
missionary zeal. All had also threw themselves into the freedom movement
and courted imprisonment.
Though he had surrendered himself completely to Gandhiji he did not hesitate to express his differences of opinion frankly and fearlessly. Once he differed from Gandhi and could not supported for the proposed suspension of Satyagraha and voted neutral where as other members of the Congress Committee voted in favor of resolution.
Again in 1933, disagreed the opinion of Mahatma Gandhi for
allowing the Congress to contest elections to the legislature.
In 1938, when the Congress Working Committee informally decided
that the Jamnalal should be elected President of the Hirapur Session of
the Congress. Gandhiji also approved this but Jamnalaji gave this honour
to Subhash Chandra Bose.
Though he had left no stone un-turned in propagating and popularizing
Khadi in the county, he was once considering purchase of a textile mill
for earning sizeable profits which could be used for public purpose. His wife Jankidevi was not convinced by
the arguments advanced to justify this proposal and went to Gandhiji and
asked him how would the proposed purchase be consistent with his commitment
to Khadi. The Mahatma wrote and advised him to cancel the proposal. However,
before he received Gandhijis letter, he had made up his mind against
the purchase. In his diary, he had already expressed doubts about this
proposal and reversed his earlier decision to purchase the mill.
The charity of Jamanalal knew no bounds. He always held that
the wealth he inherited from his grandfather was a sacred trust to be
used for the good of the people. Calculations indicate that his total
charities added upto 5 times the value of the wealth which he had originally
And though Jamnalal never asked for any certificate from anyone,
apart from Gandhiji, he earned
the praise from the saintly Vinoba Bhave who said: In thease days,
money has usurped the place of Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth), untruth is being
counted as cleverness, cruelty is regarded as skill, and truth is divorced
from trade. In thease circumstances, it is beneficial to remember how
people like jamnalalji who weighed everything on the scales of truth,
constantly endeavored to carry on their business without sacrificing truth.
As per the Gandjijis suggestion Jamnalalji decided at his last days to turn his exclusive attention to spend his days in tending cows, bathing them with his own hand, sweeping the floor clean, feeding them, looking after milking and other duties. He studied new methods of cattle-rearing and in first week of February 1942, he organized the All India Goseva Conference at Wardha to came experts and delegates from all over the country. Vinoba presided over the conference which was inaugurated by Gandhiji. A well known animal husbandry expert, Sir Datar Singh, attended the conference. In a business like manner, Jamnalal was able to guide the delegates to adopt new methods of looking after cows and to give up the old Goshala kind of sentimental charity, by which even sincere people worshipped the cows without looking after their health, milk-yield or sanitation.
He was elected first President of the All India Goseva Sangh.
And he continued to serve the dumb animal. But he did not live long to
continue his cherished work of Goseva. Death came suddenly and peacefully