The name of Karpoori Thakur is very famous in the politics of Bihar. The name of Karpoori Thakur is taken with great respect by all sections of the society. Karpoori Thakur is also addressed as Jannayak. Karpoori Thakur was the Chief Minister of Bihar twice between 1970-79 and later also the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly.
Birth and Early Education
Karpoori Thakur was born on January 24, 1924 in Pitonjhia village (now Karpoori village) in Samastipur district of Bihar. Gokul Thakur and Ramdulari Devi were his parents. He was born in the barber community. He passed the matriculation examination from Patna University in the year 1940 in second division. Karpoori Thakur jumped into the freedom movement since his childhood. He left his graduate college to join the Quit India Movement.
Spent 26 months in jail
Karpoori Thakur played an important role in the freedom movement. He was highly influenced by freedom fighters, especially Gandhiji and Satyanarayan Sinha. He joined the All India Students Federation as a student activist. He left his graduate college to participate in the Quit India Movement, due to which he spent 26 months in jail.
He worked as a teacher in his village after independence. In the year 1952, he became a member of Bihar Legislative Assembly for the first time from Tajpur constituency as a candidate of Socialist Party. It is said that his politics was dedicated to the common people, especially the backward people and Dalits. An example of this can be seen in the incident of 1970. In fact, in the year 1970, he fasted unto death for 28 days to promote the cause of telco workers. Due to becoming the voice of backward classes, Dalits and deprived sections, Karpoori Thakur came to be known as ‘Jananayak’. Even before this, he was arrested for leading P&T employees during the general strike of Central Government employees in the year 1960. His slogan was – “Ninety out of a hundred are exploited, the exploited have challenged. “Ninety shares in wealth, land and kingdom are ours.”
Example of Honesty
Indian politicians often remain in the headlines due to their corruption. Every day the names of politicians keep cropping up in scams worth crores of rupees. The state of Bihar has been infamous due to corruption. But, in the same Bihar there were leaders like Karpoori. You can still hear many stories of his honesty in Bihar.
It is said that when Karpoori Thakur became the CM, one day his brother-in-law approached him for a job recommendation. When he came to know about this, he took out some money from his pocket and gave it to his brother-in-law and advised him to buy a razor from the market and start his old/ancestral profession. After becoming the CM, he wrote a letter to his son advising him not to be influenced by the fact that his father has become the Chief Minister. He wrote that he should not get trapped in anyone’s greed and greed. This will bring dishonor to his father. Karpoori Thakur remained MLA continuously since 1952, but he did not even build a house for himself.
Political Journey of Karpoori Thakur
- 1946 – Took membership of Congress Socialist Party
- 1947 – Ram Manohar Lohia made him the State Secretary of the All India Hind-Kisan Panchayat, which he formed.
- In 1948-52 – Lohia made him the Bihar Secretary of the Socialist Party.
- 1952 (June–August) – Lohia sent him on a tour abroad to attend the International Socialist Youth Conference in Vienna, visited Yugoslavia, met President Marshal Tito
- 1967 – 1968 – Education Minister of Bihar Government
- 1972 – Elected to Assembly from Tajpur
- 1977 – Elected to Lok Sabha from Samastipur
- 1980 – Elected to the Legislative Assembly from Samastipur
- 1985 – Elected to Assembly from Sonbarsa, became Leader of Opposition
- 1970 – 1971 – Chief Minister of Bihar
- 1977 – 1979 – Chief Minister of Bihar
Death and Respect
Karpoori Thakur died of a heart attack on 17 February 1988 at the age of 64. Karpoori Thakur, popularly known as Jannayak, was posthumously honored with Bharat Ratna by Narendra Modi’s BJP government on his birth anniversary (January 24).
Bharat Ratna Award List
|Bharat Ratna 1954
|Activist, statesman, and lawyer
|India’s first Vice-President and second President
|C. V. Raman
|Physicists, mathematicians, and scientists
|Bharat Ratna 1955
|Activist, philosopher, and educationist
|Civil engineer, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore
|Activist and author served as the Prime Minister of India
|Bharat Ratna 1957
|Govind Ballabh Pant
|Activist and first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
|Bharat Ratna 1958
|Dhondo Keshav Karve
|Social reformer and educator
|Bharat Ratna 1961
|Bidhan Chandra Roy
|Physician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker
|Purushottam Das Tandon
|Activist and speaker of the United Provinces Legislative Assembly
|Bharat Ratna 1962
|Activist, lawyer, statesman, and scholar
|Bharat Ratna 1963
|Activist, economist, and education philosopher served as a Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and the Governor of Bihar
|Pandurang Vaman Kane
|Indologist and Sanskrit scholar, known for his five-volume literary work
|Bharat Ratna 1966
|Lal Bahadur Shastri
|Activist and served as the second Prime Minister of India
|Bharat Ratna 1971
|First women Prime Minister of India
|Bharat Ratna 1975
|V. V. Giri
|Bharat Ratna 1976
|Independence activist and statesman, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
|Bharat Ratna 1980
|Catholic nun and the founder of the Missionaries of Charity.
|Activist, social reformer, and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi
|Bharat Ratna 1987
|Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
|First noncitizen, independence activist
|Bharat Ratna 1988
|M. G. Ramachandran
|Actor turned politician, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
|Bharat Ratna 1990
|Social reformer and leader of the Dalits
|Leader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, President of South Africa
|Bharat Ratna 1991
|Gandhi was the ninth Prime Minister of India serving from 1984 to 1989.
|Activist and first Deputy Prime Minister of India
|Activist, and Prime Minister of India
|Bharat Ratna 1992
|Abul Kalam Azad
|Activist and first Minister of education
|J. R. D. Tata
|Industrialist, philanthropist, and aviation pioneer
|Director, filmmaker, writer, novelist
|Bharat Ratna 1997
|Activist, and interim Prime Minister of India.
|Aruna Asaf Ali
|A.P.J Abdul Kalam
|Aerospace and defense scientist
|Bharat Ratna 1998
|M. S. Subbulakshmi
|Carnatic classical vocalist
|Activist and former Minister of Agriculture of India
|Bharat Ratna 1999
|Activist, and social reformer
|Musician, sitar player
|Bharat Ratna 2001
|Hindustani classical shehnai player
|Bharat Ratna 2009
|Hindustani classical vocalist
|Bharat Ratna 2014
|C. N. R. Rao
|Chemist and professor, author
|Bharat Ratna 2015
|Madan Mohan Malaviya
|Scholar and educational reformer.
|Atal Bihari Bajpayee
|Elected nine times to the Lok Sabha, twice to the Rajya Sabha, and served as the Prime Minister of India for three terms.
|Bharat Ratna 2019
|Indian politician, and senior leader in the Indian National Congress.
|A social activist from India, education, health, and rural self-reliance.
|Indian playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet, and filmmaker from Assam.