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Jairamdas Daulatram

(1891 – 1979) – (Maharashtra)

Jairamdas Daulatram (Aged 88), born on 21 July 1891, was born into a Sindhi Hindu family in Karachi, Sindh, which was then part of the Bombay Presidency in British India. He became an activist in the Home Rule Movement led by Annie Besant and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, demanding “Home Rule” or self-government and Dominion status for India within the British Empire.

Daulatram also joined the Indian National Congress, which was the largest Indian political organization. He was deeply influenced by the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, which advocated simple living and a struggle for independence through ahimsa (non-violence) and Satyagraha. One of Gandhi’s closest associates was Jairamdas.

At the Amritsar session of the Congress in 1919, acute differences had arisen on the reforms resolution between Gandhi on the one hand and Tilak, C.R. Das and Mohammed Ali on the other. Gandhiji later recalled that Jairamdas, the cool-headed Sindhi, came to the rescue. He passed Gandhi a slip containing a suggestion and pleading for a compromise. Something in his eyes and face captivated Gandhi. He read the suggestion, which was good and passed it on to Deshbandhu. “Yes, if my party will accept it,” was his response. Lokmanya said, “I don’t want to see it. If Das has approved, it is good enough for me.” Malaviyaji (who was presiding anxiously) overheard it, snatched the paper from Gandhi’s hands and, amid deafening cheers, announced that a compromise had been arrived at.

When Gandhi was launching the Salt March in 1930, he wrote to Jairamdas, who was then a member of the Bombay Legislative Council, asking him to take charge of the Committee for Boycott of Foreign Cloth. Jairamdas immediately resigned his seat, took up the new charge, and made a tremendous success of the boycott of foreign cloth.

Daulatram participated in the Non-cooperation movement (1920–1922), agitating against British rule through non-violent civil disobedience. He rose in the ranks of the Congress and became one of its foremost leaders from Sindh. He was a leading activist in the Salt March (1930–31) and the Quit India movement (1942–45) and was imprisoned by British authorities. Daulatram was shot and wounded in the thigh when police opened fire on street protesters agitating outside a magistrate’s court in Karachi in 1930.

After India gained independence, he assumed the role of the first Governor of Bihar in 1948, followed by his appointment as the Union Minister of Food Supply. He held various positions within the Indian Government’s ministries. Daulatram remained committed to his Gandhian principles and was reported to live a modest life, even in his later years. The town of Jarampur in the former Tirap Frontier Division, now known as Changlang district, was named in his honor. In 1985, a postage stamp was issued to commemorate his contributions. Daulatram passed away in 1979.