125th birth centenary celebrations of Jamnalal Bajaj being commemorated on 4th November 2014
Pune (Nov. 4, 2014): 4th November 2014 is being celebrated as the 125th birth anniversary of Jamnalal Bajaj - a stalwart of India’s freedom struggle, who will be greatly remembered for his single minded commitment, depth and breadth of contribution towards nation building and India’s independence as well as transforming words into deeds. As an industrialist and businessman, Jamnalal Bajaj was singular in enunciating a strict code of Gandhian ethics in every sphere of his life –whether political, social, business and personal.
The various facets of Jamnanlal include: renouncing his claim on the family wealth at the tender age of 17, the businessman, among very few, who incurred British wrath for supporting the freedom movement, the only one who renounced the titles of “Honorary Magistrate” and “Raibahadur” and refused to bow down to British authorities, a social change maker who began reform from his own home, a freedom fighter who suffered protracted jail terms preferring a ‘C’ class prisoner status, The ‘Merchant Prince’ (as Gandhijireferred to him) who chose a humble living and a spirit who gave of himself completely to the freedom movement - mind, body and soul. Jamnalal Bajaj was all this and more.
Jamnalal became interested in Gandhiji’s activities in South Africa. After Gandhiji’s return to India, he established contact with him and, later, succeeded in persuading Gandhiji to make Wardha his home. He offered his huge land for Gandhiji’s national activities in Sevagram.
For more than 20 years, Jamnalal Bajaj served as treasurer of the Indian National Congresswhere he managed the large finances without a whiff of scandal. He worked closely withthe likes ofChittranjan Das, LalaLajpatRai, Motilal Nehru, MadanmohanMalviya, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, C. Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Subhash Chandra Bose and Sarojini Naidu.
Jamnalal was immensely pained by the prevalent practice of untouchability and was opposed to any discrimination based on caste, creed or gender. He felt it imperative that basic human rights were denied to the so called untouchables and so in 1928 he opened the doors of his family-owned Laxminarayan temple in Wardha to dalits. This was the first temple in India to be so opened. Simultaneously, he opened the adjoining wells and employed a dalit to cook his meals and serve him. For such ‘revolutionary’ initiatives, he had to suffer the wrath of his community, but he did not succumb.
Jamnalal always insisted that trade and industry could not be exempted from ethics. He would often say, “Let losses occur, but we must not abandon truth and honesty”. A humanitarian, freedom fighter, philanthropist, social reformer & a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Jamnalal’s forte was constructive work propounded by Gandhiji. He pioneered work in the field of Go-Seva (Cow protection), upliftment of the down trodden, education of women, propogation of Hindi, development of Khadi& village Industries while maintaining a strict code of ethics as a businessman.
Jamnalal strongly believed that improvement in the condition of women is a problem that will not be solved till women themselves take steps to better their lot. He felt that both men and women were on the same level and hence the ways to empower both as well as their purpose of life are same. The Mahilashramat Wardha is a living testimony of his keen desire for holistic development of women through education.
Jamnalal’s unique contribution in India’s freedom struggle led Government of India, honored his memory by releasing a commemorative postal stamp in 1970 as also officially celebrating his Birth Centenary Year in 1990.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Shekhar Bajaj, Chairman & Managing Director, Bajaj Electricals Ltd says “On the 125th birth anniversary, Bajaj Electricals remembers Jamnalalji’s contributions in the transformation of India socially, economically and politically while also paying tribute to all those great souls who have fought for the country’s freedom. The main motivation for us is to try and imbibe some of the values and ethics propagated by Jamnalalji and try and further promote activities which were dear to him.”
To commemorate Jamnalal Bajaj’s 125th birth centenary, Bajaj Electricals has launched a booklet on Jamnalal’s biography to give a glimpse on his service to the nation.