Dr. Rammanohar Lohia (1910-1967)

Dr. Rammanohar Lohia, the renowned socialist leader of India was born on 23 March 1910 at Akbarpur, Faizabad district in Uttar Pradesh in a family of hardware merchants. His father, Hira Lal being a Congress worker, Rammanohar had early initiation to nationalism. In 1924, as a schoolboy, he attended the Congress session as a delegate. While in college he led students' procession against the visit of Simon Commission in 1928. The same year he came in contact with Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose. In 1929 after graduating from Vidya Sagar College he moved to England and Berlin. In 1932 he obtained a doctorate degree for his thesis 'Salt and Satyagraha'.

In 1934 when the Congress Socialist Party was formed within the Indian National Congress he went to Calcutta. He was elected a member of the national executive committee and edited 'The Congress Socialist'.

In May 1939 he was arrested in Calcutta for anti British activities and released in July 1942. He opposed the Cripps Mission of 1942 and welcomed Quit India-Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi. He was arrested on 20 May 1944 in Bombay and was released in April 1946.

Dr. Lohia also fought for the civil liberty and freedom of Goa and was arrested twice. When communal riots erupted in Bengal, Bihar and other parts of the country in 1946 he visited some areas. He joined Gandhiji in his Naokhali (now in Bangladesh) Peace Mission and worked for pacifying communal tensions.

He left the Socialist Congress in March 1948. The next year he became the first President of Hind Kisan Panchayat. He suggested a thirteen-point programme for the welfare of exploited people. The ideas of balancing the prices of agricultural and industrial goods, and land ceiling were some of the points of his suggestions.

In 1952 Socialist Party merged with Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party to form Praja Socialist Party. Lohia remained its general secretary till 1959. In 1956, he edited a journal entitled the Mankind. In 1962 general elections he contested against Pt. Nehru but lost the election. Dr. Lohia, who was unmarried, died on 12 October 1967 in New Delhi.