The 4th of November this year marked the 125th Birthday of one of India's best known freedom fighters, Jamnalal Bajaj. His ability to follow what he preached, his commitment towards nation building and his passion towards transforming India as a model nation set him apart. An ardent follower of Gandhian principles, Bajaj was a well known industrialist and businessman.
Jamnalal Bajaj was a self made man. When he was only 17, he renounced any claim on the wealth of his family. He further went on to repudiate the titles of 'Raibahadur' and 'Honorary Magistrate' conferred upon him by the British Government which infuriated the British. His focus was upon bringing social reforms in his own hometown. He ended up being caught by the British authorities and was treated as a 'C' class prisoner. He was given the nickname 'Merchant Prince' by Mahatma Gandhi.
Jamnalal Bajaj kept a track of Gandhi's activities in South Africa. So when the latter came back to India, Bajaj persuaded him to settle at Wardha. Bajaj went on to donate a large portion of land to Gandhi in Savegram for all his national activities.
While working as the treasurer in the Indian National Congress (INC), he got an opportunity to come close to a number of Congress stalwarts such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Madanmohan Malviya, Motilal Nehru, Lala Lajpat Rai, Rajendra Prasad, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Sarojini Naidu, SC Bose and Chittranjan Das. His tenure as the treasurer of the INC lasted for over 20 years without the slightest of discrepancies.
The growing practice of untouchability acted as a thorn in the eye of Jamnalal Bajaj. To oppose this, he took a major step in 1928. With his instructions, the doors of Bajaj family-owned Laxminarayan temple were opened to the Dalits. This made Laxminarayan temple the first temple in India to allow Dalits to enter its premises. He didn't stop there! He further invited the Dalits to use the adjacent wells. He even employed a Dalit as his personal cook. Steps like these were unheard of in those days, and expectedly, it didn't go well with the society which started to denounce Bajaj. Some of the other causes considered close to his heart included Cow protection, Women education, Upliftment of the lowest rung of the society, encouragement of Khadi industries and following ethics while doing any business.
The development of Mahilasharam at Wardha speaks volumes about the seriousness with which he looked at women emancipation. He always considered women as equal to men in all spheres of life. To commemorate his unparallel contributions to the Indian society, the Government came up with a commemorative postal stamp in the year 1970.
Bajaj Electricals Ltd's Chairman & Managing Director, Mr. Shekhar Bajaj took this opportunity to remark that "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."
On the occasion of Jamnalal Bajaj's 125th Birth anniversary, Bajaj Electrical has come up with a booklet containing all the highlights of the illustrious life lived by Jamnalal Bajaj.
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