29 August: Remembering Jivraj Narayan Mehta on his Birth Anniversary
Jivraj Narayan Mehta (29 August 1887 – 7 November 1978) was an Indian politician and the first Chief Minister of Gujarat. Also, he was the Indian high commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1963 to 1966.
Jivraj Narayan Mehta was born on 29 August 1887, in Amreli, Bombay Presidency, India. He pursued medicine at Grant Medical College, Bombay and completed the course with many accolades. Mehta was one of two people who qualified for the Tata Education Foundation fellowship that he used for his postgraduate studies at the University of London. In 1915, he became a member of the Royal College of Physicians after winning the prestigious University of London Medal for his MD thesis.
Mehta and M. Gandhi attended conferences in London at the same time. Gandhi would later become one of Mehta’s patients. He was appointed Dean of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Bombay when he got back to India.
As a member of the Bombay Medical Council, (1931-32) and the Medical Council of India (1938-42), he served as President of the Indian Medical Association and All India Medical Conference in 1930. In 1940, he helped set up the Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital and served on its board of trustees and executive council.
Role in India’s Independence Movement
He was a close associate of many national leaders and was active in the Quit India and Non-Cooperation movements. He went to prison twice (1932-1933 and 1942-1944).
He served as Director-General and Secretary of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Government of India, 1947-48. In 1948, he was Diwan of the erstwhile State of Baroda. In 1952 and 1953, he served as president of the Indian Conference of Social Work, and in 1947-63 he was president of the Medical Council of India.
The Institute of Management at Ahmedabad was founded with the help of Mehta in 1961, and he served as its president until 1963. In 1952, he became Vice-Chairman of the Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation.
He served on a lot of scientific committees in India. They include the Scientific Advisory Board of the Indian Council of Medical Research (1953-1956), the Atomic Research Committee (1953-1960), the C.S.I.R. Board (1942-1962), and the Governing Body (1958-1962).
In 1952, he became the Minister of Finance, Industry, and Prohibition for the Government of Bombay. He was the first Chief Minister of Gujarat in 1960 and lasted till 1963. From 1963-66, he served as the Indian High Commissioner in the UK.
He died on 7 November 1978.
Read More: 29 August in Indian and World History