4 July: Remembering Gulzarilal Nanda on his Birth Anniversary

OV Digital Desk
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Gulzarilal Nanda (4 July 1898 – 15 January 1998), an Indian politician and economist.

Early Life and Career

Gulzarilal Nanda was born on 4 July 1898, in Punjab, India. During his early years, he lived in Lahore, Amritsar, Agra, and Allahabad.

Nanda started his career at Allahabad University as a research scholar. From 1920 to 1921, he worked there. In addition to his academic career, Nanda was involved in the freedom struggle movement. He followed Mahatma Gandhi religiously.

In 1921, he became the professor of economics at the National College in Bombay. He couldn’t resist joining the Non-Cooperation Movement against the British during the freedom struggle.

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He joined the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association and served as secretary from 1922 until 1946. He was jailed twice in between, once in 1932 for Satyagraha and then in 1942 for two years.

In 1937, he was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly, where he served for two years as Parliamentary Secretary for Labor and Excise. In this profile, he worked hard for the city’s advancement and progress.

From 1946 to 1950, he worked as the Labour Minister of the Bombay Government. he did a lot of important things during his time as Labour Minister. Aside from working for the Labour Disputes Bill in the state assembly, he was a trustee of the Kasturba Memorial Trust, secretary of the Hindustan MazdoorSevakSangh (Indian Labor Welfare Organization), and Bombay Housing Board chairman.

He joined the National Planning Committee. He helped organize the Indian National Trade Union Congress and became its president.

In 1947, as Labor Minister of India, he represented India at the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. He also worked on The Freedom of Association Committee, which held conferences across Europe including Sweden, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the UK. He studied foreign workers and housing conditions during the Committee conference.

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During his time in government, Nanda held several cabinet positions. He was named planning minister in 1951, and a year later, he won a seat in the Lok Sabha (legislative assembly) and got irrigation and power too. He became labor, employment, and planning minister in 1957.

During the 1959 International Labor Conference in Geneva, he once again represented India. He also visited Germany, Yugoslavia, and Austria.

He was the minister of labour and employment from 1962 to 1963 and of home affairs from 1963 to 1966

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When Nanda was Minister of Home Affairs, Jawaharlal Nehru died. He served as interim prime minister for 13 days before Lal Bahadur Shastri was elected as the next prime minister.

Nanda became the interim Prime Minister of India again in 1966 when Lal Bahadur Shastri died. Yet again, he held the position for thirteen days before Indira Gandhi took over.

Later, he was railways minister (1970-71).


In 1997, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.


He died on 15 January 1998, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

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