Remembering Dr. Balram Jakhar
Congress leader Balram Jakhar in his office. | Image Source: https://indianexpress.com/R K Sharma
Dr. Balram Jakhar (23 August 1923 – 3 February 2016) was an Indian politician, who served as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Governor of Madhya Pradesh. He was also the longest-serving Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Early life and Education
Jakhar was born on 23 August 1923 to a Hindu family in Punjab. His parents were Chaudhari Rajaram Jakhar and Patodevi Jakhar. His elder son, Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, is a former Punjab minister, and his youngest son, Sunil Jakhar, is a three-time MLA from Abohar who became Leader of the Opposition in Punjab in March 2012 and a member of Parliament from Gurdaspur and is president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
Jakhar got a degree in Sanskrit from Forman Christian College, Lahore, in 1945. He spoke English, Punjabi, Urdu, Sanskrit, and Hindi.
Janakhar was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1972 and re-elected in 1977, becoming the Leader of the Opposition.
He was elected to the seventh Lok Sabha from Ferozepur in 1980, and he was re-elected to the eighth Lok Sabha from Sikar in 1984. From 1980 to 1989, he served twice as Speaker of the Lok Sabha, a rare feat in Indian parliament history, and became the longest speaker of the Lok Sabha (lower house of the Indian Parliament).
In his role as Speaker of the Lok Sabha, he helped automate and computerize Parliamentary work. He promoted Parliament library, reference, research, documentation, and information services for members. He also started the Parliament Museum. He was the first Asian elected to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Executive Forum.
He became the Central Agriculture minister in 1991 in INC govt headed by P. V. Narasimha Rao.
Between 30 June 2004 and 30 May 2009, he was governor of Madhya Pradesh.
Award and legacy
He had numerous contributions and legacy for society. He was the first Asian as head of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Forum in 1984. Also, he was the Chairman of the 3rd world Hindi conference. He also authored numerous books. “People, parliament, and administration” on contemporary Indian polity are one of them.
He served twice as Speaker of the Lok Sabha, a rare feat in Indian parliament history
He died in Delhi on 3 February 2016 at an age of 92.