Former PM Gulzarilal Nanda dead
Former prime minister Gulzarilal Nanda died in Ahmedabad on Thursday evening at his daughter Dr Pushpaben Naik's home after a prolonged illness.
Nanda was bedridden for most of the last year and his health deteriorated during the last two days, Dr Naik said.
Nanda was born on July 4, 1898 at Badoki Gosai, Gujranwala, now in Pakistan. After securing a master's degree, he became a professor at the National College, Bombay. In 1921, he met Mahatma Gandhi, who persuaded him to make Gujarat his home.
He then joined the non-cooperation movement and played an instrumental role in trade union activities, a fact acknowledged by the International Labour Organisation. He became secretary of the National Textile Association in 1922 and founded the Majoor Mahajan, a labour organisation especially for textile mill workers. He was also secretary of the Hindustan Mazdoor Seva Sangh from 1946 to 1948.
Nanda was the labour and housing minister in the Bombay government between 1937 and 1939, playing an important role in organising the Indian Trade Union Congress in May 1947. He later also founded the Bharat Sevak Samaj and the Bharat Sadhu Samaj.
In 1950, and again in 1952, he was appointed the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
From 1952 to 1964, he was a minister in the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet, holding various portfolios. He became acting prime minister when Nehru died on May 27, 1964, holding the post till June 11, when Lal Bahadur Shastri took over the premiership.
He became the home minister in the Shastri Cabinet, and became acting prime minister again following Shastri's death in Tashkent on January 11, 1966. He became part of the next Cabinet, headed by Indira Gandhi, that took office on January 24.
When the Congress broke up in 1969, Nanda chose not to join the group of S Nijalingappa and stayed with Indira Gandhi.
In 1971, when Indira Gandhi returned to power with a huge majority, he retired from politics, saying he found himself "out of tune" with the changed circumstances, and took to social and religious work. In later years, he guided the activities of the Navjeevan Sangh and the Manav Dharm mission, two organisations founded by him.
What set Nanda apart from almost all the freedom fighters who held high offices in independent India was his complete freedom from material desire.
He had no source of income and would not accept money from his children or from well-wishers. He had to be forced to sign an application for the freedom fighters pension of Rs 500 per month.
Nanda was ousted from the ashram and dairy farm he had nurtured in Kaithal in Haryana by people he trusted. In Delhi, he turned down offers by successive prime ministers and the administration for a house where he could live and work peacefully.
He stayed in a rented house in New Delhi's Defence Colony till some years ago. He was evicted from there because he could not pay the rent. Nanda then moved to Ahmedabad where he stayed with his
The last Gandhian was 99 years, six months and 11 days old when he breathed his last
at 1600 hours on Thursday.
Last of the Gandhians
'Nothing can be got done in this country without paying a bribe'
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