J. B. Kripalani

Last updated

Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani
Acharya Kripalani 1989 stamp of India.jpg
Kripalani on a 1989 stamp of India
Born(1888-11-11)11 November 1888
Died19 March 1982(1982-03-19) (aged 93)
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress,
Praja Socialist Party
Movement Indian Independence Movement
Spouse(s) Sucheta Kripalani

Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani (11 November 1888 – 19 March 1982), popularly known as Acharya Kripalani, was an Indian politician, noted particularly for holding the presidency of the Indian National Congress during the transfer of power in 1947 and the husband of Sucheta Kripalani. Kripalani was a Gandhian socialist, environmentalist, mystic and independence activist.


He grew close to Gandhi and at one point, he was one of Gandhi's most ardent disciples. He had served as the General Secretary of the INC for almost a decade. He had experience working in the field of education and was made the president to rebuild the INC. Disputes between the party and the Government over procedural matters affected his relationship with the colleagues in the Government. Kripalani was a familiar figure to generations of dissenters, from the Non-Cooperation Movements of the 1920s to the Emergency of the 1970s.

Early life

Jivatram (also spelled Jiwatram) Bhagwandas Kripalani was born in Hyderabad in Sindh in 1888. Following his education at Fergusson College in Pune, he worked as a schoolteacher before joining the freedom movement in the wake of Gandhi's return from South Africa. From 1912 to 1917 Kripalani worked as a lecturer of English and history at L.S. College (then known as Grier BB College), Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Kripalani was involved in the Non-Cooperation Movement of the early 1920s. He worked in Gandhi's ashrams in Gujarat and Maharashtra on tasks of social reform and education, and later left for Bihar and the United Provinces in northern India to teach and organise new ashrams. He was court arrested on numerous occasions during the Civil Disobedience movements and smaller occasions of organising protests and publishing seditious material against the British raj.

Congress leader

Kripalani joined the All India Congress Committee and became its general secretary in 1928–29.

Kripalani was prominently involved over a decade in top Congress party affairs, and in the organisation of the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India Movement. Kripalani served in the interim government of India (1946–1947) and the Constituent Assembly of India. During this time he rejected the proposal of United Bengal from Abul Hashim and Sarat Bose and called for the division of Bengal and the Punjab. [1] [2]

He had served as the General Secretary of the INC for almost a decade. He had experience working in the field of education and was made the president to rebuild the INC. Disputes between the party and the Government over procedural matters affected his relationship with the colleagues in the Government. [3]

As Congress President and the election of 1950

In spite of being ideologically at odds with both Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru – he was elected Congress President for the crucial years around Indian independence in 1947. After Gandhi's assassination in January 1948, Nehru rejected his demand that the party's views should be sought in all decisions. Nehru, with the support of Patel, told Kripalani that while the party was entitled to lay down the broad principles and guidelines, it could not be granted a say in the government's day-to-day affairs. This precedent became central to the relationship between government and the ruling party in subsequent decades.

Nehru, however, supported Kripalani in the election of the Congress President in 1950. Kripalani, supported by Nehru, was defeated by Patel's candidate Purushottam Das Tandon. Bruised by his defeat, and disillusioned by what he viewed as the abandonment of the Gandhian ideal of a countless village republics, Kripalani left the Congress and became one of the founders of the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party. This party subsequently merged with the Socialist Party of India to form the Praja Socialist Party.

For a while it was even believed that Nehru, stung by the defeat, was considering abandoning the Congress as well; his several offers of resignation at the time were all, however, shouted down.[ citation needed ] A great many of the more progressive elements of the party left in the months following the election. Congress's subsequent bias to the right was only balanced when Nehru obtained the resignation of Tandon in the run-up to the general elections of 1951.

1961 Candidacy

In October 1961, Kripalani contested the Lok Sabha seat of V.K. Krishna Menon, then serving as Minister of Defence, in a race that would come to attract extraordinary amounts of attention. The Sunday Standard observed of it that "no political campaign in India has ever been so bitter or so remarkable for the nuances it produced". Kripalani, who had previously endorsed Menon's foreign policy, devoted himself to attacking his vituperative opponent's personality, but ultimately lost the race, with Menon winning in a landslide.

Socialist Party

Kripalani remained in opposition for the rest of his life and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952, 1957, 1963, and 1967 as a member of the Praja Socialist Party. His wife since 1938, Sucheta Kripalani, remained in Congress and went from strength to strength in the Congress Party, with several Central ministries; she was also the first female Chief Minister, in Uttar Pradesh.

The Kripalanis were frequently at loggerheads in Parliament.

One matter they agreed on was the undesirability of vast parts of the Hindu Marriage Act, particularly the controversial 'Restitution of Conjugal Rights' clause. By this clause, a partner who had survived an unsuccessful filing for divorce could move the courts to return to the status quo ante in terms of conjugal interaction. Kripalani, horrified, made one of his most memorable speeches, saying "this provision is physically undesirable, morally unwanted and aesthetically disgusting."[ citation needed ]

Kripalani was also concerned with the privilege of parliament over the press. During Nehru's premiership, the Lok Sabha called the Chief Editor of the weekly Blitz , the well-known Russi Karanjia to the bar and admonished him for "denigration and defamation of a member of parliament" for calling Kripalani, "Cripple-loony". This was despite Karanjia's closeness to and Kripalani's estrangement from, Nehru.

Kripalani moved the first-ever No confidence motion on the floor of the Lok Sabha in August 1963, immediately after the disastrous India-China War.

Later life

Kripalani remained a critic of Nehru's policies and administration while working for social and environmental causes.

While remaining active in electoral politics, Kripalani gradually became more of a spiritual leader of the socialists than anything else; in particular, he was generally considered to be, along with Vinoba Bhave, the leader of what remained of the Gandhian faction. He was active, along with Bhave, in preservation and conservation activities throughout the 1970s.

In 1972-3, he agitated against the increasingly authoritarian rule of Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India. Kripalani and Jayaprakash Narayan felt that Gandhi's rule had become dictatorial and anti-democratic. Her conviction on charges of using government machinery for her election campaign galvanised her political opposition and public disenchantment against her policies. Along with Narayan and Lohia, Kripalani toured the country urging non-violent protest and civil disobedience. When the Emergency was declared as a result of the vocal dissent he helped stir up, the octogenarian Kripalani was among the first of the Opposition leaders to be arrested on the night of 26 June 1975. He lived long enough to survive the Emergency and see the first non-Congress government since Independence following the Janata Party victory in the 1977 polls.

He died on 19 March 1982 at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, [4] at the age of 93.

In the 1982 film Gandhi by Richard Attenborough, J.B. Kripalani was played by Indian actor Anang Desai.

His autobiography My Times was released 22 years after his death by Rupa publishers in 2004. In the book, he accused his fellow members of Congress (except Ram Manohar Lohia, Mahatma Gandhi, and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan) of "moral cowardice" for accepting or submitting to plan to partition India.

A stamp was issued on 11 November 1989 by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate the 101st anniversary of his birth. [5]


Acharya Kripalani was born on the same day as Maulana Azad, who also was a prominent freedom fighter. Kripalani succeeded the latter as the President of the Indian National Congress at the Meerut session in 1946.

See also


Related Research Articles

Indian National Congress Political party in India

The Indian National Congress is a political party in India with widespread roots. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.

Charan Singh Fifth Prime Minister of India

Chaudhary Charan Singh served as the 5th Prime Minister of India between 28 July 1979 and 14 January 1980. Historians and people alike frequently refer to him as the 'champion of India's peasants.'

Janata Party Indian political party

The Janata Party was an amalgam of Indian political parties opposed to the Emergency that was imposed between 1975 to 1977 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of the Indian National Congress. In the 1977 general election, the party defeated the Congress and Janata leader Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress prime minister in independent modern India's history.

Socialist Party has been the name of several political parties in India, all of which have their roots in the Congress Socialist Party during the freedom struggle.

Congress Socialist Party Indian political party

The Congress Socialist Party (CSP) was a socialist caucus within the Indian National Congress. It was founded in 1934 by Congress members who rejected what they saw as the anti-rational mysticism of Gandhi as well as the sectarian attitude of the Communist Party of India towards the Congress. Influenced by Fabianism as well as Marxism-Leninism, the CSP included advocates of armed struggle or sabotage (such as Yusuf Meherally, Jai Prakash Narayan, and Basawon Singh as well as those who insisted upon ahimsa or nonviolent resistance. The CSP advocated decentralized socialism in which co-operatives, trade unions, independent farmers, and local authorities would hold a substantial share of the economic power.

Praja Socialist Party Indian political party

The Praja Socialist Party (PSP) was an Indian political party. It was founded when the Socialist Party, led by Jayprakash Narayan, Acharya Narendra Deva and Basawon Singh (Sinha), merged with the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party led by J.B. Kripalani.

Ram Manohar Lohia Indian politician

Ram Manohar Lohiapronunciation , was an activist in the Indian independence movement and a socialist political leader. During the last phase of British rule in India, he worked with the Congress Radio which was broadcast secretly from various places in Bombay until 1942. Lohia lost to Nehru in 1962 general election, but entered Lok Sabha in 1963 by winning a by-poll.

Edatata Narayanan (1907–1978) was a journalist and a freedom fighter from India. He took part in the freedom struggle through the Congress Socialist Party, a caucus within the Congress Party for activists with socialist leanings. He was among those who were disillusioned with the progress of Congress party on socialism and formed a new party, Socialist Party in 1948. He however left that party along with Aruna Asaf Ali and they visited Moscow along with Rajani Palme Dutt. Both of them joined the Communist Party of India (CPI) before Joseph Stalin's death but left the party in 1956 following Nikita Khrushchev's disowning of Stalin. Edatata Narayanan started a daily newspaper, Patriot (1963)° as the Chief Editor and was also associated with a weekly, Link in 1958 along with Aruna Asaf Ali. The publications became prestigious due to patronage of leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Krishna Menon and Biju Patnaik. When Edatata Narayanan wanted to make some editorial changes amidst reported opposition from the editorial staff, he told them in no uncertain terms that he belonged to the school of journalism where the editor's view is final. He brought Patriot into the spotlight by publishing the income tax returns of top industrialists in it and thus, bringing the information into public domain. He pursued a pro-CPI and pro-Left editorial policy - Indira Gandhi, a good friend and later the Prime Minister of India herself was pro-left. The publications and the associated publishing house were successful. The relationship between him and Aruna Asaf Ali was controversial as they were believed to be living together, despite no formal marriage. He wrote a book titled Praja Socialism: Monopoly's Pawn on the merger of the Socialist Party with the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party.

Indian nationalism

Indian nationalism developed as a concept during the Indian independence movement fought against the colonial British Raj. Indian nationalism is an instance of territorial nationalism, inclusive of all its people, despite their diverse ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. It continues to strongly influence the politics of India and reflects an opposition to the sectarian strands of Hindu nationalism and Muslim nationalism.

History of the Indian National Congress considered to be the largest and most prominent Indian public organization and central and defining influence of the Indian Independence Movement

From its foundation on 28 December 1885 by A.O. Hume, a retired British officer, until the time India gained its independence on 15 August 1947, the Indian National Congress(Organization) was considered to be the largest and most prominent Indian public organization, as well as the central and defining influence of the long Indian Independence Movement.

Ashok Mehta was an Indian freedom fighter and socialist politician. He helped organize the socialist wing Congress Socialist Party of the Indian National Congress, along with Rambriksh Benipuri, Jaya Prakash Narayan, and was heavily involved in the politics and government of the city of Bombay.

Sucheta Kripalani Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Indias first woman Chief Minister

Sucheta Kripalani, সুচেতা কৃপালনী (মজুমদার) was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. She was India's first woman Chief Minister, serving as the head of the Uttar Pradesh government from 1963 to 1967.

Raj Narain Indian politician

Raj Narain was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. He won in a famous electoral malpractice case against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which led to her disqualification and imposition of Emergency in India in 1975. He defeated Indira Gandhi during the 1977 Lok Sabha elections.

Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith public university located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith is a public university located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Established in 1921 as Kashi Vidyapith and later renamed, it is administered under the state legislature of the government of Uttar Pradesh. The university has more than 400+ affiliated colleges spread over six districts. It is one of the largest state universities in Uttar Pradesh, with hundreds of thousands of students, both rural and urban. It offers a range of professional and academic courses in Art's, Agriculture science, science,commerce, law, computing and management.

1951–52 Indian general election

The Indian general election of 1951–52, held from 25 October 1951 to 21 February 1952, was the first election to the Lok Sabha since India became independent in August 1947. It was conducted under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, which was adopted on 26 November 1949. Elections to most of the state legislatures took place simultaneously.

The Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party was a political party of India. Established in 1951, it merged with the Socialist Party to form the Praja Socialist Party in the following year.

Mani Ram Bagri Indian politician

Ch. Mani Ram Bagri was an Indian parliamentarian and political activist. He served three terms in the Indian Parliament, first from 1962 to 1967, and then again from 1977 to 1984. He belonged to the league of parliamentary opposition socialists like Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan.

Hasubhai Zinzuwadia was an Indian cricketer. He was a right-handed batsman and right-arm offbreak bowler who played for Gujarat. He was born in Ahmedabad.

Chandra Shekhar Eighth Prime Minister of India

Chandra Shekhar Singh was an Indian politician who served as the eighth Prime Minister of India, between 10 November 1990 and 21 June 1991. He headed a minority government of a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal with outside support from the Indian National Congress as a stop gap arrangement to delay elections. He is the first Indian Prime Minister who has never held any Government office. His government was largely seen as a "puppet" and "lame duck" and the government was formed with the fewest party MPs in the Lok Sabha. His government could not pass the budget at a crucial time when Moody had downgraded India and it further went down after the budget was not passed and global credit-rating agencies further downgraded India from investment grade making it impossible to even get short-term loans and in no position to give any commitment to reform, the World Bank and IMF stopped their assistance. Chandrasekhar had to authorise mortgaging of gold to avoid default of payment and this action came in for particular criticism as it was done secretly in the midst of the election. The Indian economic crisis, 1991, and the Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi plunged his government into crisis.

Renu Chakravartty was a communist party activist, noted parliamentarian and educationist.


  1. Kabir, Nurul (1 September 2013). "Colonialism, politics of language and partition of Bengal PART XVI". The New Age. The New Age. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  2. Bose, Sugata (1987). Agrarian Bengal: Economy, Social Structure and Politics: 1919–1947. Hyderabad: Cambridge University Press, First Indian Edition in association with Orient Longman. pp. 230–231.
  3. Kochanek, Stanley A. (2015). The Congress Party of India: The Dynamics of a One-Party Democracy. Princeton University Press. ISBN   978-1-4008-7576-4 . Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  4. Bhavana Nair and Sudha Sanjeev, ed. (1999). "J.B. Kripalani". Remembering Our Leaders. Vol. 9. Children Book Trust. ISBN   81-7011-842-5.
  5. "J. B. Kripalani". Indianpost.com. 19 March 1982. Retrieved 21 January 2012.