Sunday, April 4, 2021
RAI SAHEB G.T MESHRAM (1895-1953)
RAI SAHEB G.T MESHRAM (1895-1953) (Let us Salute to the memory of this Dalit icon on his 67th Mahaprinirvan falling April,2021) By: Er.H.R.Phonsa Shri Gobindrao Meshram was son of a Mahar Shri Tukaram Meshram who was a soda factory worker at Nagpur. Shri Gobindrao Meshram was born on 30 thSeptember 1895 at Indore, Nagpur. Indore is the commercial capital city of central India and is 190 km west of the Madhya Pradesh state capital Bhopal. Earlier Indore along with Nagpur was part of the Central Province. However, after reorganization of the state in 1956, Indore became part of MP and Nagpur of Maharashtra. Shri Gobindrao Meshram married Smt. Sarubai and had one son and two daughters. Shri Gobindrao T. Meshram passed the Matriculation examination in 19RAI SAHEB G.T MESHRAM (1895-1953)15 from the Roman Catholic High School of Nagpur. After matriculation, he joined the Indian Army for some time and soon resigned. On leaving Army, he became member of the Nagpur municipality. He met Dr. Ambedkar, who convinced Meshram G.T. by his philosophy of Dalit empowerment. Dr. Ambedkar was sure enough that the Caste Hindus were not prepared to recognize the human rights of the Dalits. Therefore at Yeola on 1 3th October 1935 Dr. Ambedkar had decided to leave Hinduism and embrace some other religion .This announcement was made by Baba Saheb when over 10,000 Dalits were present at Yeola. Shri GT Meshram strongly supported his mentor .A great Dalit leader Shri L. N. Hardas, member ILP, passed away on 12th January 193 9, who was a member of the CP and Berar Legislative Assembly from Kamathi Nagpur reserved seat. Therefore this reserved seat fell vacant and Shri G.T. Meshram was nominated by the ILP party to contest this seat in the election held in February 1939. Despite the fact that ILP formed won 14 seats in the elections held in 1937, it failed to align all Untouchables behind it as many of them were more interested in their good prospects of short cuts. So it was decided to launch a new political party. A meeting was arranged on18th, 19th and 20thJuly 1942 at Nagpur. Shri G.T Meshram was elected as Chairman of the reception committee. In this conference the All India Scheduled Castes Federation, the first national level political organization of the Dalits, was formed at the initiative of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar . Shri Rai Bahadur N. Shivraj was elected as its president. Also the state branches of SCF were formed on 2nd January 1943 and Shri G.T. Meshram was elected as its president for his area. Shri Meshram had gained nearness to Dr. Ambedkar when he was the labour member in the Viceroy's Executive Council (July 1942-july1946). Dr. Ambedkar proposed Sh. Meshram to join the Government of India service as an estate officer. Shri Meshram agreed and joined as an estate officer and rendered commendable service. For his excellent service the Governor-General of India gave Shri Meshram the honorary title of Rai Saheb. Shri Meshram retired as estate officer in the year 1951. He remained closed associated with Dr. Ambedkar in his activities to educate Dalits in particular and public in general. Dr. Ambedkar launched the Peoples Education Society Bombay on 8th July 1945. Shri G .T. Meshram was among of the founding members and trustee of the People's Education Society Bombay. This society founded the Siddharth College of Bombay. Currently it runs 12 University affiliated colleges, 6 of which are affiliated to the University of Mumbai, 5 to the Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Karnataka University and one to University of Pune imparting University Education to as many as more than 30,000 students of whom over 15,000 belong to the under privileged classes. When Dr. Ambedkar decided to open the Milind College at Aurangabad in 1953, Shri Meshram was made the registrar of the college. Dr. Ambedkar stayed in July-August 1953 at Aurangabad to oversee the construction of the college. It was due to the efficient management of Shri Meshram that the magnificent college building was constructed in a record time. During the first general elections Shri Meshram unsuccessfully contested from Nanded constituency as SCF candidate. Shri Meshram, who was an untiring devotee to the public cause and was bestowed with excellent organizing capability, breathed his last on April 1953 at the age of 57 at Aurangabad. He shall be long remembered in the history of Dalit liberation struggle.