New Delhi, Feb 7 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today said that Babu Jagjivan Ram's legacy of struggle and service to the nation would continue to inspire all Indians for generations to come.
Speaking at the Babu Jagjivan Ram Centenary Seminar on Agriculture Revolutions, Inclusive Growth and State Policies here, Dr. Singh said: "His life of intense struggle, great service and sacrifice will continue to guide all those who suffer deprivation and discrimination."
Dr. Singh also said Babuji's lasting message of social equality is of critical significance for our times marked by impressive progress in the economic field.
"By combining his social vision with our approach to nation building, we can make our growth processes more inclusive as they must be if they are to meet the aspirations of our people," he added.
Coming from an extremely deprived background from a region known for its caste consciousness, Dr. Singh said, "He showed tremendous determination, tenacity and the will to succeed. His spectacular achievements testify to his merit, hard struggle and exceptional courage. Inspite of the social exclusion he suffered, he demonstrated an iron will in fighting against injustice of all kinds."
While striving for social reform and abolition of untouchability, Dr. Singh stressed on both empowerment of Dalits and a change in the heart among others in the social order.
"It was demonstrative of an approach which Mahatma Gandhi stressed. He described casteism as a dangerous evil and fervently pleaded for a revolutionary change to put an end to this age old malady. His life was a living example of a long struggle for establishing a casteless society in our country," he said.
Apart from being a great agent of social change, he said Babuji was an administrator par excellence.
"The many portfolios he handled for three decades as a Minister in the Union Cabinet demonstrate his administrative calibre, efficiency and sound sense of judgement and leadership. Many of our progressive legislations safeguarding the interests of labour are a result of his initiatives as our Labour Minister," he said.
Dr. Singh also said that he made history as the Defence Minister of our country, providing remarkable leadership to our armed forces in the Bangladesh war in 1971.
Stressing on the need to understand the role played by visionary leadership in making a difference to agricultural sector, he said that it was during his tenure as the Agriculture Minister that the country achieved self-sufficiency in food grain production.
"It is indeed apt that, today, as we discuss the challenges confronting our agricultural sector, we once again reflect on the leadership provided by Babuji at a time of grave crisis in an earlier era," he said.
Mahatma Gandhi once referred to Babuji and wrote "My heart goes out in respectful admiration to Jagjivan Ram for his having emerged as the purest gold out of fire".