Morarji Desai made unmatched contributions to the liberation movement and thereafter as a politician. From his beginnings as a civil servant under the British regime to his active participation in the freedom struggle and later assuming various positions under various administrations to finally chairing the responsibility of the country’s Prime Minister, his political ambitions have scaled upwards throughout. His deeply ingrained values of diligence, tenacity, and honesty served him well in the various tasks he assumed. Desai’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of the country’s people won him a widespread reputation among his countrymen. While he served in a variety of capacities, his contribution during his premiership is perhaps the most well-known. Desai is the first Indian who have received Pakistan’s highest civilian honor, the Nishan-E-Pakistan, for his ceaseless efforts to bring two opposing countries together. To learn more about his life and career, continue reading the next lines.
Childhood & Adolescence
Morarji Desai was born on February 29, 1896, in Bhadeli, Valsad, Bombay Presidency, into an orthodox Anavil Brahmin family. Morarji acquired the virtues of hard work and honesty from his teacher father.
He attended Saurashtra’s Kundla School and Bai Ava Bai High School for his early education. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Mumbai’s Wilson College.
Morarji Desai’s Career
After completing his schooling, he joined the civil service and was appointed Deputy Collector in 1918, a position he held for 12 years until 1930 when he resigned after being found guilty of being lenient toward Hindus during the 1927–28 riots.
He abandoned his governmental duties after losing faith in the British administration and joined Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle, becoming a member of the latter’s Civil Disobedience Movement.
He joined the All India Congress Committee in 1931 and served as the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee’s Secretary until 1937.
He served as the Bombay Presidency’s Minister of Revenue, Agriculture, Forests, and Cooperatives during the 1937 provincial elections. This, however, was short-lived, as the Congress ministries resigned in 1939, revolting against India’s unpopular involvement in World War II.
He was imprisoned three times during his involvement in the Indian Independence Movement and developed a reputation among freedom fighters and Indian National Congress leaders as a vibrant man with powerful leadership qualities.
In 1946, upon India’s independence, he was appointed Minister of Home and Revenue in Bombay. During his tenure as a minister, he instituted revolutionary land reforms and healed the divide between the police and the populace by making the former more attentive to the need to preserve the public’s life and property.
He ascended the political ladder to become the Chief Minister of Bombay in 1952 as a result of his unflinching sense of truth and honesty. He developed a reputation as a ruthless and successful administrator.
Meanwhile, it was during his reign that the Gujarati-speaking population demanded a separate state in terms of language from the Marathi-speaking people. He was a devout nationalist who opposed the state being divided along linguistic lines, but the previous Bombay state was eventually reorganized as the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
He relocated to New Delhi in 1956 and was appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry in Jawaharlal Nehru’s government. He was appointed Finance Minister in 1958.
After Nehru’s death, his growing popularity made him a strong candidate for the office of Prime Minister, but he lost the contest to Lal Bahadur Shastri, who appointed him Chairman of the Administrative Reform Commission.
Shastri’s untimely death in 1966 presented him with another opportunity to become Prime Minister. He was, however, defeated once again, this time by Indira Gandhi in the Congress party leadership elections.
In 1966, when Indira Gandhi created her administration, he served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in her cabinet. However, when Gandhi assumed control of the finance portfolio and made financial choices without consulting him, he was angered and resigned from Gandhi’s government in 1969.
Following the Indian National Congress’s split, he aligned himself with the Indian National Congress (organization) group in opposition to Indira Gandhi’s (Ruling) faction. He was a pivotal figure as an opposition leader.
Was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1971. He embarked on an indefinite hunger strike four years later in favor of the Nav Nirman movement. He was, however, imprisoned alongside other opposition leaders following the subsequent imposition of Emergency Rule.
In 1977, immediately following his release, he worked tirelessly, canvassing the country for the impending parliamentary elections. He became the legislative leader and prime ministerial candidate for the Janata Party.
He became India’s first non-Congress Prime Minister following his Janata Party’s landslide victory in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections. He was sworn in as the country’s fifth Prime Minister on March 24, 1977.
Throughout his premiership, he worked tirelessly to enhance Pakistan’s and China’s international diplomatic relations.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, he repealed Emergency-era laws and revised the Indian Constitution to make the establishment of a National Emergency nearly unthinkable for any future government.
Internal struggle and conflict defined a large portion of the Janata Party’s administration. As a result, there was considerable personal tension within the cabinet, which sparked significant controversy.
He was compelled to resign from the Prime Ministership in 1979 following Raj Narain and Charan Singh’s loss of support from the Janata Party. This also marked the conclusion of his political career, as he announced his retirement. Though he campaigned for his party during the 1980 elections, he did not run.
Awards and Accomplishments
He was awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian honor, the Nishan-e-Pakistan, for his outstanding efforts in bringing the two opposing countries together. He is the only Indian national to have received admiration to date.
Personal History and Legacies
He married Gujraben in 1911. Five children were born to the couple.
Interestingly, despite coming from a politically active family, no one shared his political ambitions save for his great-grandson, Madhukeshwar Desai. Madhukeshwar Desai is the National Vice President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the BJP’s youth wing.
He settled in Mumbai after stepping down from active politics. On April 10, 1995, he exhaled his final breath, just one birthday short of a century.
As the pages of history turn, Morarji Desai’s legacy as a famous freedom warrior and prominent politician continues to live on in the hearts of every Indian. His contributions to the Indian independence war and thereafter as a politician have been extraordinary.
Desai always acted with integrity and rarely wavered from his ideals, even in the most challenging circumstances. He is credited with developing the view that the law of the country supersedes all administrative positions and is paramount.
Estimated Net worth
Morarji is a wealthy World Leader who is ranked among the most popular World Leaders. Morarji Desai’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
Few people are aware that Morarji Desai practiced urine therapy. He preached the benefits of drinking pee and insisted that it was the ideal medical treatment for a variety of diseases. As a result, he was mocked by a large number of people both domestically and internationally.