|Minister of Agriculture, India|
27 December 1898|
Papal, Amravati, Vidarbha, India
|Died||10 April 1965
Panjabrao Shamrao Deshmukh (Marathi:पंजाबराव शामराव देशमुख )(27 December 1898 – 10 April 1965) famously known as Bhausaheb Deshmukh was a social activist and a farmer's leader in India. He was the Minister of Agriculture in the first cabinet of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952.
Birth and childhood
He was born in a agriculture family at Papal in Amravati district of Vidarbha, Maharashtra on 27 December 1898. His childhood days were spent happily at Papal. His Father name was Shamrao and mothername was Radhabai. His original surname was "Kadam". After completing his primary education at home, he was sent to Songaon at first and then to Karanja Lad. He got his highschool education at Karanja lad up to ninth standard. Then he took admission in Hind Highschool, Amravati. After that he went to Fergusson College at Pune.
In those times there were no facilities of higher education in India. Many Students used to go to England for further education. So he also wanted to be a Barrister from Cambridge University. Despite too much poverty at home, he managed to make money to go to England. He took barrister degree in 1921. He also took M.A. honours in Sanskrit and done Ph.D. with the subject Origin and development of religion in vedic literature.
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He was attached with Satya Shodhak Samaj of Mahatma Phule. He did satyagraha for entry to untouchables in Ambabai Temple, Amravati, which was a very strongly condemned by the upper castes. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar supported him in this movement. As a human being no one have power to refuse workship of god. Acting on this basis of human being he started his movement. Finally management of temple allowed untouchable to enter the temple of Ambadevi. "Charity always begins from home" is good phrase but everyone must follows it. Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh also started equality movement from his home. After death of father his mother asked him to conduct traditional activity "Shradhha" with Brahmins. He brings untouchables students from his school hostel to home and his mother treated them as Brahmins.
His marriage ceremony was simple and held in Mumbai with only seven friends and relatives.After marriage ceremony when he reached to Amravati, his friends convinced him to give them a party.He conducted small dinner party for them. All friends participated in the dinner party and enjoyed meal. Meal was served by some white dressed youngers.After dinner all friends wished Bhausaheb for serving good meal to them. Bhausaheb replied that younger’s who serving them food are untouchables and they are responsible for making good meal. All friends were surprised to listen him.So many such events were conducted by Dr. Deshmukh to remove untouchability from our society.
Deshmukh knew that prosperity would come only when the weapon of knowledge became available to all. For this purpose in 1931 he established Shivaji Education Society at Amravati. Today this education society is at second in Maharashtra. This society has 24 degree colleges, 54 intermediate colleges, 75 high schools and 35 hostels. There is an Agricultural university by his name at Akola, i.e. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth. He was a well known educationalist who well cemented the foundation of education in not only in Vidarbha but throughout the Maharashtra region.
He was elected thrice for the Loksabha. Dr. Deshmukh was selected by Nehru as the first agriculture minister of India. He played an important role in the making of the Indian Constitution. He was a staunch supporter of the mission by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was the secretary for Vidarbha region of the Independent labour Party, established by Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Leader of peasants
He dedicated all his talents and energy for the formulation and implementation of the policies that would bring prosperity to agriculture and the agriculturist. He established the Bharat Krishak Samaj and launched a campaign called Food for Millions in 1955. He introduced the Japanese method of rice cultivation in 1958 and organized the World Agriculture Fair in 1959, which was inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad and chief guest of fair was Dwight Eisenhower, the President of the US. The fair was visited by dignitaries across the world, some of them being Nikita Khrushchev, the then president of USSR, Lord and Lady MountBatten and many others. He was the only man of India who brought international leaders in India.
He started the process of establishment of Agricultural Universities all across the country and gave fillip to agricultural education and research.