Lakshmi Chand Jain
Lakshmi Chand Jain
|Born||13 December 1925|
Bahadurpur, Rajasthan, India
|Died||14 November 2010 (aged 84)|
New Delhi, India
|Other names||L.C. Jain|
|Occupation||freedom fighter, cooperative leader|
|Known for||Gandhian, freedom fighter, former bureaucrat and 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award winner|
Lakshmi Chand Jain (1925–2010) was a Gandhian activist and writer. In his youth, he participated briefly in the Indian freedom movement. Later, he served at various times as a member of the Planning Commission, as Indian High commissioner to South Africa, as a member of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) and as secretary of the Indian Cooperative Union and the All-India Handicrafts Board.
While yet in his youth, Jain took part in the Quit India movement (1942). During the partition of India (1947), he was put in charge of the refugee camp at Kingsway Camp in North Delhi. He helped introduce cooperative societies for farming and cottage industries into rehabilitation camps. As a volunteer organiser with the Indian Cooperative Union (ICU), he joined the rehabilitation project for refugees from Pakistan located in Faridabad, 20 km from Delhi.
Jain later helped Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay organise the Indian Cooperative Union and applied its principles to the handicrafts industry. As secretary of the All-India Handicrafts Board, he fostered decentralised production and directed training, technical services, and loans to India's struggling self-employed spinners, weavers, carpenters, and metalsmiths. He applied modern marketing techniques to promote handicrafts sales abroad and organised the Central Cottage Industries Emporium to expand the market at home. He championed artisans against mechanisation and mass production, helping millions of independent craftsmen carry on traditional livelihoods in security and pride and assured the survival of precious arts and skills.
Jain became an expert on development, applying unique organizational skills to wed theory to practice. In 1966 he led the establishment of a chain of consumer cooperative stores where those living in cities could buy food, clothing, and tools at a fair price. In 1968 he co-founded a service-oriented consulting firm. By seeking the advice of farmers and workers, Jain and his like-minded colleagues helped government, industry, and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) design modernisation projects that were relevant and effective.
Jain worked with and on a number of development agencies as well as government committees and boards, such as the United Nations' World Dam Commission As part of the ICU, he helped set up the Central Cottage Industries Emporium and Super Bazaar cooperative stores.
Jain's wife was the economist Devaki Jain; the couple had two sons and settled in Bangalore. In 1989, Jain received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, for "his informed and selfless commitment to attack India's poverty at the grass-roots level".
He was awarded the 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. In 2011, he was chosen posthumously for the second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan by Government of India, but the family declined to accept the award since he had been against the concept of state honours.
During his stint as the Indian High Commissioner to South Africa, the Indian Government headed by AB Vajpayee conducted nuclear tests in Pokhran. Jain was opposed to nuclear tests. It is true that LC Jain, who had been appointed by the IK Gujral government, was in fact recalled by the PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998. National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra was reportedly of the opinion that Jain had not effectively defended India's decision to conduct the Pokhran II tests, with reporters like KP Nayar arguing that Jain was against the idea and had communicated this to the South African government. Jain's memoirs, however, tell a different story. According to him, he had not expressed any opposition to the tests to the South Africans, and this perception arose mistakenly after an appearance by him on South African TV network just after the news broke. After the Pakistani High Commissioner claimed the tests were a major threat to Pakistan, Jain was asked how he, as a Gandhian (he had fought in the freedom struggle and had espoused Gandhian ideals during his subsequent work as well, winning the Magsaysay Award in 1989), reacted to the tests.
Jain replied that Gandhian or not, “nobody in the world can be comfortable with a nuclear device.” According to him, it was this statement that earned the ire of Mishra, who felt he shouldn't have said this and so asked for him to be recalled. This took place even though Jain went on to argue in the same interview why it was necessary for India to have nuclear weapons – to give Indian citizens confidence that the government could keep them safe. 
In December 2017, Rajiv Mantri made a charge against Jain calling him a certifiable traitor in one of his articles on basis of his support to South Africa's opposition to nuclear tests by India at the NAM summit, later that year. In response to this Jain's son, reporter Sreenivasan Jain sent a defamation notice to Mantri.
- "Development of Decentralized Industries in India—Progress and Perspectives." Gandhi Marg. 2, no. 6 (September 1980): 307–29.
- "Obituary: Kamaladevi." Economic and Political Weekly, 26 November 1988, 2520–21.
- "Poverty, Environment, Development: A View from Gandhi's Window." Economic and Political Weekly, 13 February 1988, 311–20.
- Power to the People: Decentralization Is a Necessity. Policy Issue no.1. Hyderabad: Academy of Gandhian Studies, 1980.
- "A tale of Two Programmes: The Mahatma's and Mrs. Gandhi's." Times of India, 26 November 1983.
- (with B. V. Krishnamurthy and P. M. Tripathi) Grass without Roots: Rural Development under Government Auspices. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1985.
- Naiptya Natak, Lakshmi Chand Jain (Hindi), biography
- Arati B. "A Crusader for Job Protection." Hindustan Times, 2 August 1989.
- Chattopadhyay, Kamaladevi. The Glory of Indian Handicrafts. New Delhi: Clavion Books, 1985.
- Indian Cooperative Union. Community Development: A Pilot Project under Non-Official Auspices. New Delhi: Indian Cooperative Union, 1961. Reprinted 1979.
- Indian Cooperative Union. Cooperative Law in India A Disquisition. New Delhi: Indian Cooperative Union, 1964.
- Industrial Development Services: A Profile. New Delhi: Industrial Development Services Private Ltd., 1986.
- Interview by James R. Rush. Tape Recording, 2 September 1989. Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Manila.
- 'Gandhi Works, Always' (Interview with Shri Lakshmi Chand Jain)
- Crossette, Barbara (19 May 1991). "INDIA'S DESCENT". New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- World Dam Commission mandate Archived 13 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 27 November 2007
- "Dam commission concludes hearings". Indian Express. 13 December 1998. Retrieved 3 April 2010.[permanent dead link]
- 'Gandhi works, always' By Ashok Gopal infochangeindia.org.
- Citation Ramon Magsaysay Award website.
- ["Gandhian's family declines Padma Vibhushan". The Times of India. 25 March 2011. "Decline"] Check
- "Sreenivasan Jain Sends Legal Notice For 'Certifiable Traitor' Slur". The Quint. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
- Biography, 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service