Thursday, August 18, 2022
Morarji Desai (1977-1979)

"Life at any time can become difficult: life at any time can become easy. It all depends upon how one adjusts oneself to life. " (Morarji Desai)

Morarji Desai , known for his quirky behaviour was the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India.

Hailing from an orthodox Brahmin family from Bhadeli, Gujarat, Morarji Desai is known as one the foremost freedom fighters of India. In 1918, after graduation, he joined civil service and started working as Deputy collector. Later in 1930, he left the job and started to participate actively in independence movement initiated by Indian National Congress. He was imprisoned several times as part of Quit India Movement and Mahatma Gandhi's Civil Disobedience Campaign. In 1946, he became Bombay's Revenue Minister and later, Home Minister and Chief Minister (1952). In the following years of his political tenure with the Congress, Morarji Desai occupied several positions such as Union Minister, Deputy Prime minister and Finance Minister.

In 1969, Congress Split  and Morarji gave his vote for Congress (O) and was re-elected into Parliament in 1971. He was arrested in 1975 for his political activities by Indira Gandhi government during Emergency rule and detained in solitary confinement until 1977. During this period he joined and became active in Janata Party. The same year Desai was selected as the parliamentary leader of Janata Party and was elected in sixth Lok Sabha election thereby becoming the fourth Prime Minister of India.

Desai is notable for his peace activism where he took efforts to initiate peace between South Asian States, Pakistan and India. Shri Desai holds the credible distinction of being the only Indian to receive the highest civilian awards from both India and Pakistan. He was Honored with Bharat Ratna from India and Nishaan -e- Pakistan from Pakistan. In 1979, Desai resigned from Janata Party and took retirement from Politics at the age of 83. He was a naturalist and a strict follower of Mahatma Gandhi's principles till his death in 1995 at the age of 99.

(Updated on 3/6/2014)