Rest in Peace – Inder Kumar Gujral
Originally Posted Dec 1, 2012, 10:06 AM by Jalandhari Kom
The illustrious son of Jalandhar and Punjab, the author of the celebrated Gujral Doctrine died on Friday, Nov 30th 2012 — at age 92, after a full life and a remarkable career that saw him climb inch by inch to success, from municipal-level politician to minister, diplomat, and finally Prime Minister.
In the death of Inder Kumar Gujral, Punjab has lost one of its sons who climbed the political ladder to become the first Punjabi ever to don the mantle of Prime Minister of India. It would remember him also for waiving a huge debt the State had accumulated in fighting terrorism. Though Inder Kumar Gujral was born at Jhelum in pre-Partition Punjab, but he always considered Jalandhar as his hometown. It was this city in which his father Avtar Narain Gujral and mother Pushpa Gujral settled down after Partition. He fought his first Lok Sabha elections from Jalandhar in 1989. I still remember him standing outside DAV College, Jalandhar on a small bus-stop podium asking for our votes. Gujral won on the Janata Dal ticket from Jallandhar parliamentary constituency to enter the ninth Lok Sabha and was appointed external affairs ministers in the VP Singh government. The issue he had to deal with as External Affairs Minister was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events that led to first gulf war of January 1991.
Earlier during his stint as the information and broadcasting minister, he was instrumental in the setting up of Doordarshan Kendra at Jalandhar in 1975. The Gujral family set up Nari Niketan for the welfare of needy women and abandoned children. A school in his father’s memory was also established.
Gujral again contested from the Lok Sabha seat in 1998 as the Prime Minister and won by a huge margin of more than 1.3 lakh votes.
He has contributed a lot of project to Jalandhar. Some of the main projects in Jalandhar City Attributed to Jalandhar are :
-Adopting construction of Damoria railway over-bridge as central government project. Earlier this project was being kept hanging because of paucity of funds.
-Jalandhar Science City Project
– Providing additional federal funding for Jalandhar Regional Engineering College and Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory near Jalandhar
-Project proposals for Central Government Funded Medical College in Jalandhar as well as
-an International Airport in Jalandhar.
Though both of these projects could not gain traction later on because of political and funding reasons but Jalandhar will be thankful to Mr. Gujral for floating these project ideas.
-Construction of flyover at Rama Mandi railway crossing
-Construction of Virsa Vihar for cultural promotion
-Construction of Sardar Sawarn Singh non-renewable energy institute
-Sanctioning of Rs. 25 crores for Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences
-And above all who can forget the historic May 1997 rally at Jalandhar, where he announced the waiver of the crippling special term loan of Rs. 8,500 crore that Punjab owed to Central Government. This was a big burden on Punjab economy and waiving of this loan put Punjab back on track for a prosperous future.
Indian Union Cabinet has declared a seven-day state mourning. The Cabinet passed a resolution that said: “In his death, India has lost a great patriot, a visionary leader and a freedom fighter.” In another honour, the Cabinet decided that Gujral would be cremated at a place near Smriti Shtal, where the former Prime Minister, Chandra Shekhar, was laid to rest.