Yashwantrao Chavan

Yashwantrao Chavan

Yashwantrao Chavan

Date of Birth : 12 March, 1913
Date of Death : 25 November, 1984

Mini Biography :
Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan (12 March 1913 – 25 November 1984) was the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra after the division of Bombay State and fifth Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was a strong Congress leader, freedom fighter, Cooperative leader, social activist, and writer. He was popularly known as Leader of Common People.

The Legendary leader was born in a peasant family on 12th march 1913 in the village Devrashtre in Satara District (now in Sangli District) of Maharashtra State in India.He lost his father in his early childhood and was bought up by his uncle and mother. His mother gave him valuable lessons in self-dependency and patriotism. From his childhood he was fascinated by the freedom struggle of India.

Despite adverse family situation, Yashwantrao managed to get educated and obtained his B.A in History and Political Science from Bombay University in 1938. In this period, he was involved in many social activities and was closely associated with the Congress party and its leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, and Keshavrao Jedhe. In 1940, Yashwantrao became President of Satara District Congress. Later on in 1941 he passed his LLB. He married in 1942 Venutai at Phaltan in Distt Satara.

In year 1946, he was firstly elected as MLA from south Satara constituency. In same year he was appointed as parliamentary secretary to the state Home Minister of Bombay State. In next government of Morajibhai Desai he was appointed as Minister of Civil Supplies, Social Welfare and Forest. In 1953, he was the signatory to Nagpur Pact, assuring equitable development of all regions of Maharashtra.

In year, 1957 Yashwantrao Chavan was elected from karad constituency. This time he was elected as Leader of Congress Legislative Party and became Chief Minister of bilingual Bombay state. Within the year 1957 to 1960 he was elected to All India Congress Working Committee and formation of Maharashtra as a separate state began. At last, Pandit Nehru- Prime Minister of India at that time, declared Maharashtra as a separate state; where in true sense Yashwantrao Chavan was its architect. On 1st May 1960, Yashwantrao Chavan became first Chief Minister of Maharashtra State.

Yashwantrao Chavan is mainly responsible for economical, social, and cultural development in Maharashtra State as he led the strong foundation. The law regarding ‘‘Democratic Decentralized Bodies’’ such as Village Panchayats, Panchayat Samits, and Zilla Parishad as well as ‘‘Agricultural Land Selling Act’’ was passed during his regime as CM.

Apart from being 1st Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, he also occupied high positions of Cabinet Ministers in Central Government of India. He held positions such as Defence Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister and later on Deputy Prime Minister of India.

In 1962, Yashwantrao Chavan was appointed Defense Minister of India in the wake of India-China Border Conflict. After resignation of Krishna Menon as Defense Minister in 1962, Pandit Nehru called upon Yashwantrao Chavan from Maharashtra to Central Government for first time to take charge of Defence Minister, here he handled this delicate situation very firmly and took many bold decisions such as empowering Indian Military and negotiating with China to stop war along with Pandit Nehru. For this heroic role people of Maharashtra ironically implies Yashwantrao as, ‘‘To save Himalayas, there came Shayadri…!’’ He was defence Minister during Indo-Pakistan War in September 1965 where India won this historic war under his strong leadership.

In next general election, Yashwantrao Chavan was elected unopposed as Member of Parliament from Nashik constituency. This was very rare occasion in history of Indian democracy. On 14th November 1966 he was appointed as Home Minister of India. On 26th June 1970 he was appointed as Finance Minister of India in Indira Gandhi Government. Yashwantrao Chavan served as Foreign Minister from 11th October 1974. In June 1975, when an internal emergency was declared, Congress lost power in Central and Yashwantrao Chavan became the Leader of opposition in 1977.

In 1978-79, Yashwantrao Chavan quit Congress and joined Congress (Urs) along with Devaraj Urs, Kasu Brahmananda Reddy, A.K. Antony, Sharad Pawar, etc. He was appointed as Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India in the cabinet of Prime Minister Shri Charan Singh.

Yashwantrao Chavan had keen interest in literature. He established Marathi Sahitya Mandal and gave support to Marathi Sahitya Samellan(Conference). He was very closely related to many great authors, poets, editors, and many Marathi and Hindi writers. He himself was a genuine writer. He had planned to write his autobiography in three parts. First part covering his early years in Satara district. His native place is situated on the banks of Krishna River and therefore the name of the first part was “Krishna Kath” (The bank of the Krishna River). In the middle phase of his political development he was the Chief Minister of bilingual Bombay state and later from 1 st May 1960, the newly formed Maharashtra state. All these years were spent in Mumbai so the proposed name for the second volume was “Sagar Tir”. Later in 1962 he was appointed Defence Minister of India by Nehru. From then onwards he was in Delhi until his death in 1984; so he had proposed the name “Yamuna Kath” for his third volume. He was able to complete and publish only the first volume. He was a capable orator and writer. He strongly advocated socialist democracy in his speeches and aritcles and was instrumental in establishing Co-operatives in Maharashtra for the betterment of the farmers.

In 1989, an open university named ‘Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University’ was established in Maharashtra after his name.

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