Baldev Ram Mirdha
Baldev Ram Mirdha (बलदेवराम मिर्धा) (17 January 1889-2 August 1953) was a great social reformer of Marwar region in Rajasthan, India. He was born in Rad gotra Jat Hindu family of village Kuchera in Nagaur district in Rajasthan in 1889. His father’s name was Manga Ram. His family was given the work of Department of Post and Telegraph. “Mirdha” was the title awarded to his family for this work by then ruler of Jodhpur. He was founder of ‘Marwar Kisan Sabha’ and ‘Rajasthan Kisan Sabha’. Baldev Ram Mirdha is popularly known as Kisan-Kesari.
In Government service
He passed Matric examination and joined service in the former Jodhpur State. By dint of hard work and honesty he rose to become a high police official. He was educated at Jodhpur. After completing his education, he got a job in the department of population. He was appointed sub-inspector in police department in 1914. He became reader of Inspector General, M.R.Kotewala in 1921. He was appointed on the post of police inspector in 1923. He was promoted to the post of Superintendent of Police in 1926 and Deputy Inspector General in 1943. Being on a higher post in Government, he realized the problems of the farmers of the Marwar region of Rajasthan and resigned from his post in 1947 for the cause of poor farmers.
Condition of farmers in Rajasthan
At that time lot of farmers was very unenviable everywhere but much more so in the native States. He found the feudal exploitation of farmers unbearable and vowed in his heart to fight it. In making an assessment of his work one has necessarily to take ones mind back to the bygone era under the Maharajas and their feudal Lords. The times have changed so much that a youngman born and brought up in these times can hardly appreciate properly the difficult times in which his ancestors had been living since times immemorial. It will be no exaggeration to say that in those days one could not treat even one's body as exclusively his own. Though the position of Kisan in what was Khalsa (under the direct control of the state) was better in comparison to a Kisan of the Jagir areas, he was only a little above a beast of burden. Every thing that the Kisan had, never treated as his own. In Jagir areas all cultivators were really landless. There was no tenancy Law and one could be thrown away from the land one cultivated at the pleasure of Jagirdar, his "malik". In most of the Jagirs a Jagirdar would in the first instance be taking fifty percent of the produce. This would be taken by actual division of the produce on the thrashing floor or by appraisal of the standing crop (kunta). The latter method proved at times more onerous as the appraisal depended on the whims of the Kamdar. Then over and above the share of the produce the Kisan had to pay numerous "lags" or cesses. Together with the share of the produce known as "Hasil" these cesses meant that the Kisans had to part with more than eighty percent of their produce. The findings of the Sukhdeonarain Committee in the years 1940-42 bear this out. If a Kisan had to marry his daughter he had to pay "Chavri Lag" if he held a dinner then a "Kansa Lag"; if members of the family separated then "Dhunwa Lag" and so on. If the Jagirdar had a guest then fodder for his mount had to be supplied. Then there was "begar" that is forced labour, for tilling the personal lands of the Jagirdar. The homestead in which the Kisan lived in the Abadi had to be vacated in case he ceased cultivating the land. He could not alienate the plot to anyone. Then the bigger Jagirdars had judicial powers including magisterial powers. Further they had their own police force besides the revenue staff. This enabled them to keep their stronghold on the Kisans. Over and above this policy of divide and rule was fully practiced. By offering the temptation of giving better land for cultivation one Kisan would be set against another. There were no schools worth the name in rural areas and the masses were steeped in ignorance.
Spread of education
Realizing that it was beyond the means of the Kisans to have their own schools and which was obviously the Government's responsibility, he established chain of the boarding houses instead in the state where sons of the Kisans could live with their frugal means and get educated. With the help of colleagues he got constructed boarding houses at Jodhpur, Barmer, Merta, Parbatsar, Didwana, Nagaur, Pipar etc., towns of Marwar region. Thousands of students used these boarding houses and became Doctors, Engineers, Officers, Politicians, and Teachers etc. By organizing meetings for eradication of evil customs he infused consciousness in them and also tried to bring about unity. He was instrumental in strengthening the Panchayats.
Friend of oppressed farmers
It was in those times that Baldev Ram Mirdha came on the scene as the quide, philosopher and friend of the oppressed Kisans. Heredity and environment had given him many good things of life. He was himself in Govt. service yet he identified himself fully with the cause of the Kisan. The bureaucracy of the times was no means sympathetic to this cause. The Jagirdars were in the Council of Ministers and were on other important posts, which gave them effective leverage. Baldev Ram Mirdha was almost the only Kisan holding an important post. As a wise tactician, therefore, he chose spread of education and eradication of social evils as his tools to work with. He had deep understanding of society in the Marwar region. He tried all his life with full devotion to remove social evils like untouchability, child marriage, woman illiteracy, indebt ness, poverty, backwardness, intoxication, dissipation, bad customs etc. This would not ostensibly give cause of offence to the bureaucracy and the Jagirdars.
He was one-man legal aid forum for the poor Kisans. A Kisan in trouble would go with his problem to his house, the outer portion of which would invariably provide shelter to him and one could not afford to have his meals elsewhere would be served a meal from his kitchen and then he would afford legal aid to him. After a stage was reached, when Kisans could provide some workers, he got established the “Marwar Kisan Sabha”. Though he was not an office bearer he was its alter ego. It became a mighty organization in a couple of years. The Kisan leader of the eminence of Late Sir Choturam of Punjab was the chief guest at a big Kisan Conference in Jodhpur in 1942. Unlike elaborate arrangements at political meets now-a-days thousands of Kisans would come with bajara bread of flour tied in "potlies" and a water tap and an open area for their stay would do. In other words there used to be no expenditure worth the name of these conferences.
Victory of farmers
Then came the demand for settlement of Jagir lands to cash rents, abolition of cesses, abolition of judicial powers of the Jagirdars, for due for Kisans in Govt. Service and so on. The state could no longer resist these just demands. Judicial and Police powers of the Jagirdars were withdrawn, cash settlement was introduced and cesses were consolidated with rent. This was however not without stiff resistance from the feudal lords. There were riots almost in every big Jagir area. Many Kisans had to perform the Supreme Sacrifice in Dabra, Khinsar, Ratkudia and several other villages, there was lot of bloodshed and these villages have become hallowed places for the Kisans.
On 15th August, 1947 India became free and a popular Ministry was installed in Jodhpur. Recognizing the importance of the Kisan Sabha, its general Secretary Nathuram Mirdha, son of Baldev Ram Mirdha, was included in the Ministry. In about a year the “Marwar Tenancy Act, 1949” was passed and this put the Kisans of Marwar at par with any Kisan in a progressive state. Overnight the tenants in the cultivator possession of their lands became khatedar tenants on April 6, 1949 without paying a pie. This was the achievement of one of the important objectives set forth by Baldev Ram Mirdha.
Abolition of Jagirs
After the Formation of Rajasthan, Baldev Ram Mirdha who had by then retired from Government service formed the “Rajathan Kisan Sabha” and unified the Kisans of Rajasthan under its banner. He was its first President. Since the broad objectives of the Kisan Sabha and the congress were identical the congress leaders approached Baldev Ram Mirdha to unite the Rajasthan Kisan Sabha with the Congress. Baldev Ram Mirdha was a visionary and he realized that the two could not and should not remain separate. Therefore, he just made one demand from the national leaders that the Jagirs be abolished forthwith in Rajathan. This was agreed to by the congress high Command with the result that the two organizations unified like the holy streams at the Prayag Sangam and Kisans became the flesh, bones, and sinews muscles of the congress, indeed the very lifeblood of the congress. He was working in cooperation with Lok Parishad and Congress leaders like Jai Narayan Vyas. It was after consultations with Jawaharlal Nehru and Govind Vallabh Pant that Rajasthan Kisan Sabha was merged with the Indian National Congress on the eve of the first General Elections.
The Jagirs were soon abolished. He threw himself heart and soul for getting maximum numbers of seats for the Congress at the first general elections. In spite of the over whelming odds to the late Maharaja of Jodhpur being in the fray he could secure at least four congress candidates returned from the Nagaur district. So much was the opposition from the Maharaja that even Jai Narain Vyas lost the election at two places where the Maharaja himself opposed him. In the Jodhpur area two of the ex-presidents of the “Marwar Kisan Sabha” were weaned away by the late Maharaja and both of them were got elected as his candidates. However, Baldev Ram Mirdha never gave up hope. He never believed in bedeviling personal relations. In course of time both the members came back and joined the congress. In spite of Baldev Ram Mirdha being the protagonist of the Kisan his personal relations with the Jagirdar were quite friendly. As a statesman, he believed in tactful use of words as would keep old friends, win new ones and over come hostility of those against him.
One cannot under rate his achievements at the first elections. Even one candidate less from Nagaur would have meant that congress would be in minority as against the combined opposition and history would have taken a different course in Rajasthan.
Baldev Ramji Mirdha was a great social worker and made it the foundation of his political work. He started a movement for helping the backward classes and enabling them to take water from the village well. He started a movement for abolition of customs like feasts after death. These activities enraged the entrenched leaders of society who carried on a tirade against him. He believed that education was necessary for liberating an individual and started a number of schools and hostels in rural areas. Students from these institutions are in the forefront of political and social life of the State. His various activities for organising the Kisans fighting of their right to be masters of the land that they cultivated earned him the title of "kisan Kesari". He died on 2nd August 1953 in harness while going to address a Kisan Conference.
Anniversary of late Baldev Ram Mirdha will always be a great day of the Kisans of Rajasthan in general and former Marwar State in Particular. In remembering him one recalls to one's mind an individual or an institution. The aggregate of traits he possessed and which distinguished him from people of common stuff had shot him up on the terra firma of Marwar. His mental alertness, his ability to quickly asses a situation, clear and logical exposition of a subject in the language which the masses could understand, the depth of interest he took in the welfare of the underdog, his ability for ensuring social cohesion and the qualities of leadership in general made him the idol of Kisans, a position which none else had attained in these parts of our land. It is because of this reason that farmers of Rajasthan popularly call Baldev Ram Mirdha as Kisan-Kesari.
Baldev Ram Mirdha was never mindful of his growing old age or ill-health and while working for cause of Kisans nearest to his heart, he brethed his last in harness at Ladnun, only a few months after the elections, getting ablaze a trail for others to follow. He died on August 2, 1953, of heart attack, at the age of 64, while delivering speech in a public meeting.
It will be nice tribute to his memory if the people of Rajathan in general and Kisans in Particular try to emulate his example and imbibe his virtues in their lives for what illustrious Kisan son lived and worked for. His life will ever inspire the coming generations of Kisan workers.
Indian Postal Department issued a commemorative stamp on him on 17/01/1989 of Denomination 60 paise.
स्व. बलदेव राम जी मिर्धा राजस्थान में किसान जागृति के प्रेरणा स्त्रोत माने गए हैं ।
राजस्थान में जोधपुर राज्य की स्थापना से पूर्व सन् १४५६ से पूर्व यहां जनपद और पंचों द्वारा समाज की व्यवस्था होती थी। पशु पालन और कृषि मुख्य धंधा था। ये लोग सिंधु नदी के किनारे से १०३० ई. के बाद आये। जोधा जब आये तो बार-बार जोधपुर से पांच कि.मी. पूर्व तत्कालीन सत्ता के केन्द्र पर हमला करते और आदमी और घोडे मरवा कर भाग जाते ऐसे में एक बार किसी किसान के घर उतरे और भूख से व्याकुल होने के कारण सेंगटी (खीचडा) के बीच रखे घी में हाथ जीमने के लिए डाला तो हाथ जल गया। घर की स्वामीनी जाटनी ने कहा -
- "थूं तो जोधा री ताई नीरो गंवार पूछयो जोधा किया ? तो कहियो कि बो सीधो राजधानी पर हमलो कर-मिनख अर घोडा करवावे है। धीरे-धीरे सूं खींच खावै तो हाथ न बळे और किनारे रा गांव काबू करे तो राज भी हाथ हावे।"
सीख मानकर जोधा ने राज्य स्थापित किया परन्तु ५०९ साल तक किसान राजा और जमींदारी से पीडत रहे। श्री बलदेपव राम जी मिर्धा ने पुलिस सेवा में रहते हुए किसानों के दर्द को समझा और उन्हें संगठित किया। किसान छात्रावास बनाकर शिक्षा प्रारंभ की। ओसर-मोसर बन्द करवाने की भरपूर कोशीश की। तम्बाकू, बीडी, खारा-पानी, शराब बन्द करने का अभियान चलाया। सीकर के किसानों को जागृति की प्रेरणा दी और पंजाब के मंत्री श्री छोटूराम जी के साथ मिलकर समन्वयवादी दृष्टिकोण अपना कर समझौता करवाया कि हाथी की संवारी पर पंडित जी और रामायण को बैठाया जाये। वो कालखंड १९३४ का ऐसा था कि :नोटों की दुनिया में, सोटों का राज था। वतन हमारा था, उनका ताज था। चमन हमारा था,उनका राज था। जुल्म-सितम करते, उनको नाज था।"
ऐसे अत्याचारी के युग में किसान, मजदूर, गरीब और दीन-हीन को, समाज सेवी मिर्धा जी ने सहारा दिया, प्रेरित किया अपने अधिकारों को प्राप्त करने के लिए बलदेव राम जी पुलिस में डी.आई.जी. थे। वे तामसिक प्रवृति के सामन्तों को भी समझाकर सत की राह चलने को प्रेरित करते थे। वक्त आया कि, "जोते उसकी जमीन" का नारा सफल हुआ - ’’कुबुद्धि बदल गये, ऐसी हुई जीत रे, सुराजी हवाऐं बनी, विश्वव्यापी रीत रे‘‘। जमींदार २५ से ३३ प्रतिशत खेत का धान, ’’हासल‘‘ या हिस्से का लेते थे। किसानों को निडर, निर्भिक और अधिकारों के लिए जूझारू होना स्व. बदलेव राम जी मिर्धा ने सिखाया कृषकों ने ’’हांसल‘‘ की जगह ’’बिगोडी‘‘ देना प्रारंभ कर दिया। उनका जन्म १७ जनवरी, १८८९ को कुचेरा हुआ और नागौर में २४ वर्ष की आयु में थानेदार बने, ३४ वर्ष की आयु में पुलिस इन्स्पेक्टर और ३७ वर्ष की उम्र में एसपी, जोधपुर और सन् १९३४ के प्रारम्भ में डिप्टी-इन्सपेक्टर -जनरल, जोधपुर में पद्दोन्नत हुए। राष्ट्र भाव के कारण आपने स्वेच्छा से सेवा निवृत्ति १९४७ में ली और पूर्ण रूपसे समाज सेवा में सलंग्न हो गए। डाबडा कांड में हिंसा का दौर चला जहां जागीरदारों ने कृषक को गोलियारें से भूना। निडर मिर्धा जी ने सामना करने की प्रेरणा दी और सामन्ति जुल्मों से किसानों को उभारा।
समाज की सेवा करते हुए लाडनूं में २ अगस्त, १९५३ में उनका स्वर्गवास हो गया। उनके सुपुत्र श्री राम निवास जी मिर्धा चिंतनशील राजनेता हैं और उनके पौत्र श्री हरेन्द्र जी मिर्धा भूतपूर्व मंत्री है और राजस्थान के भावी नेतृत्व के वे सबल कर्णधार है।
जाट लेखक बलवीर घिंटाला तेजाभक्त की कलम से...
इस संसार में दैत्य रूपी मानव पैदा होते है तो साथ ही देवतुल्य इंसानो का भी जन्म हुआ है। रेगिस्तान के धोरों के देश जिसे मारवाड़ कह कर संबोधित किया जाता है, किसी वक्त यह धरती पापों से त्रस्त थी। इंसान रूपी दानवों ने अपनी नीचता की सारी हदें पार कर रखी थी। गरीब मजलूमों पर अत्याचार की विभत्सा इस कदर थी कि भूखे के मुंह से निवाले छीन लिये जाते थे, तन से कपड़े तो क्या चमड़ी तक नोच ली जाती थी। भौले मासूम जन के पास बाघी बनने की हिम्मत नहीं थी। क्योंकि निरक्षरता ने उनकी समझ और बगावत को पनपने ही नहीं दिया। मगर जिनका कोई नहीं होता उनका भगवान होता है। उन्हीं के आशीर्वाद स्वरूप 17 जनवरी 1889 को मारवाड़ परगने के कुचेरा ग्राम के एक किसान परिवार में केशरी समान ऊर्जावान, फुर्तिला, जोश जज्बे और साहस की प्रतीमूर्ति एक बालक जन्म हुआ। जिनका नाम किसानों के देव कहे जाने वाले "हलधर भगवान बलराम जी" की तरह "बलदेवराम" रखा गया। उच्च योग्यता के धनी, शिक्षा में विलक्षण बुद्धि व साहस के स्तम्भ बलदेव राम जी ने जौधपुर दरबार में DIG का पद संभाला। उन्होने पुलिस सेवा में रहते उन जंगली डाकुओं का सर्वनाश किया जिन्होंने आमजन को नोच खाया था। जागीरदारों व डाकुओं की हैवानियत किस कदर कहर ढाह रही थी। इसको मिर्धा जी ने साक्षात देखा था। जिस कौख से पैदा हुए, जिस जाति में नाम पाया, जिस अन्नदाता कौम की रोटी खाते थे, वही कौम भूखी प्यासी मर रही थी। उनकी नस्लें बेहद बर्बर हालात में थी। मिर्धा जी का कलेजा मुंह को हो आया। पुलिस का रौब, शानो-शौकत सब महज फौरी कमाई लगी। अंतर्रात्मा की धिक्कार ने गहरी चौट की और झूठी शान की वर्दी को तिलांजलि दे डाली। बहुत सोचा कि आखिर मेरी अन्नदाता कौम का उद्धार कैसे हो पायेगा। समूचे मारवाड़ की मिट्टी मिट्टी को छान मारा। उन हिरों को तलाशने के लिए जो उनके सपनों को नया आयाम दे सकते है। इसी खौज ने उन्हें चौधरी भींयाराम, चौधरी मूलचंद, बाबू गुल्लाराम जैसे अडिग स्तम्भ प्रदान किये जिन्होने किसानों को मजबूत छत प्रदान की। मिर्धाजी ने किसान जन जाग्रति के दो मुख्य हल ढूंढ निकाले। 1) नशा 2) शिक्षा.. उसके बाद समूचे मारवाड़ में किसान छात्रावासों की नींवे गड़ने लगी। किसानों की नस्लें सुधरने लगी और मारवाड़ में किसान क्रांति का पहला अध्ययाय शुरू हो गया। मिर्धाजी तत्कालिन पंजाब के जननायक रहबरे आजम सर छौटूराम जी को काफी मानते थे। सन् 1942 में किसानों के कंस मारवाड़ दरबार की छाती पर जौधपुर में विशाल किसान जलसा करवाया। सदियों से अत्याचार को अपना नसीब समझ घुट घुट कर मरने वाली किसान कौम को गर्व से जीने का सबब अगर किसी ने दिया तो वे "बलदेवराम मिर्धा" ही थे। आतंक और अत्याचार के उस तांडव को उन्होने शिव के भांति हर लिया था। उन्हें किसान जाग्रति ने इतना दीवाना बना दीया था कि वे केवल और केवल इसी मिशन में जुटे रहे। ना स्वास्थ्य का उन्हें पता ना घरबार का। अपनी तमाम जिंदगी भौली किसान कौम को समर्पित करने वाले मिर्धा जी ने अंतिम सांस भी जनता के बीच जनता को संबोधित करते ही ली। आज ही के दिन 2 अगस्त वर्ष 1953 को 64 वर्षिय मिर्धाजी का दिल का दौरा पड़ने से स्वर्गवास हो गया। उस समय वे किसानों को संबोधित कर रहे थे। एक एसी चींगारी जो मारवाड़ के लाखों किसानों में आज भी अन्याय के खिलाफ जल रही है। वह चिंगारी बलदेव राम मिर्धा ही है। ना उन्हें मौत मार पायी ना जिंदगी। वे तो अमर हो गये किसान कौम की रगों में। आने वाली पीढियों के हौंसलों में और दिवार बन के आज भी खड़े है.. अन्याय के प्रवाह के समक्ष एक मजबूत पुल की भांति। मिर्धाजी मैं आपको नमन करता हूं। आपके चरणों में अपना सर्वस्व अर्पित करता हूं। यह सम्मान से उठे शीश आपकी बदोलत है। यह कलम थामे हाथ आपकी प्रेरणा से है। हमें साहस प्रदान करना। हमारी रगों में लहू बनके सदा विचरण करते रहना। ।।शत शत नमन।।
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