Updated January 23rd, 2024 at 20:47 IST

Karpoori Thakur to Receive Bharat Ratna on Birth Anniversary: A Glimpse Into his Legacy

Karpoori Thakur, born into the Nai (barber) community in the village of Pitaunjhia, later renamed Karpoorii Gram, emerged as a symbol of resilience.

Reported by: Isha Bhandari
Who is Socialist Leader Karpoori Thakur | Image:PM Modi
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New Delhi: Former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur is set to be posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna, a day before his birth anniversary. The recognition underscores Karpoori Thakur's enduring impact on social justice and advocacy for the rights of backward classes, particularly in North India.

Who Was Karpoori Thakur?

Karpoori Thakur, born into the Nai (barber) community in the village of Pitaunjhia, later renamed Karpoorii Gram, emerged as a symbol of resilience and dedication to public service. His journey from humble beginnings to becoming Bihar's Chief Minister in the 1970s marked a transformative period in the state's political landscape.

Deeply influenced by nationalistic ideas during his student days, Thakur joined the All India Students Federation and embraced the 'Lohia' school of thought, focusing on empowering lower castes. His tenure as chief minister witnessed groundbreaking initiatives, with one of his most significant contributions being the introduction of the "Karpoori Thakur Formula" for reservation.

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Implementing a 26 per cent reservation for backward classes in Bihar in 1978, Thakur's policy paved the way for future developments, including the Mandal Commission recommendations in the 1990s. This move not only empowered backward classes but also reshaped regional politics in the Hindi heartland.

As an education minister, Thakur dismantled English as a compulsory subject at the matriculation level, recognizing it as a barrier for many students in competitive examinations. His commitment to education extended to establishing schools and colleges in backward areas, making education up to Class 8 free, thereby significantly reducing dropout rates.

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Beyond educational reforms, Karpoori Thakur initiated major land reforms, redistributing land from Zamindars to landless Dalits, earning him the title "Jannayak" or People's Hero. Despite facing resistance, his policies set the stage for future leaders to continue advocating for social justice.

The posthumous Bharat Ratna for Karpoori Thakur not only acknowledges his impactful legacy but also serves as a testament to his unwavering dedication to the welfare of the marginalized and the principles of social equality.

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Published January 23rd, 2024 at 20:47 IST