Patna: In a poignant tribute to a stalwart leader, the Government of India has posthumously decided to confer the Bharat Ratna upon the late former Chief Minister of Bihar, Karpoori Thakur. The announcement, made just a day before the centenary celebration of Thakur’s birth, marks a recognition of his exceptional contributions to the state and the nation.
A succinct press release from Rashtrapati Bhavan conveyed the decision, stating, “The President has announced to give Bharat Ratna posthumously to Shri Karpoori Thakur.”
Late Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur to get Bharat Ratna: Rashtrapati Bhavan— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) January 23, 2024
Born on January 24, 1924, in Pitoujhia (now Karpurigram) of Samastipur, Karpoori Thakur held significant political roles, serving as Deputy Chief Minister, Chief Minister, and a stalwart leader in the opposition party. Remarkably, he never experienced defeat in the Bihar assembly elections after securing victory in the first assembly polls in 1952.
Thakur’s impact on Bihar’s governance was profound. In 1967, during his first tenure as Deputy Chief Minister, he abolished the mandatory requirement of English, a move remembered humorously as ‘passing from Karpuri Division’ for those who had previously struggled with English matriculation exams.
As Chief Minister from 1971, Thakur made pivotal decisions benefiting farmers by discontinuing revenue tax on unproductive land. Additionally, he ensured equitable access to amenities, such as installing a lift in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat for fourth-class employees.
In 1977, Thakur implemented job reservations in Bihar based on the Mungerilal Commission’s recommendations, a move aimed at promoting social inclusivity. He also mandated the use of Hindi in all state departments during his tenure.
A trailblazer, Thakur was the first non-Congress Chief Minister of Bihar, serving two terms totaling two and a half years. His commitment to public welfare extended to implementing the same pay commission for state government employees, a pioneering initiative.
His legacy, characterized by a focus on inclusive governance, agricultural reforms, and championing regional languages, continues to resonate. As the nation bestows the Bharat Ratna upon Karpoori Thakur, it’s a moment to reflect on his enduring impact and the significance of his leadership in Bihar’s political landscape.