Karpoori Thakur: Epitome of justice

Karpoori Thakur: Epitome of justice

Not very far off from Tajpur-Samastipur highway lies the Karpoorigram, the ancestral place of late Karpoori Thakur, the towering dalit leader of yesteryears who served as Bihar chief minister thrice much before the Mandal Commission saw the light of the day.

Known for his simplicity and probity, Karpoori was the epitome of social justice. This small hamlet, which was originally called Pitraunjia, was renamed Karpoorigram after the demise of veteran Socialist in the late 80s.

The locals in Karpoorigram feel proud in recalling how Karpoori led a simple life even after becoming the chief minister in the 70s. “Once when his wife Phuleshwari Devi fell sick in Patna, she was required to be taken to a doctor. But Karpooriji, a stickler of norms, said that instead of CM’s official car (then an Ambassador), she should go in a rickshaw. He was man of integrity in real sense,” recalls an octogenarian.

A quick glimpse inside the Karpoori’s ancestral house, now renamed Karpoori Smriti Samudayik Bhawan (Karpoori Memorial Community Hall), shows the stark contrast of lavish life the present genre of leaders lead today.

“Compared to the present day politician’s family, what do we have today? We still lead a hand-to-mouth life,” lamented Nisha Thakur, the daughter-in-law of Karpoori Thakur’s brother Ramsugat Thakur.

Nisha, who even today works as an anganwadi sevika (worker), stays in Karpoori’s ancestral house along with her husband Nityanand Thakur. “My husband, who is a head clerk in a local college, is also not financially sound,” Nisha told Deccan Herald, narrating how her hubby gets his salary after every five-six months gap since it’s a private college.
“Kya kahein… itni pareshani hai (How should I describe my state…There are too many problems…) ,” she rues and argues that in the absence of regular source of income, she has faced many a hardship in life.

Kapoori Thakur’s politician son Ramnath Thakur, a soft-spoken and suave leader of Janata Dal (United) lost the Assembly election in 2010 when most of the JD (U) men stormed to power in Nitish wave. Nitish, however, compensated Ramnath by nominating him to the Rajya Sabha. Ramnath’s daughter Sneha Thakur is principal of Gokul Karpoori Phuleshwari College, the same institution where Nisha’s husband Nityanand is the head clerk.

Ramnath’s family has a separate accommodation in Karpoorigram, though not far off from Karpoori’s ancestral house.

Incidentally, Karpoori, who was fondly called Jan Nayak, had been the mentor of both Nitish and Lalu (their other mentor being JP, who was known as Lok Nayak). One wonders whether the present day rulers could take a leaf out of Karpoori’s book and set new standards of simplicity and probity in public life.
 

Locals: Once when his wife Phuleshwari Devi fell sick in Patna, she was required to be taken to a doctor. But Karpooriji, a stickler of norms, said that instead of CM’s official car (then an Ambassador), she should go in a rickshaw. He was man of integrity in real sense.

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