'Gandhian thinker Dharampal has not got due credit'

Author is victim of 'conspiracy of silence', says Sivaramakrishnan

Dharampal, an Indian Gandhian thinker and one of the early authors on education system in Independent India, has not got due credit, said Dr G Sivaramakrishnan, a visiting professor at National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru, recently. He was speaking during an interactive session on ‘Cheluva Taru,’ a Kannada translation of ‘The Beautiful Tree’ authored by Dharampal in English in 1983. Sivaramakrishnan said, “It’s with deep pain that I say, no one has pondered over the particular work in the way it deserves and discuss on the same. It could be due to disregard for the author.”

Sivaramakrishnan, who however had made all efforts to spread the essence of the book, by including the same in the curriculum and taught his students, said “the impact was not as expected.” He summed it as “conspiracy of silence” about Dharampal and recalled his association with the author till his death in 2006.

He said that Dharampal did not have academic embellishments such as a degree or a PhD. He quit studies in the middle of his graduation. However, it was his wide vista of knowledge that inspired people during the period of rule of the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to nominate him as the member of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi.

Most importantly, he had his own way of chronicling documents, which was different when compared to others who followed the set path of gleaning materials from archives. As a result, though Dharampal had trunk loads of materials sourced from archives, not many did see the print.

Gandhian influence
Giving an account of early life of Dharampal, he said, “Dharampal was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. He jumped into freedom movement during Quit India struggle, and was for a few months. He later became one of the coterie members of socialist movement along with Jayaprakash Narayan, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya and Meera Behn and others. It was Jayaprakash Narayan who forced Dharampal to take up the reins of All India Panchayat Parishat as its secretary.

Madhava Peraje, who has translated the book into Kannada, said, “Ever since the book has been released, discussions have been held in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga and Puttur.”
Dr R Shashidhar elaborately spoke on the book.
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