Karpoori Thakur’s son rejects political angle in Bharat Ratna, emphasises legacy of equality 

| Updated: 21 February, 2024 2:31 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Ram Nath Thakur, son of late Karpoori Thakur and current JDU MP from Bihar, expressed gratitude for the posthumous Bharat Ratna bestowed upon his father. He highlighted Karpoori Thakur’s dedication to social justice and education, emphasising his legacy of empowering marginalised communities.

In an exclusive interview with The New Indian, Ram Nath Thakur detailed his father’s journey, from overcoming educational challenges to championing the rights of the oppressed. He commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the honour, rejecting claims of political manoeuvring ahead of elections.

“Jan Nayak Karpoori Thakur’s dedication to education and social upliftment, especially during challenging times both pre and post-independence, sets him apart,” Thakur remarked, highlighting his father’s pivotal role in establishing educational institutions and advocating for the rights of marginalised communities. “His tireless efforts, particularly in securing reservations for backward castes in government, exemplify his enduring legacy of empowerment.”

Thakur also shed light on his father’s personal journey, underscoring the challenges he faced in pursuing education. “Karpoori Thakur’s academic achievements, including his notable feat of being among the few to pass the 10th standard in a rural village, reflect his resilience and determination,” Thakur noted, recounting his father’s journey from rural Bihar to higher education amid formidable obstacles.

Expressing gratitude to PM Modi for conferring the Bharat Ratna upon his father, Thakur dismissed claims of political manoeuvring  behind the award. “It is unjust to politicise this prestigious honour,” he asserted. “My father’s legacy transcends partisan interests, serving as a beacon of hope for the oppressed, Dalits, and backward communities.”

The announcement of Karpoori Thakur’s posthumous Bharat Ratna came in January, marking a significant recognition of his contributions to Indian society. Thakur’s family members, joined by three generations, met with PM Modi to express their appreciation for the honour. Reflecting on the meeting, Thakur’s grandson, Aditya, described the warmth and familial atmosphere of the encounter, emphasising the PM’s genuine interest in their experiences.

Highlighting the transformative impact of education in rural Bihar, Thakur reiterated his father’s vision for educational reform in the state. “Karpoori Thakur’s efforts led to a significant increase in educational opportunities, laying the foundation for a brighter future for generations to come,” he remarked, inviting PM Modi to witness the progress firsthand.

The Bharat Ratna award, conferred upon Karpoori Thakur 35 years after his passing, serves as a testament to his enduring influence on Indian politics and society. As a revered figure among socialists and followers of Mahatma Gandhi, Jayaprakash Narayan, and Ram Manohar Lohia, Thakur’s legacy continues to inspire generations of leaders committed to equality and social justice.

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