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Padma Bhushan Krishna Kripalani

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Biography – Krishna Ramchandra Kripalani

Famous Sindhi Freedom Fighter – Padma Bhushan – Anthropologist

krishna_kriplani1Krishna Kripalani is among the very rare Sindhi people who are honored with Padma Bhushan, third on hierarchy of civilian awards given by government of India. Born on 29 September 1907 at Karachi Sindh Krishna completed his early education at Karachi and Hyferabad and after completing Graduation in 1928 from Mumbai university went to London for higher studies, where he was student of London Inn for Bar and London School of Economics for History, Economics, Political Science, Law and anthropology. He studied there for almost three years and returned back home to Karachi towards the end of 1931.

In those days country’s atmosphere was under influence of freedom struggle Krishna Kripalani started practicing law at Lahore and also taking active part in the freedom movement so his law practicing span become shorten as he was arrest for being involved in the struggle for freedom. During these days he developed an interest in Bengali language.

When he was released he decided to join Shantiniketan for learning Bengali. This was his wisdom that impressed Guruwar Rabindranath Tagore to such a great extent that Tagore his self asked Krishna to join Visva Bharati, a university founded by Tagore, as the lecturer of English instead of going back to Karachi. Krishna Kripalani worked for the Visva Bharati from 1933 to 1946 during those days he meet with Nandita [Grand Nice of Gurudev] and both decided to marry. After the marriage Krishna decided to remain there and for the progress of Shantiniketan and Visva Bharati. After the death of Gurudev in 1941 he was included to Directors of Ravindra Bhavan and was assigned the responsibility of editing Visva Bharati a quarterly publication started and earlier edited by Tagore.

This was the 1946 when on personal request of Acharaya J B Kripalani and Nehru Ji Krishna joined the All India congress party as the General Secretary. In the years to come he was given responsibility of being the convener of the experts committee for framing Indian constitution and work as the private secretary of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad [Minister of Education]. During these days he visited many countries including England, France and West Germany.

Krishna Kripalani’s wisdom was gaining popularity on world level as in November 1960 Soviet Writer’s Union invited him for attending Tolstoy celebration. In the October 1969 when the London school of Oriental and African Studies decided to celebrate Gandhi Contrary Memorial Krishna Kripalani was the key speaker. His lecture was published by London University with title “Gandhi the modern Mahatma”. He was also key speaker for Annual Rajaji Lecturer [1972] organized by Gokhale School of Social Work Bangalore though this time topic was “Raja Ram Mohan Roy “.

In the 1980 during the Japan visit Krishna Kripalani has not just delivered lecture on Tagore but his book on life of Tagore was published there. Beside this some other prominent books written by Krishna Kripalani are Gandhiji, Tagore and Nehru, Gandhiji his life and thought etc.

Considering the service rendered by Krishna Kripalani and his contribution in the field of education and literature government of India felicitated him with “Padma Bhushan “in the year 1969. Probably he is the first Sindhi to be honored with this award. He was also nominated for the Rahya Sabha in 1974 and served the nation as parliamentarian till 1980.  

On the 12 March 1954 Sahitya Academy was established and Krishna Ramchand Kripalani was the first secretary, he worked on post till 1971. In the April 1981 he got opportunity to work as the Chairman of National Book Trust. During the service to government of India Krishna Kripalani has also worked as the Chairman of Review Committee of the Indian Institute of Advance Study in Shimala. After retirement from the job he started living at Shantiniketan where he passed away on 27 April 1992.