After demise of Poojya Deshpande ji on 21st April 1995, Jagdeoram ji took over as National President. During his tenure, Kalyan Ashram touched from height to height. Number of full-time workers increased. There have been a complete cohesion, coordination and mutual understanding at all level in the organisation.
- Jagdamba Mall
Jagdeoram Uraon, 72, National President of Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, breathed his last on 15th July 2020 at 3 PM after the lunch at its Jashpur Kendra due to massive cardiac arrest. He was under treatment of complaints of heart, lung and kidney. He was immediately rushed to hospital where doctors declared him as dead. Shri Jagdeoram Uraon was born on 9th October 1949 in Kongaro village, 3 KM from Jashpur to his father Akhanuram and mother Pooju Bai. He was 3 brothers and 2 sisters.
He was RSS swayamsewak from his childhood days attending his village shakha. He was also attached to Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram from his childhood days as a student in Kalyan Ashram Chhatrawas. He passed matric education in 1966 from Government High School Jashpur while living in Kalyan Ashram Chhatrawas. He completed one year Physical Training Instructor (PTI) education from Tatya Tope Games & Sports College Shivpuri Madhya Pradesh and became PTI in Kalyan Ashram sponsored Swami Vivekanand Mahavidyalay Jashpur. While in Mahavidyalay, he was engrossed in the activities of RSS and Kalyan Ashram also. Simultaneously, he completed his post graduate degree as private candidate in political science.
He belonged to a poor family and his parents were not academically literate but very intelligent and industrious. Traditional and un-advanced way of farming was the only source of earning to sustain the family. They had deep devotion in Sarana Dharma and Sarahul pooja. Jagdeoram ji inherited these virtues from his parents.
While in Kalyan Ashram Chhatrawas at Jashpur from class 6th onwards since 1962, he was a regular swayamsewak of shakha held in Kalyan Ashram premises where he played Kho, Po, Tarr and Kabaddi with Balasahab Deshpande ji along with the fellow swayamsewaks. He was deeply influenced by the magnetic personality of Deshpande ji.
His Kongaro village was surrounded and over-shadowed by thick forests with rich bio-diversity including deers, woodpeckers and wild boars etc. Jagdeoram ji grew up while playing with these animals – domestic, semi-domestic and semi-wild, unaware of outside world. His eyes got opened when in contact with Kalyan Ashram. His association with Deshpande ji was as if Narendra met Ramakrishna Paramhansh. He read books on great personalities of the country.
While in village, he attended RSS Shakha conducted by Shankar Rao Kane (Bhaiya Kane), Luthu Singh and Sharad Kale. He did 1st year OTC in 1966 in Bilaspur, 2nd year OTC in 1967 in Katni and 3rd year OTC in 1968 in Nagpur. Thereafter, he was a regular Sangh Shikshak in every OTCs held each year in Madhya Pradesh and Mahakoshal. He became Jashpur Tehsil Shareerik Pramukh of RSS during those days.
Dharma Shiksha Varg 1965
A Dharma Shiksha Varg was organised in 1965 in the Ashram of Gahira Guruji at Raat Gufa (Kailash Gufa) for 15 days and Jagdeoram ji attended this dharmic training shivir. He had opportunity to meet and listen to what Gahira Guruji preached. On concluding day, a Sanskrit Mahavidyalay was inaugurated by Laren Soy.
In Kalyan Ashram
Ten year after its foundation, Jagdeoram ji came in close contact of Kalyan Ashram in 1962 when he came in its Jashpur Chhatrawas to study in class 6 in Government School. From 1962 to 1978, he was an active worker of Kalyan Ashram – first as student, then as teacher and games teacher (PTI). During national emergency in 1975-77, he was very active and finally landed in jail. During these turbulent days, his patriotism got boosted and he decided to become full-time worker in Kalyan Ashram. He discussed with Deshpande ji. Finally, he became full-time worker in April 1978 after getting relieved from school. Until this, the senior workers/adhikaris like Moru Bhaiya Ketkar ji (Bagicha waale Guruji), Dr. Prasanna Sapre ji, Krishna Rao Sapre ji and Mishrilal Tiwari ji etc. were RSS pracharaks. The concept of full-time worker was taking shape. Jagdeoram ji became 1st full-time worker of Kalyan Ashram and revealed the path. I had been attending national and regional meetings/conferences of Kalyan Ashram from August 1978 and I travelled from Nagaland. There were threadbare prolonged discussions on who could be full-time worker of Kalyan Ashram, what were its similarities and differences from RSS pracharak.
Jagdeoram ji began touring with Balasahab Deshpande ji throughout the country as his sahayak (assistant). He was elevated to National Vice President in 1987 and to Working President in 1993 during Rashtriya Karyakarta Sammelan at Cuttack. During these days, he was under close watch of Deshpande ji who sculpted the person into what Jagdeoram ji was.
In National Emergency 1975-77
Before clamping of National Emergency on 25th June 1975, he was games teacher (PTI) in Kalyan ashram sponsored Swami Vivekanand Mahavidyalay Jashpur. During emergency from 25th June 1975 to 21st March 1977, Balasahab Deshpande ji, Moru Bhaiya, Mishrilal ji, Ramlal and Swami Amaranand ji were arrested along with other workers and RSS karyakartas in the very beginning and put into Jashpur jail. Jagdeoram ji was spared on the ground that he was a janjati person. As planned, Dr. Prasanna Sapre went hiding. The School, Chhatrawas, Medical Clinic and whole Kalyan Ashram Campus was sealed and taken over by police. Jagdeoram ji dared to stay back in same campus and secretly kept meeting the family members of arrested adhikaris and karyakartas of RSS and Kalyan Ashram.
After more than a year from imposition of emergency, a warrant of arrest was issued against him. He was secretly advised by police to leave the campus and go to his village to avoid police arrest. But he did not respond to what he was advised. He preferred to remain in the campus and continued working as before. Lastly, he was also arrested in October 1976 and put in Jashpur jail. After 10 days, he was sent to Raigarh jail, thereafter, till the end of emergency. Thus, he too, tasted the torture in confinement for nearly half a year.
When emergency was over
During emergency, the school, Chhatrawas, hospital and whole campus were purposely destroyed; Mahavidyalay was closed to avoid the continuance of teachers of hostile background. Jagdeoram ji was inducted in Middle School to help in re-establishing and rejuvenating it. But he preferred to work as full-time worker of Kalyan Ashram and thus he was brought back from school and inducted in Sangathan as 1st full-time worker of Kalyan Ashram in April 1978. He was very instrumental in vyavastha of 1st National Karyakarta Sammelan in August 1978 at Jashpur wherein Param Poojya Sarsanghchalak Balasahab Deoras was present for all the three days. The author of these lines also attended conference coming all the way from Nagaland.
National Vice-President and Working President
Kalyan Ashram became Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram after August 1978 conference. Jagdeoram ji began touring with Balasahab Deshpande ji throughout the country as his sahayak (assistant). He was elevated to National Vice President in 1987 and to Working President in 1993 during Rashtriya Karyakarta Sammelan at Cuttack. During these days, he was under close watch of Deshpande ji who sculpted the person into what Jagdeoram ji was. Into the reply of one of my questions during the prolonged interview, Jagdeoram ji said, “During journey with Poojyaniya Deshpande ji after taking over as the personal assistant in 1978, I had an opportunity of meeting and conversing with various State Organising Secretaries and senior karyakartas, I was much impressed to witness in them the wisdom, scholarship, commitment, clarity in thought and action, simplicity, honesty and hard work. The organisational skill was tremendous and amazing; also amusing free from ego. In this context, the combative spirit of some of early karyakartas like Gunwant Singh Kothari, Kripa Prasad Singh, Anil Holsamudra, Balram Malviya, Nishikant Joshi, Smt. Aruna Holsamudra, Smt. Madhavi Joshi etc. was stunning, impressive and inspiring. I learnt much from them also. Further, I was highly inspired by Rani Gaidinliu and N.C. Zeliang of Nagaland.”
After demise of Poojya Deshpande ji on 21st April 1995, Jagdeoram ji took over as National President. During his tenure, Kalyan Ashram touched from height to height. Number of full-time workers increased. There have been a complete cohesion, coordination and mutual understanding at all level in the organisation. Poojniya Jagdeoramji`s magnetic personality acted as centre of gravity to which all the workers – big or small were emotionally attached, revolved around him as satellites move on their orbital paths without colliding each other. He was a father figure in the organisation not only by virtue of holding the top-most position but also by virtue of compassion and care of workers from top to bottom. Though very simple in appearance, very humble and soft spoken in approach, he was very assertive and commanding when situation demanded in the Sangathan. He had special inclination towards works and workers in ever-disturbed North-East Bharatvarsh. He advised Bhaskar Rao and Vasant Rao to bring maximum workers and resources from different parts of country to cater the ever-increasing needs of Kalyan Ashram in volcanic Poorvottar Bharat where the expansion work had to be undertaken with a sense of urgency and where resources – men and money were limited hurdling the expansion work. He was worried for the safety and security of karyakartas in this region. He very often cautioned me and Ram Nagina Yadav ji – “Beware of terrorist`s bullets. Take utmost precaution to keep you safe and secure. We have lost four senior workers in Tripura, three in Assam and one in Meghalaya. It should not happen in Nagaland and elsewhere in North-East Region.”
He was a father figure in the organisation not only by virtue of holding the top-most position but also by virtue of compassion and care of workers from top to bottom. Though very simple in appearance, very humble and soft spoken in approach, he was very assertive and commanding when situation demanded in the Sangathan. He had special inclination towards works and workers in ever-disturbed North-East Bharatvarsh.
He was very happy when Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch was constituted on 1, 2 April 2002 at Guwahati under the Presidentship of Bikram Bahadur Jamatiya of Tripura. The Manch was to act as a common coordinating forum for organised and un-organised, major and minor janjati communities numbering around 200 in this remote and un-accessible region where scores of China-trained terrorist organisations were active to slit the Siliguri-Neck. He wanted Kalyan Ashram to act as a bed-rock of nationalist janjati organisations as Prof. Gangmumei Kamei of Imphal, N.C. Zeliang of Nagaland and Talum Rukbo of Arunachal Pradesh had opined.
While addressing a Chintan Baithak of 100 workers and well-wishers of Nagaland in 1998 in Rani Gaidinliu Chhatrawas Dimapur in the presence of Bhaskar Rao Kalambi and Vasant Rao Bhatt, Jagdeoram ji said, “In the terror-troubled Nagaland, strengthening nationalist Naga native organisations and running supportive service projects are the prime works of Kalyan Ashram.”
Formulation of Vision Document for overall development of janjati Samaj, fourth yearly Akhil Bhartiya Kreeda Mahotsav, Shabari Kumbh, Prayagraj Kumbh, Singhasth Kumbh in Ujjain, Grand Vanvasi Sammelan 2003 in Jhabua, formation of Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch on 1, 2 April 2002 at Guwahati, Jaagta Poorvanchal 2004, Cooperation North-East 2005, Indigenous Faith Day Celebration in 2007 in Arunachal Pradesh, codification of customary laws, seminar to formulate National Tribal Policy at Guwahati desired by the then Vajpayee Government, year-long Silver Jubilee Celebration of Zeliangrong Heraka Association with grand opening ceremony in January 1999 at Haflong and grand closing ceremony in January 2000 at Tening (Nagaland), 3-day workshop on 22nd-24th October 2010 at Guwahati on the topic – ‘Philosophy and Spirituality of the Eternal/Primordial Religion and Culture of the Janjatis of North-East Bharat’ and publication of the book – ‘Socio-Cultural and Spiritual Traditions of North-East Bharat’ in 2012, year-long Birth Centenary Celebration of Rani Gaidinliu in 2015, seminar on freedom struggles led by Rani Gaidinliu and other freedom fighters of North-East Region at Guwahati in 2015, Rani Gaidinliu Rath-Yatra in all the Zeliangrong villages in Assam, Nagaland & Manipur in 2015, publication of a book on Rani Gaidinliu and making of a documentary video on Rani Gaidinliu in 2015, expansion of Heritage Foundation Guwahati, Janjati Leader`s Conference 2008 at Hojai, success in publication of monthly magazines such as ‘Van Bandhu’ from Delhi and ‘Heritage Explorer’ from Guwahati, relief distribution and reconciliatory moves by Kalyan Ashram during Karbi-Dimasa Clash 2005, Udalgudi Massacre 2008 and Zemi-Dimasa Clash 2009, seminar on the topic of ‘Janjati Image & Reality’ in association with Makhanlal Chaturvedi University Bhopal, etc.
In addition, Kalyan Ashram has reached 50 thousand villages of 500 janjati communities with 20 thousand service projects in their 14 thousand villages most of which situated in remote areas or hill tops.
Poojya Jagdeoram ji died of massive heart attack at 3 PM on 15th July 2020 at Jashpur Kendra (Chhattisgarh). He was under regular medical care for complaints in kidney, lung and heart. He was a diabetic patient as well. His body was kept in Kalyan Ashram campus for janta darshan and funeral took place next day 16th July 2020 afternoon at Jashpur Muktidham. His nephew Amar Bhagat performed his last rites. Along with family members and RSS, BJP, VHP and Kalyan Ashram representatives, following dignitaries attended the funeral ceremony –
1) Ma. Dattatrey Hosbole (Sah-Sarkaryavah, RSS),
2) Nand Kumar Soy (President, Central Janjati Commission),
3) Prem Shankar ji (Prant Pracharak),
4) Ganesh Ram Bhagat (former minister),
5) Sudarshan Bhagat (Lok Sabha MP and former minister),
6) Samir Uraon (Rajya Sabha MP),
7) Vishnudev Soy (State President, BJP),
8) Ram Vichar Netam (National President, BJP ST Morcha),
9) Dharamlal Kaushik (Leader of Opposition, Chhattisgarh),
10) Gomti Soy (MP)
In addition, Atul Jog (National Organising Secretary of Kalyan Ashram), Yogesh Bapat (National General Secretary), Kripa Prasad Singh (National Vice President), Vishnukant ji (National Joint General Secretary) and Girish Kuber (National Janjati Hitraksha Pramukh) also witnesses the funeral ceremony.
The condolence messages are pouring from all over the country. The dignitaries who sent their condolence messages are as under –
1) Ma. Mohan Bhagwat ji (Param Poojya Sarsanghchalak, RSS)
2) Ma. Bhaiya Joshi ji (Sarkaryavah, RSS)
3) Ma. Narendra Modi ji (Prime Minister)
4) Ma. Amit Shah Ji (Union Home Minister)
5) Ma. Jagat Prakash Nadda ji (National President, BJP)
6) Ma. B. L. Santosh ji, National General Secretary (Org.) BJP
7) Ma. Ram Madhav ji (National General Secretary, BJP)
8) Ven. Tulku Guruji (former Abbot, Tawang Buddhist Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh)
9) Ma. Arjun Munda ji (Union Minister for Tribal Affairs)
10) Shivraj Singh Chauhan (Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh)
11) Smt. Ansuiya Uike (Governor)
12) Dharampal Singh, General Secretary (Org.) BJP Jharkhand
13) Raghubar Das (former Chief Minister)
14) Deepak Prakash (State President, BJP)
15) Devbrat Pahan (Kshetra Sah-Sanghchalak)
16) Ashok Srivastava (Prant Sah-Sanghchalak)
17) Tulsi Gupta
18) Satyendra Singh
19) Sunil Ambekar (National Sah-Prachar Pramukh, RSS)
20) Zeliangrong Heraka Association, Nagaland
21) Chakhesang Lhikiri Lenyu Kezumi, Mapou, Nagaland
22) Pochuri Lani Nale Kaveri, Nagaland
23) Nitin Gadkari (Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways)
24) Piyush Goyal (Union Minister of Railways)
25) Shibrai Bismai Bosong, Nagaland
26) Ma. Shiv Prakash ji, Joint General Secretary (Org.) BJP
27) Devendra Fadnavis (former Chief Minister, Maharashtra)
28) Sunil Deodhar (National Secretary, BJP)
29) Janjati Vikas Samiti Nagaland
30) Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch, Guwahati
31) Heritage Foundation, Guwahati
32) Indigenous Faith and Cultural Society of Arunachal Pradesh
33) Rangfraa Faith Promotion Society, Changlang, Arunachal Pradesh
34) B. B. Jamatiya, Agartala
35) Jamatiya Hoda, Agartala
36) Lakhimon Sangha, Diphu (Assam)
37) Sarbanand Sonowal (Chief Minister, Assam)
38) Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Guwahati
39) Apatani Donyi Piilo Meder Nello Council, Arunachal Pradesh
40) Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh, NE Region, Guwahati
(The author is a senior RSS Pracharak)