Monday, 8 December 2014

Dr. Y.S. Parmar- The Founder of Himachal Pradesh

Affectionately called the creator of Himachal Pradesh, for his efforts to get proper shape and status for this hilly state, Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar was a strange combination of rebellion and conformity of the tradition and modernity.  He nursed the state in its pernicious childhood and later helped it in its shaky adolescence to grow into maturity. Born in aristocracy he looked after Himachal like a truly democratic patriarch.

Dr. Parmar had been the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh from 1952 to 1956 and then again from 1963 to 1977.

He was not only an astute politician who avoided controversies, but also a scholar in his own right. The Himachal Pradesh University conferred the honorary degree of Doctorate of Law on him. He was already a Ph.D. in sociology. He had a habit of getting along with others which were the secret of his own success. He used to say that sociology enables a person to understand sympathetically and fully the present day social and economic conditions of the people in the context of their centuries-old history.
Dr. Y.S.Parmar standing behind the Indian Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi whois shaking hands with The Prime Minister of  Pakistan Sh. Zulfuiakhat Ali Bhutto, during the Shimla Accord or the Indo- Pake Accord in 1971.

Dr. Parnar was born on August 4, 1906, in Chhanhalag village in gram panchayat Lanabanka, the erstwhile princely state of Sirmour. His father Bhandari Shivanand Singh Parmar was an officer in the Sirmour state and was very close to the Maharaja. His great love for folklore and traditional food was inherited from his mother Luxmi Devi, who was an extremely lovable woman and an incarnation of affection, simplicity, and hospitality.

After his schooling at Shamsher High School Nahan, Dr. Parmar went to Lahore and joined the famous Foreman Christian College. After receiving his degree from Punjab University Lahore, he joined the Canning College Lucknow. He did M.A. in sociology and LLB from Lucknow University. In 1942, the same University conferred the Doctorate on him for his thesis on, the Social and Economic Background of Himalayan Polyandry.

After finishing his studies, Dr. Parmar joined the Sirmour State Services as a Magistrate 1st Class and later as a District and Session Judge from 1937 to 1940. This period also witnessed the development of sportsman, the social worker and the sociologist in Dr. Prarmar and he became the member of the Theosophical Society Dehra Dun in 1929, Secretary of Nahan Cricket Club in 1937-38 and the Executive Member of the Southern Punjab Cricket Association from 1938-40.
Three Chief Ministers dancing together, in the middle is Dr. Y.S. Parmar,
 while Thakur Ram Lal is on the left  and Raja Virbhadra Singh is on  the right

In 1941, Dr. Parmat resigned from the state services for political reasons and was exiled from the Sirmour State. On the one hand, the nation fighting its battle of freedom beckoned him, while on the other he had to devote his time for higher studies and research, besides earning the bread for his family.

He became an active member of Praja Mandal. Outside Sirmour he was in the forefront, while within the state he had to remain underground due to his exile, though equally active to enroll participants in the struggle for liberation. He was the Secretary of the Sirmour Association at Delhi from 1943 to 1946. He became the President of Himalayan State Regional Conference and the Member of Grouping and Amalgamation Committee of the Conference.

After the independence of India, Dr. Parmar concentrated towards the cause of freedom for the people living in the princely states. He successfully organized the Suket Satyagraha in 1948, which culminated in the formation of Himachal Pradesh on April 15, 1948, by the merger of 31 princely states, formerly known as the Punjab Hill States and the Shimla Hill States.

In 1948, Dr. Parmar was nominated the member of All India Congress Committee. He was also the member of the Advisory Council of the Chief Commissioners of Himachal Pradesh.

He was elected the member of the Constituent Assembly of India and some of the observations made by him during the debates on various articles of draft Constitution are quoted even today. He was also the member of Lok Sabha or the Upper House and led the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to Inter-Parliamentary Conference at Islamabad in 1951.

He was also the Secretary of the Gandhi National Memorial Fund of Himachal unit. During the first general elections, Dr. Parmar was returned to Himachal Legislative Assembly. In 1952, he became the first Chief Minister of the state. Again he won the Lok Sabha elections in 1957 and in 1963 he again became the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

He led a delegation to West Germany in connection with Indo-German Intensive Agricultural Programme and visited various hydroelectric generation plants particularly in Germany and Switzerland. He was again invited to Germany in 1965 for discussion in connection with the Intensive Agricultural Programme. In 1971, he visited USA, Canada, Japan, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Lebanon, and Greece.

Being Gandhian to the core, Dr. Parmat wore only the hand spun and hand woven Khadi.  He was a keen sportsman and enthusiastic horticulturist, a spirited orator and a noted writer.

 His publications are,
1. Himalayan Polyandry- Its social and economic background,
2. Himachal- Its Proper Shape and Status,
3. Himachal Pradesh- A case for Statehood, Himachal Pradesh- Area, Language and
4. Strategy for the Development of Hill Areas.

Among the politicians, Dr. Parmar has been very fortunate in as much as he had seen the fulfillment of what he dreamt. It was under his stewardship that Himachal achieved its proper status with the integration of Punjab Hill Areas in 1966. It was again under his Chief Minister-ship that Himachal became a full-fledged state on 25th January 1971.

Dr. Parmar was not only a personality but a complete history in which the mirror image of the future of Himachal Pradesh found its reflection. He was so honest that after vacating the office of Chief Minister his bank account had just 563 rupees or less than $10. He was very close to Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel etc. With the help of a walking stick, he used to carry his luggage on his back during the tours to distant and remote areas which contained important documents, gram, and gur or Jaggery. He never bothered about lunch or dinner. He dreamt to turn Himachal Pradesh as Switzerland of India.