Dr Panjabrao Shamrao Deshmukh
Popularly known as Bhausaheb Deshmukh, was a social activist and a farmer's leader in India. He was the Minister of Agriculture in the first cabinet of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952
In those times there were no facilities for higher education in India. Many Students used to go to England for further education. So he also wanted to be a Barrister from Cambridge University. Despite too much poverty at home, he managed to make money to go to England. He took a barrister degree in 1921 and M.A. honours in Sanskrit. He obtained a PhD degree for a Thesis on 'Origin and development of religion in Vedic literature.'
He was attached with Satya Shodhak Samaj of Mahatma Phule. He did satyagraha for entry to untouchables in Ambabai Temple, Amravati which was very strongly condemned by the upper castes. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar supported him in this movement. As a human being, no one has the power to refuse the worship of God. Acting on this basis of human being he started his movement. Finally, management of the temple allowed untouchables to enter the temple of Ambadevi. "Charity always begins from home" is a good phrase but everyone must follow it. Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh also started the equality movement from his home. After the death of his father, his mother asked him to conduct the traditional activity "Shraddha" with Brahmins. He brought untouchables students from his school hostel to home and his mother treated them as Brahmins.
Deshmukh knew that prosperity would come only when the weapon of knowledge became available to all. For this purpose in 1931, he established the Shri Shivaji Education Society at Amravati. Today this education society stands at the second most position in Maharashtra. This society has 24-degree colleges, 54 intermediate colleges, 75 high schools and 35 hostels. There is an Agricultural university by his name at Akola, i.e. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth. He was a well-known educationalist who well cemented the foundation of education is not only in Vidarbha but throughout the Maharashtra region. He started the process of establishment of Agricultural Universities all across the country and gave a fillip to agricultural education and research. He was the secretary for the Vidarbha region of the Indian Labour Party, established by Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar.
He was elected thrice for the Loksabha. Dr. Deshmukh was selected by Nehru as the first agriculture minister of India. He played an important role in the making of the Indian Constitution. He was a staunch supporter of the mission by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was the secretary for the Vidarbha region of the Indian Labour Party, established by Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar.
He dedicated all his talents and energy to the formulation and implementation of the policies that would bring prosperity to agriculture and the agriculturist. He established the Bharat Krishak Samaj and launched a campaign called Food for Millions in 1955. He brought in the Japanese method of rice cultivation in 1958 and organized the World Agriculture Fair in 1959, which was inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad and the chief guest of the fair was Dwight Eisenhower, the President of the US. The fair was visited by dignitaries across the world some of them being Nikita Khrushchev, the then president of the USSR, Lord and Lady Mountbatten and many others. He was the only man of India who brought international leaders in India.He started the process of establishment of Agricultural Universities all across the country and gave a fillip to agricultural education and research.
He appeared in many cases in the district court of Amravati from the side of poor peasants. But the main case was the British govt vs. Azad Hind Sena, in which he assisted Jawaharlal Nehru. Dr. Deshmukh died on April 10, 1965 in Delhi.