Karpoorigram comes alive to celebrate Bharat Ratna to its son - Hindustan Times
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Karpoorigram comes alive to celebrate Bharat Ratna to its son

By, Karpoorigram (samastipur)
Jan 24, 2024 09:31 PM IST

In the afternoon, chief minister Nitish Kumar also reached Karpoorigram, all alone by helicopter, to pay respect to the great socialist icon at the Karpoori Smriti Bhawan.

Despite the biting cold and dense fog on Wednesday (January 24) morning, one village in Bihar was buzzing with hectic activity — Karpoorigram in Samastipur district, named after the socialist icon and the state’s two-time chief minister in the 1970s, Karpoori Thakur, whose name was announced for Bharat Ratna posthumously the previous night, 36 years after his death, and coinciding with his 100th birth anniversary.

 (Karpoori Thakur’s granddaughters at their ancestral home in Karpoorigram village of Bihar’s Samastipur district on January 24, 2024.)
(Karpoori Thakur’s granddaughters at their ancestral home in Karpoorigram village of Bihar’s Samastipur district on January 24, 2024.)

“It was a pleasant coincidence for all of us to be here with father (JD-U Rajya Sabha member Ramnath Thakur) and get an opportunity to feel this big moment, as it unfolded. Dadaji deserved Bharat Ratna for having inspired so many and worked for an inclusive society. We are all thankful to the Central government,” said Namita Kumari, daughter of Ramnath Thakur, who was in Karpoorigram along with her son, Aditya Anmol, who is working in California after doing masters in public policy.

The second sister, Sneha, who got recently married, had also come from Mumbai for a family get-together. The third sister, Amrita, who works in the Bihar government, was also there to savour the big moment for the family, which made Karpoori Thakur’s birth centenary celebrations special. And they all use single name.

“He was not into symbolism. He believed in a casteless society and that is reflected through the names of his grandchildren. None of us carry any surname. He wanted to build an inclusive society and took some important steps to bring the marginalised sections to the mainstream. Removing English those days was part of his vision. Unlike today, English was a big handicap for the marginalised and it prevented them from getting into jobs,” said Namita.

Sneha said her grandfather had left behind an unmatched legacy that has inspired generations. “It was an unbelievable news and came as a big surprise. Having just returned from Patna, my father (Ramnath Thakur) was about to go to sleep after dinner when he got a call, asking him to watch TV. We were all sitting and talking, but he said someone should switch on the TV. And soon, the TV news started flashing and there was unbridled joy in the family,” she said.

As the news broke, Karpoorgram came alive on Tuesday night. People started gathering at the house of Ramnath Thakur. “Sweets were distributed to all. Though centenary function was fixed for Wednesday, I never witnessed such excitement here,” said Gopal Kumar, a villager who works at Thakur’s house.

Aditya Anamol, the great grandson of Karpooriji, said he was fortunate to have witnessed the moment, as he was visiting the village for the first time and. “What I have gathered from my mother and grandfather is that Karpooriji was an iconic figure with supporters and well-wishers in all parties. That is visible now. His ideology seems to have inspired generations. He believed education could be the game changer for society and to make education accessible to all in equal measure, he used different tools, reservation being one of them,” he said.

In the afternoon, chief minister Nitish Kumar also reached Karpoorigram, all alone by helicopter, to pay respect to the great socialist icon at the Karpoori Smriti Bhawan and Gokhul-Karpoori Phuleshwari College and returned with Ramnath Rhakur for the all-important centenary function organised by the JD-U.

The village, well connected by good roads, has all the facilities, like Karpoorigram railway station, school, college and a hospital.

Kumar said he had been consistently demanding Bharat Ratna for Karpoori Thakur since 2007 and thanked the Central government for conferring it on him. “We are taking forward his legacy. The kind of work Karpoori Ji did for the marginalised sections is unparalleled. He worked for prohibition and for education, but some people went against him and got him removed. He was the first to work for other backward classes and extremely backward classes,” he added.

Nityanand Thakur, Ramnath Thakur’s cousin who lives in Karpooriji’s ancestral home, said the Central government had honoured the marginalised sections. “This was long awaited and everyone seems happy with the decision. He ignited the flame and now it is spreading light to all corners,” he said.

At the college named after Karpoori Thakur and his parents, professor Shambhu Nath Thakur described the great socialist leader as a visionary, who could see things much ahead of time. “He had to face a lot of rough weather during his time due to his bold and path-breaking moves to give voice to the voiceless and space to the marginalised,” he said.

Born on January 24, 1924, Karpoori Thakur became the chief minister of Bihar twice, but could not complete his term even once. He paved the way for reservation to backward classes and did not hesitate to sacrifice his government for that. It was, however, his connect with the people and ability to feel their pulse that he never lost an election in over three decades of his political career starting with 1952, when he first got elected to Bihar assembly.

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