Born on March 23, 1910, Ram Manohar Lohia was an activist in the Indian independence movement and a socialist political leader.
During the last phase of British rule in India, he worked with the Congress Radio which was broadcast secretly from various places in Bombay until 1942.
Born into a family of merchants
Lohia was born into a family of merchants. He was raised mostly by his grandparents after his mother died when he was two, although his father's passion to Indian nationalism influenced him during his upbringing.
Lohia became active in the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in 1934, when it was created as a left-wing faction within the Indian National Congress; he sat on the CSP executive committee and edited its weekly publication.
Imprisoned for anti-British statements
He was a staunch opponent of Indian participation in World War II on the side of the United Kingdom, and he was imprisoned for anti-British statements in 1939 and again in 1940, the latter occurrence resulting in an 18-month prison sentence.
With the development of the Quit India movement in 1942, a campaign launched by Mohandas K. Gandhi to seek the withdrawal of British authorities from India, Lohia and other CSP leaders (including Jaya Prakash Narayan) organized underground support. For such resistance activities, he was jailed again in 1944–46.
Lohia remained involved in Indian politics during and after the country's independence in 1947.
At loggerheads with Jawaharlal Nehru
However, after clashing with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on various topics, Lohia and other CSP members left the Congress in 1948. He joined the Praja Socialist Party after its founding in 1952 and served as general secretary for a short time until resigning in 1955 due to internal problems.
Lohia was elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower chamber of parliament) in 1963, where he was known for sharply criticizing government policies. Although his parliamentary impact was ultimately limited, many Indians found his progressive ideals, which he espoused in several publications, to be inspirational.
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