Pdt. Janardan Rai Nagar was a true democrat and believed in the principles of democracy, equality, secularism and justice. 16th August is his death anniversary. Born on 16th June 1911 , he led an eventful life. His fore-fathers had come from Gujarat and settled in Udaipur in the erstwhile state of Mewar. The erstwhile Maharana of Mewar Bhopal Singh gave him scholarship to study at Banaras Hindu University . There he came in contact with some of the best intellectuals of his time including Munshi Premchand and Jainendra Kumar, two luminaries of Hindi literature. He tried his hand at creative writing and got some of his stories published in the reputed magazine Hans edited by none other than Prem Chand.
Pdt. Nagar , popularly known as Janu Bhai led a life according the principles of secularism, democracy and socialism. He was a true democrat in his personal life and also in his professional life. Though he was a congress leader himself and was elected a member of legislative assembly from Mavli constituency as a member of Congress party, he had very good relationship with Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Mohan Lal Sukhadia, Chaudhary Narendra Pal Singh, Chaudhary Rajendra Singh, Niranjan Nath Acharya and a score of political leaders and trade union leaders across party line were his close friends and associates.
Pdt. Nagar framed the constitution of Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, an institution he founded, on the principles of democratic decentralization. It had a Parliament called “ Kul Sansad” which consisted of elected representatives of the workers of Vidyapeeth. He used the word “ Karyakarta” for all cadres of the Vidyapeeth irrespective of their position in the heirarchy.Each unit had a “Sangam” consisting of all the workers of the unit led by their elected representative called “Sangam Sanyojak”. The budget of that unit was proposed in the sangam and was debated upon. The budget of the whole of Vidyapeeth was presented in the meeting of “Kul Sansad” and was debated upon. Even the personal expenses of Nagar family were subject to scrutiny. This practice continued year after year.He invited people from different political backgrounds to Vidyapeeth and made them a part of it. Sh. Kanyan Mal Jaisani, Dr. Devi Lal Paliwal and Shri Udai lal Chandalia were from Communist background. Sh. K.K.Vashisht, Sh. Bhai Bhagwan, Sh Jamna Lal Dashora were from Socialist background and Sh.Murlidhar Verma, Sh. Dev Kothari and Gulab Chand Kataria were from the background of Jansangh. But most of them never used their political inclination in Vidyapeeth. They held the institution above all.
Janu Bhai’s brother Sh. Ramesh Chandra Rai Nagar left his home to live with Harijan families and lived with them till his death. He was called “ Harijan Bandhu”. Janu Bhai’s daughter Nidhi married Dr. K.L.Bhatia out of his caste. So did one of his sons. They were all welcome. Janu Bhai created a mini India in his family with the diverse colours of India culture. In this he was guided by his mother Vijaya Maa who was a true devolutionary and nationalist in the widest possible meaning of the term. He never allowed his family members to be a part of Vidyapeeth. His son Sh. Prafull Rai Nagar worked wth the government of Rajasthan and daughter in law Dr. Divya Prabha Nagar served Vidya Bhavan through out his life. They came to Vidyapeeth only in the last phase of their lives and contributed to its growth selflessly .
Pdt. Nagar was a great writer of Hindi, a great scholar of Sanskrit and Philosophy but was a voracious reader of English Literature. He read a lot of fiction and was a wonderful scholar of English as well . But due to his nationalistis feelings always promoted Hindi in Rajasthan Vidyapeeth.
Today when we look at Vidyapeeth, we are filled with a sense of loss. All the great democratic principles and traditions are thwarted and a group of casteist sycophants have usurped position of power. The university is run in a dictatorial manner where even the heads of the institutions are but puppets. One can only pray that some day with the blessings of the divine soul of Janu Bhai, old vidyapeeth would revive and it will regain its past glory.