Ram Kishore Shukla

4 Sep 1923
11 Dec 2003
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Pandit Ram Kishore Shukla (Pronounced (4 September 1923 – 11 December 2003) was an Indian politician and an activist for Indian independence.

He represented Socialist Party and the Indian National Congress as an M.L.A in the legislative assembly of the state of Madhya Pradesh from Beohari constituency, where he served as speaker,deputy speaker, whereas in cabinet he served as minister of finance, minister of law & legislative, minister of separate revenue,and minister of parliamentary affairs in government of Madhya Pradesh to government of India.

Presided various house committees of legislative assembly of Madhya Pradesh, in several five-year plans. First to express his views to start live telecast of meetings of parliament of India & legislative assemblies of republic of India on doordarshan in Commonwealth Parliamentary Association convention in England. During his tenure as cabinet minister for law he started lok adalat sittings in Madhya Pradesh & thereafter received personal appreciations from Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati for the same.

He was widely travelled, having visited Soviet Union, England, Japan, United States of America, Kenya, several other republics of Africa, Italy, Germany, Isle of Man etc. to participate in Commonwealth & other similar events. He remained a name for his region because of his political ideologies and principles not only during the Indian independence movement but even after that for more than half of a century until 2003.

Shukla, whose ancestors were farmers, held a radical view against the British. He was always willing to be a part of moves of congress against the feudalistic English government. Although, on the backdrop of russian revolution, he found his thought process very compatible to the philosophy of socialism after he caught his conscience, so only he stood and won very first election of 1951 under the banner of socialist party. After passing high school, he indulged himself in quit India movement on gandhi’s call for immediate independence with passive resistance and went to attend the mass meeting held at gowalia tank maidan in Bombay, where Do or Die was coined by gandhi. His higher secondary education was aided by the award of a scholarship in 1942 for his high school examination results. After a period of two years of working, he took a B.A. political science on the basis of a scholarship from Rewa. Shukla was employed as a teacher at Martand Higher Secondary School in Rewa after his graduation. He subsequently gained a Bachelor of Laws and started legal practice in 1950.

In 1950, Shukla was elected as president of the local gram panchayat and nyaya panchayat in Vindhya Pradesh. He was a keen observer of Cooperative movement in India that is why after freedom he was elected as president of rural cooperative committee of Beohari, marketing co-operative committee, central co-operative banks of Rewa and Shahdol districts, also kept himself indulged in conservation of cooperative institutes. He was initially an exponent of socialism, often counted in the establishment of socialist party in his region, he won beohari constituency seat in the very first general elections of Vindhya Pradesh in 1951 from socialist party only. Although Indian National Congress was in majority, he was one of the 11 who were in Legislative Assembly of Vindhya Pradesh from Socialist Party, the main opposition party. Shukla was unanimously elected the Leader of the Opposition of the Legislative Assembly of Vindhya Pradesh. The undivided Madhya Pradesh was founded on 1 November 1956 he won 1957 general elections as an independent candidate. Although, upon the requisition by Jawaharlal Nehru that all people of socialist cerebration should join Indian National Congress for effective establishment of socialistic society he joined congress party, under which he won the general elections of 1962, 1967, 1980, 1985 and 1993. He remained representative of Beohari Vidhan Sabha constituency for a total of seven times, he was one of the few who scored hat-trick in assembly elections from his region. He was known to be a sharp speaker and prime apprehender of parliamentary system.

He served as a deputy speaker of the assembly for two times in 1968–1972 and 1980–1984. After the resignation of Yagya Datt Sharma in July 1983 who was speaker then, he took charge of executing Speaker and represented in Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conventions of Kenya, Italy, Germany in and after September 1983. In March 1984, he was unanimously elected speaker of the State Assembly, then again was called to represent in Common Wealth Parliamentary Association and similar conventions of Isle of Man, England, United States, Japan and Soviet Union. He was the first person to express his views to start live telecast of meetings of Parliament of India & Legislative Assemblies of Indian states on doordarshan in Commonwealth Parliamentary Association convention in England, so that the peoples of the constituencies can see the official workings of assemblies and Parliament and representatives will also take care of their performance before them. At times when he did not represented his constituency he presided more than five house committees of Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh, in several five-year plans, whereas during his seven time spell as a legislatorthe departments held by him as a cabinet minister were, Minister of Finance, Minister of Separate Revenue, Minister of Law and Legislativeand minister of Parliamentary Affairs.During the first monsoon session of him as finance minister and immediate one after Bhopal disaster, he presented his first budget with significant deficit to accommodate humanitarian and rehabilitation funds for Gas tragedy victims.

Believing that education as the key to improving the lot of his primarily rural constituency, Shukla supported the educational establishments in the area. He was a member of the secondary education board and court of Dr. Hari Singh Gour University and established the Arts & Commerce College in Beohari which was later named after him. He was also, at various times, president of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of Madhya Pradesh, Shahdol Central Cooperative Bank and Bar Association and deputy president of the directorial board of Shahdol Law College.

In 1984, he promoted one officer of state legislature as special secretary and within hours the same officer was promoted to the post of secretary, this was done by virtue of the extraordinary powers vested in him as Speaker, this promotion being first of its kind in history was not appreciated by anyone.

In 1987, during his tenure as minister three people were shot in a public gunfire at a circus in Beohari. Shukla’s sons were connected in the case. Circus was being run in front of police station in Beohari. First information report stated, shukla’s third and fourth son were eye witnessed to be linked with the attackers. Three circus employees, including a woman trapeze artist, were injured following an altercation that took place over the purchase of tickets, witnesses also reported that shots were fired on. Hooligans those were implicated were close associates of shukla’s sons and were already facing criminal charges against them. Shukla’s sons also had a few pending cases against them. Although, anticipatory bail for his fourth son was turned down by district judge at shahdol, police administration was profoundly afraid to act in the case as the government actions were stalled. BJP held a public meeting to condemn and demand shukla’s and chief minister’s resignation on moral grounds, Kailash Chandra Joshi then opposition leader charged “The government is deliberately suppressing facts in the case and shielding the influential accused”. Government had ordered CID enquiry and officer in charge was transferred as district police captain Nandan Dubey, who later became state police chief, found him dubious. All these accusations were denied by shukla’s sons by saying that their political rivals from opposition party at city and capital were trying to humiliate them and their father’s image. Shukla himself insisted that the whole thing was a political game aimed at hurting him.

Shukla’s family has its roots as Pandit Ram Sundar Shukla son of Pandit Shyam Sundar Shukla, a patwari (d.1968), and his wife Buddhi Shukla, a housewife (d.1980). They had four sons named as Ram Kishore Shukla, Bhagwati Prasad Shukla, Ganga Prasad Shukla and Durga Shankar Shukla.

Shukla with Digvijaya Singh, Santosh Kumar Shukla, Dr. Surendra Shukla and Lal Bahadur Singh (extreme left) at chief minister house, 6 Shyamla hills, Bhopal in 2002
Shukla married a farmer’s daughter, Kalavati Shukla, in 1944, they has issues, five sons and two daughters named as Banmali Prasad Shukla, Vindhyeshwari Prasad Shukla, Santosh Kumar Shukla, Vinod Kumar Shukla, Surendra Shukla, Kavita Shukla and Anita Shukla, among them Santosh Kumar Shukla is known as his political successor from congress party. He is also deputy president of district congress committee of Shahdol district at Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee. and others are officers in various state/central cadres, like Vindhyeshwari Prasad Shukla who is deputy secretary of legislative assembly of Madhya Pradesh, Vinod Shukla is assistant commissioner in Bhopal Municipal Corporation and Surendra Shukla who is divisional coordinator at ministry of youth affairs and sports is also an spare time writer & poet. Some of his creations include Pratiksha, Mati ko naman, Mere desh ki mati. Also he had sung number of patriotic songs and played principal characters for DD Madhya Pradesh daily serials like Hasina Manzil.His fifth daughter in law Urmila Surendra Shukla who was a notable additional district magistrate, deputy commissioner of Bhopal and had been deputy secretary of Government of Madhya Pradesh is currently posted as additional director of higher education department of Madhya Pradesh, nominated to become a conferee of Indian Administrative Service soon. His first daughter Kavita Shukla who is married to the first son of Bhagwan Datt Sharma is a high-school principal nowadays in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh other one is a house wife. His personal belongings, possessions and awards can still be observed at Kishore Kala Mandir which is the private residence of the family.

The second son of Ram Sundar Shukla immediate younger to Ram Kishore Shukla was Bhagwati Prasad Shukla a doctor of philosophy from Agra university awarded so for his contributions in the field of hindi and bagheli languages was the second notable figure in the second generation. His book Bagheli Bhasha aur sahithya is the original book from which one can get all the basic knowledge about bagheli language and bagheli culture He had issues two sons and three daughters among which Rashmi Shukla has been joint director of Madhya Pradesh school education nowadays principal of govt. college of education, Rewa. Ganga Prasad Shukla was the third son to Ram Sundar Shukla who was retired from the post of principal in a government school. Durga Shankar Shukla is youngest to all who had his entire life spent in care of family farms and ranches.

Shukla’s grandson and son of Surendra Shukla, Eeshan Surendra Shukla is a National Bal Shree awardee and a national level swimmer.

Diagonised with diabetes in his 40s, Shukla spent most of his life on medication. On 10 November 2003 when General elections were taking place in Madhya Pradesh he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage. He was referred to be admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, but since elections were going on no government plane was available; as a result, he had to be treated in Rewa. After a month of unconsciousness, Shukla died on 11 December 2003.

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