Morarji Desai

Morarji Desai was an Indian independence activist who served between 1977 and 1979 as the 4th Prime Minister of India and led the government formed by the Janata Party.

Updated: June 16, 2022

Morarji Desai was an Indian independence activist who served between 1977 and 1979 as the 4th Prime Minister of India and led the government formed by the Janata Party. Desai is the only Indian till date to be conferred with Pakistan's highest civilian award, Nishan-E-Pakistan. He was awarded for his infinite efforts in initiating peace between two rival countries. He was born on February 29th, 1896 and died on April 10th, 1995.


Childhood of Morarji Desai:

Morarji Desai was born in an orthodox Anavil Brahmin family on February 29th, 1896 in Bhadeli, Valsad in Bombay Presidency. He was the oldest of eight children. His father was a school teacher.


Education of Morarji Desai:

Desai underwent his primary schooling in Saurashtra The Kundla School, Savarkundla now called J.V. Modi school and later joined Bai Ava Bai High School, Valsad. After graduating from Wilson College, Mumbai, he joined the civil service in Gujarat. 


After completing his education, he joined the civil services and took up the profile of a Deputy Collector in 1918, which he served for 12 years until 1930. Desai resigned as deputy collector of Godhra in May 1930 after being found guilty of going soft on Hindus during the riots of 1927-28 there. 


Family of Morarji Desai:

He tied the nuptial knot with Gujraben in 1911. The couple was blessed with five children. Gujraben lived to see her husband becoming Prime Minister, but she died before him. He is survived by his son Kanti Desai, and grandsons Jagdeep and Bharat Desai. Madhukeshwar Desai, one of his great-grandsons, son of Jagdeep Desai, took it upon himself to revive the legacy of his illustrious great grandfather. Madhukeshwar Desai is currently the National Vice-President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP.


Some facts about Morarji Desai:

  • He was known as a legendary freedom fighter and his role in the Indian freedom struggle and later as a politician has been exceptional .
  • Desai always worked on the path of truthfulness and seldom compromised with his principles even in the most trying of situations.
  • He devised the theory that the law of the land was above and beyond all administrative posts and is the most supreme.
  • In 1931, he became a member of the All India Congress Committee and served as the Secretary of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee until 1937.
  • He became Home Minister of Bombay before the independence of India and later was elected as Chief Minister of Bombay State in 1952. 
  • He became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India in 1977.
  • He worked hard to improve international diplomatic relations with arch rivals Pakistan and China during his term.
  • After retiring from active politics, he settled in Mumbai. He breathed his last on April 10, 1995, just one birthday short of living a century.
  • Morarji Desai was a practitioner of urine therapy. He professed the benefits of drinking urine and constantly claimed it to be the perfect medical solution from a number of ailments for the millions of Indians who cannot afford medical treatment. He also attributed his longevity to drinking urine which he called 'the water of life'. For this, he was ridiculed by many people both nationally and internationally.



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