Pratap Bhaiya: A Man Before His Time

Author: Utkersh Bora

“They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive”

-Swami Vivekananda

There are very few people who selflessly work for the betterment of the Society as a whole. They just step aside to undertake and accomplish the gigantic and mountainous task of changing the society all by themselves; neglecting all the thoughts and notions to gain fame or money. Hon’ble Shri Pratap Bhaiya was one such a great man. The journey of our lives covered by our Grandson-Grandfather relationship is too long to admit of adequate coverage through the present opportunity. I would, therefore, restrict myself to some remarkable memories I have from the time we spent together.

Those who knew him or participated in the meetings and forums he organized know what a punctual man he was. I remember he used to tell me, “समय के इतने पाबंद रहो कि  लोग तुम्हे रास्ते में देखकर अपने हाथ की घड़ी का समय मिलाएं “. I don’t remember sleeping after or waking up before him. Whenever I saw him, he was up and working. No matter whether it was cold, raining or very sunny outside, He’d always be on schedule. There are instances when he’d start a program without the chief-guests and those when he asked other people to preside on the chief-guests’ seats as the designated person couldn’t reach the venue on time.

When he was the leader of the student union of Lucknow University, He got in touch with Acharya Narendra Dev; then Vice-Chancellor of Lucknow University, and was deeply influenced by his ideology. The name “Pratap Bhai” was first given by Acharya Narendra Dev and he has been known as “Pratap Bhaiya” ever since. At the age of 25, he became a minister in the Charan Singh-led government in 1967 and was even referred to as modern day’s Malviya for setting up more than 100 schools including Bhartiya Shaheed Sainik School in Nainital (established in 1964 after Indo-China War of 1962) and Tharu Inter College in Khatima. He is also remembered for the establishment of a nurses training center at Nainital, government hospitals in Okhalkanda and Haldwani, and also as the founder Member of the renowned NGO ‘Aarohi’.

All this was before I set foot in this world and so I couldn’t witness these changes happening. However, one such contribution I did observe was his commitment to erase Casteism in the society. He had given up using his own surname ‘Pratap Singh Bora’ and instead used ‘Pratap Bhaiya’ to promote equality of all Castes. This ideology was implemented in various Schools he started and the students’ surname was not used in any of the school registers. However, with the recent orders from the Education Department, this practice had to be given up as Caste now plays a major role in every field of the society: Jobs, politics and even for examination purposes.

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Being a Socialist, he always used to promote, “काम का बँटवारा , इन्सान बराबर”. What he meant by this was in every Organization, even a worker commands the same respect as the person occupying the highest position. In a Society where there’s discrimination on the basis of how much a person earns, he always justified equal treatment for all. His colleagues would tell me that most of the poor clients would come to him as they had faith on him. One such instance was, as I recall, a poor client of his was heading back home after having won the case. Having paid the fees, his pockets were empty and he didn’t even have enough money to take a ride. Pratap Bhaiya Ji sensed this and putting some money in his hands secretly said, “घर जाते हुए बच्चो के लिए मेरी तरफ से जलेबी ले लेना”. Whether his Client was rich or poor, he’d offer them tea and biscuit and asked them to sit beside him. Whenever someone visited him asking for a job, he never denied. He’d ask them to write letters for him and do other works for his seminars and Forums, in return of which he’d pay them from his own pockets. In doing so, he believed was stopping a brilliant youngster from falling into the dark side of the world. Many of the Boys working with him qualified for government jobs later on.

He knew that the rural Villages would soon become vacant if proper attention was not given to the villagers’ needs and so he started many schools for giving proper education to the youngsters. He’d organize workshops in the backward areas so that the villagers could start some small-scale industries on their own. “Acharya Narendra Dev Industrial Training Institute, Nainital” was one such initiative. He would try to provide free education for the economically weak so that they won’t have to face unemployment in the future. Even today, when everyone is busy printing money from their commercial educational institutes, there’s a very nominal fee in the schools he started.

 

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His love for the Country was profound. Although he had never been in the army, he’d wear an army dress when attending student parades; the same as the uniform of Sainik School, Nainital. He taught us not to use the words ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’, he’d teach us to say ‘Jai Hind’ instead. Every seminar, rally or parade he went to, he’d always greet the audience with ‘Jai Hind’. All the programs he’d preside would always end with the National Anthem. The students would also greet him with a salute and loud ‘Jai Hind’, whenever and wherever they saw him.  He was no less than an army soldier when it came to discipline and this reflected in his everyday lifestyle.

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There may come a time when there is a politician in every house but even then no person will ever match the grandeur and the skills that Hon’ble Shri Pratap Bhaiya possessed. A person who worked for the awakening of the society all lifelong is now lying calm and silent in the afterlife. Only if we had realized his importance and understood the various aspects of his personality back then, our country and the society would’ve benefited far beyond what we see today. It’s been 8 Years since he left us, but his inspiration and legacy still remain.

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Pratap Bhaiya: A Man Before His Time

  1. As far as I know Hon’ble Shri Pratab Bhaiya Ji was such a great personality who never discriminated between rich and poor and whose ideas were related with the concern of the betterment of the society.
    Being under the canopy of his blessings I some how inculcated in myself the value of truthfulness and always moved myself forward for the bettement of a human soul.

    I am thankful to the Almighty that I got the chance to enlighten my soul with his thoughts and vision.

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  2. बहुत सुन्दर बिचार है उत्कर्ष के अपने दादा जी के संबंध में I वास्तव में प्रताप भैय्या हम सबके प्रेरणा स्रोत है वे कहा करते थे कि जीवन में यदि आपने कुछ करना है तो तुरन्त करो क्योंकि सोचते रहने से हम केवल सोचते ही रह जाते है और काम करने वाले काम करके दिखलाते हैं । ऐसे व्यक्तित्व के पद चिन्हों पर चलकर हम भी कुछ ऐसा करें कि आने वाली पीढ़ी उ न्हें याद करे । यही उन्हें सच्ची श्रद्धाजलि होगी ॥ प्रताप भेय्या को शत शत नमन

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    • उत्कर्ष बोरा ने एक बहुआयामी व्याक्तित्व पऱ जो लिखा ह्रै वह उनकी ऐसी भावनायें हैं जो उन्होने महसूस की।आज कै इस भौतिकवादी युग में जब संवेदनायें क्म हो ऱह्रीं ह्रै एक पोते ने दिल से उसे समझा।प्रताप भथ्या जब तक २हें समाज के निर्बल एवं जरूरतमन्द लोगों की मदद करतेरहे।आज भी उनकी संस्थायें उनके सपनों को साकार कर २ही हैं।उत्कर्ष आप अपने दादाजी कै सपनों को उत्कर्ष तक अवश्य ले जायंगे।

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  3. Kudos!! It is indeed very touching. To describe a stalwart of his stature, Shree Pratap Bhaiyaji, through words would be belittling him but this write-up reflects it beautifully .
    Though he is no more amidst us yet his legacy inspires us and shall continue to do so for eras and eras. He is a mortal , who unlike the others of his creed , has attained immortality through his selfless actions and deeds.
    Undoubtedly he is the finest son of the soil, that Uttarakhand has had .
    May your tribe increase!!

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  4. आदरणीय प्रताप भैया पर यह एक बहुत ही बेहतरीन और पठनीय लेख है। मेरा सौभाग्य रहा कि मुझे उनका सानिध्य और स्नेह मिला।अपने संस्थानों और कार्यों से वे अमर हो चुके हैं।
    मैं उनसे बहुत प्रभावित रहा हूं और उन्हें बहुत याद करता हूं। उनके परिजनों से भी मुझे उसी स्नेह और लगाव की अनुभूति होती है।

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  5. We are so proud of bhaiya je his contribution for education can never be forgotten he was a real son of soil a real social worker who worked for equality who believed in social reform who was always present for all government activities with his saniks a person who was a figure of humanity peace principled as a child once he told us at my father’s shop he never used a hooter at nainital and never used to travel in nainital in his government car on mall a great person humble and caring for all

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  6. Really very pious efforts by utkersh blessed always. So far concern of dedication and high moral support for people as well as society of honorable bhaiyya ji it will be remembered by all of us forever. He was an honest public personality and always inspired all his surrounding habitation. I had seen him very closely doing his public welfare task really lost a Golden guardian too.

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  7. Dear Utkersh, you did a great job. Hon’ble Pratap bhaiya was a real “जिंदा दिल नौजवान ” he encouraged everyone to do the best what ever he were capable of, he always inspired us to give our best for ourselves and for the Nation,I’m one of the luckiest person who spent with him Childhood and youth with golden unforgettable memories…Really he was a real HERO we salute him Jai Hind….

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  8. उत्कर्ष आप ने एक बहुत नेक काम किया कि अपनी असीम भावनाओ को वर्तमान युवाओ के सामने आदरणीय प्रताप भैया जी के तत्कालीन समाज में उनके अमूल्य योगदान को विभिन्न आयामों के रूप में रखा तथा प्रताप भैया जी के विचार आज भी उतने महत्वपूर्ण है जितने की उसके समय में, इसके लिए उत्कर्ष आप बधाई के पात्र है । जहाँ तक मेरा प्रताप भैया जी से निरंतर संपर्क हुआ वो 2003 से लेकर उनके अंतिम समय तक बना रहा । पहली बार मैं उनसे नैनीताल में एक गोष्ठी में मिला था जिसमें सहभागिता आमंत्रण पत्र मेरे शोध-निर्देशक प्रोफेसर एम. पी. दुबे जी के नाम पर था परंतु उन्होंने मुझे उस दिन गोष्ठी में जाने का अवसर दिया था। इस से पहले मैंने कभी भी प्रताप भैया जी को देखा और नहीं कभी मिला था परंतु उस दिन गोष्ठी में वो (प्रताप भैया जी) एक नवजवान जिसमें असीम उत्साह, और अनुशासन दिखाई दे रहा था वो सभी को लाईन में बैठा रहे थे और मुझे भी उन्होंने लाईन में लगी कुर्सी में बैठा दिया और मैंने अपना परिचय प्रोफेसर एम. पी. दुबे जी के शिष्य के तौर पर दिया । उस दिन के बाद मैं प्रताप भैया जी के सानिध्य में उनके चमत्कारिक व्यक्तित्व से प्रभावित और प्रेरणा लेता रहा । दसवी वर्षगांठ पर विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि, – डॉ प्रकाश लखेड़ा, लोहाघाट

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