|Mahavir Tyagi |
|Date of Birth||:||1899|
|Date of Death||:||1980|
|Place of Birth||:||Uttar Pradesh|
Tyagi famously criticized Nehru's statement in the Indian Parliament in the prelude to the Sino-Indian War: Nehru commented that "Not a blade of grass grows in Aksai Chin", attempting to explain that Aksai Chin was a barren, inhospitable land and the nation had lost little by its occupation by China. Tyagi retorted, pointing to his bald head: "Nothing grows here ..should it be cut off or given away to somebody else?". A tense situation that had been developing in the House on the subject of the border conflict was averted as the House dissolved in laughter in which Nehru also joined. Tyagi continued to enjoy an affectionate relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru. He served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (1962-64). In April 1964, a month before Nehru's death, Tyagi rejoined the Government as Cabinet Minister in charge of Rehabilitation. In the General Elections of 1967 which saw a popular backlash against the Congress Party, Tyagi lost to an independent candidate backed by an anti-Congress combination of parties. In 1968 he became the Chairman of the Fifth Finance Commission.After the split in the Congress in 1969, Tyagi stayed with the Congress(O), the organisational wing of the party. In 1970 he was elected to the Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, from Uttar Pradesh and led the Congress(O) in the House till he retired in 1976. Tyagi's being in the Congress(O) did not prevent him from being critical of the movement led by Jaya Prakash Narayan in 1974-75. He was equally critical of the Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. Mahavir Tyagi passed away in New Delhi on May 22, 1980. A popular figure, he had friends across political parties and was widely admired for his integrity, outspokenness, ready wit and sense of humour.
Prior to independence, Mahavir Tyagi had written a booklet on proportional representation. His memoirs in Hindustani were published in the 1960s in two volumes : (i) Ve Kranti Ke Din and (ii) Meri Kaun Sunega. These volumes have now been combined in one and, along with some other unpublished articles by Tyagi, have been published under the title Azadi Ka Andolan: Hanste Huye Aansu (Kitab Ghar, 24 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, Delhi).