was born on November 4, 1889, at Kasi-Ka-Bas
village in Jaipur State. His father Kaniram
was a poor man. His mothers name was Brindibai.
Jamnalas father Kaniram had a distant
but a millionaire relation named Seth Bachhraj
of Wardha. He had a widowed daughter-in-law
who had no issue. Seth Bachhraj accompanied
by his wife Sadibai once visited Kanirams
poor house when they were in search of a suitable
child for adoption in the family.
Sadibai attracted by Jamnalal asked Birdibai
to allow her to adopt the child as her son.
With utmost reluctance Jamnalal was allowed
to go to Seth Bachhraj as his adopted son at
the age of four. Kaniram stoutly resisted Seth
Bachhrajs offer to compensate him for
this adoption and asked him to sink a well for
the village in lieu of this gesture.
Jamnalal was married at the age of 13 to Janakidevi,
daughter of Seth Girdharilal Jijodia of Jaora
in Indore State. Seth Girdharilal was a wealthy
businessman of Jaora. Jankidevi was then only
nine years old. The marriage was typical case
of child marriage, so common in those days.
From 1896, when Jamnalal was seven, he was
sent to school. He picked up the three Rs
and acquired nodding acquaintance with the English
language. His education was through the medium
of Marathi, but he achieved workable mastery
over Gujrati, Hindi and English as he grew in
Jamnalal felt attracted to a number of eminent
leaders in public life. He met Pandit Madan
Mohan Malaviya. He spent some time with Rabindranath
Tagore. He came in contact with Lokmanya Tilak
whose journal, the Kesari, he had been reading
since childhood. He appreciated the assertive
tone of Tilaks writings. But Jamnalals
spiritual urge for a guide and Guru could only
be slaked by Gandhiji.
At an early age of 17 Jamnalal Bajaj renounced
his wealth which he had inherited from Seth
Bachhraj as his adopted son. After the death
of Seth Bachhraj, Jamnalal always felt that
he had no moral right to enjoy the wealth he
had once renounced. In 1908 Jamnalal became
an Honorary Magistrate. Ten years later he was
given the title of Rai Bahadur. In 1915 he met
Gandhiji and felt that he had at last found
his spiritual guide. Gandhiji was also attracted
to this earnest young man. So the contacts grew
closer and closer.
In 1920 Jamnalal took a momentous decision
which was to change the whole course of his
life. He decided to request Gandhiji to treat
him as his fifth son. Gandhiji was
first surprised at this strange request, but
he gladly agreed to it.
In 1920 Jamnalal Bajaj was unanimously elected
as Chairman of the Reception Committee of the
Nagpur Session of the Indian National Congress.
He functioned as the Treasurer of the Indian
National Congress practically throughout his
life. In 1921 he joined the Non-Cooperation
movement and founded the Satyagraha Ashram at
Wardha under the guidance of Acharya Vinoba
Bhave. In this very year he surrendered the
title of Rai Bahadur in pursuance of a resolution
passed by the Congress.
In 1923 Jamnalal Bajaj led the National Flag
Satyagraha at Nagpur and was sentenced to 18
months imprisonment. In 1924 he founded
the Gandhi Seva Sangh. In the same year he was
elected the President of the Nagpur Pradesh
Congress Committee and Treasurer of the Charkha
Sangh in 1925. He also founded the Sasta Sahitya
which has its Head Office now in Delhi. It
publishes national but cheap books in Hindi.
Jamnalal Bajaj also carried on his noble work
for the upliftment of the Harijans. He became
the Secretary of the Anti-untouchability Committee
of the Indian National Congress and conduted
incessant propoganda it favour of Temple Entry.
In 1928 he threw open his own Lakshminarayan
Temple at Wardha to the Harijans. In 1930 he
was elected Leader of the Salt Satyagraha Camp
at Vile Parle, Bombay.
In 1936 Jamnalal Bajaj gave Segaon village
as a gift to Gandhiji who named it Sevagram
and founded his Ashram there. In 1938
he was elected President of the Jaipur State
Praja Mandal. In 1939 he was interned in Jaipur
in consequence of the Satyagraha campaign in
the State for democratic rights. In 1941 he
was arrested for anti-war propaganda during
Individual Civil Disobedience Movement. In 1941
he founded the Goseva Sangha at Wardha for the
service of the cows.
On February 11, 1942 Jamnalal Bajaj died all
of a sudden on account of hemorrhage due to
high blood pressure. Mahatma Gandhi in his article
published in the Harijan after the death of
Jamnalal Bajaj wrote: Never was a mortal
blessed with a son like him
is hardly any activity of mine in which I did
not receive his full-hearted co-operation and
in which it did not prove to be of the greatest
Jamnalal Bajaj was a born ascetic. Having come
from a society in which women were denied even
ordinary rights or fair treatment, Jamnalal
made it his lifes mission to provide good
education for women.
He hated the idea of untouchablity and made
a fervent appeal to the Hindus to take the unfortunate
Harijan brethren into their fold and befriend
them in all humility as a matter of penance
for all their sins of omission and commission.
Jamnalals religious attitude was summed
up very aptly by Acharya Kakasaheb Kalelkar
when he stated that Jamnalal had outgrown
the constraints of sect and community and creed.
As regards education, Jamnalal Bajaj had faith
in the cult of national education. He strongly
supported the scheme of Basic education advocated
by Mahatma Gandhi.
Jamnalals ideas about nationalism were
evident right from his early age. He was anxious
for the liberation of the Motherland from foreign
domination, as he was for the liberation of
his own soul from the shackles of Maya
Jamnalal Bajaj actively supported Gandhjis
movements for the attainment of Swaraj.
In respect of economic problems, Jamnalal Bajaj
felt that Swaraj was to be achieved through
Khadi and village industries. He believed with
Gandhiji that the economic salvation of the
country could be achieved only through the Charkha
and the cottage industries by providing full
employment to the masses.
Jamnalals mode of life was devoid of
all ostentations in spite of his being brought
up in a wealthy family.
Jamnalal Bajaj was, according to Mahatma Gandhi,
a fisher of men who trained thousand
of workers in the country for diverse activities
initiated by the Father of the Nation. Paying
a tribute to Jamnalalji, Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel observed; Bapu lost a true son,
Jankidevi and the family a true shelter, the
country loyal servant, the Congress a stately
pillar, and many institutions their true patron.