babuji’s Birth Centenary celebrations conclude

Media Coverage | 08-07-2023

The dignitaries from different fields attended the concluding ceremony of the birth centenary year of veteran freedom fighter and founder editor of Lokmat Media Group Jawaharlal ji Darda alias Babuji in Mumbai on Thursday. Ruchira Darda, MLA Sachin Ahir, managing director and editorial director of Lokmat Media Group Devendra Darda, former minister Sureshdada Jain, joint managing director and editorial director of Lokmat Media Group Rishi Darda, Rashmi Thackeray, Kishori Pednekar, MLA Sunil Prabhu, Shiv Sena secretary Milind Narvekar and others were present on the occasion.

Dignitaries experience inspiring story of Babuji’s life journey

The concluding ceremony of the yearlong birth centenary celebrations of veteran freedom fighter and founder-editor of Lokmat Media Group Jawaharlal ji Darda alias Babuji, who had dedicated his life for the welfare of the country and post independence made an invaluable contribution to the society through his vision, policies and values, concluded in Mumbai in the presence of eminent dignitaries from all walks of life.


‘Commitment to truth was hallmark of Babuji’

Sushilkumar Shinde

Former Chief Minister

While taking charge of Lokmat from Loknayak Bapuji Aney, Jawaharlal Darda had promised Bapuji to consistently present the truth  and he kept his word throughout the journey of his life. Presenting truth consistently in Lokmat was his hallmark and it continues even today, said former chief minister and senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde.

Babuji was an idealistic journalist always. His loyalty was to the Congress party and he never left his ideologies  or the party.  He carried forward the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi for the welfare of the poor, Dalits, tribals, and minorities till the end. His similar line of thought is being carried forward by both the brothers Vijay and Rajendra. Governments come to power and go; but, the ideas from which Lokmat emerged are unique in history. Many newspapers have come and gone; but, Lokmat survived the test of time and will continue to flourish. Lokmat instilled the idea of patriotism amongst the masses without thinking about the profits and losses. This newspaper has never written and will never write a single sentence that will betray the country. It is a matter of great satisfaction that Lokmat is following the ethics laid down by Babuji.

Babuji and Vasantrao Naik were very close friends. They always guided me. When Babasaheb Bhosale was chief minister of Maharashtra, he made a statement about MLAs and though he was a Congressman as we were,  I brought a breach of privilege against Bhosale in the Legislative Assembly and Babuji moved the breach of privilege in the Legislative Council, as all MLAs insisted on the same. We were both known to be calm and composed but at that time we had to speak against the chief minister. Later, Indiraji invited us to Delhi and mildly chided us; but, we preserved the decorum and decency of the House, recalled Shinde. He further said that former minister Sureshdada Jain and Babuji had immense affection for each other. Shinde also emphasised that they always stood by each other during any crisis in family life.


‘People can turn the wind of politics’

Prithviraj Chavan

Former Chief Minister

Babuji’s imprisonment during the freedom struggle, his active role in politics and the launch of Lokmat will never be forgotten, said former chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan. He recalled Babuji’s strong party loyalty. He said, during the 1978-80 period, when many party leaders left Indira ji, Babuji stood firmly by her side. My mother was the State president of the Maharashtra Congress Committee and Babuji was the treasurer. But he was not just a party functionary, he was the strongman and pillar of the then Indira Congress.

I still remember Babuji’s smiling face and affection. Babuji became member of Legislative Council four times, said Chavan, and then went on to recall the contributions of Babuji to the state and country. He referred to the decisions taken by Babuji as the industries minister, his passion for the development of Vidarbha and his contribution as the energy minister that led to implementation of many projects in Vidarbha.

Lokmat is reliable because…

Lokmat started by Babuji has become the leading media group in the country today. Babuji always insisted on unbiased journalism. He used to say, Even though I am in politics, Lokmat should work unbiasedly. Lokmat presented both sides of the story whether one liked it or not. Prithviraj Chavan attributed this impartiality to the credibility that Lokmat enjoys in the society today.

Babuji must be proud today

“I got an opportunity to work with Dr Vijay Darda in the Parliament. We have handled many tough situations together. Rajendra Darda also did a great job as education minister in my cabinet,” he said. Chavan also mentioned that he has a close relationship with the Darda family, and Babuji must be proud to see that after him, this new generation has taken the Lokmat family to newer heights.


‘Politics today

is like IPL’

Ashok Chavan

Former Chief Minister

Babuji Jawaharlal Darda always maintained his credibility while practising people-oriented politics. If we compare the politics of today and the politics of Babuji’s time, the politics of that time was equivalent to Test cricket, while politics today is like IPL. The credibility of politicians has hit rock bottom, opined former chief minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan. He said that politics has become as uncertain as the outcome of an IPL cricket match and no one can predict what will happen the next moment.

Recalling the affectionate relationship between Babuji and his father Shankarrao ji Chavan and former chief minister Vasantrao Naik, Ashok Chavan said that Babuji possessed a rare vision for Maharashtra and that is why the State was industrialised in record time and put on a fast track to progress.

The policies devised by Babuji are still beneficial to Maharashtra. Babuji had immense foresight and framed a policy for industrial development of the undeveloped areas of the State and felt that industries should not be confined just to Mumbai and Pune. He always insisted that industries should go to Vidarbha and Marathwada and employment should be generated for the people of these regions. Sharad Pawar had lauded Babuji and appreciated his visionary policies.

I consider myself lucky that I got to enjoy Babuji’s company. He had a broad vision. Babuji planted a small sapling called Lokmat, which has turned into a huge banyan tree today. I must congratulate Rajendra Darda and Vijay Darda for the way they are nurturing this banyan tree with such great diligence. It was mentioned here today that a complaint had been made to Indira Gandhi that news against her was published in Lokmat at that time. This forthrightness continues even today.

For any newspaper to maintain its credibility, it is essential that it publishes what is true, and Lokmat has been doing precisely that. This is also the reason why the credibility of this newspaper is so high, which is perhaps the greatest tribute to Babuji. Chavan thus lauded the unbiased journalism of the Lokmat Media Group.


‘Every activity should serve national interest’

Pralhad Wamanrao Pai

Life Trustee, Jeevanvidya Mission

It is critical to preserve national interest while also protecting our own, said Pralhad Wamanrao Pai of Jeevanvidya Mission. He was speaking at an event organised to release the book ‘Jawahar’ to commemorate the birth centenary of veteran freedom fighter and founder editor of Lokmat Media Group Jawaharlal Darda alias Babuji.

He said that many people from politics are present at the launch of Babuji’s biography. Babuji was not only a politician but also a great social worker. He was much more involved in serving the society. Babuji and Satguru Wamanrao Pai were born in the same year. Babuji’s birth centenary year is being celebrated today, while Satguru’s birth centenary year is about to begin. Both Babuji and Satguru have done remarkable social service and nation-building works and we continue to do the same even today.

Politicians too not only run the state but also serve the society. We work to provide excellent life  and cultural values through the medium of spirituality.

Everyone gives importance to ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ in life. However, everyone should also realise that ‘I’ cannot survive without society. We must always remember that what we are today is because of the society, so we should do something for the society.

Pai also said that it is very important for everyone to adopt patience and tolerance.

Every action should be

in the national interest

Our motto is that every action should be in the national interest. Therefore, while protecting one’s own interest, it is important to protect the interest of the nation also. In fact, every action should be in that direction, he reiterated.


‘Babuji’s journalism

is fearless & sacred’

Dr Vijay Darda

Chariman, Lokmat Editorial Board

History records about that person only who has the ability to think and act ahead of his time. My father, a veteran freedom fighter and founder of Lokmat Media Group Jawaharlal ji Darda alias Babuji, was a visionary. Love and forgiveness were the two extraordinary qualities he possessed. He taught us thetype of journalism which is fearless and sacred, said  chairman of  editorial board of Lokmat Media Group and former member of Rajya Sabha Dr Vijay Darda.

On the concluding ceremony of Jawaharlal ji Darda’s birth centenary year celebrations,  Dr Vijay Darda brought to light many memories and ideals of his illustrious father. Dr Darda emphasised on the importance of independent and unbiased journalism by giving space to opposing political ideologies in the columns of the newspapers.

Ours was an affluent family, yet  Babuji sent us to a government school and used to make us stay at the homes of poor classmates. Babuji taught us the virtues of humility and to be respectful to elders and also enlightened us with the power of saluting and seeking blessings. He was friendly even with political opponents and had no enmity with anyone, Dr Darda said.

Citing an anecdote, Dr Darda said, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had come to hold an election meeting for a candidate in which Jawaharlal ji Darda was the opponent. When Vajpayee ji’s car broke down at the station, Babuji sent two cars to pick him up. After the election meeting, Vajpayee ji  had come to our home and met Babuji. George Fernandes also stayed at our house for two days during the Emergency period following which Indira Gandhi was upset. But Babuji had told Indira ji that George Fernandes had trust in him and he could not break that trust, Dr Darda said.

We two brothers used to get a pair of new dresses only during Diwali. We used to travel by train but only in third class compartment because Babuji wanted us to mingle with the common people and know them from close quarters and the way they lived, Dr Darda said to elaborate  on Babuji’s vision. “Babuji groomed us in such a manner so that we become good citizens of India,” Dr Darda said.


Applause & welcome

The speech by political personalities were well-appreciated by the audience who applauded each one of them with clapping. Some people were seen taking photographs while others videographed the event.


Crowd of students

A large number of youth attended the book release ceremony. Students, especially of journalism, and interns in various government institutions attended the event.


Selfies with veterans

The event was graced by a galaxy of dignitaries from the health and corporate sectors. The crowd at the facade of the auditorium attracted the attention of the attendees so that they could take selfies and photographs with the dignitaries present. The dignitaries stepped outside the hall and took selfies with the ceremony flags installed at the auditorium. They were even seen clicking photographs with each other.


Editor-in-Chief of Lokmat Media Group Rajendra Darda exuded confidence that the journey of Lokmat will continue on the path of high values laid down by Babuji. He expressed his gratitude on behalf of Lokmat Media and Darda family to all the dignitaries present along with the chief guests who respectfully cherished the memories of Babuji.


Let’s have a cuppa!

As laughter erupted inside the hall and another group from the audience were sharing their views on the political speeches they just heard with tea cuppas in their hands. They also clapped to appreciate the programme. Refreshments were also arranged for the audience.


Ripples of laughter

We never used to travel even by a car till our college days. But once there was a strike. So, all vehicular traffic had come to a standstill. So, we had to travel by plane. Then I kept pressing the same button for calling the air hostess. I kept saying… ‘Pani Pila Do’… Magar Aaj Alag Dhang Se Pani Pilate Hai…’,  chairman of  editorial board of Lokmat Media Group and former member of Rajya Sabha Dr Vijay Darda said, sending ripples of laughter among  the audience.


Gestures from

women guests

There was a significant number of women in the audience who cheerfully listened to the political comments. While applaud-ing the speeches of the political leaders, they were seen acknowledging the speeches with nods and gestures.


Singing Maharashtra song in unison

The members among the audience at the auditorium were capturing the moments on their mobile phones while the Maharashtra song was being played. At that time, Shahir Nandesh Umap was heard saying, “You all can sing with us.” The audience then began singing along with him.


Youth’s respect

to seniors

For the event, people started arriving from 3 pm and by 4, the auditorium was full of enthusiastic audience. The young members were courteous enough to vacate their seats for the senior citizens who had entered the hall on time.

Thrill continues

after ceremony

After the ceremony, the attendees took selfies and photographs especially in the area where Babuji’s photos were placed on the facade.


Disciples of Pralhad

Wamanrao Pai

The disciples of Pralhad Wamanrao Pai, life trustee of Jeevanvidya Mission applauded Pralhad Dada’s speech and also applauded the speeches of all political bigwigs

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