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(This article was originally published on 12 October 2017. It is being republished from The Quint archives on the occasion of Ram Manohar Lohia's death anniversary on 12 October 2022.)
India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru sat in the Parliament for the first time on 6 December 1963, with Samajwadi Party leader Ram Manohar Lohia sitting in front of him. Lohia questioned Nehru's daily expenditure and said, “The Prime Minister must answer why his expenditure is Rs 25,000 in a country where a common man's expenditure is 3 annas.”
Freedom fighter Ram Manohar Lohia was the first person to speak against the Congress. He was a Samajwadi thinker, politician, and writer. He was born on 23 March 1910 in at Akhbarpur in Uttar Pradesh and passed away on 12 October 1967.
On Lohia's 50th death anniversary, Quint Hindi spoke to Yogendra Yadav, who said, “When India was celebrating independence, communal violence broke in Kolkata. Gandhiji was in Kolkata to end the tension. Everybody had forgotten about Gandhiji but Lohia was with him there.”
After completing his schooling, Lohia joined the Banaras Hindu University. He then graduated from the Kolkata University in 1929 and later pursued PhD from Berlin University, Germany.
Dr Lohia said people would understand him one day, maybe after his death. He formed the Congress Socialist Party after coming back to India in 1934. Nehru appointed him as secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Congress Committee in 1936.
Lohia was imprisoned for three months in Lahore in 1944, where he was tormented by the British. After independence, all the Congress leaders were relieved, except JP and Lohia, who were relieved on 11 April 1946 after Gandhiji's intervention.