Early Life of Baliram Bhagat
Baliram Bhagat was born on 7 October 1922 in Patna, Bihar. After doing his graduation from Patna College he later obtained a Masters Degree in Economics from Patna University. He had a passion for politics from his student days. His intense patriotism led him to join the freedom struggle. At the tender age of seventeen, in 1939, he joined the Indian National Congress. Afterwards he took part in many struggles, which were launched by the party for the liberation of the country from foreign rule. He joined the 'Quit India Movement' in 1942, and left college and stayed underground for a period of two years.
Political Career of Baliram Bhagat
The parliamentary career of Bhagat, from the Provisional Parliament to the First Lok Sabha and then to the successive Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Lok Sabhas, was long and unremitting. He held a range of Ministerial portfolios during this period. From 1952 to 1956, he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. He became the Deputy Minister of Finance in the year 1956. He continued in that position for a period of seven years, in this manner he also had distinction of holding the same portfolio during three uninterrupted Lok Sabhas.
During 1963-1967, Bhagat became the Minister of State for Planning. He also had the opportunity for a short while in 1967, to serve as the Minister in the Indian Ministry of Defence. After that in the same year he became the Minister of State for External Affairs. As the Minister of Foreign Trade and Supply, he was elevated to the Cabinet rank in 1969. Later, for a period of eight months, he was the Minister of Steel and Heavy Engineering.
Baliram Bhagat as Speaker of Lok Sabha
With such strong background Bhagat was designated as the Speaker of the Fifth Lok Sabha on 5 January 1976. Bhagat was nominated Speaker when the country was under Emergency. As a Speaker, Bhagat was at all times tranquil and collected even in trying situations and maintained the basic norms of parliamentary conduct. He was very particular about shielding the privileges of the members. Bhagat had a great respect for parliamentary traditions and propriety. He laid great emphasis on discipline and decorum of the parliament.
International Representation by Baliram Bhagat
At various international forays, Bhagat represented the Indian Parliament. It started in 1951, when he attended the Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Istanbul and later in 1981 in Havana. He also adverted the 4th Commonwealth Speakers' and Presiding Officers' Conference held in London in September 1976. Besides, he attended the meetings of the Colombo Plan Conference in the years 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1964.
He was the Leader of Indian Delegation to the Conference of UN Economic Commission for Asia and Far-East (ECAFE) held in Tokyo in 1955 and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in Delhi in 1968. In 1968 and again in 1985, he led the Indian delegation to the UN General Assembly Session. Baliram Bhagat also served as the Deputy Leader of the Indian Delegation, which led him to attend the inaugural meetings of ECAFE and UNCTAD in Bangkok and in Geneva in 1956 and 1964, correspondingly, and in 1969 as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit held in London and in Nassau in 1985. Bhagat led the Indian Delegation to the United Nations Commission as a human rights activist, which was held in Geneva in 1982-83. In 1983, on the occasion of thirty-third anniversary of the Human Rights Commission, Baliram Bhagat had the eminence of being the Chairman of the UN Seminar.
In the 1980's general elections, Bhagat returned to the Seventh Lok Sabha. He was re-elected to the Eighth Lok Sabha as well. In 1985-86, for a short while, he became the Minister of External Affairs in Rajiv Gandhi's Government. In February 1993, Bhagat was appointed as the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, a post that he held for four months only. He also served as the Governor of Rajasthan from 1993 to 1998.