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Dharampal’s Life and Work: A Chronology

1922 February 19, born in Kandhala, Muzzaffarnagar, western Uttar Pradesh; moved to Lahore in the late 1920s
1929 December, attended the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress
1938 Completed secondary education at the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School, started B.Sc. in Physics at Government College, Lahore
1940 Transferred to Meerut College
1940 October, abandoned his studies to join the Freedom Movement
1942 August 8, attended the Quit India meeting of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), at Gowalia Tank Maidan, Mumbai; overwhelmed by Mahatma Gandhi’s powerful speech; became involved in underground activities of the AICC directorate, came in contact with Sucheta Kripalani, Girdhari Kripalani and Swami Anand, among others
1943 April-June, detained in a police lock-up in Kotwali, Delhi, along with Sadiq Ali
1944 October, joined Mirabehn at Kisan Ashram, midway between Roorkee and Haridwar; active in village development until August 1947
1947 August onwards, in charge of the Congress Socialist Party centre for the rehabilitation of refugees; set up a co-operative rehabilitation camp in Kurukshetra for 400 families from Jhang, Pakistan; in close contact with Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, L.C. Jain, etc.
1948 February, co-founder of the Indian Cooperative Union (ICU)
1948 November, departed for Israel via Britain; worked in Devonshire in an agricultural reconstruction programme; later enrolled as occasional student (for International Relations and Diplomacy) at the London School of Economics
1949 September 3, married Phyllis Ellen Ford; returned with her to India via Europe, Israel, stayed for a few weeks in the kibbutz Degania Alef
1950 January, rejoined Mirabehn; established, near Rishikesh on land belonging to the Pashulok Trust, a cooperative village called Bapugram
1950 November 24, birth of son, Pradeep
1952 November 7, birth of daughter, Gita
1954 February, left Bapugram, disillusioned by the futility of the idealistic experiment in village development; in December joined his family in London; stayed for 3 years, worked for Peace News
1957 September, returned to India, via Sri Lanka, visiting Dhanushkodi and Rameswaram; reached Delhi in November
1958-1964 Elected General Secretary of the Association of Voluntary Agencies for Rural Development (AVARD), founded by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, from 1959 with Jayaprakash Narayan as President; regular contributions to the AVARD Newsletter
1962 April, publication of Panchayat Raj as the Basis of Indian Polity: An Exploration into the Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly
1962 November 21, wrote an open letter (co-signed by N.N. Datta and Roop Narain) to all MPs criticising PM Nehru’s weak response to the Chinese invasion; led to the arrest of the 3 co- signatories, imprisoned in Tihar jail for 2 months; sparked off a public debate, with controversial articles published in the press
1963 July 31, birth of daughter, Anjali
1963-1965 Director of Study and Research of the All India Panchayat Parishad; detailed examination of the Madras Panchayat system, research in the Tamil Nadu State Archives (TNSA); preliminary note completed in July 1965
1965 September, left for London due to serious road accident of his son; began extensive research in the British colonial archives
1971 Publication of Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century and of Civil Disobedience and Indian Tradition; in November, Seminar in Delhi on “Science, Technology and Society in 18th century India”
1972 Publication of The Madras Panchayat System, vol. II
1972-1973 Appointed Senior Fellow of the A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Sciences,Patna
1975-1977 During the Emergency, based in London, launched the “Save J.P. Campaign”
1977 June, returned to India, spent several months in Patna, Bihar, in close contact with CM Karpuri Thakur, member of Think-Tank
1978 Delivered a series of 3 lectures on “The Clash between India and Europe since the Eighteenth Century”, sponsored by Dinman and the Gandhi Peace Foundation; returned to London in October
1979 Short period of archival research in London, alongside caring for his sick wife
1980 From July resumed research in Chennai, TNSA
1981 Started living in Sevagram; intensive research, writing and lectures on Mahatma Gandhi
1982-2004 Lectures delivered in Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bikaner, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, etc.; articles published in the press and various journals
1983 Publication of The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century
1984 Research in the TNSA on the Chengalpet district records
1985 Elected President of the Patriotic and People-Oriented Science and Technology (PPST) Foundation
1986 Publication of a series of 3 lectures on “Some Aspects of Earlier Indian Society and Polity and their Relevance to the Present”, New Quest, vols.56–58
1986 March 29, death of wife, Phyllis
1987 Appointed Member of the Indian Council of Historical Research, re-appointed in 1991, and again in 1999–2001
1990-2006 Distinguished Fellow (Emeritus Fellow since 2000) of the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai
1991 Published Bharatiya Chitta Manas va Kaal (in Hindi); English translation by Jatinder Bajaj, published in 1993
1992 April, participated in the European Research Foundation conference, Lisbon, paper on India’s Polity, its Characteristics and Current Problems (published in 1996)
1993 Insightful statements made in the context of the Ayodhya controversy, cf. his talk “Undamming the Flow”, in J.K. Bajaj (ed.): Ayodhya and the Future India, Chennai 1993, pp.213– 238
1999 Publication of Despoliation and Defaming of India
2001 2001 Appointed Chairman of National Commission on Cattle set up by the Government of India
2002 Publication with T.M Mukundan of The British Origin of Cow-slaughter in India
2002 December, Infinity Foundation Award
2003 Publication of Understanding Gandhi & Rediscovering India: Collection of Essays and Speeches (1956–1998)
2006 October 24, passed away in Sevagram

For more details, see Tributes with an Introductory Essay to Dharampal’s Oeuvre