Jamnalal Kaniram Bajaj (1889 – 1942)

Jamnalal Bajaj an Industrialist, Reformer and Freedom Fighter
  • Founded Bajaj Group of companies in Mumbai in 1926.
  • Participated in Non-Cooperation Movement and Salt Satyagraha.
  • Opened the doors of his family owned temple to Harijans – the first temple in India to do so.
  • Mahatma Gandhi adopted Jamnalalji as the fifth son.
Early Life

Jamnalalji was born in 1889 in a village ‘Kashi Ka Bas’ in Rajasthan. In 1894, a rich Wardha businessman, Seth Bachharaj Bajaj spotted young Jamnalal playing outside his village temple and adopted as grandson. In return, Seth Bachharaj Bajaj installed a well in the village.

Jamnalalji a businessman and an industrialist

Later, Jamnalalji got involved in the family business of his adoptive family. He excelled in his work with time and after the death seth Bachharaj Bajaj, Jamnalalji founded Bajaj group of industries in Mumbai in 1926 and work for social reform and freedom movement by soul, body and mind.

He was appointed as honorary magistrate and got the title Rai Bagadur by Britishers during first world war when he provided money for the war fund. Later, He gave up the title and in 1921, joined the non-cooperation movement and in 1923, participated in the flag satyagraha.

Gandhiji & Freedom movement

Jamnalalji impressed with Gandhiji principles, the way of simple life that Gandhi was leading at the Sabarmati Ashram. He brought his children and wife Jankidevi to live in the Ashram.

He participated in the Non-co-operation Movement in 1921, Jhanda Satyagraha in 1923, Boycott of Simon Commission in 1929, the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. After the ‘Dandi March’ in April 1930, he wanted gandhiji move to Sevagram a small village near Wardha and carried out all his activities. in 1936 Gandhi moved to Sevagram, since he never return to Sabarmati Ashram until freedom was achieved.


He Hindi as the single language to unite all Indians, He initiated the Gandhi Hindi Pustak Bhandar in Bombay,  started the Sasta Sahitya Mandal, He was also the president of the All India Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. There are lots of other social reforms works done by Jamnalalji, these are

  • Abolishing purdah in his own home.
  • Opened the doors of his family owned temple to Harijans (untouchables), the first temple in India to do so.
  • in 1923 he founded Gandhi Seva Sangh and elected as chairman of All India Khaddar Board.
  • Established Mahila Ashram at Wardha and Mahila Shiksha Sadan in Ajmer.
  • Jamnalalji also undertook pioneering work in the field of Go-seva (Cow protection).
  • In 1970, Government of India honoured his memory by releasing a commemorative postal stamp and also officially celebrating his Birth Centenary Year in 1990.
  • In 1978, Jamnalal Bajaj Award was established by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation in the honour of his social initiatives the award given away each year on his birth anniversary.

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