Economic Times, New Delhi
October 20, 1996
Agnivesh does the honours for prohibition
the activists of the Bharatiya Arya Pratinidhi Sabha (BAPS),
particularly the trio of Yuva Sanyasis comprising
Swami Indervesh, Swami Agnivesh and Swami Adityavesh, clamping
of total prohibition in Haryana comes as the fulfillment of
their three-decade old dream.
they have started the 12 day Vijay Yatra from here. Environmentalist
Ms Medha Patkar flagged off the Yatra. After covering 150 villages
and towns of Haryana, the Yatra will conclude at Rajghat in
Delhi on November 1. Immediately thereafter, a memorandum would
be submitted to the Prime Minister, urging him to compensate
50 per cent of the revenue loss tothe states which introduce
two-day All India Prohibition Convention will be held on November
2 and 3 on the lawns of the constitution Club of the Capital.The
BAPS trio's efforts at removing prohibition go back to 1968
when they set out on a sharabbandi pad yatra from Kurukshetra
Swami Agnivesh was then Prof Shyama Rao teaching Business Law
in St. Xavier's College, Calcutta and Swami Adityavesh was Mr.
Rama Nand, an employment officer in Madhya Pradesh.
duo had, on their own come to Gurukul Jhajjar in Rohtak district
of Haryana, to learn Sanskrit and more about the Vedas from
Acharya Bhagwan Dev, now known as Swami Omanand Saraswati.
Swami Indervesh was then Brahamchari Inderdev Medharvart.
by Acharya Bhagwan Dev, both Prof Shyama Roa and Mr. Rama Nand
made the gurukul their home. Having learnt the Vedas,
they involved themselves in the social reform movement of the
Arya Samaj and along with Inderdev undertook the first Sharab-bandi
pad yatra in 1968. Since then there has been no looking
few years after that, the trio took sanyas and parted
company with the guru, Acharya Bhagwan Dev. They floated
a regional political party, the Arya Sabha, with total prohibition
as the main plank. The movement caught the fancy of the
people of Haryana and adjoining parts of Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan
and western Utter Pradesh.
Emboldened by the response the trio captured the cash-rich Punjab
Arya Pratinidhi Sabha (PAPS) including hundreds of schools,
colleges, gurukuls and the deemed university at Kangri (UP)
in early 70's.
Arya Sabha activists they opposed the Emergency and were jailed
for responding to the call of the late Jay Prakash. During the
Emergency in 1977, they merged their Arya Sabha into the erstwhile
Janata Party and the swamis became MPs, MLAs and ministers.
But even while being members of the ruling party and holding
offices, they continued their battle against the bottle.
Adityavesh staged hunger strikes outside the MLA's hotel in
Chandigarh when his own party's chief minister, Mr. Devi Lal
declined prohibition. The Swami later filed a public interest
petition in the Supreme Court, invoking the constitution, which
enshrines a clause expecting the country to banish liquor. He
spent several months in jail also for crusading against liquor.