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A Man of uncompromising convictions, impeccable honesty, and transparent sincerity, DamodaramSanjivayya was one the most respected leaders of the country. Sanjvayya was born on 14February 1921 in a poor Scheduled Caste family, in the village Peddapadu in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Unfortunately, immediately after his birth, he lost his father. In spite of being hunted by abject poverty in those early days, his mother brought him up with all care and attention. This lift an indelible mark in the impressionable mind of young Sanjivayya.

Sanjivayya got primary education at Palakurthy, Peddapadu, and thereafter, he went to Kurnool to attend High School. In 1938, he joined the Arts College, Anantapur, and graduated from there in 1942. However, financial difficulties prevented him from continuing his studies further. Therefore, he took up a job in the Civil Supplies Department to facilitate his studies in Law at the Madras Law College. After getting his law degree, Sanjivayya started legal practice in Madras and built up a reputation as a successful lawyer.

Soon, Sajivayya was drawn to public life. He entered the political arena in 1950 as a member of the Provisional Parliament. Thereafter, he was elected a member of the Madras Legislative assembly in 1952. He worked as the Minister of Housing and Cooperation in the Ministry of C. Ragopalachari.

Sanjivayya was a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly from 1952-1964. He distinguished himself as a Minister in the Andhra Pradesh government from 1952-1960. In fact, he was the first legislator from among the Scheduled Castes to become a Minister in the State government. He was the Minster for Social Welfare and Health in the Cabinet of TanguturiPrakasam in 1953; he worked as the Minister for Transportation and Commercial taxes in the Cabinet of B. Gopala Reddy; and as a minister in the Cabinet of NeelamSanjivyya Reddy, in 1956, he had entrusted the Departments of Labour and Local Bodies Administration. In 1960, Sri Sajivayya assumed the office of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and held the office until 1962. Sajivayya was the first persona belonging to the Scheduled Castes Community to hold the Chief Ministership of Andhra Pradesh.

As Minister in the state government holding important portfolios and later as Chief Minister, Sanjivayya brought to bear the distinctive stamp of his personality on the Departments under him. He strived ceaselessly to improve the condition of all sections of the people, especially the poor and destitute, and initiated several policies and programs for their welfare.

The strict enforcement of the principle of reservation,the enactment and implementation of the Land Ceiling Act, the constitution of the three separate Corporations for Heavy Industries, Small Scale Industries, and Mining, the introduction of the Scheme of Old Age Pension, the constitution of wages board and the promotion of schemes for the weaker section were some of his noteworthy achievements as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

In June 1962, Sanjivayya was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress and continued to hold this important position up to January 1964. Hereagain, he was the first person from among the Schedule Caste to become the President of the Indian National Congress.

Sanjivayya was elected to the Rajasabha in April 1964 and was re-elected to the Upper House in 1970. At the national level too, he held important portfolios. He was the Union Minister of Labour and Employment during 1964-66 and then the Minister of Industry during the years 1966-67 and 1970-71. In May 1971, Sanjivayya assumed the post of the President of the Indian National Congress for the second time, a position that held great distinction until his demise.

The entire career of Damodaram Sanjivayya was a record of selfless service to the nation. His concern and commitment to the welfare of the weaker sections of society were reflected in all his actions, whether as Minister and Chief Minister of the State of Andhra Pradesh or as a Union Minster. He was particularly concerned about the plight of the working class. As Union Minister, he made the payment of a bonus compulsory to industrial labour. Sanjivayya was also a lover and promoter of literature. He was always ready to hold the cause of literary and cultural development in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

Damodaram Sanjivayya passed away on 7 May 1972 at the young age of fifty-one. A leader of outstanding qualities, Sanjivayya’s life was a saga of struggle, sacrifice, suffering, and service for the cause of the people.

In memory of services rendered by Sanjivayya, to the nation the government of Andhra Pradesh further, the Andhra Pradesh University of Law name was changed to “Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University” on 14 May 2012.

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