To speak on Professor Ulhas Jajoo, I need to go back in time and recapitulate my early life in Wardha, around 1936-1945. At that time, Wardha was the powerhouse of vision, thought and action for the entire nation, as Mahatma Gandhi chose to lead the Indian freedom struggle from there.
Among the doyens who were citizens of Wardha, were my respected father, Dada Dharmadhikari and true Gandhian philosopher, Shrikrishnadas Ji Jajoo (Prof Ulhas Jajoo’s paternal grandfather). Fondly referred to as ‘Tapodhan’, Shrikrishnadas Ji Jajoo was a man of few words, but a complete Gandhian in thought and action. Mahatma Gandhi had entrusted him with the execution of much of the constructive activities associated with the freedom struggle. Shrikrishnadas ji had declined the post of Chief Ministership of Madhya Pradesh, despite Mahatma Gandhi’s insistence, his reason being that there would be many takers for that post, but that the affairs of the ‘Charkha Sangh’ would be left unattended. Later on, he also declined the offer for the post of finance minister of independent India. All this showed that he believed only in working for the nation as an unassuming soldier!
Prof Ulhas Jajoo has inherited the legacy of ‘Tapodhan’ and has imbibed the heritage of penance, in essence. A truly noble man, he has been utilizing his position in the noble profession of medicine, as a noble instrument of social change. Influenced by thoughts and actions of Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave and Jaiprakash Narayan, Professor Ulhas Jajoo believes sympathy needs to be at the core of all forms of medical ‘pathies’ including allopathy. His work speaks about the person that he has evolved to become. At the centre of his various activities is constructive work for the society at large, and he achieves this by instilling a sense of responsibility, camaraderie and co-operation among the beneficiaries. He is never one to indulge in charity and dole, as he believes this always erodes the dignity of the beneficiary. He is where the action is - ever happy to be involved in emancipation and development, because he is not a mere onlooker, but a proactive participant in the whole process.
On a personal level, being a contemporary of his father Shri Narayan Ji Jajoo, Ulhas - as I have come to know and love him, is a knowledgeable man who thinks with his mind but acts with his heart. In medical parlance, he is someone who uses both the left and the right hemispheres of his brain. In a crunch situation, he ensures that ego does not play spoilsport in the decision making process.
His mantra, as I understand, is simple-
‘Live as per one’s needs
Desist from greed’
Here is a person who eats bread made from the flour that he grinds and wears cloth from the yarn that he spins.
Truly, this is the wood that God has chosen for the Cross.
He has taken over the village upliftment work in the true sense, meaning thereby ‘development without tears.’ It is the process of sharing grief and joy with the village community. In this process, he and his colleagues become part and parcel of the village community, whose frustrations in life are transformed into happiness, which is the service to the community in the true sense.
I wish him the best in this journey, as his achievements would surely spearhead movements of positive and holistic change in the society.
Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari
Awarded Padma Bhushan by the President of India
Honorary Doctor of Law