J C Kumarappa(4 January 1892 – 30 January 1960)
J C Kumarappa Was an economist. J C Kumarappa’s full name was Josef Chelladurai Cornelius. Mahatma Gandhi and they were close associates. He was a forerunner of Gram-Vikal economic principles’. J.C. Kumarappa is considered the first guru of Gandhian economics. In his lifetime, Kumarappa did not only write vivid writings on subjects related to Gandhian economics as a full-time activist, but also through many economic surveys in remote areas of India, he also rendered the strategy for the rejuvenation of the rural economy. Economics of Kumarappa was based on giving opportunities for economic autonomy and all-round development for every individual of independent India. Comrade Kumarappa was an economist for upgrading India’s rural economy and natural form, which considered environmental protection more beneficial than industrial-commercial advancement. Gandhi’s economic philosophy did not agree with his colleagues in the Congress party. That is why there is no equality of independent India’s economic policies and Gandhian economic policies. As a result, Independent India forgave Kumarappa in the race for a blind exchange of sampling of Western economies.
Kumarappa was born on 4 January 1892 in the Christian family of Thanjavur, Tamilnadu. Whose name was Joseph Chelladurai Cornelius? After completing his schooling, Madras MAI got training in accountancy after going to London and then worked as an accountant in London for a few years. Upon the end of World War I and on the advice of his mother, he returned to India and started his own business in 1924 after working in a British company in Bombay. In 1927, he went to study America and graduated in Commerce and Business Management from Syracuse University. Later, he studied public finance at the University of Columbia and wrote a letter on the ‘Economics of India and Poverty of India’ under the guidance of eminent economist Edwin Seligman of that time, in which the damage caused by the policies of British rule in India’s financial plight was studied. During this, Kumarappa found that the main reason for this economic situation of India is the unethical and exploitative policies of the British rule. Because of this, he decided to add his original family name Kumarappa with his name.
Among the people associated with the independence movement, the British had to accept the economic exploitation of India. The main center of this uneasiness was the rise of the British Empire, which he wanted to put on the head of the colonial Indians in the name of governing India. This was discussed in the Congress session of 1922 and the subsequent session of the Lahore session of 1929. In the meantime, after returning to India from 1929, Kumarappa came to Sabarmati Ashram to meet Gandhi in reference to publishing his article on Indian economic exploitation. Mahatma Gandhi also showed interest in publishing this article in his newspaper Young India and requested Kumarappa to conduct a current economic survey in rural areas of Gujarat. On the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, Kumarappa went to Economic Survey in Matar Taluka of Kheda district of Gujarat. This area of Gujarat has been going through a severe water crisis due to less rainfall for many years but due to this, the government staff was showing very strict vigilance for revenue collection. Kumarappa published a survey of 45 villages of the Maat region and through the statistical statistics for the first time, the difficult relationship between the rate of levy recovery and the economy based on agriculture was published. This has led to the publication of ‘The Public Finance and Our Poverty’ in Kumarappa’s article in Young India. Along with this, the economic survey of Matar Taluka was also being published. During these publications, Gandhi also started the Dandi Tour for the Salt Satyagraha. When the British administration arrested Gandhi on taking part in the Salt Satyagraha, Kumarappa was responsible for the operation of Young India. Kumarappa was arrested for writing in this letter and he was sent to jail for one and a half years. Kumarappa was released after the agreement of Gandhi-Irwin in 1931 and Kumarappa was made the chairman of the committee set up to investigate the financial transactions between the British government and India in the Lahore Congress session. After this convention, Mahatma Gandhi had gone to England to participate in the Round Table Conference. In Gandhi’s absence, Kumarappa rejoined the responsibility of the Young India newspaper and due to his writing, the British government again arrested him and sent him to jail for two and a half years.
Only after he left the jail in 1933, Kumarappa worked for the relief operations in Bihar during the devastating earthquake. An honest and devoted volunteer, Kumarappa, refused to give Gandhi the money for his visit to this work. In 1934, Kumarappa set up the All India Village Industry Association in Wardha Ashram, in which construction, conservation and spread of friendly products of the rural economy were started. Kumarappa knew the contribution of the rural economy in the strength of the economy and that is why he took a full time to complete this Village Industry Association. On the basis of his experience in the Akhil Bhartiya Gram Udyog Sangha, in 1936, Kumarappa, after his escape from the jail in 1933, Kumarappa saw the work of transferring money for the relief work of the devastating earthquake in Bihar. Like a very honest and devoted volunteer, Kumarappa refused to give Gandhi the money to visit her in this relief work. Gandhi established the All India Village Industry Association under the leadership of Kumarappa in Wardha Ashram in 1934, in which campaign of creation, conservation, and dissemination of friendly products of rural economy were undertaken. Kumarappa knew the contribution of the rural economy in the strength of the Indian economy and so he took a full time to streamline this village industry association. On the basis of his experience in the All India Village Industry Association, in 1936, Kumarappa published a book entitled ‘Why Gram Movement?’ That was similar to the manifesto of the principles of Gandhian economics centered on the economic development of the villages. During 1939-40 Kumarappa carried out several economic surveys in Madhya Pradesh and North West Frontier Province. In 1942, when the British Government wanted to spend the second world war on India, Kumarappa wrote an article opposing it, which was named ‘Stone for bread’ and after its publication, he was sent to jail once. Kumarappa, using his imprisonment, wrote two books, titled Practice and Percepts of Jesus and Economy of Permanence.
Kumarappa died on January 30, 1960. The Kumarappa Institute of Gram Swaraj was established in his memory.