>Tej Bahadur Sapru

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Tej Bahadur Sapru
Date of Birth : Dec 8, 1875
Date of Death : Jan 20, 1949
Place of Birth : Uttar Pradesh

Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru was an eminent lawyer, political and social leader in India during the British Raj. He was knighted in 1922. Tej Bahadur Sapru was born on December 8th, 1875 in Aligarh, in what is now the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was born in a Kashmiri Hindu family. He was educated at the Agra College. Sapru worked in the Allahabad High Court as a lawyer where Purushottam Das Tandon worked as his junior. Sapru was a jurist and leader of the Indian Liberal Party. He favoured a dialogue with the British Empire and sought self-government reforms, but not independence from the Empire. Sapru and others like M.S. Jayakar favored discussions and dialogue with the British, and were regular participants in the provincial and central legislatures that most Indians thought were rubber-stamps of the Viceroy. He carried forward the moderate policies of Gopal Krishna Gokhale in the radicalized post-Amritsar Massacre period after World War I. Sapru criticized Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership, as well as the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Salt Satyagraha. However, he often acted as a mediator which helped him to broker the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, bringing the Salt Satyagraha to an end; and the Poona Pact, striking an agreement between Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar and the British government.



However, in the polarized atmosphere of the time, his Liberal Party remained an intellectual talking shop with little popular backing – it was less than the sum of its distinguished leadership. Sapru served in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) Legislative Council (1913-16), the Imperial Legislative Council (1916-20), and was law member of the Viceroy’s Council (1920-23). He was very active in the Indian Round Table Conferences 1931-1933 and served as an informal spokesman for liberal views in the first of these which was boycotted by Congress. He was also a member of the Privy council in 1934. Sapru strongly supported Britain and the inclusion of British India in World War II. However, Sapru was one of the most important lawyers engaged to defend captured soldiers of the Indian National Army, led by Subhas Chandra Bose. Although regarded with respect in independent India, Sapru was very unpopular amongst common people due to his pro-British opposition to the Indian National Congress and leaders like Mahatma Gandhi.

He died shortly after India’s independence, on January 20, 1949 in Allahabad.

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