Mandol, Jogendranath

Mandol, Jogendranath (1904-1968) politician and scheduled caste leader, was born on January 29, 1904 in Maistarkandi village in Gournadi upazilla of Barisal district. His father's name is Ram Dayal and mother's name is Sandhya. He passed the matriculation examination in 1924 and IA examination from BM College in 1926. He graduated from the same college in 1929. Mandol later passed the law examination from Calcutta University in 1934. In 1936, he started practicing law at the Barisal Sadar court. Mandol became a member of the Barisal District Board at that time.

In the general election for the Bengal Legislative Assembly, Mandol contested the election as an independent candidate from Bakerganj (now an upazila in Barisal district) North-East General Rural constituency in 1937. He won in the election. In 1946 he was defeated from this constituency but won from Bakharganj South-West Reserved constituency under the party affiliation of the Scheduled Caste Federation.

At the early stages, Mandol received guidance from the opposition leader Sarat Chandra Bose of the Congress. He became secretary of the Independent Scheduled Caste Party. In August 1938 he was among those who moved a no-confidence motion against the ministry.

In 1940 Mandol was elected councillor of calcutta corporation from a seat reserved for the scheduled castes as a Congress candidate.

When Khwaza Nazimuddin formed ministry on 24 April 1943, Mandol, along with 21 scheduled caste members, extended support to the Nazimuddin ministry. In return, Mandol was made cooperative minister, and two more scheduled caste members– Prembehari Barman and Pulin Behari Mullick– were inducted into the ministry. This ministry, however, was dismissed on March 29, 1945.

As a minister, Mandol came in contact with Dr BR Ambedkar, a scheduled caste leader at the all-India level. Acting on Dr Ambedkar's advice, he formed the Bengal Provincial Scheduled Caste Federation and became its President. Mandol used to consider his organisation as the only patriotic organisation of the scheduled castes. In his eyes, the Congress was an institution of Hindus only. Mandol, however, was sincere in his efforts for the development of the scheduled castes. Even he did not call himself a Hindu but preferred to introduce himself as the belonging to the scheduled caste.

In the general elections of India held in 1946, the Muslim League gained unprecedented success. Hence the League formed the ministry with HS Suhrawardy as chief minister. Mandol was the lone Hindu in the cabinet. He was the lone candidate from the Scheduled Caste Federation who won in the 1946 polls.

The League did not first join the interim government formed in September 1946 but joined a month later. Mandol was among the five representatives of the Muslim League, whom Mohammad Ali Jinnah described as 'a Hindu representative of the Muslim League'. He became law minister at that time. Once in the interim government, Mandol resigned from the Assembly. By making Mandol a minister, Jinnah perhaps tried to create an impression that the Muslim League represented not only Muslims, but Hindus as well.

Meanwhile, in response to the League's call for Direct Action Day on August 16, 1946 there were widespread riots across India. Mandol was asked by Suhrawardy to make a tour of the districts to prevent any communal tension between Muslims and 'namashudras'. Mandol believed that Namashudras and Muslims of Bengal shared common economic interests.

On June 20, 1947 the members of the Assembly voted for the division of Bengal at a special session. Mandol then organized meetings throughout the state opposing the division. The division necessitated a fresh election for the Constituent Assembly in July 1947. From West Bengal, 25 (21 general and 4 Muslim) members were elected to the Indian Constituent Assembly. East Bengal, on the other hand, elected 41 (29 Muslims and 12 general) members for the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. Mandol was elected as a member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. He and his scheduled caste federation considered Jinnah as a friend.

After the establishment of Pakistan in1947 Mandol became law and labour minister in the first Pakistan government. He became a member of the Muslim League Parliamentary Board also.

On the commencement of communal riots in Karachi in January, 1948 Mandol tried his best to save the minority community as a minister. During the devastating communal riots in East Bengal in 1950, Mandol failed to save the minorities as a central minister of Pakistan from East Bengal.

Mandol realized that he no longer received the due respect from the Muslim League leadership or the government which he used to get before the formation of Pakistan. On September 14, 1950, he secretly escaped from Karachi to Calcutta and took political asylum in India.

Mandol was also a journalist and published newspaper namely- the Jagaran since 1943. After partition the office of the newspaper was shifted to Dhaka. Mandol died on October 5, 1968 in Kolkata. [Dilip Banerjee]