Lakshmi Chand Jain (1925–2010) was a Gandhian activist[1] and writer. In his youth, he participated briefly in the Indian freedom movement. Later, he served at various times as a member of the Planning Commission, as Indian High commissioner to South Africa, as a member of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) and as secretary of the Indian Cooperative Union and the All-India Handicrafts Board. He was awarded the 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. In 2011, he was chosen posthumously for the second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan by Government of India, but the family declined to accept the award since he had been against the concept of state honours.[2]


While yet in his youth, Jain took part in the Quit India movement (1942). During the partition of India (1947), he was put in charge of the refugee camp at Kingsway Camp in North Delhi. He helped introduce cooperative societies for farming and cottage industries into rehabilitation camps. As a volunteer organiser with the Indian Cooperative Union (ICU), he joined the rehabilitation project for refugees from Pakistan located in Faridabad, 20 km from Delhi.

Jain later helped Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay organise the Indian Cooperative Union and applied its principles to the handicrafts industry. As secretary of the All-India Handicrafts Board, he fostered decentralised production and directed training, technical services, and loans to India's struggling self-employed spinners, weavers, carpenters, and metalsmiths. He applied modern marketing techniques to promote handicrafts sales abroad and organised the Central Cottage Industries Emporium to expand the market at home. He championed artisans against mechanisation and mass production, helping millions of independent craftsmen carry on traditional livelihoods in security and pride and assured the survival of precious arts and skills.

Jain became an expert on development, applying unique organizational skills to wed theory to practice. In 1966 he led the establishment of a chain of consumer cooperative stores where those living in cities could buy food, clothing, and tools at a fair price. In 1968 he co-founded a service-oriented consulting firm. By seeking the advice of farmers and workers, Jain and his like-minded colleagues helped government, industry, and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) design modernisation projects that were relevant and effective.

Jain worked with and on a number of development agencies as well as government committees and boards, such as the United Nations' World Dam Commission[3] As part of the ICU, he helped set up the Central Cottage Industries Emporium and Super Bazaar cooperative stores.[4][5]

Jain's wife was the economist Devaki Jain; the couple had two sons and settled in Bangalore. In 1989, Jain received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, for "his informed and selfless commitment to attack India's poverty at the grass-roots level".[6]


  • "Development of Decentralized Industries in India—Progress and Perspectives." Gandhi Marg. 2, no. 6 (September 1980): 307–29.
  • "Obituary: Kamaladevi." Economic and Political Weekly, 26 November 1988, 2520–21.
  • "Poverty, Environment, Development: A View from Gandhi's Window." Economic and Political Weekly, 13 February 1988, 311–20.
  • Power to the People: Decentralization Is a Necessity. Policy Issue no.1. Hyderabad: Academy of Gandhian Studies, 1980.
  • "A tale of Two Programmes: The Mahatma's and Mrs. Gandhi's." Times of India, 26 November 1983.
  • (with B. V. Krishnamurthy and P. M. Tripathi) Grass without Roots: Rural Development under Government Auspices. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1985.

Further reading

  • Naiptya Natak, Lakshmi Chand Jain (Hindi), biography
  • Arati B. "A Crusader for Job Protection." Hindustan Times, 2 August 1989.
  • Chattopadhyay, Kamaladevi. The Glory of Indian Handicrafts. New Delhi: Clavion Books, 1985.
  • Indian Cooperative Union. Community Development: A Pilot Project under Non-Official Auspices. New Delhi: Indian Cooperative Union, 1961. Reprinted 1979.
  • Indian Cooperative Union. Cooperative Law in India A Disquisition. New Delhi: Indian Cooperative Union, 1964.
  • Industrial Development Services: A Profile. New Delhi: Industrial Development Services Private Ltd., 1986.
  • Interview by James R. Rush. Tape Recording, 2 September 1989. Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Manila.
  • 'Gandhi Works, Always' (Interview with Shri Lakshmi Chand Jain)


  1. ^ Crossette, Barbara (19 May 1991). "INDIA'S DESCENT". New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Gandhian's family declines Padma Vibhushan". The Times of India. 25 March 2011. 
  3. ^ World Dam Commission mandate Archived 13 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine., retrieved 27 November 2007
  4. ^ "Dam commission concludes hearings". Indian Express. 13 December 1998. Retrieved 3 April 2010. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ 'Gandhi works, always' By Ashok Gopal infochangeindia.org.
  6. ^ Citation Ramon Magsaysay Award website.

External links

  • Biography, 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service