bhagwat-dayal-sharma

Bhagwat Dayal Sharma (1918–1993), popularly known as Panditji, was the first Chief Minister of the Indian state of Haryana and later Governor of Odisha and Madhya Pradesh from 30 April 1980 to 14 May 1984.

He was born in Beri, a town in the Jhajjar district of Haryana on 26 January 1917. Bansi Lal, Bhajan Lal and many other noted politicians learned politics under his guidance.

Sharma married Savitri Devi and they had six children; three sons and three daughters. He was educated at Col. Brown Cambridge School in Dehra Dun and St, Stephen’s College. His eldest son Rajesh Sharma became Sports Minister of Haryana and Deputy Chairman of the state’s planning board. After his wife Savitri’s death, Panditji built “Savitri Nikunj”, in her memory, an exotic garden with indigenous and rare plants and trees at Raj Bhawan in Bhopal.

Appointed Governor of Odisha in 1977, during his time in the state, he became patron of many social and cultural institutions. To develop tourism in Odisha, he suggested that the summer Raj Bhavan at Puri should be converted to a high class hotel for international tourists with facilities for golf, swimming and tennis as well as a large hall for holding conferences. The Indian Tourist Development Corporation (ITDC) was subsequently asked to take up the venture. Sharma was also actively involved in the administrative committee of the Hindu Jagannath temple in Puri.

He subsequently transferred to Madhya Pradesh since the Odisha climate did not suit his health.

During his career, Sharma travelled to Switzerland, the UK, the USSR, Germany, USA, and a number of other European.

Sharma died on 22 February 1993 because of gradual declining health and old age. Huge numbers of people from all over world attended his funeral. His cremation took place at Beri (the village, he was born at), Jhajjar, Haryana. A tomb place has been built at the site of his cremation in Beri.