Dr. Cheddi Bharat Jagan Former President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana
Cheddi Bharat Jagan (22 March 1918 – 6 March 1997) was a Guyanese politician who was first elected Chief Minister in 1953 and later Premier of British Guiana from 1961 to 1964, prior to independence. He later served as President of Guyana from 1992 to 1997.
Early life and education
Cheddi Bharat Jagan was born on 22 March 1918 on the sugar plantation of Port Mourant, Berbice, in British Guiana where his father was as a foreman of a work crew. His grandparents had come from India as indentured laborers.
After primary school and two years of secondary school, his father sent him to Queen’s College in the city of Georgetown. He was 15 years old. In September 1935, he left for the United States where he did pre-dental studies at Howard University. He worked hard and was able to earn a scholarship to pay for his second year at Howard. In 1938, he entered Northwestern University and embarked on a four-year dental program from which he graduated in 1942.
While studying dentistry he was also doing courses in social studies. When he graduated in 1942, it was with his degree in dental surgery (DDS) and a Bachelor of Sciences degree (BSc).
On 5 August 1943, he married a student nurse, Janet Rosenberg before returning home in October that year. She came to her new home two months later, in December.
Cheddi set up his dental practice with the help of his wife, as dental assistant, his brother, as laboratory assistant, and a cousin.
He also spent a great deal of time with the workers and was soon established as a labor leader.
In 1947 Dr. Jagan formally entered the political arena with his election to the assembly. Three years later, in 1950, he created the People's Progressive Party (PPP). In 1953, the PPP won the first elections held under universal suffrage; however, Britain suspended the constitution, citing the PPP's pro-communist stance. The British sent troops and warships to deal with any resistance they might encounter.
Dr. Jagan was imprisoned for six months for not obeying an order limiting his movements. His popularity was not diminished, however, and he was re-elected leader of the People's Progressive Party in 1955.
Between 1953 and 1957, the PPP was split. Dr. Jagan continued to be leader of the PPP, while the new faction, named the People’s National Congress PNC), was led by Forbes Burnham.
The PPP won the 1957 and 1961 elections. Following the 1964 election, which was held under the system of proportional representation, the government was formed by a coalition comprising the PNC, led by Burnham and the United Force (UF), led by businessman, Peter D’Aguiar.
For the next 28 years Jagan and the PPP remained in opposition. He was leader of the opposition until 1992, when the PPP won the election that year. He became president and remained so until his death on 6 March 1997.
Cheddi Jagan was the author of two books, Forbidden Freedom (1954) and The West on Trial (1966).
Dr Cheddi Jagan, Man Of The People
Jagan Here (1953)
The Jagans on a personal level
Dr. Cheddi Jagan Memorial at Andrews Air Force Base, USA
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