Joachim Ignatius Sebastian Alva was an Indian lawyer, journalist and politician from Mangalore. He was a prominent Christian figure involved in the Indian Independence Movement. Joachim co-founded the Nationalist Christian Party with the goal of drawing the Christian community into the freedom movement. Imprisoned twice for a total period of three years, he was a jail companion of many of India’s outstanding patriots and national leaders such as Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Jaiprakash Narain, B G Kher and Morarji Desai.
Joachim was actively involved in organizing the “No-Tax” campaign at the Bardoli Satyagraha and appointed Dictator of the War Council. In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Alva to inform him that he had missed him at Yerwada Jail because of his early release. In 1937, Alva married Violet Hari, a Gujarati Protestant from Ahmedabad and professor of English at St. Xavier’s Indian Women’s University College. Violet would also go on to become active in national politics. Violet and Joachim Alva set up legal practice together in Mumbai, later deciding that they could make a more meaningful contribution to society in journalism. Joachim was the founder-editor of Forum magazine which he published along with Violet. The magazine became a platform for patriotic Indians to write without fear and put across the Indian point of view in times of the British rule. After Independence, Alva was appointed Sheriff of Bombay in 1949. In 1950, he entered the Provisional Parliament of India. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952 and 1957 and 1962 from North Kanara. Joachim Ignatius Sebastain died on June 28, 1979.
In 2008, Prithviraj Chavan, the 17th Chief Minister of Maharashtra remembered Joachim Alva by highlighting that “Joachim Alva sacrificed everything for the freedom struggle.” A commemorative stamp of late Joachim and Violet Alva was released by the then President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi in 2008, coinciding with the birth centenary year of the couple. Congress leader Margaret Alva, their daughter-in-law once remarked that “Joachim and Violet Alva had inspired a whole generation of patriotic Indians. By agreeing to release the stamp to mark their centenaries, the President had honored their memory and their lives of struggle and sacrifice.”
Joachim Ignatius Sebastian was truly a patriotic legend who lived his life for the nation and also was indeed a personality who exhorted the people of the country to work and serve the nation with all their potentials.