B. G. Kher

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Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher (also known as B. G. Kher) (Marathi: बाळासाहेब गंगाधर खेर) (August 24, 1888 – March 8, 1957[1][2]) was the first chief minister (then called prime minister) of Bombay State which consisted of present day Maharastra and Gujarat States of India. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 1954. A lawyer, solicitor and social worker by choice and politician by necessity, Kher was often described as “Sajjan”, good and gentle. Kher was a scholar, an accomplished orator, and a man with no pretensions.

Early life[edit]

Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher was born on August 24, 1888 at Ratnagiri in a middle class Karhade Brahmin[3][3] family. He spent some years of his boyhood at Kundgol in the then Jamkhandi State. Later, he migrated at the instance of Gopal Krishna Gokhale to Pune to study at the New English School. Later he obtained the degree of B.A. in 1908 from the Wilson College, with high distinction and received the Bhau Daji Lad prize for standing first in Sanskrit.[4]

Mr. B.G. Kher along with Mr. Manilal Nanavati started a law firm called Manilal Kher & Co. The firm commenced practice on 7 June 1918. The firm was the only firm in Mumbai to have its inauguration ceremony being presided over by the renowned Judge, Mr. Justice Sir Frank C.O. Beaman. The firm's name was then changed to Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co.[5]

Political career[edit]

B. G. Kher's political career began in 1922. He was appointed as the Secretary of the Bombay branch of the Swaraj Party.[1] During the Civil disobedience movement, he was arrested and sentenced to eight months' rigorous imprisonment and fine in 1930. He was again arrested in 1932 and sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment and fine.

He became the first Prime Minister of the Bombay Province in 1937 and continued in office till October, 1939. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1940. During the Quit India struggle, he was arrested again and imprisoned in August, 1942. He was released from prison on July 14, 1944.

He again became the Prime Minister of the Bombay province on March 30, 1946. He was instrumental in the establishment of Poona University (Now called the "University of Pune"). A building in the university campus is named after him as "Kher Bhavan." Kher was in office till April 21, 1952.

Kher died in Pune on March 8, 1957.

Reception[edit]

Kher allotted plots of land in Bandra East to people belonging to the Hindu-Khatik (Scheduled caste) community in 1950-51. That area is known as Kherwadi in his memory. Kher established schools and a hospital, and provided electrcity and water supply for people staying in Kherwadi. The Hindu-Khatik community celebrates his birthday at his statue at the Nanda Deep Garden, Kala Nagar, Bandra East.[citation needed]

Declassified MI5 documents were appreciative of Kher and described him as preferable to other political candidates, due to his honesty, sincerity and a preference for the "Anglo" way of administration.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "This Day That Age". Chennai, India: The Hindu. March 9, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Indian autographers - Bal Gangadhar Kher". Indianautographs.com. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  3. ^ a b Growing Up Untouchable in India: A Dalit Autobiography - Vasant Moon, Gail Omvedt - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  4. ^ "B.G. Kher". Indian Post website. 
  5. ^ "Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co. - Advocates, Solicitors and Notary - About us - History". Mkaco.com. 1918-06-07. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  6. ^ "Krishna Menon a sick man, say MI5 documents". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kamath, M.V. B.G. Kher, The Gentleman Premier, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Preceded by
Post created
Prime Minister of Bombay Province
1937–October, 1939
Succeeded by
Governor's rule
Preceded by
Governor's rule
Prime Minister of Bombay Province
March 30, 1946–January 26, 1950
Succeeded by
Post abolished
Preceded by
Post created
Chief Minister of Bombay State
January 26, 1950–April 21, 1952
Succeeded by
Morarji Desai