Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi
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|K. M. Munshi|
Munshi in his early sixties.
Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, (December 30, 1887 – February 8, 1971) popularly known as Kulpati Dr. K. M. Munshi, was an Indian independence movement activist, politician, writer and educationist from Gujarat state. A lawyer by profession, he later turned to literature and politics. He was a well known name in Gujarati literature. He founded Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an educational trust, in 1938.
K. M. Munshi was born on 30 December 1887 in the town of Bharuch in Gujarat, he has taken school education in R.S Dalal High School in Bharuch. He was educated further in Vadodara (Baroda), where he excelled in academics. One of his teachers at Baroda College was Sri Aurobindo Ghosh who had a profound impression on him. Munshi was also greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Bhulabhai Desai, and M at Anand, Gujarat.
Munshi was an active participant in the Indian Independence Movement ever since the advent of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined the Swaraj Party but returned to the Indian National Congress on Gandhiji's behest with the launch of the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. He was arrested several times, including during the Quit India Movement of 1942. A great admirer of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Munshi served in the Central Legislative Assembly in the 1930s.
After the independence of India, Munshi was appointed diplomatic envoy and trade agent (Agent-General) to the princely state of Hyderabad, where he served until its accession to India in 1948. Munshi was on the ad hoc Flag Committee that selected the Flag of India in August 1947, and on the committee which drafted the Constitution of India under the chairmanship of B. R. Ambedkar. He and Purushottam Das Tandon were among those who strongly opposed propagation and conversion in the constituent assembly. He was also the main driving force behind the renovation of the historically important Somnath Temple by the Government of India just after independence.
Munshi served as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh from 1952 to 1957. In 1959, Munshi separated from the Nehru-dominated (socialist) Congress Party and started the Akhand Hindustan Movement. He believed in a strong opposition, so along with Chakravarti Rajagopalachari he founded the Swatantra Party, which was right-wing in its politics, pro-business, pro-free market economy and private property rights. The party enjoyed limited success and eventually died out. Later, Munshi joined the Jan Sangh.
Being a prolific writer and a conscientious journalist, Munshi started a Gujarati monthly called Bhargava. He was joint-editor of Young India and in 1954, started the Bhavan's Journal which is published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan to this day. Munshi was President of the Sanskrit Viswa Parishad, the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, and the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan.
Apart from founding Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Munshi was instrumental in the establishment of Bhavan's College, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Rajhans Vidyalaya, Rajhans Balvatika and Panchgani Hindu School (1924). He was elected Fellow of the University of Bombay, where he was responsible for giving adequate representation to regional languages. He was also instrumental in starting the department of Chemical Technology.
Besides being a politician and educator, Munshi was also an environmentalist. He initiated the Vanmahotsav in 1950, when he was Union Minister of Food and Agriculture, to increase area under forest cover. Since then Van Mahotsav a week long festival of tree plantation is organised every year in the month of July all across the country and lakhs of trees are planted.
Munshi was also a litterateur with a wide range of interests. He is well known for his historical novels in Gujarati, especially his trilogy Patan-ni-Prabhuta (The Greatness of Patan), Gujarat-no-Nath (The Ruler of Gujarat) and Rajadhiraj (The Emperor). His other works include Jay Somnath (on Somnath temple), Krishnavatara (on Lord Krishna), Bhagavan Parasurama (on Parshurama), and Tapasvini (The Lure of Power) a novel with a fictional parallel drawn from the Freedom Movement of India under Mahatma Gandhi. Munshi also wrote several notable works in English.
Munshi has written mostly based on fictional historical themes namely
- Earlier Aryan settlements in India (What he calls Gaurang's - white skinned)
- Krishna's endeavors in Mahabharata kaal
- More recently in 10th century India around Gujarat, Malwa and Southern India.
K.M. Munshi's novel Prithvi Vallabh was made into a movie of the same name twice. The adaptation directed by Manilal Joshi in 1924 was very controversial in its day: Mahatma Gandhi criticised it for excessive sex and violence. The second version was by Sohrab Modi in 1943.
List of works
In Gujarati & Hindi languages :-
- Mari Kamala (1912)
- Verni Vasulat (1913) (under the pen name Ghanashyam)
- Patanni Prabhuta (1916)
- Gujaratno Nath (1917)
- Rajadhiraj (1918)
- Prithvivallabh (1920)
- Svapnadishta (1924)
- Lopamudra (1930)
- Jay Somanth (1940)
- Bhagavan Parashurama (1946)
- Tapasvini (1957)
- Krishnavatara (in seven volumes) (1970)
- Kono vank
- Bhagvan Kautilya
- Pratirodha (1900)
- Atta ke svapana (1900)
- Gaurava kā pratīka (1900)
- Gujarat ke Gaurava (1900)
- Sishu aura Sakhi (1961)
- Brahmacharyashram (1931)
- Dr. Madhurika (1936)
- Pauranik Natako
- Ketlak Lekho (1926)
- Adadhe Raste (1943)
- Gujarat and Its Literature
- Imperial Gujaras
- Bhagavad Gita and Modern Life
- Creative Art of Life
- To Badrinath
- Saga of Indian Sculpture
- The End of An Era
- President under Indian Constitution
- Warnings of History: Trends in Modern India
- A major thoroughfare in Mumbai is named after him.
- A road in Jaipur is named after him.
- A school in Thiruvananthapuram is named after him as Bhavan's Kulapati K.M. Munshi Memorial Vidya Mandir Sapthat.
- A postage stamp was issued in his honor in 1988.
- The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has instituted an award in his honor - The Kulapati Munshi Award - awarded to recognize and honor a citizen of the Kendra who has done excellent and outstanding service to society in any special field.
- Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan's founder, K.M. Munshi
- Indian postage stamp on Munshi - 1988
- Rediff.com article
- Prithvi Vallabh(1924):synopsis
- Prithvi Vallabh (1943)
- Kulapathi Munshi Award presented to industrialist (The Hindu, 3 Sep., 2008)
- Chandigarh Bhavan Vidyalaya best in India (The Tribune, 4 Feb., 2008)
- Portrait of Munshiji at Kamat.com
- Krishnavatara (Vol. I) - The Magic Flute. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 1973. pp. dust cover flap.
- "Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, New Delhi".
- "Source: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai".
- Open Library - Books of Kanhiyalal Munshi
- Indian postage stamp on Munshi - 1988
- "Kulapati Munshi Award conferred". The Hindu. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2014.