Govind Ballabh Pant

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Govind Ballabh Pant
Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant.jpg
4th Union Home Minister of India
In office
10 January 1955 – 7 March 1961
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Preceded by Kailash Nath Katju
Succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri
1st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
In office
26 January 1950 – 27 December 1954

Homi Mody

Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Sampurnanand
2nd Chief Minister of United Provinces
In office
17 July 1937 – 2 November 1939
Preceded by Muhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Succeeded by Vacant
In office
1 April 1946 – 25 January 1950
Preceded by Vacant
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born (1887-09-10)10 September 1887
Khoont, Almora, United Provinces of British Raj
(now in Uttarakhand, India)
Died 7 March 1961(1961-03-07) (aged 73)
New Delhi, India
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress
Children K. C. Pant, Lakshmi and Pushpa
Residence No. 6, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi
Alma mater Allahabad University
Profession Lawyer
Independence Activist
Religion Hinduism

Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant (Hindi pronunciation: [ɡoːʋiːŋd̪ bəlləbʱ pəŋt̪], 10 September 1887 – 7 March 1961) was a veteran Indian freedom fighter and politician who alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru was a key figure in the movement for India's independence and subsequently was a pivotal figure in the independent Indian Government. He was one of the foremost political leaders of Uttar Pradesh (then known as United Provinces) and was one of the key players in the movement to establish Hindi as the official language of India.

Today, as a mark of tribute several Indian hospitals, educational institutions and foundations have been established and bear his name . For example, the largest agricultural university of India - GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand has been named after him. A prominent statue of Pandit Pant stands within the premises of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. The city and Airport of Pantnagar in Northern India are named after Pandit Pant.

For his exemplary services to the nation, Pandit Pant received India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1957.

Early life[edit]

Govind Ballabh Pant was born on 10 September 1887 in Khoont village on the slopes of Shyahi Devi hill near Almora, in a Karhade family having their roots in Maharashtra.[1] His mother's name was Govindi Bai. His father Manorath Pant being a government official, was constantly on the move, and hence Govind was brought up by his maternal grandfather, Badri Dutt Joshi, who played a significant part in moulding his personality and political views.

[2] He was honored with "Proud Past Alumni" in the list of 42 members, from "Allahabad University Alumni Association", Allahabad University registered under society act 1860 with registration no. 407/2000.[3][4][5]

As a lawyer in Kashipur, Pandit Pant began active work against the British Raj in 1914, when he helped a local parishad, or village council, in their successful challenge of a law requiring locals to provide free transportation of the luggage of travelling British officials, then called "coolie begaar". In 1921, he entered politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.

In the freedom struggle[edit]

Statue of Govindballabh Pant, at Mall Road, Nainital

In 1930, he was arrested and imprisoned for several weeks for organizing a Salt March inspired by Gandhi's earlier actions. In 1933, he was arrested along with Harsh Dev Bahuguna (Gandhi of Choukot)and imprisoned for seven months for attending a session of the then-banned provincial Congress. In 1935, the ban was rescinded, and Pandit Pant joined the new Legislative Council. During the Second World War, Pandit Pant acted as the tiebreaker between Gandhi's faction, which advocated supporting the British Crown in their war effort, and Subhas Chandra Bose's faction, which advocated taking advantage of the situation to expel the British Raj by any means necessary.

In 1934, the Congress ended its boycott of the legislatures and put up candidates, and Pandit Pant was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly. His political skills won the admiration of the leaders of the Congress, and he became deputy leader of the Congress party in the Assembly.[6]

In 1940, Pandit Pant was arrested and imprisoned for helping organize the Satyagraha movement. In 1942 he was arrested again, this time for signing the Quit India resolution, and spent three years in Ahmednagar Fort along with other members of the Congress working committee until March 1945, at which point Jawaharlal Nehru pleaded successfully for Pandit Pant's release, on grounds of failing health.[6]

Premier of United Provinces 1937/ Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh 1950[edit]

Govind Ballabh Pant statue near Parliament of India, Delhi

He took over as the Prime Minister of the United Provinces from 1937 to 1939 .

Home Minister Govind Ballabh Pant and Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari attending a meeting in 1957 at Delhi

In 1945, the British Labour government ordered new elections to the Provincial legislatures.[6] The Congress won a majority in the 1946 elections in the United Provinces and Pandit Pant was again the Premier, continuing even after India's independence in 1947.

He took oath as the First Chief Minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh on January 26, 1950.

His several judicious reforms and stable governance in the Uttar Pradesh stabilized the economic condition of the most populous State of India. Among his achievements in that position was the abolition of the zamindari system. Also he passed the Hindu Code Bill and made monogamy compulsory for Hindu men and gave the Hindu women the rights of divorce and inheritance to ancestral property. His rich and judicious experience was sought in India’s political capital. Pandit Pant moved from Lucknow to New Delhi to be sworn in as Cabinet Minister without Portfolio in the Union Cabinet on January 3, 1955.

Union Home Minister of India[edit]

He served as Union Home Minister from 1955-1961.[7]

He was appointed Minister of Home Affairs in the Union Cabinet on 10th January, 1955 in New Delhi by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and entered in the Rajya Sabha as Home Minister on 15th February, 1955. As Home minister, his chief achievement was the re-organisation of States along linguistic lines. He was also responsible for the establishment of Hindi as an official language of the central government and a few states.[8]

During his tenure as the Home Minister, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna.[9] on January 26, 1957 for his selfless service as an Independent activist, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Home Minister.

Controversies and criticisms[edit]

As Union Minister, Ballabh Pant and the then Government of Indian National Congress announced on 30 September 1957 that the Jeep scandal case was closed for judicial inquiry ignoring suggestion by the Inquiry Committee led by Ananthsayanam Ayyangar. He declared that "as far as Government was concerned it has made up its mind to close the matter. If the opposition was not satisfied they can make it an election issue."[10][11]


In 1960, he suffered a heart attack. He was treated by top doctors in India, including his friend Dr [Bidhan Chandra Roy]], the then Chief Minister of West Bengal.His health started deteriorating and he passed away on 7 March 1961 at the age of 74, from a cerebral stroke. At that time he was still in office as the Home Minister of India.

Mourning him, Dr Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India was quoted as saying,“I had known Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant since 1922 and in this long period of association it had been my privilege to receive from him not only consideration but also affection. This is no time to assess his labour and his achievements. The grief is too intense for words. I can only pray for peace to his soul and strength to those who loved and admired him”.

Institutions and monuments[edit]


Pandit Pant's son, Krishna Chandra Pant, was a politician and his initiative as the Minister in charge, propelled India into the nuclear club in 1974. Pandit Pant's daughters Lakshmi and Pushpa did not enter politics and led married lives with their respective families, away from the limelight.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Govind Ballabh Pant
  3. ^ " Proud Past Alumni Allahabad University"[dead link]
  4. ^ " Internet Archive of Proud Past Alumni"
  5. ^ "Internet Archive of Proud Past Alumni"
  6. ^ a b c B. R. Nanda, Pant, Govind Ballabh (1887–1961), politician in India (2004)
  7. ^ "Nation pays homage to Govind Ballabh Pant". The Times of India. 10 September 2006. 
  8. ^ "Govind Ballabh Pant Engineering College, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand". Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954-2007)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  10. ^ Dipankar Paul, India Syndicate (30 April 2011). "Jeep purchase (1948) - The Republic of Scams". Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  11. ^ [1] Archived 18 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

  • Bakshi, S. R. (1991). Govind Ballabh Pant: The True Gandhian. South Asia Books. ISBN 9788170414308. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Nawab Sir Muhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Chief Minister of United Provinces
17 July 1937 – 2 November 1939
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Chief Minister of United Provinces
1 April 1946 – 25 January 1950
Succeeded by
Post abolished
United Provinces renamed to Uttar Pradesh
Preceded by
New Creation
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
26 January 1950 – 27 December 1954
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kailash Nath Katju
Union Home Minister
10 January 1955 – 7 March 1961
Succeeded by
Lal Bahadur Sastri