Jump to content

Govind Ballabh Pant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Govind Ballabh Pant
Postage stamp, 1965
5th Minister of Home Affairs
In office
10 January 1955 – 7 March 1961
Prime MinisterJawaharlal Nehru
Preceded byKailash Nath Katju
Succeeded byLal Bahadur Shastri
1st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
In office
26 January 1950 – 27 December 1954
Preceded byOffice Established
Succeeded bySampurnanand
2nd Chief Minister of United Provinces
In office
1 April 1946 – 25 January 1950
Preceded byVacant
Succeeded byOffice Abolished
In office
17 July 1937 – 2 November 1939
Preceded byMuhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born(1887-09-10)10 September 1887
Khoont, North-Western Provinces, British India
(Present-day Uttarakhand, India)
Died7 March 1961(1961-03-07) (aged 73)
New Delhi, India
Political partyIndian National Congress
Children3, including Krishna Chandra Pant
RelativesIla Pant (daughter-in-law)
Residence(s)No. 6, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi
Alma materAllahabad University
Independence Activist
AwardsBharat Ratna (1957)

Govind Ballabh Pant (10 September 1887 – 7 March 1961) was an Indian freedom fighter and the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Alongside Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabh Bhai Patel, Pant was a key figure in the movement for India's Independence and later a pivotal figure in the Indian Government. He was one of the foremost political leaders of Uttar Pradesh (then known as United Provinces) and a key player in the successful movement to establish Hindi as the official language of Indian Union.

Today, several Indian hospitals, educational institutions and foundations bear his name. 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 near Almora. He was born in a Marathi Karhade Brahmin family that had migrated from the present day northern Karnataka to Kumaon region.[1] The name of his mother was Govindi Bai. His maternal grandfather, Badri Dutt Joshi, an important local government official who played a significant role in shaping his personality and political views, raised Govind because his father, Manorath Pant, was a government official who was constantly on the move.[2]

Pant studied at Allahabad University and subsequently worked as a lawyer in Kashipur. Here, he began active work against the British Raj in 1914, when he helped a local parishad, or village council, in their successful challenge of coolie begar, a law requiring locals to provide free transportation of the luggage of travelling British officials. 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]

Known as an extremely capable lawyer, Pant was appointed by the Congress party to initially represent Ramprasad Bismill, Ashfaqulla Khan and other revolutionaries involved in the Kakori case in the mid 1920s. He participated in the protests against Simon Commission in 1928. Jawaharlal Nehru, in his autobiography, mentions how Pant stood by him during the protests and his large figure made him an easy target for the police. In those protests he sustained severe injuries which prevented him from straightening his back for the rest of his life.[3]

In 1930, he was arrested and imprisoned for several weeks for organising 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 Pant joined the new Legislative Council. During the Second World War, 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 all means necessary. In 1934, the Congress ended its boycott of the legislatures and put up candidates, and Pant was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly. He became deputy leader of the Congress party in the Assembly.[4]

In 1940, Pant was arrested and imprisoned for helping organise 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 Pant's release, on grounds of failing health.[4]

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh[edit]

Pant took over as the Chief Minister of the United Provinces from 1937 to 1939.

In 1945, the British Labour government ordered new elections to the Provincial legislatures.[4] The Congress won a majority in the 1946 elections in the United Provinces and Pant was again the Premier, continuing even after India's independence in 1947 till 1954.

His judicious reforms and stable governance in the Uttar Pradesh stabilised the economic condition of the most populous State of India.

The Ram Janmabhoomi issue emerged during his rule. The idols of Rama and Sita were installed inside the Babri Masjid on the night of 22–23 December 1949 and the devotees began to gather from the next day.[5][6] Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru directed Pant to remove the idols, however Pant was not willing to remove the idols and added that "there is a reasonable chance of success, but things are still in a fluid state and it will be hazardous to say more at this stage".[7][8] By 1950, the state took control of the structure under section 145 CrPC and allowed Hindus, not Muslims, to perform their worship at the site.[9]

He played a significant role in developing panchayat system in the state. He also urged farmers to become self-reliant and educate their children and strive on a co-operative basis to enhance their life and ways of cultivation.[10]

Union Home Minister of India[edit]

Pant served as Union Home Minister from 1955 to 1961.[11] Pant was appointed Minister of Home Affairs in the Union Cabinet on 10 January 1955 in New Delhi by Jawaharlal Nehru. 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.[12]

During his tenure as the Home Minister, Pant was awarded the Bharat Ratna[13] on 26 January 1957.


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 died on 7 March 1961 at the age of 73, 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]


Govind Ballabh Pant's son, Krishna Chandra Pant, was also a politician.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ M. V. Kamath (1989). B.G. Kher, the Gentleman Premier. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 5. Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant was a Karhade Brahmin whose ancestors went north from Karhatak to settle in the Kumaon region
  2. ^ "Govind Ballabh Pant". liveindia.com. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  3. ^ Bharadwaj, Ananya (7 March 2019). "Govind Ballabh Pant, the first Uttar Pradesh CM and an early feminist". ThePrint. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b c B. R. Nanda, Pant, Govind Ballabh (1887–1961), politician in India (2004)
  5. ^ Kunal, Kishore (2016). Ayodhya Revisited (1st ed.). New Delhi: Ocean Books Pvt. Ltd. pp. xxxii. ISBN 978-81-8430-357-5.
  6. ^ Agrawal, S.P.; Aggarwal, J.C. (1992). Information India 1990–91 : Global View. Concepts in communication informatics and librarianship. Concept Publishing Company. p. 489. ISBN 978-81-7022-293-4. Archived from the original on 4 January 2024. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  7. ^ Godbole, M. (1996). Unfinished Innings: Recollections and Reflections of a Civil Servant. Orient Longman. p. 332-333. ISBN 978-81-250-0883-5. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  8. ^ Gehlot, N.S. (1998). Current Trends in Indian Politics. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 203. ISBN 978-81-7100-798-1.
  9. ^ Chatterji, Roma (2014). Wording the World: Veena Das and Scenes of Inheritance. Forms of Living. Fordham University Press. p. 408. ISBN 978-0-8232-6187-1.
  10. ^ Sharma, S.R. (1994). Panchayati Raj and Education in India. Mittal Publications. p. 12. ISBN 978-81-7099-546-3.
  11. ^ "Nation pays homage to Govind Ballabh Pant". The Times of India. 10 September 2006. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Govind Ballabh Pant Engineering College, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand". Gbpec.net. Archived from the original on 25 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2007)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bakshi, S. R. (1991). Govind Ballabh Pant: The True Gandhian. South Asia Books. ISBN 9788170414308.
  • 18 volumes on the Selected Works of Govind Ballabh Pant authored by Dr. B. R. Nanda

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by 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 Union Home Minister
10 January 1955 – 7 March 1961
Succeeded by