Govind Ballabh Pant

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Govind Ballabh Pant
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
Governor

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 Hindu

Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant (10 September 1887 – 7 March 1961) was an Indian freedom fighter and one of the architects of modern India. 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 movement to establish Hindi as the official language of India.

Today, as a mark of tribute, several Indian hospitals, educational institutions and foundations bear his name. To honour his exemplary services to the nation, 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 Brahmin family having their roots in Maharashtra.[1] His mother's name was Govindi Bai. His father Manorath Pant a government official, was constantly on the move, and hence Govind was brought up by his maternal grandfather, Badri Dutt Joshi, an important government official locally, who played a significant part in moulding his personality and political views.[2] He was honoured with "Proud Past Alumni" in the list of 42 members, from "Allahabad University Alumni Association", Allahabad University.

As a young 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 begar". 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 1920's. 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. His political skills won the admiration of the leaders of the Congress, and he became deputy leader of the Congress party in the Assembly.[3]

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.[3]

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

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

In 1945, the British Labour government ordered new elections to the Provincial legislatures.[3] 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.

His judicious reforms and stable governance in the Uttar Pradesh stabilised 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. Pant moved from Lucknow to New Delhi to be sworn in as Cabinet Minister without Portfolio in the Union Cabinet on 3 January 1955.

Union Home Minister of India[edit]

Pant served as Union Home Minister from 1955-1961.[4] Pant was appointed Minister of Home Affairs in the Union Cabinet on 10 January 1955 in New Delhi by Pt. 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.[5]

During his tenure as the Home Minister, Pant was awarded the Bharat Ratna.[6] on 26 January 1957 for his selfless service as an Independent activist, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Home Minister.

Death[edit]

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 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]

Family[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.manase.org/en/maharashtra.php?mid=66&smid=13&did=0&dsid=0&pmid=0&id=601
  2. ^ Govind Ballabh Pant
  3. ^ a b c B. R. Nanda, Pant, Govind Ballabh (1887–1961), politician in India (2004)
  4. ^ "Nation pays homage to Govind Ballabh Pant". The Times of India. 10 September 2006. 
  5. ^ "Govind Ballabh Pant Engineering College, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand". Gbpec.net. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954-2007)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. 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
Nawab Sir Muhammad Ahmad Said Khan Chhatari
Chief Minister of United Provinces
17 July 1937 – 2 November 1939
Succeeded by
Vacant
Preceded by
Vacant
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
Sampurnanand
Preceded by
Kailash Nath Katju
Union Home Minister
10 January 1955 – 7 March 1961
Succeeded by
Lal Bahadur Sastri