H. N. Kunzru

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H. N. Kunzru
HN Kunzru 1987 stamp of India.jpg
Rajya Sabha
In office
Prime MinisterJawaharlal Nehru
Indian Council of World Affairs President
In office
Preceded byTej Bahadur Sapru
Succeeded bySardar Swaran Singh
Indian School of International Studies President
In office
Bharat Scouts and Guides National Commissioner
In office
Preceded byIncumbent
Succeeded byJustice Vivian Bose
Personal details
Born(1887-10-01)October 1, 1887
Allahabad, North-Western Provinces, British India
DiedApril 3, 1978(1978-04-03) (aged 90)
Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Political partyIndependent
Other political
National Liberal Federation
Alma materAgra College, London School of Economics
OccupationPublic figure

Hridya Nath Kunzru (1 October 1887 – 3 April 1978) was an Indian freedom fighter and public figure. He was a long-time Parliamentarian, serving in various legislative bodies at the Provincial and Central level for nearly four decades. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India (1946–50) that drew up the Constitution of India.[1] He was also keenly interested in international affairs and co-founded the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Indian School of International Studies.

Early life and education[edit]

Kunzru was the second son of Kashmiri Pandit Ayodhya Nath Kunzru and his second wife Jankeshwari. He was born at Allahabad on 1 October 1887. Even though he had got married in 1908, his wife died in 1911 during childbirth, followed by the death of the child six months later. This was a turning point in his life and he resolved to dedicate his life to public service.[2] He did his matriculation in 1903 and F.A. in 1905 from Agra College. He passed his B.A. examination in 1907 from Allahabad University. Subsequently, he left for the London School of Economics in 1910 where he completed a B.Sc in Political Science.[3]

Political philosophy[edit]

Pandit Kunzru started his political career in the Congress, but left and formed the National Liberal Federation along with other moderates such as Tej Bahadur Sapru and Madan Mohan Malaviya. He became its President in 1934.[1] The National Liberal Federation was a loose conglomeration of high-minded individuals and Kunzru remained true to that tradition, standing for his first election, and every election after, as an Independent candidate.[2] His vigorous support of non-governmental organisations, was also linked to the liberal philosophy that government should not be all powerful in a democracy.[1] Many of his interventions in the Constituent Assembly Debates were also to reduce the power of government over the people.[4]

Career highlights[edit]

As a parliamentarian[edit]

He became a member of the Legislative Council of the United Provinces (1921–26),and subsequently in the Central Legislative Assembly (1926–30), the Council of States (1936), the Provisional Parliament (1950–52) and the Rajya Sabha (1952–64).

Kunzru headed two expert committees set up to look into the Railways, the first established in 1944 to amalgamate the various railway companies the existing into the Indian Railways. He also chaired the Railway Accidents Committee set up in 1962. He was Chairman of the Committee established in 1946 that recommended the establishment of a cadet corps which ultimately took shape as the National Cadet Corps in 1948. He headed another Committee that recommended the establishment of the National Defence Academy. He was a member of the States Reorganisation Commission from 1953 to 1955.[1] He was widely traveled and was part of Parliamentary and other delegations to many countries, including South Africa, the United States, Japan, and Pakistan. He also chaired the Pacific Conferences of 1950, 1954, and 1958 organised by the Institute of Pacific Relations.[5]

As an educationist[edit]

Kunzru was instrumental in promoting the study of International relations in India. He helped set up the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Indian School of International Studies, using his influence and contacts to raise funds amounting to Rs. 600,000 to build Sapru House, the headquarters of the Indian Council of World Affairs.[6] At various times, he was a member of the Senate and Executive Council of the Benares Hindu University, University of Delhi, Allahabad University, and the Sri Ram Institute, Delhi. In recognition of his work, he was conferred honorary degrees by many of these universities.[3] He was a member of the University Grants Commission for 12 years from 1953 to 1966 and served as its Chairman for a brief period in 1966.[7]

Other accomplishments[edit]

He was one of the founders of Indian Scouting, and served as the first National Commissioner of the Bharat Scouts and Guides. He joined the Servants of India Society, founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in 1909 and became its life President in 1936. He was also the first President of the Children's Film Society.[3]

He was part of the preparatory Committee that established the India International Centre and one of its five original Life Trustees.[8] He was also a part of the State Reorganisation Commission.

Honours and awards[edit]

Personal life[edit]

The novelist Hari Kunzru is Pandit Kunzru's great grand nephew.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Rajan, M.S (October 1978). "Pandit Hriday Nath Kunzru, A Memoir". India Quarterly. 34 (4): 441–456. doi:10.1177/097492847803400401.
  2. ^ a b Gurtu, G. K. "From Kunjargaon to Agra: The Great Kunzru Family of Agra" (PDF). 'Kashmiri Pandits : A Cultural Heritage. Lancer Books. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Sharga, Dr. B.N. (2008). Dr. Hriday Nath Kunzuru: A Great Patriot and Selfless Worker in S. Bhatt, J.N. Kaul, B.B. Dhar and Arun Shalia (ed.) Kashmiri Scholars Contribution to Knowledge and World Peace, Delhi:A.P.H. Publishing, ISBN 978-81-313-0402-0, pp.39–53
  4. ^ "CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA – VOLUME XI". Debates of the Constituent Assembly. Parliament of India. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Participants List of the USA Council of the IPR" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b Vivekanandan, B. (12 April 2012). "A Tribute to Life and Work of Professor M.S. Rajan". International Studies. 47 (2–4): 99–111. doi:10.1177/002088171104700403.
  7. ^ "Former Commission Members". University Grants Commission. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  8. ^ "History of the India International Centre". India International Centre. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  9. ^ "India- 87 : PANDIT H.N.KUNZRU". Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Kunzru Centre: About Us". Kunzru Centre. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Kunzru Lectures 2008" (PDF). JNU. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Former Members of the Rajya Sabha" (PDF). Parliament of India. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  13. ^ Kunzru, Hari. "I'm all three — 'ari, Haah-ri and Hari". Tehelka. Archived from the original on 17 March 2004. Retrieved 19 August 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Scouting Round the World, John S. Wilson, first edition, Blandford Press 1959 p. 245
  • Bhatt, general ed. S. (1995). Kashmiri Pandits : a cultural heritage (1. publ. ed.). New Delhi: Lancers Books. ISBN 978-8170950530.
Preceded by
first incumbent
National Commissioners of the Bharat Scouts and Guides
Succeeded by
Justice Vivian Bose
Preceded by
Professor Madan Mohan
National Commissioners of the Bharat Scouts and Guides
Succeeded by
Mrs. Lakhshmi Mazumdar