Minocher Rustom Masani
20 November 1905
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
|Died||27 May 1998 (aged 92)|
|Known for||Promotion of liberal economy|
Minocher Rustom "Minoo" Masani (20 November 1905 – 27 May 1998) was an Indian politician, a leading figure of the erstwhile Swatantra Party. He was a three-time Member of Parliament, representing Gujarat's Rajkot constituency in the second, third and fourth Lok Sabha. A Parsi, he was among the founders of the Indian Liberal Group think tank that promoted classical liberalism.
Masani was educated in Bombay before he moved to London where he studied at the London School of Economics and he obtained his bachelor's degree in law before training as a barrister at the Lincoln's Inn in 1928. He began practice as an advocate at the Bombay High Court in 1929 before joining the Indian independence movement the following year, during the civil disobedience campaign. He was arrested several times by British for his participation in the movement. He was in the Nashik jail in 1930, when Jayaprakash Narayan came in contact with him and together they launched the Congress Socialist Party in 1934. Masani was a close friend of Jawaharlal Nehru.
He served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, representing the Indian National Congress. He introduced the proposal for a uniform civil code to be included in the Constitution of India in 1947, which was rejected.
After Stalin's Great Purge and takeover of Eastern Europe, Masani moved away from Socialism and became a supporter of free market economics. Post-independence, Masani's political convictions propelled him to support "democratic socialism" in India as it "avoided monopoly, private or public."
His public life began in the Bombay Municipal Corporation, where he was elected as Mayor in 1943. He also became a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly. In August 1960, he along with C. Rajagopalachari and N. G. Ranga formed the Swatantra Party, while international Communism was at its peak. He was one of the few politicians who opposed the nationalisation of banks by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. While Swatantra was India's single-largest opposition party in Parliament, Masani often initiated debate on finance bills and forced the Congress government to work rigorously. A collection of his speeches was published as Congress Misrule and Swatantra Alternative.
Masani was also an author and has written many books. His first book, Our India, was a best seller and even a prescribed text book in pre-independence India.
- Our India (1940)
- Socialism Reconsidered (1944)
- Picture of a Plan (1945)
- A Plea for a Mixed Economy (1947)
- Our Growing Human Family (1950)
- Neutralism in India (1951)
- The Communist Party of India: A Short History (1954)
- Congress Misrule and Swatantra Alternative (1967)
- Too Much Politics, Too Little Citizenship (1969)
- Liberalism (1970)
- The Constitution, Twenty Years Later (1975)
- Bliss was it in that Dawn ... (1977)
- Against the tide (1981)
- We Indians (1989)
- Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung, ed. (1999). Liberal priorities for India in the 21st century. Project for Economic Education. p. 18. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Vincent Barnett (27 August 2014). Routledge Handbook of the History of Global Economic Thought. Taylor & Francis. pp. 572–. ISBN 978-1-317-64411-8.
- Reed, Stanley (1950). The Indian And Pakistan Year Book And Who's Who 1950. Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. p. 712. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India By Girja Kumar. 1997. p. 453.
- Gender and Community: Muslim Women's Rights in India By Vrinda Narain. 2001. p. 57.
- The Indian Express dated Thursday, 8 April 1948, Advance Towards Democratic Socialism online
- "Minoo Masani dead". Rediff.com. 27 May 1998. Retrieved 24 February 2018.