Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant – One of The Leading Architects of Modern India

Uttar Pradesh first chief minister

Today marks the 123rd birth Anniversary of Govind Ballabh Pant, a renowned freedom fighter. He was one of the architects of Modern India who gave his selfless input through his wisdom when the newly Independent India was breathing its nascent free air. He served as the Home Minister of India in Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Cabinet and as the first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. For his contribution in laying a strong foundation of Independent India he was honoured with the highest civilian honour, ‘The Bharat Ratna’ in 1957‘. On this day, September 10, 2020, let us commemorate the legacy of the great reformer, a freedom fighter and an important political figure of Modern India.

What we are going to explore in this article

  • Some Facts about Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant
  • Born with a Purpose- Early Life of the Activist
  • Political Career of the Activist
  • Pandit Pant as the Reformer
  • Briefing Up

Some Facts about Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant

  • Date of Birth- September 20, 1887
  • Place of Birth- Almora, India
  • Born to- Manohar Pant and Govindi Pant
  • Political Party- Indian National Congress
  • Died on- March 7, 1961

Born with a Purpose- Early Life of the Activist

Born in a Maharashtrian Brahmin Family to Manohar Pant, a government official, and Govindi Pant on September 10, 1887, he was brought up by his maternal uncle Badri Dutta Joshi who is also credited of giving him a political insight and influencing his thought process. His father being a government official couldn’t settle in one city or town. 

  • He excelled in academics. He was a student of Samay College, Almora. He graduated from the Muir College, Allahabad with English, Mathematics and Politics as his subjects.
  • Influenced by pivotal figures like Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bankim Chandra Chaterjee, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dickens, he discovered his love towards the nation. 
  • At a very young age of eighteen, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant became an activist with the motive of bringing about social reforms putting an end to the unnecessary practices in the name of culture and religion.

Political Career of the Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant

  • After completing his graduation, he became a lawyer in Kashipur and in 1914, with sheer bravery he challenged the British Law where the locals known as the ‘coolie beggars’ were mandatorily supposed to carry the luggage of the travelling Britisher officers without payment in return.
  • In 1921, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant entered into politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.
  • He was arrested in 1930 for organising the Salt March on the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. He got arrested again in 1933 for going against another British Law.
  • He was well known for his political wisdom, because of which he emerged as a leader of the Congress Party in the United Provinces. He became the first Chief Minister of the United Provinces.
  • Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant settled political disputes of Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra while the leaders were protesting against the Act of the British Government to drag India to the fight for them in the Second World War in 1939. He actively participated in Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement in 1940.
  • After being arrested for signing the Quit India Resolution in 1942, he was freed in 1945, following which he emerged as a party leader in the elections of the United Provinces once again.
  • After Independence, in 1947, he became the Chief Minister again of the United Provinces, (present-day Uttar Pradesh).
  • In 1950 he became the first Chief Minister of the newly carved state of Uttar Pradesh and was in service till December 27, 1954.
  • Impressed by his political acumen, Jawahar Lal Nehru included Pandit Pant in his cabinet and he served as the Home Minister of India till 1961. He died in his office on March 7, 1961.

Pandit Pant as the Reformer

Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant was a patriot and a reformer at a very young age. He had the courage and acumen of a leader and made attempts to lay down the foundation of Modern India which is why he is considered as one of the architects of the Independent Nation ‘India’.

  • He challenged the British Law in 1914 which required locals known as the Coolie Beggars to carry luggage of the travelling British officers with a payment in exchange. 
  • He was a part of every national movement and was arrested several times for going against the British Raj. He participated in the National Cooperation Movement and also the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • He set an example of an ideal Chief Minister by improving the economic condition of Uttar Pradesh. Some of the reforms made by him were abolishing monogamy for Hindu men and giving the Hindu women the right to divorce. He also abolished the zamindari system.
  • He was one of the leaders who had contributed his political wisdom in reorganising states of Independent India on linguistic lines. With his efforts, Hindi became the official language of Indian and most of its states.

Briefing Up

Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, a selfless leader was honoured with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest Civilian Award, for his dedication and contribution in laying down a strong foundation of Modern India. The leader and a prominent freedom fighter served his nation until his last breath till 7 March 1961, at the age of 74. His legacy is celebrated and wisdom is praised till date.

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