Govind Ballabh Pant
(1887 – 1961) – (Uttar Pradesh)
Govind Ballabh Pant (Aged 74) born on 10 September 1887, Almora, Uttarakhand, India. He was an Indian freedom fighter and one of the key architects of modern India. He played a pivotal role in India’s Independence movement, along with other prominent figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Vallabh Bhai Patel, and later became a significant figure in the Indian Government. Pant was also a prominent political leader of Uttarakhand (previously known as United Provinces) and a key player in the unsuccessful movement to establish Hindi as the national language of India.
Pant studied at Allahabad University and later worked as a lawyer in Kashipur. He began actively working against the British Raj in 1914 when he helped a local parishad in their successful challenge of the law requiring locals to provide free transportation of the luggage of travelling British officials, known as “coolie begar.” In 1921, he entered politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. Known for his exceptional legal skills, Pant was appointed by the Congress party to represent Ramprasad Bismill, Ashfaqulla Khan and other revolutionaries involved in the Kakori case in the mid-1920s. He also participated in the protests against the Simon Commission in 1928.
In 1930, Pant was arrested and imprisoned for several weeks for organizing a Salt March inspired by Gandhi’s earlier actions. In 1933, he was arrested along with Harsh Dev Bahuguna (known as Gandhi of Choukot) and imprisoned for seven months for attending a session of the then-banned provincial Congress.
As the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Pant introduced judicious reforms and stable governance that stabilized the economic condition of the most populous state in India. Among his notable achievements was the abolition of the zamindari system, as well as the passage of the Hindu Code Bill, which made monogamy compulsory for Hindu men and gave Hindu women the rights of divorce and inheritance to ancestral property. As the Home Minister, Pant was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1957. He passed away on 7 March 1961, in New Delhi, India. Today, several Indian hospitals, educational institutions, and foundations bear his name.