Nand Kishore Pant
(1908 – 1974) – (Uttarakhand)
Nand Kishore Pant (Aged 66) born on 8 November 1908 in Rikhadi, Patti Palla Kamshyar, District Almora, Uttarakhand, was the son of Trilochan Pant, the headmaster of Titouli school. The school had students from 25-30 miles away till Berinag, and Trilochan had donated his fertile land for the expansion of education. Nand Kishore Pant’s father passed away during his childhood, and he continued his father’s legacy. After completing his teacher training, he came to Ajmer in search of employment and joined the Khadi Ashram at Hatundi. There he came in contact with Haribhau Upadhyay and joined the national movement for freedom.
Ajmer was under British rule, and the commissioner was posted there. He started organizing Prabhat Pheri and other activities, raising his voice against British rule. During the Civil Disobedience Movement, while he was organizing the campaign to give up foreign clothes in 1932, he climbed the dome of the commissioner and unfurled the tricolor, taking down the British Union Jack. This act led to his arrest and a sentence of 4 months of rigorous imprisonment.
After being released from prison, he was harassed by Captain Young, the police captain of Ajmer at that time, who repeatedly put him in jail. When Jamnalal Bajaj came to know about this, he took him to Sikar and then sent him to Wardha Gandhi Ashram, where he was trained to establish centers to impart Gandhian Education, popularly known as Nai Talim.
Jamnalal Bajaj started a school in his mansion in Sikar, called Bajaj’s Kamra in the local language, which is presently a museum. After Nand Kishore came back from Wardha, he was married while living here. When Ghanshyam Das Birla started the educational institute in Pilani, Bajaj sent him there, and Birla High School established a center for Nai Talim, which was closed after Independence. At night in Pilani, after coming from school, he used to go to the Harijan settlement and work to make them literate. There was no electricity then, so studies were done under the light of lanterns. He served in Birla School for the rest of his life, being a staunch nationalist and reformer who always wore khadi clothes and weaved khadi.
In 1972, on the completion of 25 years of independence, the Uttar Pradesh government awarded him the Tamrapatra for his contribution to the freedom struggle. He passed away on 14 May 1974.