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Narhar Vishnu Gadgil

(1896 – 1966) – (Maharashtra)

Narhar Vishnu Gadgil (Aged 70) born on 10th January 1896, was an Indian freedom fighter, writer, and politician from Maharashtra, India. He wrote in both Marathi and English. His son, Vitthalrao Gadgil, later represented Congress as a minister and ideologue, and his grandson, Anant Gadgil, also became a politician.

Gadgil graduated from Fergusson College in Pune in 1918 and obtained a degree in Law two years later. He was born into the Gadgil gharana of Velneshwar Wai. During India’s pre-independence days, freedom fighters like Lokmanya BAL Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Vallabhbhai Patel, as well as spiritual leaders Swami Ramkrishna Paramhans and Swami Vivekananda, influenced him.

After obtaining his law degree, he joined the Indian National Congress and became actively involved in the national freedom movement. He was imprisoned eight times by the ruling British government for his participation. During India’s pre-independence days, Gadgil served as the secretary of Poona District Congress Committee (1921–25), the president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (1937–45), and the whip and secretary of the Congress Legislative Party (1945–47). He was elected to the central Legislative Assembly in 1934.

From 1947 to 1952, Gadgil served as a minister in the first central cabinet of independent India, holding the portfolios of Public Works, and Mines and Power. In his first year in the central Cabinet, he initiated the project of building a military-caliber road from Pathankot to Srinagar via Jammu in Kashmir as part of India’s activities in the 1947 Indo-Pakistan War. As a cabinet minister, he also initiated important development projects pertaining to Bhakra, Koyna, and Hirakund dams. He was a member of the Congress Working Committee during the 1952–55 period. He passed away on 12th January 1966. The Indian Post & Telegraph Department issued a commemorative postage stamp in Gadgil’s honor in 1985.