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Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar

(1891 – 1980) – (Uttar Pradesh)

Pandit Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar (Aged 89) was born on January 6, 1890, in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India, to a Marathi-speaking family. He married Janki Bai on May 10, 1912. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Calcutta University in 1914 and graduated from Allahabad University in 1916 with a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. He established his practice at the District Court in Jhansi.

Pandit Raghunath Dhulekar was a prominent practicing pleader in civil and revenue matters at the District Court in Jhansi and later at the Divisional Court in Jhansi. Babu Narayan Das Shrivastava, a notable pleader and social leader of the Bundelkhand region, was his associate during his early days at the District Court in Jhansi.

From 1920 to 1925, he published the Hindi newspapers Swaraja Prapti and Free India. Due to his involvement in the Indian freedom movement, Dhulekar was arrested by British forces in 1925. In 1937, he was elected as a Congressman for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. He was imprisoned from 1937 to 1944 for continuing to participate in the freedom movement.

In December 1946, he presented an amendment bill before parliament to speak and work in Hindi, which would then be translated into English for all parliamentary members. On December 10, 1946, he delivered his first major speech in Hindustani, stating that people who do not know Hindustani have no right to stay in India. He said that those present in the House to fashion out a constitution for India but did not know Hindustani were not worthy to be members of the Assembly and should leave. He was declared out of order but returned to his seat after a request from Jawaharlal Nehru.

The bill was passed, and Hindi was declared the nation’s official language in 1965. However, Hindi was never made the national language due to the Anti-Hindi agitations in Tamil Nadu. He passed away in 1980 in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.