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S. R. Rana

(1870 – 1957) – (Gujarart)

Sardarsinhji Ravaji Rana (Aged 87), born in 1870 and often abbreviated as S. R. Rana, was an Indian political activist, founding member of the Paris Indian Society, and the vice-president of the Indian Home Rule Society. He studied at Fergusson College, Pune where he came in contact with Lokmanya Tilak and Surendranath Banerjee. He was influenced to join the home rule movement when he volunteered at the Indian National Congress Conference in Pune in 1895.

After completing his studies, he went to London to study for a Barrister degree. There he came into contact with Shyamji Krishna Varma and Bhikhaji Cama. He was instrumental in the establishment of India House in London. In 1899, Rana left for Paris after taking his Barrister examination. He served as a translator to Jivanchand Uttamchand, a jeweler from Cambay who was in Paris for the World Trade Show. He became an expert and began a jewelry business trading in pearls. It was at this time that Rana came to associate with Indian nationalist politicians, including Lala Lajpat Rai who is known to have visited Paris and stayed with Rana. In 1905, Rana became one of the founding members of the Indian Home Rule Society, of which he was the vice president.

He helped the Indian independence movement in several ways. Madan Lal Dhingra had used his pistol to assassinate Curzon Wyllie in 1909. Rana had helped Vinayak Damodar Savarkar to publish his banned book, “The Indian War of Independence”. He had also helped him in his Marseille asylum case in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, in 1910. Lala Lajpat Rai had written “Unhappy India” during his stay in Rana’s house for five years. He had helped Senapati Bapat travel to study the making of bombs in Moscow. He had helped Subhash Chandra Bose address the audience on German radio. He had also helped in the establishment of Banaras Hindu University. He passed away by 1957.