Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant

 

Govind Ballabh Pant (September 10, 1887 - March 7, 1961) was a statesman of India, an Indian independence activist, and one of the foremost political leaders from Uttarakhand (then in United Provinces) and of the movement to establish Hindi as the official language of India.

Govind Ballabh Pant was born on September 10, 1887 in Khoont village of Shyahi Devi hills in District Almora. His mother's name was Govindi. His father, Manorath Pant, was constantly on the road. Govind was brought up by his grandfather, Bandri Dutt Joshi, who played a significant part in molding his political views.

As a lawyer in Kashipur, Pant began his active work against the British Raj in 1914, when he helped a local parishad, or village council, in their successful challenge of a law requiring locals to provide free transportation of the luggage of travelling British officials. In 1921, he entered politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.

In 1930, he 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 (Gnadhi of Choukot)and imprisoned for seven months for attending a session of the then-banned provincial Congress. In 1935, the ban was rescinded, and Pant joined the new Legislative Council. During the Second World War, Pant acted as the tiebreaker between Gandhi's faction, which advocated supporting the British Crown in their war effort, and Subash Chandra Bose's faction, which advocated taking advantage of the situation to expel the British Raj by any means necessary.

In 1934, the Congress ended its boycott of the legislatures and put up candidates, and Pant was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly. His political skills won the admiration of the leaders of the Congress, and he became deputy leader of the Congress party in the Assembly.

He served as Union Home Minister from 1955-1961. In 1955, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna. As Home minister , his chief achievement was the re-organisation of States along linguistic lines. He was also responsible for the establishment of Hindi as an official language of the central government and a few states.

 
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