His Life: A Visionary Parliamentarian
- Year 1887 – Born in Almora, Uttarakhand.
- Year 1921 – Began his political journey.
- Year 1930 – Arrested for organizing salt satyagraha.
- Year 1935 – Elected to the Central Legislative Assembly.
- Year 1937 – Elected the leader of the Congress Party in the United Provinces.
- Year 1950 – Elected the first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
- Year 1955 – Became the Home Minister of India.
- Year 1957 – Received Bharat Ratna.
- Year 1961 – Left the mortal world.
“Hindi ka prachaar aur vikaas koi rok nahin sakta…. – GB Pant”
Govind Ballabh Pant was an Indian politician whose contribution in the Indian Independence Movement is highly regarded. He is also celebrated as one of the makers of modern India as his visions molded the destiny of the nation. He served as the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and the fourth Home Minister of India in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant was born on September 10, 1887 in Almora, Uttarakhand to Manorath Pant, a government employee and Govindi Bai. Since his father had to travel a lot due to work, he was raised by his grandfather, Badri Dutt Joshi. His grandfather played a pivotal role in shaping the views and ideology of Pant.
He was a bright student and completed his elementary education from Almora. He then went to Muir Central College, Allahabad in UP to earn his degree. He also studied law and won the Lumsden Gold Medal. He married Ganga Devi at the age of twelve, but she died in 1899. He remarried in 1912, but her second wife died too. He married a third time to Kaladevi and had a son K. C. Pant and two daughters Lakshmi and Pushpa with her.
He began practicing law in Kashipur after the completion of his degree. During this time he actively fought against the government and this resulted in rise of his popularity. He began his political journey in 1921 and was elected as the member of the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. He was greatly influenced by the likes of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Motilal Nehru, Purushottam Das Tandon, Madan Mohan Malviya and Mahatma Gandhi.
Inspired by Gandhiji, he organized salt satyagraha in the United Province for which he was arrested in 1930. After his release, he worked towards the welfare of farmers by fighting against Zamindars and government. In 1933, he took part in a session of provincial congress and got arrested for it. He was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly in 1935 and soon became its deputy leader.
In 1937, he was elected the leader of the Congress Party in the United Provinces and became first Chief Minister of the province. During this time he propelled multiple reforms to deal with issues like communalism, untouchability and Zamindari. He was arrested in 1940 for organizing satyagraha and in 1942 for participating in Quit India Movement. He was released after three years due of deteriorating health.
After independence, he served as the first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and held the office from January 26, 1950 to December 27, 1954. Being the most populous state of the newly independent country, UP was facing countless problems. He worked on those problems and curbed most of them to a significant extent. He successfully abolished the Zamindari system and introduced several bills to alleviate the condition of farmers.
He joined the cabinet of Prime Minister Nehru as the Home Minister in 1955 and stayed in the office till his death in 1961. During his tenure, he effectively tackled the volatile and sensitive issue of state reorganization. He also established Hindi as the official language of the central government of India and few states. For his services to the nation he was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1957. He left for his heavenly abode on March 7, 1961 after suffering a cerebral stroke.