Govind Ballabh Pant was an Indian politician and diplomat, who served as the fifth Prime Minister of India for a brief period, in the wake of Jawaharlal Nehru’s death.
Pant had been a member of the Indian National Congress since 1920 when he joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement in Gujarat. He became one of the chief spokesmen for Congress and led several major protests during British Rule on topics ranging from economic events to religious disputes. In 1942, with Gandhi’s support, he was elected President of Congress.
About Govind Ballabh Pant
In 1946, during the interim government of Jawaharlal Nehru, Pant was elected as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. In 1947 he was responsible for organizing the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly election.
As a young man, Govind Ballabh Pant participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement; he later became one of Gandhi’s chief colleagues in Gujarat.
Govind Ballabh Pant had earlier been elected president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee in 1936 and also served as a member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) since its inception. He had also participated in the 1930 Dandi March, for which he was jailed for 21 months.
Life of Ballabh Pant
He was born on September 10, 1887 in Uttar Pradesh.
Pant’s father, Pandit Ballubh RamPant, was also a freedom fighter, social reformer and a renowned scholar. He also served as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council during British rule and was the first Indian to be appointed Professor of Ancient History at Allahabad University. His mother was Menak Bai who hailed from Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Pant had his early education in the vernacular schools of Ayodhya and Varanasi before moving on to the Allahabad University, where he received his law degree with honors in 1910.
After his graduation, Pant joined the civil service and served as magistrate in Lucknow and Kathiawar. Later, he began to practice law in Lucknow, first as an advocate of the High Court and later as a lawyer for the Allahabad and Calcutta High Courts.
Soon after resigning from government service, Pant became involved with Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920-21. Although he started out as one of Gandhi’s chief opponents in Gujarat, he eventually joined his movement – first abandoning Western dress and later resigning from his government job.
Govind Ballabh Pant Personal Life
His first wife, Satyabhama, died when he was eight years old. Pant’s second wife was Rudrabai Pyari who hailed from Bengal and the couple had a son, Dr. Pandurang Shankar Pant, and three daughters.
Later in life he married again to Radha Bai.
After resigning from the post of President of the Congress Working Committee in July 1940, Pant resigned from the Congress party as well and remained politically inactive until 1947.
He was elected President of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee in 1945 and led the movement for Indianisation of government services during the period of 1946-47.
Pant joined the Indian National Congress in 1920 and was one of its most prominent members in Gujarat. He served as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council for over a decade. Govind also participated in the 1930 Dandi March, for which he was jailed for 21 months by the British.
He went on to become president of Congress during 1942 and 1946. After his release from jail, he worked extensively towards organizing Jammu & Kashmir to join India as well as many other states of India. Pant became close associates with Nehru after he became Prime Minister and became Deputy Prime Minister under him. In 1947, he was elected first Deputy Prime Minister (for Home Affairs) at the Interim Government of India at the Center which preceded Indian Independence.
His Freedom struggle
Pant’s activities in the Independence Movement started in 1920, when he joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. He was elected president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPC) in 1936. At that time, he also served as a member of All India Congress Committee (AICC).
He participated in the Dandi March and was jailed for 21 months. Later, he became an active member of Satyagraha and went on to be imprisoned by the British numerous times.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
In 1946, he was elected as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for a brief period and he served till the end of 1947.
Union Home Minister of India
In 1947, he was elected as the Deputy Prime Minister of India under Jawaharlal Nehru. He served as the Union Home Minister from August 15, 1947 to December 31, 1948.
In 1949, he resigned from his post and became the Governor of Punjab from January 1 till February 16. Later he left for the United States where he spent 11 months until May 1950. During his tenure as a Governor, it is said that he successfully incorporated 27 princely states into the Indian Union against all odds.
Awards and Honors
After his death, he was awarded India’s highest honor “Bharat Ratna” in 1984. He also held many other national and international awards including:
He was elected as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India on January 24, 1946.
Govind was elected as the President of the All India Congress Committee from December 1945 to August 1946.
Ballabh Pant resigned from his post as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for a short period in August 1947.
Govind Ballabh Pant became the deputy prime minister at the Home Affairs Ministry in 1946 and continued to hold that post till 1948. He served as Union Home Secretary for a short period from 1947 to 1948.