Govind Ballabh Pant (1887-1961) was a known figure in the freedom movement, social activist and respected leader of the masses.
Govind Pant was born on August 30, 1887 in Almora, now in Uttaranchal. He was brought up by his grandfather, Bandri Dutt Joshi, who played a crucial role in shaping the youngster's views. In later years of school, Pant showed a remarkable and impressive shift from his ealier lazy nature when he excelled in studies. In 1909 he won the Lumsden award when he topped the Bar examination.
During his practice of Law, Govind Pant established an organization called Perm Sabha, the main focus of which was to integrate social and literary works of India. He served as a volunteer at the
Allahabad session of the Indian National Congress in December 1905. Pant entered politics in December, 1921. Greatly impressed by Gandhiji's concept of a non-violent freedom struggle, Pant devoted himself to the non-cooperation movement.
Govind Pant was elected to the United Province (later renamed Uttar Pradesh by Pant) Legislative Assembly. Pant promptly passed bills on badly needed social and political reforms. Several issues such as zamindari, education, labor and forest conservation amongst others, were addressed during Pant's tenure in the ministry. During World War II, Pant urged the Congress to accept Gandhiji’s decision to support the British. In 1940, Pant was arrested during the
satyagraha movement and later in the ‘Quit India’ movement.
After India's Independence, Pant became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. During his tenure, the state faced numerous problems of poverty, black-marketing, unemployment and riots following the partition of India. He formulated bills to help farmers. Pant saw to it that the backward classes were treated fairly and concentrated on developing the educational, medical and industrial (mainly, cottage industries) sectors.
Govind Pant later on became the Union Home Minister. During his tenure as the Home Minister, he made
Hindi the official language of India. In 1957, the Government of India honored Pant with its highest civilion award, the Bharat Ratna. He died on March 7, 1961.