Lal LajPat Rai, Bal Gangaddhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal
Lala Lajpat Rai, from undivided Punjab, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, from Maharashtra and Bipin Chandra Pal from what was then united Bengal, had come together to advocate the Swadeshi movement—rejecting the purchase of British goods and becoming self-reliant as a country.
Gobind Bhallabh Pant
‘Govind Ballabh Pant’ was born on 10 September 1887, in a village called Khoont near Almora. Govind Ballabh Pant took active part in independence movement against the British Raj. Together with Pandit Badri Durr Pande, he started a weekly paper called ‘Shakti’. In 1930, he was imprisoned for several weeks for arranging a Salt March inspired by Mahatama Gandhi. In 1933, he was arrested again. After India’s independence in 1947, Govind Ballabh Pant became the Chief Minister of the state for the second time. He became the first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and was in the office from 26 January 1950 to 27 December 1954.
An influential leader in the Indian independence movement and political heir of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru became the nation’s first prime minister in 1947. Although faced with the challenge of uniting a vast population diverse in culture, language and religion, he successfully established various economic, social and educational reforms that earned him the respect and admiration of millions of Indians. His policies of non-alignment and Panchscheel—principles of peaceful coexistence—guided India’s international relations until the outbreak of the Sino-Indian War in 1962, which contributed to his declining health and subsequent death in 1964, ending his 17-years in office.
Madan Mohan Malviya
‘Bharat Ratna’ Madan Mohan Malaviya was a veteran Indian statesman, educationist and independence activist. Decades long political career of Malaviya saw him serving as President of the ‘Indian National Congress’ four times. He is remembered as founder of the largest residential university of Asia and one of the largest in the world, the ‘Banaras Hindu University’ (BHU). For almost two decades he served as Vice Chancellor of the BHU, the university with departments in sciences, medical, engineering, technology, law, agriculture, arts and performing arts with strength of over 35,000 students. He was a proponent of Hindu nationalism and remained a member of ‘Hindu Mahasabha’, serving as President in two of its special sessions held in Gaya and Kashi. He founded the ‘Ganga Mahasabha’ in Haridwar. Malaviya and other imminent Indian personalities established ‘Scouting in India’ as an overseas branch of the ‘Scout Association’ of the UK. He was the founder of ‘The Leader’ an English-newspaper published from Allahabad that gradually became influential. People used to address him as Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya out of respect. He was fondly called Mahamana, a title conferred by Mahatma Gandhi. He popularised the slogan “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone will triumph) from the ‘Mundakopanishad’ expressing that it should be the slogan for the country.
Motilal Nehru was an Indian independence activist and leader of the Indian National Congress. He was born on May 6,1861 in Agra, India.
Motilal Nehru was an active Indian independence activist. He was arrested by the British police during the Non-Cooperation Movement. Although Motilal Nehru was at first close to Mahatma Gandhi, later on he developed some differences with him and joined the Swaraj Party which tried to enter the British backed councils. The Swaraj Party became a failure; and Nehru returned to the Congress. Motilal Nehru was the prime mover of the Nehru Commission (1928), the first constitution written by Indians which sought a dominion status for India within the British Empire. It was rejected by hard line Indians who saw it as an unfair document not representing the varied interests of the native Indian population.
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel played an important role in India’s struggle for freedom. He is believed to be born on 31 October 1875 at Nadiad, Gujarat and was often addressed as Sardar.
Inspired by the work and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, he joined India’s struggle for independence. He organised peasants of Kheda, Bardoli and other parts of Gujarat and launched non-violent Civil Disobedience Movement in Gujarat, against the payment of raised tax, levied by the British government. He succeeded in his goal and the British Government suspended the payment of revenue for that year. With this he became one of the most influential leaders in Gujarat. In 1920 he became the president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee and served in the post till 1945. He was a strong supporter of the Non -Cooperation Movement of Gandhi and worked against alcoholism, Untouchability and caste discrimination in Gujarat. He was elected as the municipal president of Ahmedabad in 1922, 1924 and 1927. When Mahatma Gandhi was in prison, he led the Satyagraha in Nagpur in 1923 against the British law, banning the raising of the Indian flag. He was elected as the President of India National Congress in 1931. He was at the forefront of the Congress’ all India election campaign in 1934 and 1937 and was a prominent leader in organising the Quit India Movement in 1942. He was arrested prior to the Quit India Movement and was released in 1945.
After India’s independence, he became the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India. He organised relief camps for refugees in Punjab and Delhi. He was the man behind the consolidation of 565 semi-autonomous princely states to form a united India. Patel was very attached to Mahatma Gandhi. After Mahatma Gandhi’s death his condition also started deteriorating, he suffered a major heart attack within two months of Gandhi’s death. He died on 15 December 1950. He was a man of courage and determination and in the true sense the ‘Iron Man of India’.
Chittaranjan Das was one of the most prominent political and nationalist personalities in Bengal when Bengal was going through a very crucial time of ideological and political change. During the Non-Cooperation movement, Das became a symbol of patriotism and courage. He was the one who first started to boycott everything British, including clothes. Das was a lawyer by profession and made a name for himself when he returned to India after finishing his studies abroad, took up law practice and defended the great Sri Aurbindo Ghose in a court suit filed against him. He soon left law and got knee deep into the nationalist movement and with his political vision and foresightedness, tact and oratory skill, he was chosen to be the leader of Congress party in Bengal. He took active part in the Non-Cooperation movement with Gandhi and even went to jail in the process. But after the failure of the movement, he became disillusioned and proposed a strategy to end dyarchy but Congress did not accept it and he formed his own party – Swarajya Party – along with Motilal Nehru. For his strong belief in the concept of self government for India, he was called Deshabandhu.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Dr Rajendra Prasad was the first president of independent India. His life has been truly inspiring for all Indians. A lawyer by training and an active Indian political leader, Prasad’s interest in Indian politics began as early as in 1911 when he the Indian National Congress. Despite having a contention for the Gandhian principles in the beginning, he later imbibed the true spirit of Gandhi by adopting him as his mentor, practicing self-discipline and working relentlessly in the non-cooperation movement. He toured many parts of the country, spreading the ideals and beliefs of Mahatma Gnadhi. Blessed with remarkable organisational capacity and leadership qualities, he thrice headed the Indian National Congress. When India finally gained independence from the British rule, he took over as a cabinet minister, slowly making his way to the chair of the President of the Constituent Assembly and later taking up the office of India’s President for two terms. Other than his political activities, he made several literary contributions as well. His most significant works are ‘India Divided’, ‘Satyagraha at Champaran’, ‘Atmakatha’ and ‘Since Independence’.
Rajagopalachari was an Indian lawyer, independence activist, politician and writer. He was the first and last Indian Governor General of India after Lord Mountbatten left India in 1948. Although Sardar Patel was the initial choice but on the insistence of the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, he was made the Governor General. He was the one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress during the pre-independence era. He held many other positions like: Premier of the Madras Presidency, Governor of West Bengal, Minister of the Home Affairs of the Indian Union and Chief Minister of the Madras State. Out of all the things that Rajagopalachari did to serve the country, pre and post independence, he is most remembered for the work that he did in Madras while he was the Chief Minister of the state from 1952–54. He passed the legislation to create Andhra state, put an end to sugar rationing, and introduced the ‘Modified System of Elementary Education’. He was one of the first recipients of India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
Kailash Nath Katju
Kailas Nath Katju advocated in favor of the revolutionaries who were charged in the Meerut Conspiracy case. Later at Red Fort in Delhi he defended the military officers accused at the INA trial.
He was the Governor of Orissa during the period 1947 to 1948 and later the Governor of West Bengal from 1948 to 1951. In 1951 he joined the cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru as a Law Minister and later suceeded C. Rajagopalachari and became the third Home Minister of India. He was the Defence Minister in 1955 and was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh from 1957 till 1962. He lost the Assembly Elections of 1962. He was in the Constituent Assembly of India and was a minister in G.B.Pant’s ministry in U.P. Finally in 1963 he retired from politics.
Indian freedom fighter Bhulabhai Desai is best remembered for his contribution in the field of law. He was one of the most eminent lawyers of British dominated India. His capabilities as a lawyer were realized when Bhulabhai Desai defended three soldiers of the Indian National Army in court, who had been accused of treason to India during the World War II. However, Bhulabhai Desai’s career in politics was tainted when his secret agreement with Muslim League leader, Liaquat Ali Khan was leaked only to show him in a bad light. The association with Liaquat Ali Khan not only lost him the support of other leaders in the Indian National Congress, it also spelt doom in his political career. However, it was always India’s wellbeing that Bhulabhai Desai had in mind and it was towards the freedom of India that his entire life was dedicated to. In the following lines, we have provided detailed description of Bhulabhai Desai.
Even a book of thousands of page won’t be enough to describe his contribution towards Independence and introducing Social Justice in India.
Salute to such leaders who make us proud to be of legal fraternity