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Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi

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Early Life and Education

Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi known as K. M. Munshi was born on December 30, 1887 at Bharuch in Gujarat. He had his school education in R.S Dalal High School in Bharuch. He was educated further in Vadodara (Baroda), where he excelled in academics. One of his teachers at Baroda College was Sri Aurobindo Ghosh who had a profound impression on him. Munshi was also greatly influenced by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Bhulabhai Desai.

After acquiring his degree in Law from the University of Bombay, he enrolled himself as an advocate in 1913, and soon became a member of the Bar. Munshi began practicing at the Bombay High Court. His fame spread as a good and successful lawyer spread and he began getting cases from all over India. About this time his first novel was being serialised in a Gujarati weekly.

 

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Career and Role in Freedom Fighting

During World War I, Munshi was influenced by the Home Rule Movement. In 1912-13, he took part in the activities of the Social Reform Association and championed the cause of widow remarriage.

During the Salt Satyagraha in 1930, this well-known Indian freedom fighter, Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi rejoined Indian National Congress. For his involvement on this Satyagraha, the British rulers imprisoned Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi. In 1932, he was again imprisoned in Bijapur for two years. On his release he again became the member of Bombay Legislative Assembly and served as the Home Minister in the first Congress Government in 1934. Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi was again arrested for his active participation in the Quit India Movement of 1942.

He was a great educationalist and contributed a lot to disseminate the education. He was the President of the Panchgani Education Society. Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi established the Gujarati Sahitya Sansad. He held different posts in the Bombay University. Maharaja Kanhaiyalal Maneklal MunshiGaekwad of Baroda appointed him as a Member of the Baroda University Commission. In 1938, Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, the great Indian freedom fighter set up the prestigious Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan institution at Bombay, and served as the President of this institution till his death.

 

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In 1946 Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi was selected as the member of the Experts' Committee of the constituent assembly of India and played a major role in drafting the constitution of India. He was also the member of Flag Committee, which selected the Flag of India, 1947. Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi served as the Agent-General to the Government of India in princely state Hyderabad. In 1952 he was appointed as the Minister for Food & Agriculture in Nehru's cabinet. During this tenure Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi introduced Vanmahotsav (tree plantation) and tried his best to enlarge the area of forest in India. From 1952 to 1957 he served as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. After that he left the Congress party and formed Swatantrata Party along with Chakravarti Rajgopalachari.He served as the vice prisedent of this party. Later he joined Jan Sangh.

 

Personal life

After the death of his first wife Atilakshmi, he married Leelavati Sheth, a noted writer in Gujarati in 1922. Four of his children, his daugthers Usha Raghupathi, Sarala Seth, son Jagadish Munshi and son from his second marriage Girish Munshi also went on to become successful lawyers. He also founded the Children's Home for delinquent children at Chembur, Bombay in 1939.

 

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