Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi

Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi(Dec 30, 1887 – Forever)

He was an Indian freedom fighter, a lawyer by profession, then turned to literature and politics. Munshi was an active participant in the Indian Independence Movement ever since the advent of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined the Swaraj Party but returned to the Indian National Congress with the launch of the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. He was arrested several times, including during the Quit India Movement of 1942. A great admirer of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Munshi served in the Central Legislative Assembly in the 1930s. In 1938, Munshi founded the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bombay.

Munshi was on the ad hoc Flag Committee that selected the Flag of India in August 1947, and on the committee which drafted the Constitution of India under the chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. He and Purushottam Das Tandon were among those who strongly opposed propagation and conversion in the constituent assembly. Munshi separated frm the Nehru-dominated Congress Party and joined the newly formed Swatantra (Freedom) Party led by Chakravarti Rajgopalachari, which was right-wing in its politics and pro-business, pro-free market economy and private property rights. Besides being a politician and educator, K.M. Munshi was also an environmentalist. He initiated the Vanmahotsav in 1950, when he was Union Minister of Agriculture and Food, to increase the area under forest cover. Since then Van Mahotsav a week long festival of tree plantation is organised every year in the month of July all across the country and lakhs of trees are planted.

Versatile”, “a philosopher in action”, “a man of great ideas and great courage”, “a multi-faceted genius”-these are the ways in which friends and admirers described Dr. Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, the founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.The versatility of Munshiji is seen in his roles as lawyer, creative writer, constitution-maker, freedom fighter, administrator, organization-builder and champion of Indian culture. Dr. Munshi looked upon himself as a “sea shell thrown up by the mighty flood of Indian renaissance.”

A Collection By Chetan

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