Mahadev Govind Ranade

Mahadev Govind Ranade(Jan 16, 1842 – Forever)

He was an Indian judge, author, and reformer. Ranade was a founder of the Social Conference movement,which he supported till his death, directing his social reform efforts against child marriage, the shaving of widows’ heads, the heavy cost of marriages and other social functions, and the caste restrictions on travelling abroad, and he strenuously advocated widow remarriage and female education. He was appointed Presidency magistrate, fourth judge of the Bombay Small Causes Court in 1871, first-class sub-judge at Pune in 1873, judge of the Poona Small Causes Court in 1884, and finally to the Bombay High Court in 1893. From 1885 until he joined the High Court, he belonged to the Bombay legislative council. In 1897, Ranade served on a committee charged with the task of enumerating imperial and provincial expenditure and making recommendations for financial retrenchment. This service won him the decoration of Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire. Ranade also served as a special judge under the Deccan Agriculturists’ Relief Act from 1887.

In addition, Ranade held the offices of syndic and dean in arts at Bombay University, where he displayed much organizing power and great intimacy with the needs of the student class. Himself a thorough Marathi scholar, he encouraged the translation of standard English works, and tried, with some success, to introduce vernacular languages into the university curriculum. He published books on Indian economics and on Maratha history. He stated the requirement of heavy industries such as Steel as necessity for economic progress.

Ranade founded the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha and later was one of the originators of the Indian National Congress. He has been portrayed as an early adversary of the politics of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and a mentor to Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Ranade became a proponent of the Vidhava-vivaha Uttejaka Mandali (Society for the Encouragement of Widow-remarriage) founded in 1845 by English and Sanskrit scholar, Vishnushastri Pandit. Ranade was also actively involved with the Prathna Samaj, which was similar to the Brahmo Samaj movement in Bengal. Ranade gave the Samaj his best in forwarding social reforms like inter-dining and inter- marriage, widow re-marriage, upliftment of women and the depressed classes. Ranade helped found the Indian National Social Conference to function like the social wing of the Indian National Congress. The Conference aimed at educating women, prevent child marriage and oppose the dowry system.

Ranade stressed on the development of indigenous small industries. He forwarded the idea for the establishment of agricultural banks by the Government, to give loans directly to the peasants. From 1893 to 1900, Ranade served on the bench of the Bombay High Court where he took several steps to the liberalize the Hindu Law with regard to women’s rights.

A Collection By Chetan

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