- Govind Ballabh Pant was born on 10 September 1887 in Khoont village near Almora, in a Brahmin family having their roots in Maharashtra.
- His mother’s name was Govindi Bai. His father Manorath Pant was a government official who was constantly on the move, and hence Govind was brought up by his maternal grandfather, Badri Dutt Joshi, an important government official locally, who played a significant part in moulding his personality and political views.
- Pant studied at Allahabad University and subsequently worked as a lawyer in Kashipur. Here, he began active work against the British Raj in 1914, when he helped a local parishad.In 1921, he entered politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.
- Known as an extremely capable lawyer, Pant was appointed by the Congress party to initially represent Ramprasad Bismill, Ashfaqulla Khan and other revolutionaries involved in the Kakori case in the mid 1920s.
- In 1930, he was arrested and imprisoned for several weeks for organising a Salt March inspired by Gandhi’s earlier actions. In 1933, he was arrested along with Harsh Dev Bahuguna (Gandhi of Choukot) and imprisoned for seven months for attending a session of the then-banned provincial Congress.
- During the Second World War, Pant acted as the tiebreaker between Gandhi’s faction, which advocated supporting the British Crown in their war effort, and Subhas Chandra Bose’s faction, which advocated taking advantage of the situation to expel the British Raj by all means necessary.
- In 1934, the Congress ended its boycott of the legislatures and put up candidates, and Pant was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly. His political skills won the admiration of the leaders of the Congress, and he became deputy leader of the Congress party in the Assembly.
- In 1940, Pant was arrested and imprisoned for helping organise the Satyagraha movement. In 1942 he was arrested again, this time for signing the Quit India resolution, and spent three years in Ahmednagar Fort along with other members of the Congress working committee until March 1945.
CHIEF MINISTER OF UTTAR PRADESH
- Pant took over as the Chief Minister of the United Provinces from 1937 to 1939.
- In 1945, the British Labour government ordered new elections to the Provincial legislatures. The Congress won a majority in the 1946 elections in the United Provinces and Pant was again the Premier, continuing even after India’s independence in 1947.
- His judicious reforms and stable governance in the Uttar Pradesh stabilised the economic condition of the most populous State of India.
- Among his achievements in that position was the abolition of the zamindari system. Also he passed the Hindu Code Bill and made monogamy compulsory for Hindu men and gave the Hindu women the rights of divorce and inheritance to ancestral property.
- Pant served as Union Home Minister from 1955–1961. Pant was appointed Minister of Home Affairs in the Union Cabinet on 10 January 1955 in New Delhi by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
- As Home Minister, his chief achievement was the re-organisation of States along linguistic lines. He was also responsible for the establishment of Hindi as an official language of the central government and a few states.
- During his tenure as the Home Minister, Pant was awarded the Bharat Ratna. on 26 January 1957 for his selfless service as an Independent activist, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Home Minister.
- In 1960, he suffered a heart attack. He was treated by top doctors in India, including his friend Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal.
- His health started deteriorating and he died on 7 March 1961 at the age of 74, from a cerebral stroke. At that time he was still in office as the Home Minister of India.