Mahadev Govind Ranade (1842-1901)

Mahadev Govind Ranade was born in 1842 at Biphad in Nasik district in a middle-class Chitpavan Brahmin family. In 1864 he passed the LL.B. examination and became editor of the English columns of the Induprakash, an Anglo-Marathi daily from Bombay devoted to the cause of reforms.

He was among the foremost reformers who deprecated the caste system and untouchability, favoured the enhancement of the status of women and was a champion of widow re-marriage. Ranade believed that unless social reforms were achieved, there could be no real economic or political progress.

His method for the conduct of the nationalist movement was unique. He wanted the people to first remove their own inherent defects and when that was achieved, he felt the movement would become so forceful as to make the continuance of the British rule impossible.

The central thesis of Ranade was that we should introduce reform in such a way that no violence was done to ancient customs and traditions.

In 1871 he was appointed successively as Third Presidency Magistrate, Fourth Judge of the Small Causes Court and Acting First Class Grade Judge at Poona. In 1893 he was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Bombay. He held this position until his death on 17 January 1901.

He was a founder member of the Indian National Congress and his influence was all pervasive.

A reformer, lover of justice, believer of equality among all, in the words of Sir Pherozshah Mehta, he was a modern rishi.