Born On: October 26, 1890
Born In: Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh
Died On: March 25, 1931
Career: Journalist, Nationalist
"I am a fighter against oppression and injustice, whether practiced by bureaucracy, zamindars, capitalists or high caste. I have fought all my life against oppression an inhumanity and may God give me strength to fight on till the last." - Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. No other words can nearly try to comprehend who Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was and what was his contribution than the words he said himself. For he was exactly that and fight he did, until the very last breath before passing onto martyrdom by risking his own life to save thousands. Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, a journalist and a nationalist, was dedicated in bringing about a revolution through his writing and participation in the national movement. His writing had forceful yet clear style and his efforts to work in favor of the repressed caught attention of the biggies of the Indian politics including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru. A lion hearted martyr!
Ganesh Shankar was born on 26th October 1890 in Fatehpur, near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. His mother was Gomati Devi. His father, Shri Jai Narayan, was an assistant teacher in a middle school in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. And this was where Ganesh Shankar received his early education; under his father's wings, and passed the examination in 1907. In the same year, he joined the Kayastha Pathshala College in Allahabad, but had to leave after some time due to financial reasons. As a result, he took up a job of a clerk in the currency office and later as a teacher in a high school in Kanpur. But it was political journalism towards which he was inclined. As an agent of popular Hindi and Urdu journals called 'Karamyogi' and 'Swarjya', Ganesh Shankar also began to contribute to them. In 1911, he was made the sub-editor of Pandit Mahabir Prasad's monthly, 'The Saraswati', and later joined the Hindi weekly, 'Abhyudaya', a political journal, to fulfill his inclination towards political journalism.
It was in 1913 that Ganesh Shankar came back to Kanpur and launched 'Pratap', a weekly that fought for the cause of the oppressed. It was through 'Pratap' that he fought many battles, including his famous fights for the peasants of Rae Bareli, workers of Kanpur Mills, and the repressed people of other Indian states. He faced several prosecutions, paid fines, and was imprisoned five times in pursuit of justice for the subjugated. He remained its editor till his death. After a gap of three years since he launched 'Pratap'; it was in 1916 that Ganesh Shankar met Mahatma Gandhi in Lucknow for the first time and plunged into the national movement. It was about the same time when he got closely associated with Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and became an active member of the Indian National Congress.
In 1917-1918, Ganesh Shankar took an active part in the Home Rule Movement and also led the first strike of Kanpur's textile workers. It was in 1920 that he was arrested on charges of causing an uprising by criticizing the government and zamindars and leading the peasants of Rae Bareli; all through launching the daily edition of 'Pratap'. As a result, he was sentenced two years of imprisonment. Immediately after being released from the prison in 1922; Ganesh Shankar was imprisoned again for delivering an insurgent speech as the President of Provincial Political Conference at Fatehgarh. He was released out of prison after two years in 1924. In 1925, he became the Chairman of the reception committee of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), and served as a member of the UP Legislative Council from 1926 to 1929. In 1929, ganesh Shankar became the president of the UP Political Conference held at Farrukhabad, and the President of the UP Congress Committee in 1930.
As a result of the communal riots that had erupted in Kanpur, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi lost his life on 25th March, 1931 in trying to restore peace and saving innocent people of both Hindu and Muslim community.
The Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial (GSVM) Medical College Kanpur is named in his remembrance.
Phool Bagh in Kanpur is also called Ganesh Vidyarthi Udyan in his honor.
1890: Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was born.
1907: Joined the Kayastha Pathshala College in Allahabad.
1911: Was made sub-editor of Pandit Mahabir Prasad's monthly 'The Saraswati'.
1913-31: Came back to Kanpur and launched 'Pratap', a weekly, and served as its editor.
1916: Met Mahatma Gandhi for the first time and made his way into the national movement.
1917-1918: Participated actively in the Home Rule Movement.
1920: Was imprisoned on charges of causing an uprising through 'Pratap'.
1922: Was imprisoned again for making a rebellious speech in the Provincial Political Conference at Fatehgarh.
1925: Became the Chairman of the reception committee of the All India Congress Committee.
1926-1929: Served as a member of the UP Legislative Council.g
1931: Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi died and passed onto martyrdom at the age of 40.