Independence Day 2022: Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, the ‘Pratap’ of journalism, who lost his life in pacifying the communal riots

Independence Day: The country is celebrating 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav',...

Independence Day: The country is celebrating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, but today we are able to celebrate this festival because many revolutionaries have made their supreme sacrifice for it. One such revolutionary was the ‘grandfather’ of journalism. It is called Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. Referring to his heroic sacrifice, Gandhiji had said that I wish he too should die while performing duty like Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi.

Early ‘Student’ Life

Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was born on 26 October 1890 in Atarsuiya locality of Allahabad. But his early studies came from Mungawali in Madhya Pradesh. In 1907, he came to Allahabad for further studies, but the economic condition was not good, so further studies started in the form of self-study. Along with studies, started working as well. There was always an interest in pen writing, so he chose journalism as a profession.
With the passage of time, circumstances changed, so he had to leave Allahabad in 1908 and come to Kanpur. Here he started working in the currency office but did not stop writing. Due to family reasons, the university studies of Ganesh Shankar ji could not be completed, but the work of studying continued continuously. In the course of reading this writing, he adopted the word ‘student’ in his name itself.

office has become a refuge for revolutionaries

  established in the hearts of Along with this, he also became known as the vocal voice of the freedom movement. At that time the number of expansion of Pratap was 12 to 15 thousand. Where Pratap’s office was a place of refuge for the revolutionaries, there was a nursery of journalism for the youth. All the revolutionaries including Bhagat Singh, Azad used to stay in Pratap’s office for months in disguise.

Gandhian turned revolutionary

 The voice of resistance to ‘Pratap’ was loud, so the eyes of the police also kept on them. As a result, editors and publishers had to go to jail. Gandhian Ganesh Shankar had contact with Batukeshwar Dutt and then Bhagat Singh, then he started on the path of revolution with a pen. Although he always remained against violence, but also helped the revolutionaries. I had to go to jail five times.

Crafted Journalism Standard

When it was a difficult task to do journalism under the British rule, then Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi not only printed the nexus with the British rule of the princely states, but also did ground journalism by going to the bottom of the problems of the farmers of Champaran.

Journalist from ‘Pratap Baba’

In January 1921, the landlords had opened fire on the farmers in Rae Bareli, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi reached Rae Bareli, organized the farmers in fear and became their voice. Calling that ruthless massacre the second Jallianwala incident, ‘Pratap’ Wrote article in Pratap’s editor Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi and printer Shivnarayan Mishra were sued for defamation. The British were already stunned, so they also took full advantage of this opportunity. But it was the fearless journalism of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi that 50 witnesses appeared in his favor. In which national level leaders like Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Shri Krishna Mehta were also involved.
7-8 eminent lawyers including Dr. Jaikaran Nath on behalf of ‘Pratap’ lobbied the matter. This case was so popular that there was a huge crowd in the court during the proceedings. Farmers started calling Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi as ‘Pratap Baba’.

communal riots took lives

Today, where the media is accused of being communal. On the other hand, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was a journalist who sacrificed his life in pacifying the communal riots. On 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged, a bandh was called in the whole country in protest against him. The policy of the British to throw India in the fire of communalism was starting to succeed. Meanwhile, a horrific riot broke out in Kanpur. It was the day of 25 March, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi went into the middle of the violence and saved the Muslims from the mob of Hindus and the Hindus from the mob of Muslims. Meanwhile, he got caught between two factions. Colleagues asked him to leave, but still he continued to convince the people. The situation became such that the raging crowd turned violent and then Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi never returned alive from that violent mob. The mob made so many marks on his body with sharp weapons that it was difficult to recognize when the body was found two days later. In this way the great revolutionary, fearless journalist Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was martyred at the age of 40 in an attempt to stop the riots.

"I wish I could die like this too"- Mahatma Gandhi

According to author Piyush Babele, Gandhiji said on the sacrifice of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi that he died for such a great purpose that such death made him jealous. Such a death is a matter of great pride and I wish they also get such a death.

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