Today is the birth anniversary of a great journalist and freedom fighter Sri Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. Nowadays most of the journalists have been staking their values for the sake of TRP, some other has been taking political sides for their personal gains, and some other live on blackmailing on the name of journalism. But there was a person who tried to bring the peace in between two religious groups and had been preyed by the rioters. He is Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. We might find this kind of journalist very rare. On his name, there is an award also for the best serving journalists.
Birth details of Vidyarthi:
Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was born on 26th October 1890 in Prayagraj. His father Jai Narain was a teacher in Anglo Vernacular School, Mungaoli. His finished his school education but could not continue with further education due to poverty. In 1909 he married to Chandra Prakashawathi. He became a clerk in currency office and later a high school teacher in Kanpur. Kanpur was famous for the nationalists and freedom fighters. At the age of 16, he wrote a book called “ Hamari Atmogsargat”
A career as Journalist:
His passion was journalism and this made him take the pen name Vidyarthi. He was started calling Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. He was a crusading journalist and freedom fighter.
Newspapers and magazines he worked in:
He worked in as an agent of the well-known revolutionary Hindi and Urdu journals – Karamyogi and Swarajya. He also contributed to them.
Pandit Mahabir Prasad Dwivedi the doyen of Hindi journalism was fascinated by the journalism and literary works of Vidyarthi and offered him Sub Editor job in a famous literary monthly “The Saraswathi”
His interest in the politics and nationalistic movements made him take the job of a journalist of a weekly “Abhyudaya” a political journal.
In 1913 he found “Pratap” weekly and worked for thirteen years, till his last breath. The circulation of “Pratap” was 500 in 1913 and 1916, the circulation jumped to 600.
He was a crusading journalist and a freedom fighter. By being a journalist he brought many issues to light of the public.
He waged war against the oppressive British government through his weekly “Pratap”
He fought for peasants of Rae Bareli, and the workers of Kanpur mills. He fought for the people of downtrodden people. As a result of his fight against the British polices he had to pay heavy fines, numerous prosecutions and he went to jail many times.
His contribution in Freedom movement:
He met Gandhi Ji in 1916 and started his nationalist movement against the British, and was part of Home rule movement as well in 1917-18. He was arrested and served rigorous imprisonment for the protest in favour of Rae Bareli farmers. After his short release was again arrested under sedition for his speech. He was a congress leader. On behalf of Swaraj party, he was elected as a Member of Legislative council. He met Bhagath Singh and Chandra Sekhar Azad. When Bhagath Singh was away from his home to take part in the revolution, he was the person who gave Bhagath shelter and remained a friend till his death. He was arrested in 1930 and was released as a result of Irwin pact with Gandhi Ji in 1931.
The untimely and tragic death of Vidhyarhti:
Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was about to attend to Karachi Congress meeting. But by that time, Kanpur fell into an orgy of communal rioting. Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi pushed himself into that riots and saved many lives of Hindus and Muslims, March 25, 1931, Vidyarthi went to Patkapur area of the city where he saved the life of 50 odd people. From there he went to Bengali Mohal and Etawah-Bazaar. En route, he saved several Hindu families in Machali Bazaar. In Mishri Bazaar, he saved more than 150 Muslim men, women and children. He was saving the lives of several families in Chaube-Gola when a Muslim mob attacked him. He saved many lives but he had to sacrifice his own life. He was found dead in an unidentified manner after two days. He fought against communalism and fanatic powers.
Gandhi wrote about Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi’s death in his journal, Young India:
“The death of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was one to be envied by us all. His blood is the cement that will ultimately bind the two communities. No pact will bind our hearts. But heroism such as Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi showed is bound in the end to melt the stoniest hearts, melt them into one. The poison has however gone so deep that the blood even of a man so great, so self-sacrificing and so utterly brave as Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi may today not be enough to wash us of it. Let this noble example stimulate us all to a similar effort should the occasion arise again.”