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Biography of Bharat Ratna “Dr. Bhagwan Dass” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Dr. Bhagwan Dass


A scholar and a savant, Bhagwan Dass, traced the growth of civilisation. He felt that what the world needed was a synthesis of philosophy, science and religion. He looked upon philosophy as a bridge between religion and science. He provided a new path to humanity by advocating a—new humanism—a new World Social Order and a new World Religion. His work was permeated by the genuine scientific spirit, but his scientific temper was interwoven with ancient Indian wisdom. He was for us not only as a revivalist but as a great synthesizer.

Bhagwan Dass was born in an aristocratic Shah family at Benares (Kashi) on 12 January 1869. Father Madhav Dass was a rich landlord at Benares. He had his early education from Pandit Hari Bhatt Shastri who was known for his learning and scholarship. He completed his High School at the age of 12, graduated at 16 (1885) and passed the M.A. examination of the University of Calcutta at 17 (1886) in Mental and Moral Sciences. He married Chameli Devi, the daughter of a school teacher. He came in close contact with all the great personalities of the age like Mahatma Gandhi, Chittaranjan Das, Acharya Kripalani, Acharya Narendra Deva, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malaviya and Annie Besant—who left a deep influence on his mind and largely shaped his personality and public career.

Started his career in Government service as a Tehsildar in 1890, he was appointed as a Deputy Collector and Magistrate in 1894. In response to the call of Dr. Annie Besant, he gave up Government service, in 1899 to be left free for public work which was dearer to him. In the early part of his public career he was more interested in educational reform. He believed that the state should not interefere in education as that would poison the entire social structure. Instead of the existing system of examinations, he suggested evaluation by the teacher. Bhagwan Dass served as Honorary Secretary, Board of Trustees of the Central Hindu College from 1899 to 1914. He was a Member of the Hindu University Society (1911-1914) and of the University Court (1916). He was particularly interested in national education and served as the Head of the Kashi Vidyapeeth from 1921 to 1926.

He was drawn to active politics from 1919-20. In 1919 he was President of the U.P. Social Conference. In 1920 he presided over the U.P. Political Conference and in 1921 over the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan held in Calcutta. He was an important member of the Indian National Congress and carried great weight not only in U.P. and Delhi but in the all-India level as well. He joined the Non-Cooperation Movement and suffered imprisonment for nine months. In 1928 he made an important contribution at the All-Parties Conference. He also took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. In 1930-31 he headed the Enquiry Committee on Kanpur communal riots set up by the Congress. He was Chairman of the Benares Municipal Board from 1923 to 1925 and again from 1931 to 1937. He was a Member of the Central Legislative Assembly from 1935 to 1937. After independence he was also elected to the Constituent Assembly. He was a most forceful speaker in the Legislature and was heard with great respect.

Bhagwan Dass always tried to impart moral strength to political issues and tried to raise them to a higher level. He was not enamoured of narrow nationalism but aspired after a wider humanism. He felt that the human race in spite of internal strifes and prejudices was inevitably moving towards world citizenship and world government. Bhagwan Dass’s political views were outlined in the scheme of Swaraj which he prepared along with C. R. Dass. He was deeply interested in social reforms. He wanted to restore the purity and traditions of the Vedic religion. He was not opposed to the caste system as such but wanted that “Karma and not Janma” should determine caste. In other words caste was not to be hereditary but only vocational. He was an advocate of inter-caste marriage of carefully selected parties. Moving the Hindu Marriage Validity Bill in ttie Indian Legislative Assembly, he said ‘I do not believe in divorce. I think marriage is a discipline also and not merely a picnic, on today and off tomorrow.’ He was also opposed to early marriage and supported the Sarda Bill. A believer in vocational castes, he was wholly opposed to untouchability.

Bhagwan Dass was an advocate of self-sufficient village economy. He was a bitter critic of the British Indian Government’s economic policies and was a most forceful speaker on Finance Bills. He wanted economic justice for the poor. At the same time he was opposed to the Communist doctrines and methods. To him it was more desirable to level up the proletariat than to level down the bourgeoisie. He regarded the ancient socialism embodied in the ‘Varna System’ as superior to the mechanical and artificial socialism of the modern West based on an accentuation of the wealth-getting propensity. He wanted that class reconciliation and class balance should be the guiding social principle.

As regard to religious ideas he was profoundly influenced by Vedic ideals. He disliked the world ‘Hindu’ religion and wanted to substitute it by the word ‘Vedic’ religion which literally means scientific religion. To him ‘Hindu’ is a geographical designation and not a religious denomination. His religion was essentially based on humanism, and he believed that the fundamentals of all religions were the same. He expressed his ideas clearly in his book The Essential Unit& All Religions. He was also deeply influenced by the conception of the ‘Kingdom of God or Earth’ of St. Augustus. He was greatly interested in Theosophy, and Madame Blavatsky ‘Isis Unveiled’ and ‘The Secret Doctrine’ profoundly mould his religious thoughts.

He had a very good flair for journalism and frequently contributed articles on current national affairs in the English press. He had numerous publications to his credit and most important include: An Outline Scheme of Swaraj (jointly with C. R. Das); The Essential Unity of All Religions; Ancient Solutions for Modern Problems; and Social Reconstruction of Modern Societies. Dr. Bhagwan Dass was conferred honorary doctorate degrees by the Benares Hindu University in 1929 and by the Allahabad University in 1937. Nation conferred its highest award Bharat Ratna on him in 1955 as a mark of recognition of his valuable services.

He died on September 18, 1958 at the age of 90.


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