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Biography: Pandit Gauri Shankar Misra
His curly hair, his smiling Kashmiri-like face, his unassuming loving manners, his catching and amenable habits, his preparedness to serve all and expect nothing has always attracted all towards him young and old. He is fearless and straight in his talks. He hates mincing matters. He dislikes “darbarism” whether in politics or elsewhere.
His sacrifices are immense and he has his own views about them. He is poetic and an original thinker. But for absence of riches Pandit Misra would have been today in the foremost ranks of politicians
Pandit Gauri Shankar Misra was born in 1893 at Gorakpur. He belongs to a respectable family. His father Pandit Kaladhar Misra was a self sacrificing man and commanded great respect. Young Pandit Misra was brought up in an atmosphere of study and sacrifice.
After finishing his early education in the St. Andrews College, Gorakpur, he joined the Benares University and took his degree. He then joined the law college at Allahabad and passed his LLB.
As a student Pandit Misra was always ahead of his fellow classmates although he did not care for positions and divisions in university results. He always interested himself in public activities of all kinds.
The spirit of revolt was in him from his childhood. As a student of the St.Andrews College, he attended the sessions of the Indian national congress in 1911 at Allahabad despite the orders of the Principle to the contrary. While he was studying in the Law College at Allahabad he joined the Home Rule League. Having patriotic tendencies even at an early age, Mr.Misra used to slip from all restrains and attended meetings addressed by national leaders like Tilak, Lajpat Rai, and Bipin Chandra Pal etc.
While studying in the M.A Class of the Allahabad University, he led a famous student's strike of the Jamuna Mission School as a protest against the action of the principal in refusing to grant Janmashtami holidays. He then founded the Vidya Mandir High School. After taking his L.LB. He joined the Allahabad Bar. As a lawyer Pandit Misra had a rushing practice from the very beginning and had he stuck to it he would have been the foremost advocate of the Allahabad High Court.
In 1920 Pandit Mishra gave up his lucrative practice and joined the non-cooperation movement. He had been a staunch but a rational Gandhite. In the United Provinces while the question of no-change and pro-change was agitating the country, Pandit Misra was the only leading no-changer. When the Swarajya Party was formed and Mahatma Gandhi promised to support the party at Ahemadabad Pandit Mishra joined the Swarajya Party. He had been the right hand man of Pandit Motilal Nehru and Deshbandhu Das. While the general elections to the different legislatures were being planned due to some misunderstanding, Pandit Mishra resigned his membership of the Swarajya Party.
Pandit Mishra has been true to his ideals. He always follows in his life what he preached to others. He has not resumed his practice up to-day and he, it appears has given up it up for good
He has gone to jail and has many times put up with the hardships of lathi charges and police beatings. During the visit of the Simon commission to Lucknow, it was Pandit Misra, accompanied by twelve young men who shouted “Simon Go Back” in their closest vicinity, and the Durbar, where Sir John Simon was taking tea in company of the aluqdars dispersed. Pandit Misra and his batch were cruelly beaten and put in the lock up and released at the dead of night the same day. Pandit Misra has been a General Secretary of the U.P Provincial Congress Committee since 1921 for eight years at a stretch. He wielded the greatest influence in the province.
In 1930 to 1932 he took his share in the Congress movement. In 1932, on the death of his father, Pandit Misra shifted from Allahabad to Gorakpur.
Pandit Misra is a fine speaker rather, an orator in Hindi, Urdu and English. He is a popular writer in Hindi and English. Among the books he has written, his novel “Jiwan Kranti” is an unrivalled production in Hindi novel-world.
His activities have been varied and all round. He is proud of Indian culture, and believes in Varnashrama Dharma. He virtually founded the All India Kisan Sabha, and his work among the peasants of Oudh especially and peasants of other provinces generally has been unrivalled at a time when nobody cared to go to the villages. At the Delhi Congress in 1918 he went to Delhi Congress with an army of about 1,500 kisans from nearly all provinces of India and addressed in most eloquent terms the Congress delegates regarding the rights of Indian peasantry. He always interested himself in Student Organisations and while at Allahabad since 1914 to 1930 he had been the idol of youth.
K.L. Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Source: Haripura Congress Souvenir, 1938
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