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Biography: Pandit Mishra

It was a fateful hour. Dr. Hari Sing Gour was at bay. A fair, slight, College stripling was bearing the mighty Doctor with calculated insolence.

The atmosphere was electric with excitement. The prosaic air of politics was stirred. It was a historic conflict between a waning star and a rising meteor; a decaying ideal and a dawning cause.

The supporters of Dr.Gour missed the bullet and wanted to beat their opponent with the butt end of the musket. When arguments failed they indulged in cheep sneer. They contrasted the Little Student with the "Mordern Manu of India".

Mr. Mishra smote their ranks by retorting, "If Sir Hari Singh is the Modern Manu then I am the Ancient Manu. I shall lay down the law and Sir Hari Singh will interpret it." Dr.Gour was vexed at the boyish audacity.

In the morning newssheets flashed Mr. Mishra's victory. A difference of 100 votes yawned between the two. Mr.Mishra surprised the Nation by his success. His impetuous swiftness and the greatness of his cause won the day.

Mr.Mishra was born in 1901. His grandmother instilled patriotic feeling in his mind By telling him grim stories of valour of the Mutiny days.

He was educated at St.Paul's High School, Raipur. He won many prizes in elocution contests. He paused his Intermediate Examination from the Cawnpore College. Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi exercised his influence over his mind.

Then he joined the Muir College, Allahabad. When Gandhiji started the Civil Disobedience Movement Mr.Mishra gave up his studies and joined the column of Non Cooperators. When he was leaving his classroom his History Professor tried to advice him to continue his studies. Then Mr.Mishra remarked, "The time for reading History is over. I am going to make history." Verily he did make history.

For some time he worked as an apprentice in the Amrit Bazar Patrika Office. Returning he edited Shrada, a Hindi magazine. Then he graduated from the Nagpur University. He joined the Allahabad University for law studies and floored Dr.Gour, the Vice Chancellor of the Delhi University.

In the Assembly he moved the resolution on the death of Lalaji. His scratching criticism held the house in a spell. Pandit Motilal paid glowing tributes to his oratory gifts. In 1930 he was signed his membership in obedience to the Karachi Resolution. He edited with energy and tact "The Lokamat."

The Dandi March was a knocked- up, in the dawn of freedom. It made the nation leap to its feet and take up the challenge of Imperialism. The new nationalism was born out of the purging fires of persecution. The works of men like Mr.Mishra reflects the new spirit breathed in those days into the dry bones of politics. The arrest of Gandhiji was a challenging to the faith, an insult to the Nation.

As Congress Party is not engulfed by sea Mr.Mishra found no avenue for his restless spirit. He made a novel suggestion to Pandit Motilal to start the Jungle Satyagraha. The C.I.D who scented the news immediately reported it to the authorities. Mr.Mishra was arrested and clapped in prison. No praise will be too high for the imaginative warmth of Mr.Mishra. it will be very appropriate to style him "the Father of the Forest Satyagraha".

In 1932 he again showed his original skill by organizing "a silent" public meeting in the Jubbulpore City, which continued for four days continuously. On the fourth day the meeting was broken up lathi charge and Mr.Mishra was arrested.

In the prison Mr.Mishra refused to wear foreign cloth. The authorities stripped him naked. This barbaric act would have made even a Hun blush with shame. Mr.Mishra had the sense of humour to suffer cranks gladly.

He expressed his sense of thanks to the Superintendent for having thrust greatness on him. While he was in the prison he was the President of the Jubbulpore Municipality.

As the secretary of the Mahakosal provincial Parliamentary Board he conducted the election campaign with colossal energy and incomparable brilliance. Out of forty-eight Congress Candidates set up from Mahakosal forty-two ware returned to the Legislatures.

Pandit Mishra was brought into politics that historic sense which is very rare and valuable element. When he is aloof from the dust and heat of the conflict, his mind moves with ease amid the tortuous labyrinth of ancient researches.

He won the plaudits of the Nation by providing with historical evidences that the name of the Central Provinces was Mahakosal. Some ungenerous critics challenged the validity of his theory. But he was ably defended by eminent Orientalists like Dr.Hiralal and Pandit L.P Pande]. It is a great tribute to the original genius of Pandit Mishra that the Indian National Congress has set up the seal of approval upon "Mahakosala".

At a distance of thirteen miles from Jubblepore rises the tomb of  Dujawati, the heroine who braved the marching columns of Akbar. Pandit Mishra's love of Indian history was responsible for the march of seventy volunteers towards the tomb of Indian chivalry. Now that tomb which suffered unmerited neglect has become a place of pilgrimage. It is a source of vital inspiration to the people of Mahakosala.

Poetry is the favorite pastime of Pandit Mishra. He is a profound scholar in Hindi. Deadly ridicule, and polished wit are the main sauce of his poems. It leaves the victim to writhe in agony. This capacity of being unpleasant is a rare gift. He is merciless satirist. He has "the terrible smile". It cuts through all cherished hypocriticts. It is suspected that he wrote some lampoons during the election campaigns.

Pandit Mishra is not a socialist but has socialistic leanings. He is a typical Gandhian but desires that India should follow the lead of Japan. He says only "ism" in which he believes is neither Hinduism or Socialism but Patriotism. He suggests a sovereign remedy to the language problem. He is in favor of adopting the Roman script.

This youngest member of Congress Party is in charge of Local Self Government. He is bright as repartee. Once a member asked him:" What is the meaning of "dilapidated" Pandit Mishra retorted "I am here to serve as a minister but not as a dictionary."

His face boldly sculptured, his eyes eloquent with hunger, he stands before us a figure of singular fascination, a symbol of Indian yearning for freedom.

Source: Haripura Congress Souvenir, 1938


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