Mahadeo Govind Ranade - Encyclopedia

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MAHADEO GOVIND RANADE (1842-1901), Indian lawyer, reformer and author, was born on the 16th of January 1842 at Niphad, in Nasik district, of a Chitpavan Brahman family. When his father was minister at Kolhapur he attended the Anglo-vernacular school in that town, and joined the Elphinstone Institute in Bombay at the age of fourteen. He was one of the first graduates of the Bombay University, taking the B.A. in 1862 and the LL.B. in 1866. Having entered government service he became presidency magistrate and then fourth judge of the small cause court at Bombay in 1871, first-class sub-judge at Poona in 1873, and judge of the Poona small cause court in 1884, after which, as special judge under the Deccan Agriculturists' Relief Act from 1887, he came into close contact with the difficulties of the agrarian classes. In 1886 he was a member of the finance committee appointed to report on the expenditure, both imperial and provincial, with a view to retrenchment. This service won him the decoration of C.I.E. He became a member of the legislative council of Bombay in 1885, and occupied that position until raised to the high court in 18 9 3. Being an energetic social reformer, he directed his efforts against infant marriages, the shaving of widows, the heavy cost of marriages and other social functions, and the caste restrictionz on travelling abroad. He strenuously advocated widow remarriage and female education. He was the founder of the social conference movement, which he supported till his death. In the political sphere he founded the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, through which he frequently helped the government with sound advice. He was also odne of the originators of the Indian National Congress. In Bombay University, where he held the offices of syndic and dean in arts, he displayed much organizing power and great intimacy with the needs of the student class. Himself a thorough Mahratti scholar, he encouraged the translation of standard English works, and tried, with some success, to introduce vernacular languages into the university curriculum. Though reared in the strictest tenets of Hinduism, his deep religious feeling and trained intellect craved something higher and broader than he could find in the traditional forms and orthodox teaching of his race. The same spiritual want being felt by many enlightened Hindus, he joined with his friends, Dr Atmaram Pandurang, Bal Mangesh Wagle and Vaman Abaji Modak, in founding a new sect in Bombay known as the "Parthana Samaj." This community resembles, in all essential points, the Brahma Samaj of Bengal. Its principles of enlightened theism are based on the ancient Vedas. He published ' In the British Museum.

books on Indian economics and on Mahratta history. He died on the 16th of January 1901. He left no children, but his widow continued his work of social and educational reform at Poona.

See G. A. Mankar, Justice M. G. Ranade (Bombay, 1902).

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