Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

[pib] Who was Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Social reformers in Colonial India

Mains level: Not Much

The PM has laid the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.

UPSC is exploring deeper for social reformers involved in the freedom struggle. This is very much visible from the questions based on Rakhmabai, Gopal Baba Walangkar, Sakharam Deuskar etc. in CS Prelims 2020.

Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh (1886-1979)

  • Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was an Indian freedom fighter, journalist, writer and a revolutionary.
  • He was President in the Provisional Government of India, which served as the Indian Government in exile during World War I from Kaabul in 1915.
  • He also formed the Executive Board of India in Japan in 1940 during the Second World War.
  • He also took part in the Balkan War in the year 1911 along with his fellow students of Muhammedan Anglo College.
  • In recognition of his services, the government of India issued postage stamps in his honor. He is popularly known as “Aryan Peshwa”.
  • He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1932.

Involvement in Swadeshi Movement

  • He met several leaders involved in the Swadeshi movement, deciding to promote small industries with indigenous goods and local artisans.
  • He was influenced by the speeches of Dadabhai Naoroji, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Maharaja of Baroda, and Bipin Chandra Pal, helping to make him a patriot who turned Swadeshi.

Formation of provisional govt in exile

  • On 1 December 1915 during World War I Pratap established the first Provisional Government of India at Kabul in Afghanistan as a government-in-exile of Free Hindustan, with himself as President, Maulavi Barkatullah as Prime Minister, and Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi as Home Minister, declaring jihad on the British.
  • Due to his revolutionary ideas Pratap had a good relationship with Lenin, who invited him to Russia after its liberation and welcomed him.
  • By this time, the British had noticed his activities, and the British Government of India put a bounty on his head, attached/confiscated his entire estate, and declared him a fugitive, causing him to flee to Japan in 1925.

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