18th January – Birth Anniversary of Mahadev Govind Ranade

Remembering Justice Mahadev Ranade on 18th January, his birth anniversary.

As a judge of Bombay High Court, he was instrumental in giving a progressive shape to public life in Maharashtra

Mahadev Govind Ranade was born on 18th January 1842 at Nasik. He was from Brahmin well to do and an orthodox family. His early education was at Kolhapur and completed higher education in Bombay. Ranade was a distinguished judge, writer cum social reformer of India during the pre-independence era.  He believed every Indian who had the equipment of western education had this public responsibility and he set an ideal example by his own efforts for 30 years for all to follow.


His Education and Work:

Ranade belonged to the very first batch of students in Bombay University who acquired the B.A. degree in the year 1862 and then again L.L.B. from the Government Law School in the year 1866. As a judge of Bombay High Court, he was instrumental in giving a progressive shape to public life in Maharashtra  and played an important role in setting up the Indian National Congress.


His Contribution:

Ranade wrote a number of books and articles to educate people about their rights. He published books on Indian economics and on Maratha history. Reform of Indian Culture and use of an adaptation of Western Culture, in Justice Ranade’s view, would bring about “common interest and fusion of thoughts” amongst all men. His book ‘Rise of the Maratha Power (1900)’ opened a new debate about the History of the Marathas. He worked hard to stop child marriages, the shaving of widows’ heads and advocated widow marriages and female education. Though he himself was subject to a second marriage of child bride, he educated his wife.



After his death, his second wife continued his social and educational reform work. He had no children. He died on 16 January 1901. . Rich tributes were paid to him by Lokamanya Tilak when he said that he believed in the all sided and not lop-sided development of the nation. He was clearly of the opinion that we are backward in every way – religiously, socially, industrially, educationally, politically and unless we improve in all these respects we would not come In line with the civilized nations.

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