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Mahadev Govind Ranade – A Distinguished Scholar and Social Reformer of India


Mahadev Govind Ranade

Quick Facts

  • Name: Mahadev Govind Ranade
  • Famous As: Scholar, Social Reformer, Author
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Date: 18 January 1842 (Niphad, Nashik District, Maharashtra)
  • Died On: 16 January 1901
  • Spouse: Ramabai Ranade


Mahadev Govind Ranade was a distinguished scholar and a founder member of Indian National Congress (INC). He was a non-believer in the caste system and untouchability and also was a great social reformer. He was against the oppression of prevalent class system and believed in equality. He advocated social reforms such as the liberation of women and widow re-marriage. Being a Judge, he not only advocated but exercised his powers to spread equality among sexes, right of education and protection of children, widows and agricultural workers against injustices.

He stressed on legal and constitutional ways for bringing social reforms and attaining freedom. He was also involved in the working of social, economic and political institutions in his zeal to take India on a developing mode. He was also known as a great historian who published books on Indian economy and Maratha history. He inspired many other reformers with his revolutionary thoughts on justice and equality.

Mahadev Govind Ranade – Social Reformer of India

Early Life of Mahadev Govind Ranade

Ranade was born in a Brahmin family. His father was a minister. He did his early schooling in a Marathi school in Kolhapur at the age of 6. Later on, he was transferred to English school. His father sent him to Elphinstone College in Bombay when he turned 14. He was among the very first batch of students who went to Bombay University. He got his B.A. degree in the year 1862. He studied law at the Government Law School and got the LLB degree in 1866. Throughout his education, he remained a scholarship holder and attained distinction in all degrees.


In the year 1871, he was appointed as the Presidency Magistrate. It was the rank for the fourth Judge in the Bombay Small Causes Court. 1873 was the year in which he became first-class Sub-Judge at Pune and afterward in 1884, he was elected to be the judge of the Poona Small Causes Court.

Bombay Legislative Council

In the year 1885, he was fitted to Bombay legislative council but in the year 1893, he became the member of the Bombay High Court. 1885 was also the year in which he helped in the formation of Indian National Congress Party and endeavored a major part in the independence movement of India. He became a special Judge under the Deccan Agriculturists’ Relief Act starting from the year 1887. He became the member of a committee which was assigned a task of tallying national and local expenditure in the year 1897. Along with above role, the committee also has to send essential commendations to steady the financial condition. Ranade received the decoration of companion of the Order of the Indian Empire for his recommendations and service.

Journey at Bombay University

Alongside his role of a Judge and Committee member, Mahadev Govind Ranade also served at the post of Dean and syndic in Arts at the Bombay University. He tried to introduce vernacular language into the university syllabus as well as encouraged translation of Standard English works. Mahadev Govind was the founder of the ‘Poona Sarvajanik Sabha’ and ‘Ahmednagar Education Society’ and he was the co-founder of the ‘Prarthana Samaj’. He had also published books on Indian economics and on Maratha history.

Mahadev Govind Ranade

Personal Life

When Mahadev Govind’s first wife died, his friends expected from him that he might marry again probably to a widow as he advocated reforms of widow marriage. He obeyed the wishes of his family and married a child bride but his reformer mind persuaded his wife to attain the education. He left behind a huge legacy to follow. Since, he had no children, his wife Mrs. Ramabai Ranade continued the social and educational reform started by him.

The great Scholar and Social Reformer of India Mahadev Govind Ranade died in the year 1901.

Famous Quotes by Mahadev Govind Ranade

“What obstacle is there apart from the religious one. There is plenty to do in the world without it.”

“This is the land of religion, Be it be for good or for evil, we cannot do without religion. Religious thoughts are in our blood. If we try to flee from it, it will pursue us.”

“We are but artless folk and not expert in rhythm, time, and tune, but that does not matter. He for whom we sing our hymns understands them all, and he pays no attention to our deficiencies of execution.”


Written By: Milan Bhardwaj


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One Comment

  1. A lot is wtitten about Injustice Ranade. He was an employee/servant of British power in India. All his work was government sponsored and hence done by British. This includes foundation of Congress party.
    Shameles fellow talked about child mariage but married a young girl for his marriage as a widower. He was chastised for this by Lokamanya Tilak and G G Agarkar.
    He handed over capital punishment to revolutionary Chapekar Brothers of Pune alongwith their friend Ranade. His judgement was worst than the British judge. More loyal than the king this person was Pro-British and anti-national.

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