Mahadev Govind Ranade

Mahadev Govind Ranade (18 January 1842 - 16 January 1901) was an Indian scholar, social reformer and author. He was a founding member of the Indian National Congress party[1][2] and owned several designations as member of the Bombay legislative council, member of the finance committee[1] at the centre, and judge of the Bombay High Court.[3]

As a well known public figure, his personality as a calm and patient optimist influenced his attitude towards dealings with Britain as well as reform in India. During his life he helped to establish the Vaktruttvottejak Sabha, the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha and the Prarthana Samaj, and edited a Bombay Anglo-Marathi daily paper, the Induprakash, founded on his ideology of social and religious reform.


Mahadev Govind Ranade was born into a Chitpavan Brahmin family in Niphad, a taluka town in Nashik district.[4] Upon the death of his first wife, his reform-minded friends expected him to marry (and thereby rescue) a widow. However, he adhered to his family's wishes and married a child bride from the Kurlekar family, Ramabai Ranade, whom he subsequently provided with an education.[5] After his death, she continued social and educational reform work. He had no children.


He studied in a Marathi school in Kolhapur and later shifted to an English-medium school. At age 14, he went to study at Elphinstone College, Bombay. He belonged to the first batch of students at the University of Bombay. He secured a BA degree in 1862 and four years later, secured his LLB.


Ranade was a visionary who summarised the mission of the Indian social reform movement as to "Humanize, Equalize and Spiritualize".[6] He was a founder of the Social Conference movement, which he supported till his death,[1] directing his social reform efforts against child marriage, the shaving of widows' heads, the heavy cost of marriages and other social functions, and the caste restrictions on traveling abroad, and he strenuously advocated widow remarriage and female education.[1] He was one of the founders of the Widow Marriage Association in 1861.[7] Though Ranade criticised superstitions and blind faith, he was conservative in his own life. He chose to take prayaschitta (religious penance) in the Panch-houd Mission Case rather than insisting on his opinions.[8][9]

In 1885 Ranade, Vaman Abaji Modak, and historian Dr. R. G. Bhandarkar established the Maharashtra Girls Education Society and Huzurpaga, the oldest girls' high school in Maharashtra.[10][11][12]


  • Ranade, Mahadev Govind, Rise of the Maratha Power (1900); reprint (1999) ISBN 81-7117-181-8
  • Bipan Chandra, ed., Ranade’s Economic Writings New Delhi, Gyan Books Pvt. Ltd. (1990) ISBN 81-212-0328-7.
  • Ranade, Mahadev Govind, Essays on Indian Economics (1900);
  • Ranade, Mahadev Govind, "Introduction to the Peishwa's Diaries: A Paper Read Before the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society"[13]

A television series on Zee Marathi named Unch Maaza Zoka (roughly translated as 'I have leapt high in Life') based on Ramabai's and Mahadevrao's life and their development as a 'women's rights' activist was broadcast in March 2012. It was based on a book by Ramabai Ranade titled Amachyaa Aayushyaatil Kaahi Aathavani. In the book, Justice Ranade is called "Madhav" rather than Mahadev[note 1].

See also


  1. He himself is quoted as saying that "I am Vishnu (Madhav) and not Shiva (Mahadev)" (see pages 12, 121). This anomaly was discovered by Ms. Vibhuti V. Dave, while translating the book into Gujarati, under the title Amaaraa naa Sambhaaranaa[14]"


  1. 1 2 3 4  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ranade, Mahadeo Govind". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 884.
  2. "Mahadev Govind Ranade". Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  3. "Encyclopaedia Eminent Thinkers (Vol. 22 : The Political Thought of Mahadev Govind Ranade)", p. 19
  4. Wolpert, Stanley A. (April 1991). Tilak and Gokhale: Revolution and Reform in the Making of Modern India By. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 302. ISBN 978-0195623925.
  5. Mukherjee, M., 1993. Story, history and her story. Studies in History, 9(1), pp.71-85.
  6. "Rise of Reason: Intellectual history of 19th-century Maharashtra". Hulas Singh. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  7. "THE GROWTH OF NEW INDIA, 1858-1905". 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  8. Bakshi, SR (1993). Mahadev Govind Ranade. p. 42. ISBN 978-81-7041-605-0.
  9. "Loss of Caste". Retrieved 2015-08-22. He and a few other notables including Bal Gangadhar Tilak attended a meeting with the missionaries of the Panch Houd Mission, which still exists in Pune. Tea was offered to them. Some of them drank it and others did not. Poona in those days - late 19th century - was a very orthodox place and the bastion of Brahminism. Gopalrao Joshi made the affair public and all offenders were ordered to undergo prayashchitta for their offense of drinking the tea of Christian missionaries.
  10. Bhattacharya, edited by Sabyasachi (2002). Education and the disprivileged : nineteenth and twentieth century India (1. publ. ed.). Hyderabad: Orient Longman. p. 239. ISBN 978-8125021926. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  11. "Huzurpaga". Huzurpaga.
  12. Ghurye, G. S. (1954). Social Change in Maharashtra, II. Sociological Bulletin, page 51.
  13. ranade, Magadev Govind. Introduction to the Peishwa's Diaries: A Paper Read Before the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. CHIZINE PUBN. ISBN 9781340345037.
  14. Dave, Vibhuti (6 December 2014). Amaaraa Sahajivan naa Sambhaaranaa. Vadodara, Gujarat, India: Self. pp. 12, 121.
  • Brown, D. Mackenzie. Indian Political Thought: From Ranade to Bhave. (Berkeley: University of California, 1961).
  • Mansingh, Surjit. Historical Dictionary of India. vol. 20, Asian Historical Dictionaries. s.v. "Shivaji". (London: Scarecrow Press, 1996).
  • Masselos, Jim. Indian Nationalism: A History. (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1985).
  • Wolpert, Stanley. India. (Berkeley: University of California, 1991). 57.
  • Wolpert, Stanley. Tilak and Gokhale: Revolutions and Reform in the Making of Modern India. (Berkeley: University of California, 1962). 12.
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