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Sansad TV: Makers of Indian Constitution- KM Munshi: An Architect of Modern India






Munshi was elected to the Constituent Assembly from Bombay on a Congress Party ticket. He was one of the most active members of the Assembly, being a member of 16 committees and sub-committees including the Drafting Committee. Some of his interventions were in the debates relating to fundamental rights, citizenship, and minority rights.


  • He was an Indian independence movement activist, politician, writer and educationist from Gujarat state.
  • A lawyer by profession, he later turned to author and politician. He is a well-known name in Gujarati literature.
  • He founded Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an educational trust, in 1938.
  • Munshi wrote his works in three languages namely Gujarati, English and Hindi. Before independence of India, Munshi was part of Indian National Congress and after independence, he joined Swatantra Party.
  • Munshi held several important posts like member of Constituent Assembly of India, minister of agriculture and food of India, and governor of Uttar Pradesh. In his later life, he was one of the founding members of Vishva Hindu Parishad.

Indian independence movement:

  • Due to influence of Aurobindo, Munshi leaned towards revolutionary group and get himself involved into the process of bomb-making.
  • But after settling in the Mumbai, he joined Indian Home Rule movement and became secretary in 1915.
  • In 1917, he became secretary of Bombay presidency association.
  • In 1920, he attended annual congress session at Ahmedabad and was influenced by its president Surendranath Banerjee.
  • In 1927, he was elected to the Bombay legislative assembly but after Bardoli satyagraha, he resigned under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He participated in the civil disobedience movement in 1930 and was arrested for six months initially. After taking part in the second part of same movement, he was arrested again and spent two years in the jail in 1932. In 1934, he became secretary of Congress parliamentary board.
  • Munshi was elected again in the 1937 Bombay presidency election and became Home Minister of the Bombay Presidency.
  • During his tenure of home minister, he suppressed the communal riots in Bombay. Munshi was again arrested after he took part in Individual satyagraha in 1940.
  • As the demand for Pakistan gathered momentum, he gave up non-violence and supported the idea of a civil war to compel the Muslims to give up their demand.
  • He believed that the future of Hindus and Muslims lay in unity in an “Akhand Hindustan”.
  • He left Congress in 1941 due to dissents with Congress, but was invited back in 1946 by Mahatma Gandhi.[

Post-independence India:

  • He was a part of several committees including Drafting Committee, Advisory Committee, Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights. Munshi presented his draft on Fundamental Rights to the Drafting and it sought for progressive rights to be made a part of Fundamental Rights.
  • After the independence of India, Munshi, Sardar Patel and N. V. Gadgil visited the Junagadh State to stabilise the state with help of the Indian Army.
  • In Junagadh, Patel declared the reconstruction of the historically important Somnath temple.
  • Munshi was appointed diplomatic envoy and trade agent (Agent-General) to the princely state of Hyderabad, where he served until its accession to India in 1948.
  • Munshi was on the ad hoc Flag Committee that selected the Flag of India in August 1947, and on the committee which drafted the Constitution of India under the chairmanship of B. R. Ambedkar.
  • Besides being a politician and educator, Munshi was also an environmentalist. He initiated the Van Mahotsav in 1950,when he was Union Minister of Food and Agriculture, to increase area under forest cover.
  • Munshi served as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh from 1952 to 1957. In 1959, Munshi separated from the Nehru-dominated (socialist) Congress Party and started the Akhand Hindustan movement.
  • He believed in a strong opposition, so along with Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, he founded the Swatantra Party, which was right-wing in its politics, pro-business, pro-free market economy and private property rights.
  • In August 1964, he chaired the meeting for the founding of the Hindu nationalist organisation Vishva Hindu Parishad at Sandipini ashram