Govind Ballabh Pant was an Indian freedom fighter, an important political leader from Uttar Pradesh and of the movement to establish Hindi as the national language of India. As a lawyer in Kashipur, Pant began his active work against the British Raj in 1914, when he helped a local parishad, or village council, their successful challenge of a law requiring locals to provide free transportation of the luggage of travelling British officials. In 1921, he entered politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. In 1930, he was arrested and imprisoned for several weeks for organizing a Salt March inspired by Gandhi's earlier actions. In 1933, he was arrested and imprisoned for seven months for attending a session of the then-banned provincial Congress. In 1935, the ban was rescinded, and Pant joined the new Legislative Council.
During the Second World War, Pant acted as the tiebreaker between Gandhi's faction, which advocated supporting the British Crown in their war effort, and Subash Chandra Bose's faction, which advocated taking advantage of the situation to expel the British Raj by any means necessary. In 1940, Pant was arrested and imprisoned for helping organize the Satyagraha movement. In 1942 he was arrested again, this time for signing the Quit India resolution, and imprisoned until March of 1945, at which point Jawaharlal Nehru had to plead for Pant's release, on grounds of failing health. After independence in 1947, Pant became Chief Minister of the United Provinces, which he renamed Uttar Pradesh. Among his achievements in that position was the abolition of the zamindari system. He was called on to succeed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as Home Minister after Patel's death in 1950; in that position, his chief achievement was the establishment of Hindi as an official language. In 1957, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna.