Our Founder

हमारे संस्‍थापक‍ - डॉ. सर हरिसिंह गौर 

(संक्षिप्त जीवनी)                                                                                        

 

Founder: Dr. Sir Hari Singh Gour 

(Brief Biography)
 

Dr. Gour is one of those remarkable persons who lived such life as become the perennial fountain of inspiration to all the succeeding generations. The story of his life, career and achievements sounds like a heroic romance bubbling with the dynamism of his colourful and many-sided personality. A man from humble background who rises to the greatest possible heights in life with nothing but his own brilliance, firmness of purpose and a never say die spirit. Great Savant Dr Gour was veritably a pioneer in many a walk of life and commanded great admiration and respect from all ranks of the Indian community. Made of stern metal he disdained luxury. Dr. Dwarka Prasad Mishra, third Vice Chancellor of our University in a commemorating volume to Dr. Gour rightly observed that:  

"In the Valhalla of Indian worthies few men have so many claims to pre-eminence as Dr. Gour, for whether we regard him as an orator, or a litterateur, a lawyer, a brilliant conversationalist or raconteur (ra-kon-tuh a person who excels in telling anecdotes); an eminent jurist, a patriot or a courageous social reformer; his name stands forth as of a man who was truly colossus (kuh-lo-suhs enormous in size, magnitude, importance and ability) amidst his fellow-men and whose proportions grew larger with the passing years". (D. P. Mishra)

Dr Sir Hari Singh Gour was born in SanichariTauri Ward, Saugar, (previously known as Central Province & Berar) Madhya Pradesh, on the 26th of November 1870.His father's name was Takhat Singh Gour andmother's name was Ladlibai. His paternal grandfather Mansingh had fought with the British during the Bundela rebellion of 1842.Dr. Gour got his early education from the Government High School, Saugar. His visionary teacher from the school, Mr.Madanlal,could see that he was destined for greatness. He observed about him that "this boy is 'Tilga', and will shine brightly in the times to come". Later on, for higher education, Dr Gour joined the Hislop College at Nagpur. He had passed his Entrance and Intermediate Examinations in First Class, standing first in the Province and sweeping all the prizes available to such students. In 1889 Dr Gour proceeded to Cambridge to complete his studies, where he resided for three years and took Honours in the Moral Science Tripos Law (1892). He was a frequent speaker at the Union Debates, where he was spoken of as one of the orators of the day. As a worthy student of the University, he represented his University in the inter-university Education Committees. His name was well-" known in the literary circles by his two volumes of verses "The stepping Westward" and "Random Rhymes", and he was acclaimed by the journals of the day as a poet of great promise. The author was also the recipient of delicate compliments from men like Lord Tennyson and W. B. Gladstone. During the vacations, he used to go on lecture tours, and during his last years' residence at the University, he was a strong champion of Dadabhai Nawroji's candidature for the membership of the British Parliament. He indeed saw the great Indian savant return to the House of Commons with a comfortable majority.

As a man of letters

Dr. Gour was a man of letters. While yet a student, articles from his pen began to find a place in some of the leading magazines, such as the 'National Review'. His earliest effort at writing poetry 'Stepping Westward and Other Poems' made him famous in the literary world and he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Literature, a society founded in 1820, with the patronage of King George IV, to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent".He also became a member of the Writers' Forum, due to his participation in the debates and a member of the National Liberal Club. He wasa student's special testimonial and his parting gift to his alma materwas a short drama acted in a Suburban theatre.

He wrote three novels. His only Love (1929) being one of them. Random Rhymes (1892), Stepping Westward and Other Poems, were his collections of poems, his essays and articles were compiled in his book entitled Facts and Fancies (1948), Seven Lives (1944) his Autobiography. The Spirit of Buddhism (1929), a serious and elemental study of Buddhist philosophy contained his ideas on religion. Lost Soul, Passing Clouds, and Letters from Heaven were his other works.

As a Lawyer

In the summer of 1902, young Gour returned home intending to join the Bar, but he was appointed to the Central Provinces Commission, which appointment he relinquished just after three months and commenced practising at the Bar. At all the places he practised, whether at Bhandara or in Raipur (Chhattisgarh) he had attracted a large clientele by his forensic ability, legal acumen and strong common sense, and had given to the Bar a dignity and status of which they were justly proud. His services were requisitioned in many famous cases throughout the county. While at Raipur, he wrote two monumental works whose fame spread throughout the land. The two works in his times got acclaimed as two great classics in the legal literature of the country. The first one, i.e. Law of Transfer in British India, published in March 1902, was instantly acclaimed as a work of unparalleled eminence. It ran into several editions.  It has assisted the decisions of the High Courts in many complicated cases. In 1910 he published his other great work—The Penal Law of British India— one of the most prominent works in the field.  His book was hailed as a work of great men. Even in Europe and America where the Penal Law was not in force, it received the appreciation of eminent jurists like Sir Frederick Pellock. Later the success that attended his publication of the 'Hindu Code' added considerably to his reputation as a great author and jurist. This book rendered the otherwise complex Hindu Law intelligible to all, a service invaluable in itself. The work ran into two editions and is a correct and unrivalled synthesis of the Hindu Law. It influenced the national Legislature, to undertake the codification of some of its provisions.

Where his classic works on law had not penetrated his work as a legislator carried him and gave him a countrywide reputation. His Civil Marriage Bill (now Act of XXX 1923), which gives legal recognition to inter-caste marriages and the children born of such wedlock is a striking example. It shows him at once as a great social reformer thinking ahead of the times. The bill was opposed by many a conservative member, challenged at every stage, and was again and again rejected by the Legislative Assembly. But his persistence triumphed in the end. He had many more Acts to his credit.  Most notably, the Reciprocity Act, the acts to repeal, the Criminal Law Amendment, to remove the Sex disqualification and enable women to be enrolled as lawyers, and the Act which abolished the imprisonment of women in the execution of a decree for restitution of the conjugal rights etc.His name will be immortal as the author of the Age of Consent Bill of 1929 which made the consent of the girl necessary for marriage and prescribed the minimum age for marriage to be 14 years. End of Devadasi system under the sections 372 and 373 of the Indian Penal Code was his another significant contribution. All these bills together went a long way in creatinga favourable public opinion for the progressive laws.

As a Social Reformer

Apart from these valuable legislations, the public services of late Sir Gour in the country's cause have been equally valuable. He was one of the most thoughtful, illustrious and worthy torch bearers who guided the steady steps of new India emerging out of the synthesis of two cultures in the 19th century. His persistent demand for the economy, the cutting down of the National expenditure, and the necessity for allotment of the higher amounts for the nation-building departments are well known. His persistence led to the appointment of the Inchcape Committee and other such committees in the interests of all. Sir HarisinghGour's public service had always been in the promotion of the cause of Indian nationalism. It was this idea that prompted him to urge for the establishment of a Supreme Court for India. He was a member of the Indian National Congress for a long time and had taken a leading part in its deliberations. He was one of the first few to press for the formation of the Home Rule League. His address as President of the C. P. & Berar Provincial Conference in 1914, full of apt aphorisms put forth strongly the plea that nothing short of Home Rule would satisfy India's demands. But to attain that end he insisted upon mass education, the free and compulsory education. That was the panacea for all evils as understood by him. Education—free and compulsory education, was the keynote of his ideology; he continuously kept pressing it upon the Government of India. He looked forward to the solution of all communal strifes and Hindu-Muslim troubles in mass education of the right type. It also demonstrates his belief that social reforms are the precursors of political and other reforms.

It is convincing proof of his sincerity for the cause of the promotion of education that despite the very hard pressure on his valuable time, he accepted the honorary office of Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University. He successfully organised the University in an incredibly short time and his great services were rightly acknowledged by those in authority. The Chancellor referred to them in his successive Convocation Addresses. In recognition of his eminent public services, more particularly those in the field of education, he was knighted on the 1st of January 1925 and it was acclaimed all over the country as a fit tribute to his public service.

It was as a lawyer and advocate that Dr Gour stood prominent among his contemporaries. The author of thorough-going books on law and a great jurist of his times, he shall be remembered as a pioneer in many other fields of activity. His great legal learning and cyclopaedic knowledge coupled with his finished oratory and persuasive eloquence enabled him to win many a battle in the legislative and other forums. His successful advocacy had reached even beyond the borders of India.

As an academician

From such distinguished service in the fields of law, education and progressive thoughts, Dr Harisingh Gour slowly rose to the status of an All-India figure. He built his career on the rock of industrious habits and by his crystal-clear insight in men and moments, he built for himself a reputation that a few of his generation could aspire. He offered his services as the vice-chancellor of the University of Nagpur for two successive terms and starting from scratches transformed it into a prestigious University. In the evening of his life repaired, as shadows lengthened, to his native town of Saugar, and through his prince donation of about a crore of rupees (roughly 800 million of today), laid the foundation of the University of Saugar now known as Dr Hari Singh Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar, strong and true. The University was inaugurated on the 18th of July 1946, and although Dr Gour himself was away at Nagpur on this auspicious day, holding important conversations with the authorities at Nagpur, the institution from its very initiation has breathed his noble spirit and aspired to live up to his great ideals. For two and a half; years, he nurtured the babe, and when he passed away on the 25th of December 1949; he had the satisfaction that he had vouchsafed his spirit of truth and tolerance and the great love of life to the institution he founded and loved as his own.The trust placed in the University of Saugar is a challenge and a beacon-light to us and shall never fail the Great Spirit that launched forth a hundred dreams of great beau. His massive intellect and the mighty spirit shall ever guide us to better modes of learning and thought.