Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher
Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher (also known as B. G. Kher) (August 24, 1888 – March 8, 1957 ) was the first chief minister (then called prime minister) of Bombay State which consisted of present day Maharastra and Gujrat States of India. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 1954. A lawyer, solicitor and social worker by choice and politician by necessity, Kher were often described as “Sajjan”, good and gentle. Kher was a scholar, an accomplished orator, and a man with no pretensions.
Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher was born on August 24, 1888 at Ratnagiri in a middle class Karhade Brahmin family. He spent some years of his boyhood at Kundgol in the then Jamkhandi State. Later, he migrated at the instance of Gopal Krishna Gokhale to Pune to study at the New English School. Later he obtained the degree of B.A. in 1908 from the Wilson College, with high distinction and received the Bhau Daji Lad prize for standing first in Sanskrit.
B. G. Kher’s political career began in 1922 and he was chosen as Secretary of the Bombay branch of the Swaraj Party. During the Civil disobedience movement he was arrested and sentenced to eight months’ rigorous imprisonment and fine in 1930. He was again arrested in 1932 and sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment and fine. He became the first prime minister of Bombay Province in 1937 and continued in office till October, 1939. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1940. During the Quit India struggle, he was again arrested and imprisoned in August, 1942. He was released from prison on July 14, 1944. He again became prime minister of Bombay province on March 30, 1946. He was in office till April 21, 1952. He died in Pune on March 8, 1957.