Sir Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar, an early INC politician and Hindu reformer and regarded as the "leading Hindu reformer of western India"

Sir Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar was an early Indian National Congress politician and Hindu reformer. He was regarded as the “leading Hindu reformer of western India”

Early Life

Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar was born on 2 December 1855 in Honavar, Bombay Presidency. His maternal uncle, Shamrao Vithal Kaikini, was a notable reformer from the Gouda Saraswat Brahmin community.

Before earning a law degree in 1881, he served as a Dakshina Fellow in Elphinstone College. Shortly before the Indian National Congress was founded in 1885, N. G. Chandavarkar went to England as a member of the three-man committee. The group was sent to teach public opinion about India right before the general elections took place in England.

His visit to England in 1885 carved out for Chandavarkar a political career, and he threw himself whole-heartedly into the work of the Indian National Congress which was founded in Bombay in 1885 on December 28, the day on which he and the other delegates returned to India

G.L. Chandavarkar


N.G. Chandavarkar was the vice-chancellor of the University of Bombay. He was elected the president of the annual session of the Indian National Congress in 1900. After one year, he was promoted to the high bench at the Bombay High Court

He took a break from politics for the next twelve years and devoted his time to the judicial system and various social groups till 1913. 

The main social group he worked with was the Prarthana Samaj (“Prayer Society”). He took the leadership controls from Mahadev Govind Ranade after the death of the latter in 1901. The organization was inspired by the Brahmo Samaj and was involved in the modernization of Hindu society.

Return to Politics

In 1914, he returned to the realm of Indian Politics. A split in the congress in 1918 came to separate the organization into two camps. Chandavarkar became the head of the All-India Moderates Conference in 1918 along with Surendranath Banerjea and Dinshaw Wacha.

In 1920 “he presided over the public meeting held in Bombay to protest against the report of the Hunter Committee on the Jallianwala Bagh atrocities which was appointed by the Government of India.”

Mahatma Gandhi was excited by this to move a resolution on the topic. Later, on Chandavarkar’s advice, Gandhi called off his Civil Disobedience campaign in 1921.

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