Rati Ram Gupta was born on 14 June 1901 in Panipat. He was given the title ‘Deshbandhu’ by MK Gandhi and Swami Shradhanand.
He completed his early education at a Madrasa in Panipat and then went on to study at St. Stephens College. Here he met with and joined various revolutionary leaders. He actively campaigned for the separation of Haryana and Punjab. He also spoke about the upliftment of Dalits and the removal of untouchability.
Gupta was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly where he served for seven years.
Role in India’s independence movement
Gupta was an active member of the Arya Samaj. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919) had a huge impact on him and the incident drove him to become more actively involved in the freedom struggle. He joined the Indian National Congress (INC) and was responsible for organizing Congress committees in Karnal.
Gupta took an active part in the ‘Quit India’ movement. He was arrested by the British for his involvement in various freedom struggles.
Contribution to Constitution Making
Gupta was elected to the Constituent Assembly from Delhi through a Congress ticket. Gupta believed passionately in the importance of newspapers and other forms of print media and made pertinent arguments in their favour. He pushed strongly for Delhi to have more representation in the Parliament.
Gupta made vital contributions to Indian journalism. Along with other senior members of the INC, Swami Shraddhanand and Gupta started a newspaper called the Rozana Tej. He expanded this newspaper by buying another publication: The Indian News Chronicle. He also began working with Ramnath Goenka. After his death in 1951, Ramnath Goenka renamed the newspaper as the Indian Express.
- Gupta argued for the increase of representation of Delhi in the Parliament. He presented figures depicting Delhi’s exponential population growth and contended that the number of representatives from Delhi should be increased.
- He outlined the importance of newspapers in shining light on the happenings of a country. He believed that levying unnecessary taxes on newspapers will pose a hindrance to the very purpose that newspapers serve.