Rashtraratana Shri Shiv Prasad Gupta was a great visionary, philanthropist and a prominent leader of the Indian Freedom Movement. Though, belonging to a very wealthy Industrialist and "Jamindar" family, he devoted his entire life to actively participate, assist and give financial aid to the various movements of the freedom struggle. He was a close associate and friend of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya and all the other prominent nationalist leaders, who often stayed with him on their visit to Varanasi and relied

upon his advice and support.He was born in 1885.

In Varanasi he established the Kashi Vidyapeeth - A state University, the "Bhart Mata Mandir" - A National Heritage monument, "Shiv Prasad Gupta Hospital" – The civil Hospital of Varanasi, Hindi daily Aaj – The oldest existing Hindi News Paper, and numerous other projects and activities of public importance. At Akbarpur, he gave 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land for settings up the first Gandhi Ashram in India to promote the production and sale of indigenously manufacture Khadi clothes.

‘Aaj’ Hindi Daily newspaper, the landmark publication of Jnanamandal Limited started by Rashtraratna Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta in the year 1920 in order to facilitated the Indian freedom struggle. Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta was associated with the Indian National Congress as its Treasurer for many years. He founded Kashi Vidhyapith in Varanasi, which is now a University to give a chance to those youth to complete their education, who had left their studies in between, to join the Indian Freedom Struggle. He built The Bharat Mata Mandir in which relief map of India has been carved on marble. The Temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936.

The Total expenditure and arrangement for The First National Congress to be held at Varanasi in year 1928 was done by Rashtraratana Shri Shiv Prasad Gupta at his residence ‘Seva Upawan’, a Heritage Building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for his friend Mr. Catley, the collector of Varanasi and bought by Rashtraratana Ji in the year 1910. It was renamed ‘Seva Upawan’ by Mahatma Gandhi, which was synonym of the rich hospitality the people were offered here. The building exist in with a constructed area of 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) situated at western bank of holy river Ganga covered by 20 acres of appertained land. Rashtraratan Jee donated Rs. 1,01,000/- as the first donation to build Benaras Hindu University for which a grand total of 50 lacs was collected under the instigation and leadership of Malviya Ji from the various Princely States & Industrial houses, in the beginning of 20th century. Rashtraratana Ji actively participated in this noble and neighbor of Malviya Ji for these priceless contributions toward the applifment of society and the Indian’s freedom struggle against the British rule, Mahatma Gandhi at comfort upon him the title of ‘Rashtra Ratna – Jewel of the Nation’.

The Indian postal department issued a stamp in his memory.

Shiv Prasad Gupta

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