Bishan Narayan Dar
Dar Pandit Bishan Narayan, Barrister-at-Law, was born in 1864 in the district of Bara Banki to a respectable Kashmiri family in Lucknow. His grandfather, Pundit Har Ram Dar, served under the Oudh Court as Royal Akhbar Navis in Calcutta.
While he was studying in Canning College, Lucknow, Dar developed a deep interest in English literature and political philosophy. This interest developed into a desire to complete his education in England and he eventually went on to do so, entering London’s prestigious Middle Temple as a pupil. After three years in England, he was called to Bar in India. On his return, questions arose among the Kashmiris as to whether Dar should be re-admitted into his caste or not. The community was divided into two factions on the issue. Regardless, Dar’s attitude to his opponents was as friendly as his attitude to his supporters.
After attending his first National Congress in Madras, he took a keen interest in politics, even during a time of illness, when he was confined to his bed. He presided over the United Provincial conference held at Bareilly in April, 1911 and was elected President of the Indian National Congress in Calcutta, December 1911. In 1914, he was elected as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council.
Dar Pandit Bishan Narayan was a practical social reformer, an advocate of free and compulsory education, and a poet. His Urdu poetry was admired among the Urdu-reading public in his time.
Source: Bhargava Parag Narain, Who’s Who in India (Lucknow: Newul Kishore Press, 1911); C.H. Rao, The Indian Biographical Dictionary (Pillar and Co., Madras: 1915)
Pt. Bishan Narain Dar’s Speeches and Writings, ed. H.L. Chatterji (Lucknow: Anglo-Oriental Press, 1921)