Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi (Gujarati: કનૈયાલાલ માણેકલાલ મુનશી) (December 30, 1887 - February 8, 1971) was an Indian freedom fighter, politician, writer and educationist from Gujarat state. A lawyer by profession, he later turned to literature and politics.
Munshi was born on 30 December, 1887 in the town of Bharuch in Gujarat, and educated in Vadodara, where he excelled in academics. One of his teachers at Baroda College was Sri Aurobindo. Munshi later practised in Bombay High Court.
Munshi was an active participant in the Indian Independence Movement ever since the advent of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined the Swaraj Party but returned to the Indian National Congress with the launch of the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. He was arrested several times, including during the Quit India Movement of 1942. A great admirer of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Munshi served in the Central Legislative Assembly in the 1930s. In 1938, Munshi founded the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mumbai and was instrumental in establishment of Hansraj Morarji Public School, Rajhans Vidyalaya and Rajhans Balvatika.
After the independence of India, Munshi was appointed the diplomatic envoy and trade agent to the princely state of Hyderabad, where he served until its accession in 1948. Munshi was on the ad hoc Flag Committee that selected the Flag of India in August 1947, and on the committee which drafted the Constitution of India under the chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. He and Purushottam Das Tandon were among those who strongly opposed propagation and conversion in the constituent assembly. He was also the main driving force behind the renovation of the historically important Somnath Temple by the Government of India just after independence.
He served as the Governor of Indian State of Uttar Pradesh from 1952 to 1957. In 1959, Munshi separated from the Nehru-dominated Congress Party and joined the newly formed Swatantra Party led by Chakravarti Rajgopalachari, which was right-wing in its politics and pro-business, pro-free market economy and private property rights. The party enjoyed limited success, but eventually died out. Later, Munshi joined the Jan Sangh.
Besides being a politician and educator, K.M. Munshi was also an environmentalist. He initiated the Vanmahotsav in 1950, when he was Union Minister of Agriculture and Food, to increase the area under forest cover. Since then Van Mahotsav a week long festival of tree plantation is organised every year in the month of July all across the country and lakhs of trees are planted.
Munshi was also a litterateur with a wide range of interests. He is well known for his historical novels in Gujarati, especially his trilogy Patanni Prabhuta (The Greatness of Patan), Gujaratno Nath (The Ruler of Gujarat) and Rajadhiraj (The Emperor). His other works include Jay Somnath, Krishnavatara, Bhagavan Parasurama, and Tapasvini ( The Lure of Power ) a novel with a fictional parallel drawn from the Freedom Movement of India under Mahatma Gandhi.
K.M. Munshi's novel Prithvi Vallabh was made into a movie of the same name twice. The adaptation directed by Manilal Joshi in 1924 was very controversial in its day: Mahatma Gandhi railed against it for excessive sex and violence. The second version was by Sohrab Modi in 1943.
He married Leelavati Seth, a noted writer in Gujarati in 1926.
In the memory of shri K. M. Munshi variety of awards are being presented. Some links to those details are