Rashtra Ratna Shiv prasad Gupta
- Shiv prasad Gupta was born in Varanasi on 28th June 1883. He graduated from Allahabad University where thinkers and national leaders like Acharya Narendra Deo and Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant were his college-mates. Inspired by Lokmanya Tilak, he joined the Congress. A close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. he was the treasurer and member of the Working Committee of the Congress from 1924 to 1931. Elected President of the Congress Political Conference of the United Province at Kashipur, he announced the ultimate goal of total independence in his presidential address.
- In 1914 and 1930, he visited the USA, England, Japan and Europe. He first met Mahatma Gandhi in London. During these visits, he met sevearl Indian revolutionaries and fredom fighters living abroad. On his way back to India, he was arrested by the British Police in Singapore, jailed and tortured. Taking active part in all the movements after 1920, he was sent to jail several times. A successful leader of the national movement in Eastern U.P. and Varanasi, people honoured him with the title of "Rashtra-Ratna".
- His house in Varanasi - Seva Upvan - was a shelter for the freedom fighters and revolutionaries. Mahatma Gandhi's proposal for 'Asahayog Satyagrah' (Non-Cooperation Movement) was first discussed at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee at Seva Upvan.
- Guptaji spread te message of the National Movement through a Hindi daily - Aaj - which he began publishing from Varanasi. It continues to be published in seven cities of U.P. and Bihar. He also started the Kashi Vidyapeeth as an institution to prepare educated youth to work for the cause of freedom. Inaugurated by Gandhiji in 1921, today this University is a leading educational institution of the country, whose alumni include erstwhile Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Kamalpati Tripathi, Dr. Balkrishna Keskar and many opther leaders and fredom foghters. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Chairman of its governing body for several years.
- In 1936 Gandhiji inaugurated the Bharatmata Temple founded by Guptaji in Varanasi. It became a source of national inspiration.
- Shiv prasad Gupta, philanthropist, freedom fighter and educationalist, died on 24th April 1944.