Minoo Masani

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Minoo Masani
Minoo Masani.jpg
India Ambassador to Brazil
In office
May 1948 – May 1949
PresidentRajendra Prasad
Succeeded byJoginder Sen Bahadur
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Ranchi (Lok Sabha constituency)
In office
Preceded byAbdul Ibrahim
Succeeded byP. K. Ghosh
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Rajkot (Lok Sabha constituency)
In office
Preceded byU. N. Dhebar
Succeeded byGhanshyambhai Oza
Personal details
Minocher Rustom Masani

(1905-11-20)20 November 1905
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died27 May 1998(1998-05-27) (aged 92)
Mumbai, India
Political partySwatantra Party
Other political
Indian National Congress
OccupationJournalist,Politician, Writer , Diplomat
Known forPromotion of liberal economy

Minocher Rustom "Minoo" Masani (20 November 1905 – 27 May 1998) was an Indian politician, a leading figure of the erstwhile Swatantra Party. He was a three-time Member of Parliament, representing Gujarat's Rajkot constituency in the second, third and fourth Lok Sabha. A Parsi, he was among the founders of the Indian Liberal Group think tank that promoted classical liberalism.[1]

He served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, representing the Indian National Congress. He introduced the proposal for a uniform civil code to be included in the Constitution of India in 1947, which was rejected.[2]

His public life began in the Bombay Municipal Corporation, where he was elected as Mayor in 1943. He also became a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly.[3] In August 1960, he along with C. Rajagopalachari and N. G. Ranga formed the Swatantra Party, while international Communism was at its peak.

He died, aged 92, in his home at Breach Candy, Mumbai. His funeral was held at Chandanwadi.[4]

Early life[edit]

Minocher (Minoo) Rustom Masani was born to Sir Rustom Masani who was a municipal commissioner of erstwhile Bombay and Vice chancellor of Bombay University. Masani was educated in Bombay before he moved to London where he studied at the London School of Economics[5] and he obtained his bachelor's degree in law before training as a barrister at the Lincoln's Inn in 1928.[6]

Political life[edit]

He began his professional life as an advocate at the Bombay High Court in 1929 before joining the Indian independence movement the following year, during the civil disobedience campaign. He was arrested several times by British for his participation in the movement. He was in the Nashik jail in 1932, when Jayaprakash Narayan came in contact with him and together they launched the Congress Socialist Party in 1934. He participated in Quit India Movement in 1942 and was jailed again.[7] After his jail term was over he entered legislative politics, He got elected mayor of Bombay Municipal Corporation.[8] Masani was a close friend of Jawaharlal Nehru.[9] He also became a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly.[3]

After Stalin's Great Purge and takeover of Eastern Europe, Masani moved away from Socialism and became a supporter of free market economics. Post-independence, Masani's political convictions propelled him to support "democratic socialism" in India as it "avoided monopoly, private or public".[3] He withdrew from politics for a while. He was India's representative to UN Sub-Commission on Minorities. He did not see eye to eye with the Nehru government on USSR's treatment of minorities, so he was withdrawn from the commission and appointed as Indian Ambassador to Brazil in May 1948 for one year.[10] After his stint in Brazil, He returned to India and became the chef de cabinet to the Chairman of Tata group J.R.D Tata.[11] In 1950 he founded 'Freedom First' , a monthly magazine in cause of liberal policy and politics.[12] He went back to electoral politics and got elected to Loksabha in 1957 from Ranchi as an independent candidate. In 1959 he founded Swatantra Party along with C Rajagopalachari . He won a by election from Rajkot as a Swatantra party candidate. He represented Rajkot till 1971. He was one of the few politicians who opposed the nationalisation of banks by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.[3] Swatantra party was India's single-largest opposition party in Parliament and Masani being its leader in Loksabha, initiated debate on finance bills and forced the Congress government to work rigorously. He also headed the PAC. A collection of his speeches was published as Congress Misrule and Swatantra Alternative.In 1971 general elections Swatantra party did not perform well and he resigned the position of the party president.[8] Post 1971 he kept writing and editing his magazine Freedom First. This put him against the Congress Government when the government issued the censorship order on the magazine.[13] He fought the order in court and won.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Masani married three times. His first wife was English and the marriage ended in divorce. His second marriage also ended in divorce. Minoo met Shakuntala Srivastava the daughter of J. P. Srivastava, an influential British loyalist during the Quit India movement. They married despite opposition from their respective families.[11] They had a son Zareer Masani.[15] This marriage too ended in divorce in 1989.


Masani was also an author and has written many books. His first book, Our India, was a best seller and even a prescribed text book in pre-independence India.[10]

  • Zoroastrianism: The Religion Of The Good Life (1938)
  • Our India (1940)[16]
  • Socialism Reconsidered (1944)[17]
  • Picture of a Plan (1945)
  • A Plea for a Mixed Economy (1947)[18]
  • Our Growing Human Family (1950)[19]
  • Neutralism in India (1951)
  • The Communist Party of India: A Short History (1954)[20]
  • Congress Misrule and Swatantra Alternative (1967)[21]
  • Too Much Politics, Too Little Citizenship (1969)[22]
  • Liberalism (1970)
  • Folklore of wells: being a study of water-worship in East and West (1974)
  • The Constitution, Twenty Years Later (1975)
  • Bliss was it in that Dawn ... (1977)[23]
  • Against the tide (1981)
  • We Indians (1989)
  • Masani, M.R. (1961). The Future of Free Enterprise in India: Forum of Free Enterprise. Forum of Free Enterprise. Retrieved 3 July 2019.



  1. ^ Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung, ed. (1999). Liberal priorities for India in the 21st century. Project for Economic Education. p. 18. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  2. ^ Narain, Vrinda (2001). Gender and Community: Muslim Women's Rights in India By Vrinda Narain. p. 57. ISBN 9780802048691.
  3. ^ a b c d The Indian Express dated Thursday, 8 April 1948, Advance Towards Democratic Socialism online
  4. ^ "Minoo Masani dead". Rediff.com. 27 May 1998. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  5. ^ Vincent Barnett (27 August 2014). Routledge Handbook of the History of Global Economic Thought. Taylor & Francis. pp. 572–. ISBN 978-1-317-64411-8.
  6. ^ Reed, Stanley (1950). The Indian And Pakistan Year Book And Who's Who 1950. Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. p. 712. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  7. ^ "CADIndia". CADIndia. 20 November 1905. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Rediff On The NeT: Minoo Masani dead". Rediff.com. 27 May 1998. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  9. ^ Kumar, Girja (1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India By Girja Kumar. p. 453. ISBN 9788124105252.
  10. ^ a b "M.R. Masani". Liberals India. 20 November 1905. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  11. ^ a b Bhagat, Rasheeda (25 March 2012). "A walk through the loves and lives of the Masanis".
  12. ^ Ghose, S. (2018). Why I Am a Liberal: A Manifesto for Indians Who Believe in Individual Freedom. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. p. 386. ISBN 978-93-5305-354-3. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  13. ^ "THE PRESS- Censorship Scope and Limitations". Economic and Political Weekly. 11 (9): 7–8. 28 February 1976. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  14. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. (30 January 2016). "Fighting the giant". Telegraph India. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  15. ^ Masani, Z. (2012). And All is Said: Memoir of a Home Divided. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-341760-6. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  16. ^ Masani, M.R. (1953). Our India--1953. Oxford University Press (Indian Branch). Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  17. ^ Masani, M.R. (1988). Socialism Reconsidered (in German). Padma. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  18. ^ Masani, M.R. (1947). A Plea for the Mixed Economy. National Information & Publications. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  19. ^ Masani, M.R. (1950). Our growing human family: from tribe to world federation. Indian Branch, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  20. ^ Masani, M.R. The Communist Party of India, a Short History, by M. R. Masani. With an Introd. by Guy Wint. In Association with the Institute of Pacific Relations. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  21. ^ Masani, M.R. Congress misrule and the Swatantra alternative, Foreword by C.Rajagopalachari. publisher not identified. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  22. ^ Masani, M.R. (1968). Too Much Politics: Too Little Citizenship. Public affairs pamphlet (in German). Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  23. ^ Masani, M.R. (1977). Bliss was it in that Dawn: A Political Memoir Upto Independence. Arnold-Heinemann Publishers (India). ISBN 9780842610872. Retrieved 3 July 2019.

External links[edit]