Rajendra Prasad was the first President of India. He was an Indian independence activist and a lawyer by training. As the President, he fought to end inequality and worked hard to make sure that you always have a roof over your head in case of emergency.
Rajendra Prasad’s Early Life
Dr. Rajendra Prasad was born on December 3, 1884.
Rajendra Prasad lived in Ziradei, Siwan district, Bihar, India.
His father, Mahadev Sahai Srivastava, was a Sanskrit and Persian language scholar.
In his memory, Kamleshwari Devi told her son stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Rajendra Prasad was the youngest son of four children and he had one elder brother named Mahendra Prasad. He also had three elder sisters, and he was the baby of the family.
His mother died when he was a child, and his older sister Bhagwati Devi raised him.
Rajendra Prasad is no doubt one of the most well-known names in history.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s Education
Rajendra Prasad's parents enrolled him in Persian language, Hindi, and arithmetic classes when he was just five years old.
The young Abdul Kapar was sent to the International School of Chapra after finishing his elementary education at the district school.
After T.K. Ghosh passed away, his son and oldest brother, Mahendra Prasad, went to study at T.K. Ghosh's Academy in Patna where they studied for two years.
When he was just 16, he came in first place in the University of Calcutta entrance exam and received a scholarship of Rs. 30 per month for his achievements.
When he was just 16 years old, Rajendra Prasad enrolled at Presidency College in Calcutta as an undergraduate student.
In 1904, Ralph Waldo Emerson passed the F.A. exam at the University of Calcutta. He then graduated with a first division in 1905.
After leaving school, he opted to study Art and received an Economics M.A. from the University of Calcutta in December 1907. He shared a room with his brother in the Eden Hindu Hostel on campus.
He was active in The Dawn Society as well as a committed student who also took part in civic activism.
It was in 1906 when Prasad was instrumental in the founding of the first Bihari Students Conference. The Conference, soon to be followed by organizations like IAPSC (Indian Association of Philosophical Societies), was an important milestone in India's history, as it helped university students share views and experiences.
Rajendra Prasad took the Masters of Law examination at the University of Calcutta's Department of Law in 1915, passed it, and was awarded a gold medal. In 1937, he earned his doctorate in law from Allahabad University.
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Rajendra Prasad Family
Rajendra Prasad married Rajavanshi Devi in June 1896 at the early age of 12. He had one son, Mrityunjaya Prasad, who was also a politician.
Rajendra Prasad’s Career as a Teacher
As a teacher, Rajendra Prasad was employed in a variety of educational institutions.
He obtained a Master's degree in economics from the University of Calcutta before coming back to his alma mater and pursuing legal studies at Rippon College for almost 4 years. After finishing his studies, he became an Education Lecturer at Kolkata City College and went on to serve in that position for 29 years.
Rajendra Prasad's Career as a Lawyer
When he was appointed to the High Court of Bihar and Odisha, Rajendra Prasad also became a member of Patna University's Board of Governors. He also served as a lawyer in Bhagalpur, Bihar's well-known silk city.
Someone who served as one of the first members of the Board and Senate is said to be "one of the first" on that list.
Rajendra Prasad's Involvement in the Indian Independence Movement
When he was a young boy in India, Rajendra Prasad studied in the city of Calcutta. In 1906, he attended the annual session of Congress there as a volunteer. The following year, he became actively involved with the Indian National Congress as it started attending annual sessions in both Calcutta and Lucknow.
In 1916, he met Mahatma Gandhi at one of the Congress meetings. As soon as the Indian National Congress passed a motion of non-cooperation in 1920, Prasad left his lucrative legal profession to support their movement.
Mrityunjaya Prasad's father Gandhi called for a boycott of Western education. Mrityunjaya's response was to drop out of school and enroll in Bihar Vidyapeeth, an institution he and his colleagues had founded.
In October 1934, he was elected President of the Indian National Congress during the Bombay session.
When Chandra Bose resigned after a disagreement in 1939, he was re-elected by the government.
The Quit India Resolution passed in Mumbai on August 8, 1942, led to the arrest of many Indian leaders.
Rajendra Prasad was finally released from prison after serving nearly three years of his eight-year sentence.
On September 2, 1946, he was assigned to the Food and Agriculture Department after the establishment of the Interim Government of 12 nominated ministers led by Jawaharlal Nehru.
On December 11, 1946, he was elected President of the Constituent Assembly.
Humanitarian Services of Rajendra Prasad
While serving time in jail during the Bihar and Bengal floods of 1914, Rajendra Prasad set up the Bihar Central Relief Committee to raise funds. He managed to collect over Rs 38 lakhs for relief efforts, despite British attempts to stop him from leaving the region. During a 1935 earthquake in Quetta, he founded the Quetta Central Relief Committee.
Rajendra Prasad President of India
In 1950 India became independent and Rajendra Prasad was elected its first president. Acting independently of any political party as mandated by the constitution, he fulfilled his un-elected position and acted following India's laws. As ambassador, he traveled extensively and established diplomatic relations with other nations.
In 1952 and 1957, he was re-elected for two consecutive terms making him the first person to serve two terms as president. He opened Mughal Gardens to the public at Rashtrapati Bhavan for a month during this time, which has since become a popular tourist attraction in Delhi.
When did Rajendra Prasad Die?
Rajendra Prasad died on February 28, 1963, at age 78 in Patna.
His wife died 4 months before him on 9 September 1962.
He was burned at Mahaprayan Ghat, Patna, Bihar, India.
He is honored by the Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalaya in Patna.
Awards and Scholarly Details
Rajendra Prasad was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1962. He was a scholar who has written 8 books during his lifetime. Satyagraha at Champaran in 1922, division of India in 1946, and an autobiography written while he was imprisoned in Bankipur Jail. Mahatma Gandhi and Bihar are some reminiscences. Bharatiya Shiksha was also written during this time. Rajendra Prasad died in 1966 after writing books through 1959, giving away his literary properties to the Government of India as well as serving on its panels of scholarship and education award winners.
India’s first president was Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who contributed greatly to the country. Along with Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, and Lal Bahadur Shastri, he was a prominent leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement. As one of the key figures in the formation of the Republic of India, he also became the president of the Constituent Assembly that drafted our nation's constitution.
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