Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first president of independent India. He was born on the third of December, 1884 at the district of Siwan, Bihar. His parents were Mahadev Sahay and Kamleshwari Devi.
He did his schooling from Chhapra Zilla School at Chhapra and went to Presidency College in Kolkata to complete his further studies in college. Rajvanshi Devi was his wife and he had a son by name Mrityunjay Prasad.
He was an active member of the Indian National Congress (INC), who fought for the freedom struggle along with other prominent leaders of the country who were also part of the INC.
Dr. Prasad supported views of the right wing and was in favor of a liberalized government for India for formation of liberal economic policies. These views can be reflected in many of the books that he has authored.
Some of his well known books are Atmakatha, Bapu Ke Kadmom Mein, Mahatma Gandhi and Bihar, India divided, etc. Dr. Prasad passed away on the 28th of February, 1963.
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Early Life of Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Dr. Prasad was born and brought up in a joint family. At a very young age, Dr. Prasad learnt many languages like Persian and Hindi. His father was a very learned man and he himself had mastered many languages like Sanskrit and Persian.
Later he did schooling from Chhapra and later gave an entrance examination to join the Presidency College at Calcutta. He is believed to have topped the entrance examinations and that gave him entry to the science stream at the same college.
Throughout his science studies, he was taught by many eminent personalities like JC Bose and Praful Chandra Roy. Though initially he was interested in the science stream, his focus slowly started drifting towards the arts stream.
With great interest for the arts, Dr. Prasad was able to get a gold medal in the field of economics, when he completed his masters in the same subject from the Calcutta University.
Studies & Career
He served as a professor and later as a principal of Langat Singh college of Muzzafarpur at Bihar. But his career did not last long, as he began to feel the need to pursue higher studies. Further, he studied law from the University of Calcutta by coming back to Calcutta and to support his education he took up a job as well.
He began working at the Calcutta City College and in the same line he was also able to complete a master’s degree in law. He did not stop with the masters’ degree. His desire to know more and his inquisitiveness took him even higher and he was able to successfully complete his doctoral studies from the Allahabad University.
Dr. Prasad was one of those rare gems who had an ambition for themselves and strived hard, in every way, to realize that ambition and turn their dreams true.
Studying to this extent wasn’t so easy in those days and he had to face every hardship to complete his dream, look after the family and balance his family life as well. As the popularity of Dr. Prasad increased with his higher level of interests in law practice, he became very noted and much wanted in his region.
Dr. Prasad became associated with the Patna High court and started practising there. He was so popular and such an eminent lawyer that people started believing in his ability to deliver justice and kept all their faith in him. He was very popular among the general masses.
Dr. Prasad joined the INC in the year 1911. At Champaran, farmers were forcefully ordered to do cultivation by Britishers against their own wishes. People started protesting against the attitudes of the Britishers and they began to revolt against them.
People were unhappy with the forceful cultivation they were asked to do and began showing their dissent and unhappiness. Gandhi exhibited their support to the protesting famers and this protest was popularly came to be known as Champaran rally.
Dr. Prasad provided great support to the protesting farmers and extended a helping hand to Gandhi as well. At this stage, Gandhi was a magnificent and popular personality who had become famous all over India and Dr. Prasad wasn’t left behind.
Change in Mindsets
He was so influenced by Gandhiji’s words and preaching that he became his ardent follower and admired him to a very large extent. He began providing support and participated at the non-cooperative movements at Bihar. Dr. Prasad left his law practice and plunged into the freedom struggle movement.
He directly supported Swadeshi movement and began using only country made products. He started speaking against foreign goods; he favored only Swadeshi goods like khadi.
Local traders were encouraged against those selling out-of-the country products, especially clothes. Handicrafts and artisans from the country were given a helping hand.
The First President
Rajendra Prasad served the INC as its president for almost 3 times and due to his active participation in the freedom struggle, he also had to face imprisonment many a times when he raised his voice against the British rulers. Along with many other prominent leaders, he too was released from jail on the 15th of June, 1945.
After independence, Dr. Prasad at first served the country as food and agricultural minister, but was bestowed with higher responsibility as the first president of independent India and his contributions in framing the constitution of India was remarkable.
He became re-elected for the post of president for another term, and it’s a big achievement of sorts. Till date, he is the only person to have got re-elected twice for the post of president and nobody has been able to beat his record till date.
Though Dr. Prasad held the most prestigious position of the country, his value systems were so true and down to earth that he can proudly be called one of those rare gems our country was lucky to have. He was simple, down to earth, followed in Gandhi’s footsteps, and helped people in distress and a true selfless man who worked tirelessly for our nation.