Bishwa Nath Singh:
Rajaji was described by Mahatma Gandhi as the keeper of his conscience.May I remind you that Raja Ji was none else than C.Rajgopalchari,the last Governor General of India.Can we go through his life-history in brief?
(Photo of C.Rajgopalachari)
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
C. Rajagopalachari, the first & last Indian Governor General of India, was an ardent patriot, a pioneering social reformer, incisive thinker, profound scholar and author who was popularly called as Raja Ji . He was also an eminent statesman... and able administrator. He personified the ideal and set as an example of simple living and high thinking. Jawaharlal Nehru had told that “Rajaji represents fundamentally the highest type of mind in India." He was born on December 10, 1878 in Thorapalli, Madras Presidency (Tamil Nadu ) of India. Rajaji had his education in Bangalore and Madras. He qualified himself for the Bar and built up a lucrative practice. He attended the Surat Session of the Congress in 1907. He first met Gandhiji in 1919 and participated in the Non-cooperation Movement in 1920. He led the Salt Satyagraha Campaign in the South in 1930 and was imprisoned for nine months. Rajaji was elected Premier of Madras Presidency in 1937and served till 1940, when he resigned due to Britain's declaration of war against Germany. He advocated cooperation over Britain's war effort and opposed the Quit India Movement. He favoured talks with Jinnah and the Muslim League and proposed what later came to be known as the "C. R. Formula". In 1946, he was appointed Minister of Industry, Supply, Education and Finance in the interim government. He served as the Governor of West Bengal from 1947 to 1948, Governor-General of India from 1948 to 1950, Union Home Minister from 1951 to 1952 and the Chief Minister of Madras state from 1952 to 1954. He resigned from the Indian National Congress and founded the Swatantra Party, which fought against the Congress in the 1962, 1967 and 1972 elections. Rajaji was instrumental in setting up a united Anti-Congress front in Madras state. This front under C. N. Annadurai captured power in the 1967 elections.Rajaji was an accomplished writer and made lasting contributions to Indian English literature. He is also credited with composition of the song Kurai Onrum Illai set in Carnatic music. He pioneered temperance and temple entry movements in India and advocated Dalit upliftment. Rajaji has been criticized for introducing the compulsory study of Hindi and the controversial Madras Scheme of Elementary Education in Tamil Nadu. Critics have often attributed his pre-eminence in politics to his being a favorite of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. He was a champion of free enterprise, prohibition and disarmament. He went to the U.S. in 1962 as the leader of the Indian delegation to plead against the piling up of nuclear weapons in the world. Rajaji was gifted with the rare talent of re-telling stories from the epics and the” puranas”. He wrote a number of books of enduring value as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagwat Gita and the Upanishads. He was an accomplished writer and speaker in English and Tamil.Rajaji was gifted with the rare talent of re-telling stories from the epics and the puranas. He wrote a number of books of enduring value as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Gita and the Upanishads. He was an accomplished writer and speaker in English and Tamil. Rajaji has the unique distinction of being the only Indian Governor-General. Rajaji had served as Acting Governor-General during November,1947, when Lord Mountbatten was in England to attend Prince Phillip's marriage to then-Princess Elizabeth..Rajaji led a very simple life in the viceregal palace. It is known that he used to wash his own clothes. During this time a friend of Rajaji came to visit him. He was surprised to see the acting Governor-General Rajaji polishing his own shoes and asked why a governal general should polish his shoes. Rajaji replied sarcastically "Yes, indeed it is my own shoe and whose shoe do you polish?".Rajaji as Governor-General, Jawaharlal Nehru, as Prime Minister and Sardar Patel, as Deputy Prime Minister, constituted an impressive triumvirate which ruled the country from 1948 - 1950.By the end of the year 1949, it was assumed that Rajaji, already Governor-General, was going to continue as President. But due to the internal politics of the Congress mainly between the supporters of Nehru and Patel, Rajendra Prasad was also taken up as a possible candidate.Congressmen who were opponents of Rajaji used his non-participation in the Quit India Movement as a weapon against him. Rajaji immediately called Rajendra Prasad and told him that as he did not want the country to witness a conflict between senior leaders so soon after the death of Mahatma Gandhi, he would withdraw from the Presidential Contest. Thus Rajendra Prasad became the President. of India. He was given the highest National Award of "Bharat Ratna" the first three recipients of India in the year 1954. Rajaji had died on December 25, 1972 in Madras, Tamil Nadu, India at the age of Ninety four. Though, he is no more with us but his ideals will remain close to our heart for ever. Let us pay our respectful homage to him and pay our humble obeisance’s to his lotus feet and seek his bliss to give us passion & wisdom to strive hard for well-being of our motherland!