Bishwa Nath Singh
The grateful nation celebrated the death anniversary of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of Union Republic of India on the 28th of February like preceding years. It's occasion to remember that great statesman known for his intellect, sincerity and devotion for the welfare of our motherland. Let us resolve to carry out his legacy to make this world a real heaven to live at with godly bliss!
(Photo of Dr.Rajendra Prasad,the first President of Republic of India)
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Bishwa Nath Singh:
Dr.Rajendra Prasad had the unique distinction of being the first President of independent India who had played a very influential role in the freedom struggle of India. He was one of the ardent followers of Mahatma Gandhi. His contributio...n as a freedom fighter and as a President of India is worth remembering. He was born on December 3, 1884 in the Ziradei village in the Siwan district of Bihar State of India. He was a brilliant student throughout his academic career. He was born to Mahadev Sahay and Kamleshwari Devi.He was the youngest son of his most loving Parents.His father was a Sanskrit and Persian language scholar. Dr. Prasad was very attached to his elder brother Mahendra Prasad. Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s first brush of education came under the guidance of a Maulavi. He learned Persian, Hindi and arithmetic. Right from his childhood, Dr. Prasad was a brilliant student. He had topped in the Matriculation examination and later on joined the prestigious Presidency College in Calcutta. He did very well there.He was married at an early age.His spous Rajbanshi Devi was a very pious and religious minded lady. In Calcutta, his performance in academic career was par excellence. He had continued his excellent academic performance and completed his M.A and Masters in Law. In the meantime, his brother introduced him to the Swadeshi movement that proved to be a life-altering moment for him. As he delved deeper into the freedom movements, he came into the contact of Mahatma Gandhi. Thereafter, Dr. Rajendra Prasad had just one dream and that was of seeing an independent India. He devoted himself to the services of the nation and considered Gandhi Ji as his political and spiritual guru. He was a thorough gentleman known widely for his courage, dedication, conviction and utmost sincerity. His name had symbolized his honesty and modesty. He was an active participant in crucial freedom movements like Non Cooperation Movement, Salt Satyagraha and Champaran Agrarian Agitation. Dr. Prasad was shocked by the Government atrocities at Jallianwalla Bagh. He called for non-cooperation in Bihar as part of Gandhiji's non-cooperation movement. Dr. Prasad gave up his law practice and started a National College near Patna, 1921. The college was later shifted to Sadaqat Ashram on the banks of the Ganga. The non-cooperation movement in Bihar spread like wildfire. Dr. Prasad toured the state, holding public meeting after another, collecting funds and galvanizing the nation for a complete boycott of all schools, colleges and Government offices. He urged the people to take to spinning and wear only khadi. Bihar and the entire nation was taken by storm, the people responded to the leaders' call. The machinery of the mighty British Raj was coming to a grinding halt. The Government utilized the one and only option at its disposal-force. Mass arrests were made. Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Deshbandhu Chittranjan Das and Maulana Azad were arrested. Then it happened. Peaceful non- cooperation turned to violence in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh. In light of the events at Chauri Chaura, Gandhiji suspended the civil disobedience movement. The entire nation was hushed. A murmur of dissent began within the brass of the Congress. Gandhiji was criticized for what was called the "Bardoli retreat." Dr. Prasad stood by his mentor, seeing the wisdom behind Gandhiji's actions. Gandhiji did not want to set a precedent of violence for free India. In March 1930, Gandhiji launched the Salt Satyagraha. He planned to march from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi seashore to break the salt laws. A salt satyagraha was launched in Bihar under Dr. Prasad. Nakhas Pond in Patna was chosen as the site of the satyagraha. Batch after batch of volunteers courted arrest while making salt. Many volunteers were injured. Dr. Prasad called for more volunteers. Public opinion forced the Government to retract the police and allow the volunteers to make salt. Dr. Prasad sold the manufactured salt to raise funds. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment. In 1934, Dr. Prasad's elder brother, Mahendra died. Rajen was deeply affected and he turned to the Gita to seek solace. Dr. Prasad presided over the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress in October 1934. Following the resignation of Subhash Chandra Bose as the President of the Congress in April 1939, Dr. Prasad was elected President. He did his best to heal the rifts created between the incompatible ideology of Subhash Chandra Bose and Gandhiji. Rabindranath Tagore wrote to Dr. Prasad, "I feel assured in my mind that your personality will help to soothe the injured souls and bring peace and unity into an atmosphere of mistrust and chaos..." As the freedom struggle progressed, the dark shadow of communalism which had always lurked in the background, steadily grew. To Dr. Prasad's dismay communal riots began spontaneously burst all over the nation and in Bihar. He rushed from one scene to another to control the riots. Independence was fast approaching and so was the prospect of partition. Dr. Prasad, who had such fond memories of playing with his Hindu and Muslim friends in Zeradei, now had the misfortune of witnessing the nation being ripped into two. On August 15, 1947 India was free. Earlier, a Constituent Assembly was formed in July 1946, to frame the Constitution of India and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected its President. On November 26, 1946 the Constitution of India was completed and accepted by the people of India. On January 26, 1950, the Constitution was ratified and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected the first President of India. Dr. Prasad transformed the regal splendor of Rashtrapati Bhavan into an elegant "Indian" home. Dr. Prasad visited many countries on missions of goodwill. He stressed for peace in a nuclear age. In 1962, after 12 years as President, Dr. Prasad retired. He was awarded the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna. In 1962. In nutshell, he had served as the President of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the first constitution of the Republic, which lasted from 1948 to 1950. He also briefly served as a cabinet minister in the first Government of the Indian Republic.He was the President of India from January 26, 1950 to May 13,1962 He had authored many books including his autobiography "Atmakatha" (1946), "Satyagraha at Champaran" (1922), "India Divided" (1946), "Mahatma Gandhi and Bihar, Some Reminisences" (1949), and "Bapu ke Kadmon Mein" (1954). Dr. Prasad spent the last few months of his life at the Sadaqat Ashram in Patna. He died on February 28, 1963 leaving the entire nation to mourn his passing away. Many wept and sobbed his eyes. He was indeed a great statesman. Let us pay our humble obeisance to his lotus feet and pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to him!
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