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Friday, December 3, 2010

Dr Rajendra Prasad

The first President of independent India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was also the President of the Constituent Assembly that drafted India's Constitution. He had participated actively in India's freedom movement. Born on December 3, 1884 in the remote hamlet of Ziradei in Bihar's Siwan district, his father was a renowned scholar of Persian and Sanskrit. He moved to Kolkata for his education. A brilliant student all throughout, he earned a Masters degree in Law, going on to complete a doctorate in law. 

He plunged headlong into the Swadeshi movement and was influenced tremendously by Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was arrested in 1930 for participating in the Salt Satyagraha. In January 1934, a devastating earthquake struck Bihar. Rajendra Prasad was in jail during this time, but was soon released. Upon his release, he devoted himself to the task of raising funds and providing succour to the people. He collected a large sum of money to provide relief to the affected people. He set up relief committees during the Quetta earthquake of 1935 too. 

He became the President of the Indian National Congress during the Bombay session in October 1934. He became the President once again when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose resigned in 1939. He served as a Cabinet Minister for a brief period in the first government of independent India, before serving as the President of India for a period of 12 years from 1950 to 1962. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1962. He left for his heavenly abode on February 28, 1963. 

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