Dr. Rajendra Prasad

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    Context

    • Recently, the Prime Minister paid tributes to India’s first President Rajendra Prasad on his birth anniversary on 3rd December 2022. 

    About Dr. Rajendra Prasad

    • Birth: He was born on 3rd December 1884 in the Siwan district of Bihar. 
    • Education: He joined the famed Calcutta Presidency College in 1902. After completing his Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Calcutta in 1907, he went on to study law at the Calcutta Law College and practised at the Calcutta High Court.
      • He completed his Doctorate in Law from Allahabad University in 1937.
      • In the early 1920s, he became the editor of a Hindi weekly Desh and an English biweekly, Searchlight.
    • Role in India’s Independence Movement: In 1911, he became a member of the Indian National Congress and subsequently served as its President thrice.
      • He was imprisoned during the Salt Satyagraha in 1931 and the Quit India movement in 1942.
      • While Gandhiji was on a fact finding mission in Chamaparan district of Bihar to address grievances of local peasants, he called on Dr. Rajendra Prasad came to Champaran with volunteers.
      • Initially he was not impressed with Gandhiji’s appearance or conversation. In time, however, he was deeply moved by the dedication, conviction and courage that Gandhiji displayed.
      • The Rowlatt Act of 1918 and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 pushed Rajendra Prasad closer to Gandhiji.
      • In 1914 floods ravaged Bihar and Bengal. He became a volunteer distributing food and cloth to the flood victims.
      • Dr. Prasad called for non cooperation in Bihar as part of Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement. He gave up his law practice and started a National College near Patna,1921. 
      • 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.
      • He 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, He was elected President. 
    • Contribution to Constitution Making: In 1946, Rajendra Prasad joined the Interim Government of India as the Minister of Food and Agriculture. 
      • As a firm believer in the maximization of agricultural production, he crafted the slogan “Grow More Food.”
      • He was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly from the Bihar Province where he served as the president of the Constituent Assembly from 1946 to 1950.
      • On 24th January 1950, at the last session of the Constituent Assembly, Prasad was elected as the President of India and has the distinction of being the only President to have been re-elected for a second term.
      • Committees of Constituent Assembly under the chairmanship of Dr. Prasad includes:
        • Ad hoc Committee on the National flag
        • Committee on the Rules of Procedure
        • Finance and Staff Committee
        • Steering Committee
    • Writings: He recorded his life and the decades before independence in manybooks, among the more noted of which are “Satyagraha at Champaran” (1922), “India Divided” (1946), his autobiography “Atmakatha” (1946), “Mahatma Gandhi and Bihar, Some Reminiscences” (1949), and “Bapu ke Kadmon Mein” (1954).
    • Awarded Highest Civilian Award: In 1962, after 12 years as President, Dr. Prasad retired, and was subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian award.

    Source: TH