Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh

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    In context

    • Recently, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh (1886-1979) State University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. 

    Who was Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh?

    • He was an Indian freedom fighter, journalist, writer, revolutionary, President in the Provisional Government of India,  and a social reformist in the Republic of India.

    • Background:
      • Early Life: He was born into a royal family in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh in 1886
      • Education: An alumnus of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental Collegiate School later called Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). He was versed in eight different languages and practised different religions.
    • Freedom Struggle Legacy:
      • He took part in Gandhi’s campaign in South Africa, in 1913.
      • He escaped to Germany and remained in exile for about 33 years as he was wanted by the British authorities.
      • He set up the first Provisional Government of India in Afghanistan in 1915, declaring himself as the President. He also declared a jihad against colonial rule.
      • He is said to have met Vladimir Lenin in 1919, two years after the Bolshevik Revolution (in Russia).
      • In 1925, he went on a mission to Tibet and met the Dalai Lama. He was primarily on an unofficial economic mission on behalf of Afghanistan, but he also wanted to expose the British brutalities in India.
      • He later fled to Japan, where he established the Executive Board of India in Japan in 1940.
      • He finally returned to India a year before Independence, and immediately began working with Mahatma Gandhi.
    • Contributions in the field of Education:
      • Established Prem Maha Vidyalaya, a polytechnic college, in Vrindavan, which offered various courses, including carpentry, pottery and textiles under one roof.
      • He gave his own residence to establish the first technical school of the country.
      • He founded the world federation.
    • Accreditation by the Government:
      • The Government of India had issued a postal stamp in his honour in 1979.
      • He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1932 for his participation in Gandhi’s movement in South Africa.

    Source: IE