Remembering Dr Rajendra Prasad, First President of Independent India
Indian President Rajendra Prasad swearing in new cabinet minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as India becomes a republic, January 30th 1950. (Image: Getty Images)
The first president of India, Rajendra Prasad was born on December 3, 1884. He held the office of the first President of India from 1950 to 1962. A political leader by profession and a lawyer by training, Prasad became a part of the Indian National Congress during the Indian Independence Movement. He rose as one of the major leaders from the region of Bihar and a strong supporter of Mahatma Gandhi.
Interestingly, Dr Prasad was also elected as the President of the Constituent Assembly of India, which prepared the Constitution of India and served as its provisional parliament. On his birth anniversary, here is a look at some of the interesting facts on the great leader:
1. Rajendra Prasad joined the Indian National Congress in 1911. He became a leader of the Bihar and Odisha region and supported Mahatma Gandhi in his movements. He has also been jailed several times, including his arrest during Salt Satyagraha Movement of 1931 and the Quit India Movement of 1942.
2. As a child, he was taught by a Maulavi (Muslim scholar), as his father wanted him to learn the Persian language, Hindi and arithmetic. During his education at the University of Calcutta as a postgraduate student of Economics, he stayed at the Eden Hindu Hostel in Calcutta.
3. In the year 1906, he played a major role in forming the Bihari Students Conference at the hall of Patna College.
4. A gold medalist, he completed his Doctorate in Law from Allahabad University in 1937.
5. Apart from being the first President of India, Dr Prasad also became the first Minister of Food and Agriculture in 1946 in the interim national government.
6. The guidelines set up by as the President of India are still followed by the parliamentarians. He quit Congress soon after being elected as the President.
7. His election as the President of India at the last session of the Constituent Assembly of the interim government came unopposed.
8. He was also the recipient of the highest national honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1962.
9. His autobiography in Hindi is titled "Aatmakatha" meaning autobiography.
10. He died on February 28, 1963. The memorial Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalaya in Patna is dedicated to him.