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India remembers C. Rajagopalachari on his 140th birth anniversary

Popularly known as Rajaji, Rajagopalachari was described by Gandhi as the "keeper of my conscience".

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 10 Dec 2018 9:47 AM GMT

India remembers C. Rajagopalachari on his 140th birth anniversary
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Lucknow: The first and the last Indian Governor General of independent India and a fierce Mahatma Gandhi loyalist, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was born on Dec 9, 1878.

A member of the Indian National Congress during the pre-Independence era and a towering personality of the contemporary Indian Politics, he was also an independence activist, lawyer, writer, historian and a statesman.

Popularly known as Rajaji, Rajagopalachari was described by Gandhi as the "keeper of my conscience".

He made Hindi a compulsory language in Tamil schools when he was a Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state.

Today on his 140th birth anniversary, let's have a look at his life journey:

-Born on December 10 ,1878, to Chakravarti Venkatarya Iyengar and Singaramma Iyengar in the British presidency of Madras, Rajagopalachari completed his law education from Presidency College.

-During the time when he was practicing law in Salem, he came to know about Mahatma Gandhi, who was professing ideas of civil disobedience in South Africa at that time. In 1913, he printed Gandhi’s jail experience onto pamphlets at his own expense.

-In his book 'Environmentalism: A Global History', historian Ramachandra Guha wrote that after Gandhi’s return to India in 1915, Rajagopalachari “followed Gandhi’s activities with fascination”.

-It was in 1919 that he met Gandhi for the first time in Madras (now Chennai) and participated in Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement.

-He was also jailed for two years in Vellore in 1920. After which, he opened his own ashram to promote Gandhi’s principles of Hindu-Muslim harmony and the abolition of untouchability.

-When Gandhi led the Dandi March to break the salt law in 1930, Rajagopalachari carried out a similar march at Vedaranyam in the Madras Presidency.

-He also became the editor of Gandhi’s newspaper, Young India.

-Rajagopalachari was an ardent Gandhi supporter, but he never feared expressing his views. During the Quit India Movement, Rajagopalachari even opposed Gandhi. He was of the view that the British are going to leave the country eventually, so launching another Satyagraha was not a good decision. He was also in favour of a dialogue to put an end to differences between Hindu and Muslims.

-At the time of Partition, he was appointed as the Governor of West Bengal.

-In 1947, he was temporarily chosen to hold the office due to the absence of Lord Mountbatten.

-In June 1948, as Mountbatten was set to leave India, Rajagopalachari was given the position which he held till 26 January, 1950, when the Indian Constitution was enacted and the country became a republic.

-However, he wanted to retire from politics, but Congress legislators forced him to take over as the Chief Minister of Madras in April 1952.

-During his lifetime, he also acquired the nickname 'Mango of Krishnagiri'.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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