DR. RAJENDRA PRASAD
Date of Birth : Dec 3, 1884Date of Death : Feb 28, 1963Place of Birth : Zeradei, BiharTenure Order : 1st PresidentDr. Rajendra Prasad was the first President of India. Rajendra Prasad was a great freedom-fighter,and the architect of the Indian Constitution, having served as President of the Constituent Assemblythat drafted the Constitution of the Republic from 1948 to 1950. He had also served as a CabinetMinister briefly in the first Government of Independent India. He was a crucial leader of the IndianIndependence Movement. Prasad was born in Jiradei, in the Siwan district of Bihar. His father,Mahadev Sahay, was a Persian and Sanskrit language scholar; his mother, Kamleshwari Devi, was adevout lady who would tell stories from the Ramayana to her son. At the age of 5, the youngRajendra Prasad was sent to a Maulavi for learning Persian. After that he was sent to Chapra ZillaSchool for further primary studiesHe was married at the age of 12 to Rajvanshi Devi. He then went on to study at R.K. Ghosh'sAcademy in Patna to be with his older brother Mahendra Prasad. Soon afterward, however, herejoined the Chapra Zilla School, and it was from there that he passed the entrance examination of Calcutta University, at the age of 18. He stood first in the first division of that examination. He then joined the Presidency College, Calcutta. He was initially a student of science and his teachersincluded J.C.Bose and Prafulla Chandra Roy. Later he decided to switch his focus to the arts. AcharyaPrafulla Chandra Roy, who was impressed by his intellect and dedication asked him on the occasion"Why have you deserted your class?." Prasad lived with his brother in the Eden Hindu Hostel. Aplaque still commemorates his stay in that room. He had been initiated into the Swadeshi movementby his brother. He then joined the Dawn Society run by Satish Chandra Mukherjee, and SisterNivedita. In 1911, he joined the A.I.C.C. However, his family estate was in bad condition. He waslooked upon as the provider. But he sought permission from his brother in a letter to join the Indianfreedom movement. He wrote, "Ambitions I have none, except to be of some service to theMotherland". The shock of his brother, however, held him to the family. In 1916, Rajendra Prasad joined the High Court of Bihar, and Orissa. Such was his intellect and his integrity, that often whenhis adversary failed to cite a precedent, the judges asked Rajendra Prasad to cite a precedent againsthimself. After meeting Mahatma Gandhi, he quit as a Senator of the University, much to the regretof the British Vice-Chancellor.He also responded to the call by the Mahatma to boycott Westerneducation by asking his son Mrityunjaya Prasad, a brilliant student to drop out of the University andenroll himself in Bihar Vidyapeeth, an institution he had along with his colleagues founded on thetraditional Indian model. He wrote articles for Searchlight and the Desh and collected funds for thesepapers. He toured a lot, explaining, lecturing and exhorting. When the earthquake of Bihar occurredon January 15, 1934, Rajendra Prasad was in jail. He was released two days later. He set himself forthe task of raising funds. The Viceroy had also raised a fund. However, while Rajendra Prasad's fundcollected over 38 Lakhs (Rs. 3,800,000), the Viceroy could only manage one-third of that amount.The way relief was organized left nothing to be desired. Nationalist India expressed its admiration byelecting him to the President of the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress.