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Rajendra Prasad


Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first President of India. He was born in Zeradei, Bihar on December 3, 1884. He was married at the age of 12 to Rajvanshi Devi.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad's father, Mahadev Sahay was a Persian and Sanskrit language scholar. Dr. Rajendra Prasad's mother, Kamleshwari Devi, was a devout lady. At the age of 5, the young Rajendra Prasad was sent to a Maulavi for learning Persian. After that he was sent to Chapra Zilla School for further primary studies. He then went on to study at R.K. Ghosh's Academy in Patna to be with his older brother Mahendra Prasad. But soon he rejoined the Chapra Zilla School and it was from there that he passed the entrance examination of Calcutta University, at the age of 18.

He then joined the Presidency College, Kolkata. He lived with his borther in the Eden Hindu Hostel. He had been initiated into the cult of Swadeshi by his brother. He then joined the Dawn Society run by Satish Chandra Mukherjee, and Sister Nivedita.

In 1911, he joined the A.I.C.C. However, his family estate was in bad condition. He was looked upon as the saviour. In 1916, Rajendra Prasad he joined the High Court of Bihar, and Orissa.

After meeting Gandhiji, he quit as a Senator of the University, much to the regret of the British Vice-Chancellor. He wrote articles for Searchlight and the Desh and collected funds for these papers. He toured a lot, explaining, lecturing, exhorting. When the earthquake of Bihar occurred on 15th January, 1934, Rajendra Prasad was in jail. He was released two days later. He set himself for the task of raising funds. Nationalist India expressed its admiration by electing him to the President of the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress.

After India became independent he was made the President of India. As President, he used his moderating influence so silently and unobtrusively that he neither reigned nor ruled. His sister Bhagwati Devi had passed away in the night of 25 January, 1960. She doted on her dearly-loved younger brother. It must have taken Rajendra Prasad all his will power to have taken the Republic Day salute as usual, on the following day. It was only on return from the parade that he set about the task of cremation. In 1962, after 12 years as President, he announced his decision to retire. He was subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation's highest civilian award.

Within months of his retirement, early in September 1962, his wife Rajvanshi Devi passed away. He died on 28 February, 1963 with 'Ram Ram' on his lips.

His legacy is being ably carried forward by his great gandson Ashoka Jahnavi-Prasad ,a psychiatrist and a scientist of international repute who introduced sodium valproate as a safer alternative to lithium salts in the treatment of bipolar disorders.


Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.