Dr. Rajendra Prasad was born to Mahadev Sahai and Kamleshwari Devi on December 3, 1884 in Siwan district (near Chhappra). His father was a scholar of both – Sanskrit and Persian literature while his mother was a religious woman. She often told Rajendra stories of Ramayana.
Prasad was put under the guardianship of a Moulavi, a proficient Muslim researcher, to study the Persian dialect, Hindi and Arithmetic. He then went to the Chapra district school after the completion of his elementary education. He became a victim of Child Marriage and was married to Rajavanshi Devi in 1896, when he was just 12. Being a bright scholar, Rajendra Prasad secured first position in the entrance examination of the University of Calcutta and was rewarded with a scholarship of Rs. 30 per month. He joined Presidency College, Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1902 under the University of Calcutta and passed intermediate class in 1904 as a science student. Owing to his talent and his sharp mind, once an examiner made a comment on his answer sheet – “Examinee is better than the examiner”. He completed his master-degree by securing first division in M.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1907.
Rajendra Prasad served as a teacher in various institutions. He became a professor of English at the Langat Singh College in Muzzafarpur, Bihar after completing his M.A. He was later promoted to the principle of the College. He left the college and went on to study Law in Kolkata in 1909 at the same time teaching Economics at the Calcutta City College. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1911. In 1915, Prasad passed the final exam of Maters in Law examination and won a gold-medal.
In 1906, he joined the High Court of Bihar and Orissa and was appointed as one of the members of Senate and Syndicate of the Patna University later in 1917.
Rajendra Prasad also played a crucial role in the Indian Freedom Struggle. He met Mahatma Gandhi at the Lucknow Pact in 1996 and joined him in his movements such as the fact-finding missions in Cahmparan and the Non-Cooperation movement. As soon as the motion for Indian National Congress was passed in 1920, Rajendra Prasad left his profession as a lawyer and joined hands with freedom fighters to fight against the British invasion in India. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment due to his active involvement in Salt Satyagrah. He was imprisoned in 1934 and when he was released he formed the Bihar Central Relief Committee following the earthquake that occurred on 15th January 1934 when he was in jail. He raised funds to help the people. During the Bombay session in 1934, he was elected as the president of the Indian National Congress. He again became the president in 1939, when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose resigned in 1939.
On August 8, 1942 many leaders including Rajendra Prasad were arrested after Congress passed the Quit India Movement Resolution in Bombay. Rajendra Prasad was arrested from the Sadaqat Ashram in Patna after which he was imprisoned In the Bankipur jail. After 3 years of imprisonment he was released in 1945. In September, 1946, he became the minister of the Food and Agriculture department under Jawaharlal Nehru’s leadership. Later, in December 1946, he was elected as the president of the Constituent Assembly.
The struggle of freedom fighters finally paid off and India was declared as an independent State on 15th August 1947. In November, 1947 Dr. Rajendra Prasad again became the Congress president following the resignation of Jivatram Kripalani for the third time. After two and a half year of Independence he was declared as the first President of free India, on 26th January 1950.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of Independent India, in his special message to his countrymen, on the birth of the Indian Republic, said:
“We must re-dedicate ourselves on this day to the peaceful but sure realization of the dream that had inspired the Father of our Nation and the other captains and soldiers of our freedom struggle, the dream of establishing a classless, co-operative, free and happy society in ‘his country’. We must remember that this is more a day of dedications than of rejoicing – dedication to the glorious task of making the peasants and workers the toilers and the thinkers fully free, happy and cultured.”
After serving the nation for 12 years, Rajendra Prasad announced his decision to retire. In May 1962, he went back to Bihar Vidyapeeth and stayed there. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna Award in the same year. But, on 28 February 1963, the nation bid adieu to this eminent and bright personality as he left the people in grief for his heavenly abode.
The contribution of Dr. Rajendra Prasad to the country cannot be stated in words. Not just to the country, but he also contributed to the literary society with the following literary contributions – Satyagraha at Champaran, India Divided, Atmakatha (his autobiography), Bapu Ke Kadmon Mein and Since Independence.
'Rajendra Prasad' was born on 3rd December, 1884 in the Ziradei village, Siwan district of Bihar, India. His father's name was Mahadev Sahai, who was a scholar of Sanskrit and Persian languages. His mother's name was Kamleshwari Devi, who was a religious woman.
After the completion of elementary education, Rajendra Prasad went to study at T.K. Ghosh's Academy in Patna. He joined the Presidency College, Calcutta in 1902. Once an examiner wrote on his answer sheet 'examinee is better than examiner'. It proves that he was a great scholar. Rajendra Prasad served in various educational institutions as a teacher. He joined the High Court of Bihar and Odisha as a lawyer in 1916.
Rajendra Prasad was a good political leader, lawyer, statesman and social worker. He took active part in the freedom movements of India. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1911. He was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress during the Bombay session in October 1934. He was sent to Jail many times. He was elected the President of Constituent Assembly on 11 December 1946. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected the first President of the Republic of India.
Dr Rajendra Prasad died on 28 February 1963. His death was a great loss for the nation. He was subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna, the India's highest civilian award. He authored many books. He was a great educationist and a man of world fame. High principles and ideals of Dr. Rajendra Prasad will always alive to show the right path.