While Jawaharlal Nehru is widely known as the first Prime Minister of India, BR Ambedkar has his name immortalized in the history of India as the person who drafted the Constitution of India. But seldom do people remember who was the first President of India and the first person to take residence at the Rashtrapati Bhavan after India was declared an independent country.
The person we are talking about here is Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Among the several freedom fighters who took India to its Independence in 1947, his name is often forgotten. He played a crucial role in getting India independence and shaped the republic.
Even if you knew his name, in all probability you are still unfamiliar with what kind of person he was and other things about him. If you would like to more about the simple yet strong leader, then all you have to do is keep reading.
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His Early Days
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the youngest of his siblings, was born on 3 December 1884 in the Ziradei village of Siwan District in Bihar. His father, Mahadev Sahay, was a Persian and Sanskrit language scholar. He learned Persian, Hindi, and arithmetic and when he reached the age of 12, he was married to Rajvanshi Devi.
A brilliant student, he won a scholarship to study at the University of Calcutta and later joined the prestigious Calcutta Presidency College. Sometime around though, his interests changed, and the future political leader switched from Science to Arts, completing his masters in law as well as a doctorate in the subject.
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As a Freedom Fighter
In 1905, Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s brother, Mahendra, who he was quite close to all throughout his life, initiated him into the Swadeshi Movement. However, Prasad took a keen interest in playing a deeper role in the movement for freedom after the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi. When the latter was on his trip to Champaran District in Bihar, he called Prasad to join him with some of his volunteers. This meeting is said to have a great impact on the life of the great scholar.
After meeting Gandhi, Prasad changed his entire life and immersed into the fight for freedom. The Non-Cooperation Movements, which is undeniably one of the most crucial phases of the struggle, saw a more active Dr. Rajendra Prasad than ever before. He was also elected the President of the Indian National Congress twice, once in 1934, and then again in 1939 after Subhash Chandra Bose resigned from the position.
As a freedom fighter, Prasad was arrested a number of times; two such instances being the Salt Satyagraha Movement of the 1930s and the Quit India Movement of the early 1940s.
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Between 1946 and 1949, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was also selected as the President of the Indian Constituent Assembly to help shape the constitution and lay the foundation for which the republic of India was to rest. When the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, for his efforts, was selected to become the first President of free India.
After the first elections had been held in 1952, Prasad was elected to serve for another term by an overwhelming majority, and then again in 1957 to serve the third term. During his tenure as the president, he visited several countries on goodwill missions, seeking to establish healthy relations. For his efforts, the leader was also honored with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the country, in 1962.
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Now you know, who was the first president of India and all the reasons that made him worthy of the position he was honored with. Tell us what you think about the topic and about the great personality who led his country to freedom through your comments below.
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The answer to the question as to who was the first president of India is simple, Dr Rajendra Prasad. And he was not merely the first president of India, but also the longest serving one in the history. The only person to have been elected for the office of the president of India twice, he served in the position from 1950 to 1962. However, his name is not often remembered quite soon when we talk about the greatest freedom fighters in India.
Not sure if many people would agree with me or not, but I believe that Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, is one of the best leaders India has ever had. I say this because of the simplicity of the person and the life he led even when he was one of the most influential people in the country. He considered himself an Indian first and a politician later and that is what I admire about him the most.
Did you know that he only accepted half his salary while working as a president? And it was not like he had no family to look after, he was married, had children and even grandchildren. But he thought that he did not need that much money as the salary of the president of India during that time was somewhere around INR 10000 and he though he did not require this much money. And in addition to that, before his tenure in the office ended, the humble politician had reduced his salary by another 25 percent. I do not see any politician doing the same today. Instead, the politicians or so called political ‘leaders’ these days are more concerned with getting paid more for the ‘hard work’ they do for the country. I hope that after reading this, you will remember who was the first president of India and what made him so special. Dr Rajendra Prasad was truly one of a kind leader which the country was fortunate to have.