C. Rajagopalachari : Most Influential Leader of India | The First and Last Governor General Of [Free] India

C. Rajagopalachari [Chakravarti Rajagopalachari], one of the most influential leaders of India was the founder of the first political party in India namely Swatantra party. He was the last Governor General of India and made this political party to promote market-friendly economic policies openly. He was a writer, politician, minister as well as a lawyer and played a very vital role in the Indian independence movement.

About C. Rajagopalachari | Bio | Wiki | Education

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
via commons.wikimedia | Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari with Gandhi ji, September 1944.

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was born on 10th December 1878 in Thorapalli village. He is well known as Rajaji among his family, friends as well as admirers. At the age of five he was admitted to a boy’s school in Hosur, and after that, in 1894 he studied arts from Bangalore‘s Central college and completed his graduation. In 1897 he completed law from Presidency College Madras. He got married in 1897 to Alamelu Mangamma and had three sons and two daughters.

Life after Graduation and Joining Indian Independence Movement

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was very much motivated by Bal Gangadhar Tilak who was the leader of Indian freedom movement. In 1911 he connected himself with politics and became the member of Salem, Tamil Nadu Municipality. After that from 1917 to 1919, C. Rajagopalachari served as Chairman of the municipality. After the joining of Gandhi ji in Indian independence movement in 1919 Chakravarti Rajgopalachari became his great admirer and true follower. He actively participated in Non-Cooperation movement and also nominated to Congress working committee and chosen as the General Secretary.

He appeared as the leader of a group named ‘no-changers’ which work against contesting elections. During 1924 to 1925 he participated in Vaikom Satyagraha which was a movement against unaccountability.  Chakravarti Rajagopalachari emerged as one of the most well-known leaders of Tamil Nadu Congress. The time Gandhiji was on Dandi March, he tried to break the salt laws at Vedaranyam and was behind the bars for this by British. In 1937 he was elected as the President of Tamil Nadu Congress committee and became the first premier of Madras Presidency. Throughout his presidency tenure, he worked for easing the debt burden of farmers, removing the restriction on Dalits for entering Hindu temples, introducing prohibition and the compulsory introduction of Hindi in educational institutions. After that, he resigned from party owing to increasing indifferences with the leader of Madras provincial Congress K.Kamaraj.

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C. Rajagopalachari Selected As First Governor of West Bengal

via commons.wikimedia.org | C. Rajagopalachari and Babasaheb Ambedkar, 1948

After independence, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was selected as first Governor of West Bengal. He served on this post from 1948 to 1950. He was not just the last Governor General of India but also the only Indian national who took a hold on the office. After Sardar Patel’s death in 1950, he served as Home Minister for ten months and resigned after differences with Nehruji. Lastly, he returned back to Madras. In 1952 he was elected by Madras governor as Chief Minister of Madras. C. Rajagopalachari enriched the literature with his many contributions. Also wrote a Tamil version of Sanskrit epic Ramayana and won Sahitya academy award in 1958. Also wrote Mahabharata as well as Ramayana in English [Book available on Amazon – Mahabharata Paperback – 2012 by C Rajagopalachari] . He was a music composer too and devoted many songs to his country.

Awards and Recognition

Rajagopalachari did many things and served our country.  Out of all he was most remembered for the work he did in Madras as the chief minister from 1952 to 54. He put an end to sugar rationing, by passing the legislation to create Andra state and also introduced the Modified System of Elementary Education. He was awarded with Bharat Ratna in 1954 owing to his outstanding contribution to Indian politics as well as literature. He celebrated his 94th birthday in 1972 while admitted to hospital due to bad health. After few days of celebrations of his birthday, he died.

The contributions of C. Rajagopalachari to India are legendary, and we all salute this one of the most influential leaders of India. Read C. Rajagopalachari’s interesting facts here.

Photo : Gkdutta

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