The nation is observing the 140th birth anniversary of the first and last Indian Governor-General of independent India, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, on Monday. C. Rajagopalachari or Rajaji was born in 1878 in the Madras Presidency of British India (present-day Tamil Nadu). At the age of 5, he started his schooling from a village but later studied at R. V. Government Boys Hr Sec School. After graduating from Bangalore (now Bengaluru), Rajaji went to Madras to study Law. In 1897, he got married and had five children. His wife died at a young age. After celebrating his 94th birthday in 1972, he was admitted to hospital as he was suffering from Uraemia, dehydration and urinary infection. He died on 25 December, few days after being admitted to the hospital.
Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari
- Gopalachari entered politics inspired by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Indian freedom fighter. He became a member of the Salem, Tamil Nadu, municipality from 1917 to 1919. Later, he followed Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle.
- He emerged as the leader of the “No-Changers” group in Congress in 1922. The group favoured no contesting elections for the Imperial Legislative Council as established by the Government of India Act 1919.
- As first premier of the Madras Presidency in 1937, Rajaji challenged untouchability, eased debt burden of farmers, compulsory introduction of Hindi in educational institutions and introduced prohibition.
- Rajagopalachari also served as the Minister for Industry, Supply, Education and Finance in the Interim Government led by the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru from 1946-47. He was appointed as the first Governor of West Bengal after independence.
- After Lord Mountbatten, C. Gopalachari served as the first Indian Governor General of the country from 1948 to 1950.
- Apart from this, after Sardar Patel’s death, he served as the Home Minister for 10 months in 1950. Later, he was appointed as the Chief Minister of Madras.
- Chakravarthi Gopalachari was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 1954.
- Rajagopalachari also contributed to Literature. He has written a Tamil version of the Sanskrit epic called Ramayan. It was published in the Tamil magazine, Kalki, as a series.
- He was also nicknamed the Mango of Salem.
- He passed the legislation to create Andhra state, put an end to sugar rationing, and introduced the ‘Modified System of Elementary Education’.