Biography of “Dr. Rajendra Prasad”
Rajendra Prasad (3 December 1884-28 February 1963) was an Indian political leader who served as the first President of the Republic of India from 1950 to 1962. A lawyer by training, Prasad joined the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement and became a major leader from the region of Bihar.
Rajendra Prasad was a Kayastha and was born in Zeradei, in the Siwan district of Bihar near Chappra. His father Mahadev Sahai, was a scholar of both the Persian and Sanskrit languages, while his mother, Kamleshwari Devi, was a religious woman who would tell stories from the Ramayana to her son. Prasad had formally joined the Indian National Congress way back in the year 1911. During the Lucknow Session of the Indian National Congress held in 1916, he met Mahatma Gandhi. During one of the fact-finding missions at Champaran, Mahatma Gandhi asked him to come with his volunteers. He was so greatly moved by the dedication, courage, and conviction of Mahatma Gandhi that as soon as the motion of Non-Cooperation was passed by Indian National Congress in 1920, he retired from his lucrative career of a lawyer as well as his duties in the university to aid the movement.
He also responded to the call by Gandhi to boycott Western educational establishments by asking his son, Mrityunjaya Prasad, to drop out of his studies and enroll himself in Bihar Vidyapeeth, an institution he along with his colleagues founded on the traditional Indian model.
During the course of the independent movement, he interacted with Dr. Rahul Sankrityayan, a writer, and polymath. Rahul Sankrityayan was greatly influenced by Prasad’s intellectual prowess, finding him to be a guide and guru. In many of his articles, he mentioned about his meeting with Sankrityayan and narrated about their meetings. He wrote articles for the revolutionary publications Searchlight and the Desh and collected funds for these papers. He toured widely, explaining, lecturing, and exhorting the principles of the independence movement.