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Chakravarti Rajagopalachari

 

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (10 December 1878 – 25 December 1972), informally called Rajaji or C.R., was an Indian lawyer, independence activist, politician, writer and statesman. Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India. He also served as leader of the Indian National Congress, Premier of the Madras Presidency, Governor of West Bengal, Minister for Home Affairs of the Indian Union and Chief Minister of Madras state. Rajagopalachari founded the Swatantra Party and was one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. He vehemently opposed the use of nuclear weapons and was a proponent of world peace and disarmament. During his lifetime, he also acquired the nickname 'Mango of Salem'.
Rajagopalachari was born in Thorapalli in the Salem district of Madras Presidency (which is now Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu) and educated at Central College, Bangalore and Presidency College, Madras. In 1900 he started a legal practice that in time became prosperous. On entering politics, he became a member and later President of the Salem municipality. He joined the Indian National Congress and participated in the agitations against the Rowlatt Act, the Non-Cooperation movement, the Vaikom Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience movement. In 1930, Rajagopalachari risked imprisonment when he led the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha in response to the Dandi March. In 1937, Rajagopalachari was elected Premier of the Madras Presidency and served until 1940, when he resigned due to Britain's declaration of war on Germany. He later advocated co-operation over Britain's war effort and opposed the Quit India Movement. He favoured talks with both Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League and proposed what later came to be known as the C. R. Formula. In 1946, Rajagopalachari was appointed Minister of Industry, Supply, Education and Finance in the Interim Government of India, and then as the Governor of West Bengal from 1947 to 1948, Governor-General of India from 1948 to 1950, Union Home Minister from 1951 to 1952 and as Chief Minister of Madras state from 1952 to 1954. In 1959, he resigned from the Indian National Congress and founded the Swatantra Party, which stood against the Congress in the 1962, 1967 and 1972 elections. Rajagopalachari was instrumental in setting up a united Anti-Congress front in Madras state under C. N. Annadurai, which swept the 1967 elections.
Rajagopalachari was an accomplished writer who made lasting contributions to Indian English literature and is also credited with composition of the song Kurai Onrum Illai set to Carnatic music. He pioneered temperance and temple entry movements in India and advocated Dalit upliftment. He has been criticised for introducing the compulsory study of Hindi and the controversial Madras Scheme of Elementary Education in Madras State. Critics have often attributed his pre-eminence in politics to his standing as a favourite of both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Rajagopalachari was described by Gandhi as the "keeper of my conscience".
Early life
Rajagopalachari was born to Chakravarti Venkatarya Iyengar, munsiff of Thorapalli Village and Singaramma on 10 December 1878 into a devout Iyengar family of Thorapalli in the Madras Presidency. The couple already had two sons, Narasimhachari and Srinivasa. According to popular folklore, while Rajagopalachari was a child, an astrologer told his parents that he would have the "fortunes of a king, a guru, an exile and an outcaste. The people will worship him; they will also reject him. He will sit on an emperor's throne; he will live in a poor man's hut." 
A weak and sickly child, Rajagopalachari was a constant worry to his parents who feared that he might not live long. As a young child, he was admitted to a village school in Thorapalli then at the age of five moved with his family to Hosur where Rajagopalachari enrolled at Hosur R.V.Government Boys Hr sec School. He passed his matriculation examinations in 1891 and graduated in arts from Central College, Bangalore in 1894. Rajagopalachari also studied law at the Presidency College, Madras, from where he graduated in 1897.
Rajagopalachari married Alamelu Mangamma in 1897 and the couple had five children – three sons and two daughters. Mangamma died in 1916 whereupon Rajagopalachari took sole responsibility for the care of his children. His son C. R. Narasimhan was elected to the Lok Sabha from Krishnagiri in the 1952 and 1957 elections and served as a member of parliament for Krishnagiri from 1952 to 1962. He later wrote a biography of his father. Rajagopalachari's daughter Lakshmi married Devdas Gandhi, son of Mahatma Gandhi while his grandsons include biographer Rajmohan Gandhi, philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi and former governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Indian Independence Movement
Rajagopalachari's interest in public affairs and politics began when he commenced his legal practice in Salem in 1900. Inspired by Indian independence activist Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the early 1900s, he later became a member of the Salem municipality in 1911.In 1917, Rajagopalachari was elected Chairman of the municipality and served from 1917 to 1919 during which time he was responsible for the election of the first Dalit member of the Salem municipality. Rajagopalachari joined the Indian National Congress and participated as a delegate in the 1906 Calcutta session and the 1907 Surat session. In 1917, he defended Indian independence activist P. Varadarajulu Naidu against charges of sedition and two years later participated in the agitations against the Rowlatt Act. Rajagopalachari was a close friend of the founder of Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company V. O. Chidambaram Pillai as well as greatly admired by Indian independence activists Annie Besant and C. Vijayaraghavachariar.
After Mahatma Gandhi joined the Indian independence movement in 1919, Rajagopalachari became one of his followers. He participated in the Non-Cooperation movement and gave up his law practice. In 1921, he was elected to the Congress Working Committee and served as the General Secretary of the party before making his first major breakthrough as a leader during the 1922 Indian National Congress session at Gaya when he strongly opposed collaboration with the colonial administration and participation in the diarchial legislatures established by the Government of India Act 1919. While Gandhi was in prison, Rajagopalachari led the group of "No-Changers", individuals against contesting elections for the Imperial Legislative Council and other provincial legislative councils, in opposition to the "Pro-changers" who advocated council entry. When the motion was put to the vote, the "No-changers" won by 1,748 to 890 votes resulting in the resignation of important Congress leaders including Pandit Motilal Nehru and C. R. Das, the President of the Indian National Congress. When the Indian National Congress split in 1923, Rajagopalachari was a member of the Civil Disobedience Enquiry Committee. He was also involved in the Vaikom Satyagraha movement against untouchability during 1924–25.
In the early 1930s, Rajagopalachari emerged as one of the major leaders of the Tamil Nadu Congress. When Gandhi organised the Dandi march in 1930, Rajagopalachari broke the salt laws at Vedaranyam, near Nagapattinam, along with Indian independence activist Sardar Vedaratnam and was afterwards imprisoned by the British. He was subsequently elected President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee.[11] Following enactment of the Government of India Act in 1935, Rajagopalachari was instrumental in getting the Indian National Congress to participate in the 1937 general elections.
Later years and death
In 1971, Annadurai's successor M. Karunanidhi relaxed prohibition laws in Tamil Nadu due to the poor financial situation of the state. Rajagopalachari pleaded with him not to repeal prohibition but to no avail and as a result, the Swatantra Party withdrew its support for the state government and instead allied with the Congress, a breakaway faction of the Indian National Congress led by Kamaraj. 
In January 1971, a three-party anti-Congress coalition was established by the Congress, Jan Sangh and the Samyukta Socialist Party then on 8 January, the national executive of the Swatantra Party took the unanimous decision to join the coalition. The dissident parties formed an alliance called the National Democratic Front and fought against the Indian National Congress led by Indira Gandhi in the 1971 Indian general elections. However, the alliance fared badly. The Swatantra Party's tally was reduced to 8 seats from 23 in the 1967 elections. The decline of the Swatantra Party was also visible in the 1971 Tamil Nadu Legislative assembly elections in which it won just 19 seats down from 27 in the 1967 elections. 
By November 1972, Rajagopalachari's health had begun to decline and on 17 December the same year, a week after his 94th birthday, he was admitted to the Government Hospital, Madras suffering from uraemia, dehydration and a urinary infection.  In the hospital, he was visited by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, V. R. Nedunchezhiyan, V. V. Giri, Periyar  and other state and national leaders. Rajagopalachari's condition deteriorated in the following days as he frequently lost consciousness and he died at 5:44 pm on 25 December 1972 at the age of 94. His son, C. R. Narasimhan, was at his bedside at the time of his death reading him verses from a Hindu holy book. 

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (10 December 1878 – 25 December 1972), informally called Rajaji or C.R., was an Indian lawyer, independence activist, politician, writer and statesman. Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India. He also served as leader of the Indian National Congress, Premier of the Madras Presidency, Governor of West Bengal, Minister for Home Affairs of the Indian Union and Chief Minister of Madras state. Rajagopalachari founded the Swatantra Party and was one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. He vehemently opposed the use of nuclear weapons and was a proponent of world peace and disarmament. During his lifetime, he also acquired the nickname 'Mango of Salem'.


Rajagopalachari was born in Thorapalli in the Salem district of Madras Presidency (which is now Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu) and educated at Central College, Bangalore and Presidency College, Madras. In 1900 he started a legal practice that in time became prosperous. On entering politics, he became a member and later President of the Salem municipality. He joined the Indian National Congress and participated in the agitations against the Rowlatt Act, the Non-Cooperation movement, the Vaikom Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience movement. In 1930, Rajagopalachari risked imprisonment when he led the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha in response to the Dandi March. In 1937, Rajagopalachari was elected Premier of the Madras Presidency and served until 1940, when he resigned due to Britain's declaration of war on Germany. He later advocated co-operation over Britain's war effort and opposed the Quit India Movement. He favoured talks with both Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League and proposed what later came to be known as the C. R. Formula. In 1946, Rajagopalachari was appointed Minister of Industry, Supply, Education and Finance in the Interim Government of India, and then as the Governor of West Bengal from 1947 to 1948, Governor-General of India from 1948 to 1950, Union Home Minister from 1951 to 1952 and as Chief Minister of Madras state from 1952 to 1954. In 1959, he resigned from the Indian National Congress and founded the Swatantra Party, which stood against the Congress in the 1962, 1967 and 1972 elections. Rajagopalachari was instrumental in setting up a united Anti-Congress front in Madras state under C. N. Annadurai, which swept the 1967 elections.


Rajagopalachari was an accomplished writer who made lasting contributions to Indian English literature and is also credited with composition of the song Kurai Onrum Illai set to Carnatic music. He pioneered temperance and temple entry movements in India and advocated Dalit upliftment. He has been criticised for introducing the compulsory study of Hindi and the controversial Madras Scheme of Elementary Education in Madras State. Critics have often attributed his pre-eminence in politics to his standing as a favourite of both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Rajagopalachari was described by Gandhi as the "keeper of my conscience".


Early life


Rajagopalachari was born to Chakravarti Venkatarya Iyengar, munsiff of Thorapalli Village and Singaramma on 10 December 1878 into a devout Iyengar family of Thorapalli in the Madras Presidency. The couple already had two sons, Narasimhachari and Srinivasa. According to popular folklore, while Rajagopalachari was a child, an astrologer told his parents that he would have the "fortunes of a king, a guru, an exile and an outcaste. The people will worship him; they will also reject him. He will sit on an emperor's throne; he will live in a poor man's hut." 


A weak and sickly child, Rajagopalachari was a constant worry to his parents who feared that he might not live long. As a young child, he was admitted to a village school in Thorapalli then at the age of five moved with his family to Hosur where Rajagopalachari enrolled at Hosur R.V.Government Boys Hr sec School. He passed his matriculation examinations in 1891 and graduated in arts from Central College, Bangalore in 1894. Rajagopalachari also studied law at the Presidency College, Madras, from where he graduated in 1897.


Rajagopalachari married Alamelu Mangamma in 1897 and the couple had five children – three sons and two daughters. Mangamma died in 1916 whereupon Rajagopalachari took sole responsibility for the care of his children. His son C. R. Narasimhan was elected to the Lok Sabha from Krishnagiri in the 1952 and 1957 elections and served as a member of parliament for Krishnagiri from 1952 to 1962. He later wrote a biography of his father. Rajagopalachari's daughter Lakshmi married Devdas Gandhi, son of Mahatma Gandhi while his grandsons include biographer Rajmohan Gandhi, philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi and former governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi.


Indian Independence Movement


Rajagopalachari's interest in public affairs and politics began when he commenced his legal practice in Salem in 1900. Inspired by Indian independence activist Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the early 1900s, he later became a member of the Salem municipality in 1911.In 1917, Rajagopalachari was elected Chairman of the municipality and served from 1917 to 1919 during which time he was responsible for the election of the first Dalit member of the Salem municipality. Rajagopalachari joined the Indian National Congress and participated as a delegate in the 1906 Calcutta session and the 1907 Surat session. In 1917, he defended Indian independence activist P. Varadarajulu Naidu against charges of sedition and two years later participated in the agitations against the Rowlatt Act. Rajagopalachari was a close friend of the founder of Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company V. O. Chidambaram Pillai as well as greatly admired by Indian independence activists Annie Besant and C. Vijayaraghavachariar.


After Mahatma Gandhi joined the Indian independence movement in 1919, Rajagopalachari became one of his followers. He participated in the Non-Cooperation movement and gave up his law practice. In 1921, he was elected to the Congress Working Committee and served as the General Secretary of the party before making his first major breakthrough as a leader during the 1922 Indian National Congress session at Gaya when he strongly opposed collaboration with the colonial administration and participation in the diarchial legislatures established by the Government of India Act 1919. While Gandhi was in prison, Rajagopalachari led the group of "No-Changers", individuals against contesting elections for the Imperial Legislative Council and other provincial legislative councils, in opposition to the "Pro-changers" who advocated council entry. When the motion was put to the vote, the "No-changers" won by 1,748 to 890 votes resulting in the resignation of important Congress leaders including Pandit Motilal Nehru and C. R. Das, the President of the Indian National Congress. When the Indian National Congress split in 1923, Rajagopalachari was a member of the Civil Disobedience Enquiry Committee. He was also involved in the Vaikom Satyagraha movement against untouchability during 1924–25.


In the early 1930s, Rajagopalachari emerged as one of the major leaders of the Tamil Nadu Congress. When Gandhi organised the Dandi march in 1930, Rajagopalachari broke the salt laws at Vedaranyam, near Nagapattinam, along with Indian independence activist Sardar Vedaratnam and was afterwards imprisoned by the British. He was subsequently elected President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee.[11] Following enactment of the Government of India Act in 1935, Rajagopalachari was instrumental in getting the Indian National Congress to participate in the 1937 general elections.


Later years and death


In 1971, Annadurai's successor M. Karunanidhi relaxed prohibition laws in Tamil Nadu due to the poor financial situation of the state. Rajagopalachari pleaded with him not to repeal prohibition but to no avail and as a result, the Swatantra Party withdrew its support for the state government and instead allied with the Congress, a breakaway faction of the Indian National Congress led by Kamaraj. 


In January 1971, a three-party anti-Congress coalition was established by the Congress, Jan Sangh and the Samyukta Socialist Party then on 8 January, the national executive of the Swatantra Party took the unanimous decision to join the coalition. The dissident parties formed an alliance called the National Democratic Front and fought against the Indian National Congress led by Indira Gandhi in the 1971 Indian general elections. However, the alliance fared badly. The Swatantra Party's tally was reduced to 8 seats from 23 in the 1967 elections. The decline of the Swatantra Party was also visible in the 1971 Tamil Nadu Legislative assembly elections in which it won just 19 seats down from 27 in the 1967 elections. 


By November 1972, Rajagopalachari's health had begun to decline and on 17 December the same year, a week after his 94th birthday, he was admitted to the Government Hospital, Madras suffering from uraemia, dehydration and a urinary infection.  In the hospital, he was visited by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, V. R. Nedunchezhiyan, V. V. Giri, Periyar  and other state and national leaders. Rajagopalachari's condition deteriorated in the following days as he frequently lost consciousness and he died at 5:44 pm on 25 December 1972 at the age of 94. His son, C. R. Narasimhan, was at his bedside at the time of his death reading him verses from a Hindu holy book. 

 

 

by Swathi   on 25 Nov 2013  0 Comments
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