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Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
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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.
Early life:  
  • Rajagopalachari was born to Chakravarti Venkataryan, 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.


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 Pillaias well as greatly admired by Indian independence activists Annie Besant and C. Vijayaraghavachariar.

Second World War:
  • Some months after the outbreak of the Second World War, Rajagopalachari resigned as Premier along with other members of his cabinet in protest at the declaration of war by the Viceroy of India. Rajagopalachari was arrested in December 1940, in accordance with the Defence of India rules, and sentenced to one-year in prison. However, subsequently, Rajagopalachari differed in opposition to the British war effort. He also opposed the Quit India Movement and instead advocated dialogue with the British. He reasoned that passivity and neutrality would be harmful to India`s interests at a time when the country was threatened with invasion.
  • He also advocated dialogue with the Muslim League, which was demanding the partition of India.He subsequently resigned from the party and the assembly following differences over resolutions passed by the Madras Congress legislative party and disagreements with the leader of the Madras provincial Congress K. Kamaraj.
  •  Following the end of the war in 1945, elections followed in the Madras Presidency in 1946. During the last years of the war, Kamaraj was requested by Nehru, PM; Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, Home Minister; and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to make Rajaji the Premier of Madras Presidency. Kamaraj, President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, was forced to make [Tanguturi Prakasam] as Chief Ministerial candidate, by the elected members, to prevent Rajagopalachari from winning. However, Rajagopalachari did not contest the elections, and Prakasam was elected
Later years and death:
  • 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.