Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was informally called as Rajaji and he was a prominent figure in India’s freedom struggle. Nicknamed as Mango of Krishnagiri, Rajaji was the last Governor-General of India. Here are some interesting facts about him:
1. Education and Law practice
After finishing law from the Presidency College in Chennai, Rajagopalachari began his law practice in Salem in the year 1900. Later, he went on to become the chairperson of the municipality of Salem in 1917 and served there for two years.
2. Formation of Tamil Scientific Terms Society
He formed an organisation in 1916 that translated scientific terms of chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy and biology into simple Tamil word and it was named Tamil Scientific Terms Society,
3. Joining Indian National Congress
He joined Congress and as a legal advisor and defended Indian Independence activist, P. Varadarajulu Naidu against charges of sedition in 1917.
4. Salt March
Rajagopalachari did a similar march to that of Gandhi’s Dandi March at Vedaranyam, near Nagapatnam in the then Madras Presidency and broke the salt law. He also became the Editor of Mahamta Gandhi’s newspaper, Young India.
5. Congress winning elections
Congress came to power in Madras Presidency after the elections in 1937. and Rajagopalachari became the first Premier of the Madras Presidency from the Congress party through elections.
6. Eliminating Untouchability
He gave life to the Temple Entry Authorization and Indemnity Act under which Dalits and Shanars were allowed to enter temples, in 1939. This was a major turn in the country to abolish untouchability and caste prejudice.
7. Governor-General of India
In the absence of Lord Mountbatten, Rajagopalachari was chosen to serve as the last Governor-General of India, His tenure lasted for 2 years after Independence.
8. Bengal Paritition
During the crucial time of partition, he was made the Governor of West Bengal. His criticized Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and he wanted Bihar and Odisha to be a part of West Bengal. This triggered a lot of opposition from the people and the cabinet.
9. Madras Chief Minister
He sworn in as the Chief Minister of Madras in 1952. His idea of introducing Hindi as a mandatory language in schools was highly opposed by the people of Madras.
10. Resigning the CM post
Rajagopalachari had eventually resigned from the post of Chief Minister in 1954 and started mainstream writing. He went on to write a Tamil version of the Ramayana which was of course later published as Chakravarthi Thirumagan. The book won the Sahitya Akademi Award in Tamil language in the year 1958.
11. The role of a writer
Rajagopalachari was an accomplished writer who made significant contributions to Indian English literature and is also credited with composition of the song Kurai Onrum Illai set to Carnatic music.
12. The keeper of Gandhi’s conscience
People often claimed that Rajaji was a favorite to both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Rajagopalachari was described by Gandhi as the “keeper of my conscience”.
13. Joining the Union Cabinet
Nehru invited Rajagopalachari to join the Union Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio where he served as a buffer between Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Patel.
14. Home Affairs Minister
After Sardar Patel’s death in 1950, Rajagopalachari was finally made Home Affairs Minister and went on to serve for nearly 10 months.
15. The passing of the Titan
In November 1972, Rajagopalachari’s health had begun to decline. Suffering from uraemia, dehydration and a urinary infection, Rajagopalachari died on 25th December, 1972 at the age of 94.