Timeline History

C. Rajagopalachari

Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari (December 10th 1878 - December 25, 1972), known as or Rajaji or C.R., was an Indian lawyer, writer, statesman and a Hindu spiritualist. He was the second Governor-General of independent India. Later he became the Chief Minister of Madras State.
Rajagopalachari was born in a small village called Thorapalli of Salem District. He had his school education at Hosur and college education at Chennai and Banglore. He was married to Alamelu Mangamma when he was young and they had five children. His wife died when he was 37 and he solely took the responsibility of taking care of his children. Rajaji studied law in Banglore and started his practice at Salem. As a lawyer he was very successful. He won many cases which were brought to him. When in Salem, Rajaji showed keen interest in the social and political affairs. He was even elected as the Municipal Chairman of Salem and he held that post for two years. He was affectionately held as the "Mango of Salem".

Rajaji started to take part in the politics of the nation at the beginning of 1900's. At first he was drawn towards Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He had good relationship with V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, an ardent follower of Tilak. During Home Rule League days he admired Dr. Annie Besant and he highly revered Salem C.Vijayaraghavachariar, one of the founders of Congress.
In the year 1919 Rajaji chose to follow Gandhi, who had just returned from South Africa. In the year 1921, Rajaji was selected as the General Secretary of the Congress Party and he came into close contact with Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Azad, Rajendra Prasad etc. and began to gain lime-light in the party.
At one time considered Mahatma Gandhi's heir, this brilliant lawyer from Salem, Tamil Nadu was regarded in pre-independence years as one of the top five leaders of the Congress along with Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Rajaji was also related to Mahatma Gandhi - as his daughter married Devdas Gandhi. Of the five, Rajaji, Nehru and Patel were christened the "head, heart and hands" of Gandhi, in whose shadows they remained till his death. Ironically, all three of them were to have a tempestuous relationship, bound together only by their common goal and Gandhi's charm. However, they respected each other immensely. Nehru wrote about Rajaji in his autobiography of how Rajaji's "brilliant intellect, selfless character, and penetrating powers of analysis have been a tremendous asset to our cause". Rajaji's intellect and political acumen is often compared with that of Chanakya.
Rajaji was perhaps the earliest Congress leader in the 1940s to accept the right of Muslims to self-determination. He devised a formula whereby there could be common defence and communications between the two nations. But the Rajaji formula was rejected by Jinnah as well as some Congress leaders. Rajaji was known to be a fierce defender of his political ideals, and did not hesitate to contradict his closest aides and friends in public, whenever he sensed a threat to them.
After serving time in British prisons for his work in the independence movement, he became a member of the Governor's Council in 1946. In 1948, after Indian independence was attained, he replaced Mountbatten to become the only Indian Governor-General of India, in which post he continued till the Republic was declared on January 26, 1950. The office was replaced by that of President, first held by Rajendra Prasad.
Rajaji became a member of Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet, first without portfolio, then, after Patel's death, as Home Minister. He was chief minister of Madras from 1952 to 1954.
On leaving government, he was among the first recipients of the Bharat Ratna, the Indian government's highest civilian award.


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