Remembering C. Rajagopalachari on his birthday, December 10

Informally known as Rajaji or C.R., Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (10 December 1878 - 25 December 1972) was an Indian lawyer, statesman, and champion for Indian independence. 

The last Indian Governor-General was Rajagopalachari. Apart from leading the Indian National Congress, he also held the positions of premier of the Madras Presidency, governor of West Bengal, minister of home affairs for the Indian Union, and chief minister of the state of Madras. 

Rajagopalachari was one of the first individuals to receive the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. He also created the Swatantra Party. He was a strong supporter of world peace and disarmament and fiercely opposed the use of nuclear weapons. Throughout his life, he also picked up the moniker "Mango of Krishnagiri."

Tajagopalachari was born in the village of Thorapalli in the Krishnagiri district of the Madras Presidency (currently the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu) and educated at Central College, Bangalore, and Presidency College, Madras.

 He entered politics and eventually rose to the position of President of the Salem municipality. He joined the Indian National Congress and took part in the agitations against the Rowlatt Act by joining the civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and Vaikom Satyagraha movements. Rajagopalachari braved the possibility of going to jail in 1930 when he organised the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha in opposition to the Dandi March. 

Rajagopalachari was appointed as Premier of the Madras Presidency in 1937 and held office until 1940, when he was forced to retire as a result of Britain's declaration of war against Germany. Later, he rejected the Quit India Movement and favoured cooperation over Britain's military effort. He advocated for talks with both the Muslim League and Muhammad Ali Jinnah and put up what is now known as the C. R. formula. 

After serving as the Governor of West Bengal from 1947 to 1948, the Governor-General of India from 1948 to 1950, the Union Home Minister from 1951 to 1952, and the Chief Minister of Madras State from 1952 to 1954, Rajagopalachari was appointed Minister of Industry, Supply, Education, and Finance in the Interim Government of India in 1946. He left the Indian National Congress in 1959 and started the Swatantra Party, which ran against the Congress in the elections of 1962, 1967, and 1972. In Madras state, under the leadership of C. N. Annadurai, Rajagopalachari played a key role in organising the anti-Congress alliance that won the 1967 elections.

The song Kurai Onrum Illai, set to Carnatic music, is credited to the distinguished writer Rajagopalachari, who also contributed significantly to Indian English literature. He promoted the upliftment of Dalits and helped start the temperance and temple entrance movements in India. He has been under fire for implementing the contentious Madras Scheme of Elementary Education in Madras State as well as making Hindi mandatory. 

 

 

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