C. Rajagopalachari

Politician

1878 – 1972

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Who was C. Rajagopalachari?

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, 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 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.

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Born
Dec 10, 1878
Thorapalli
Also known as
  • Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
  • Rajaji
  • C.R.
  • Rajagopalachari
Children
Religion
  • Hinduism
Ethnicity
  • Tamil
  • Tamil Brahmin
Nationality
  • India
Profession
Education
  • Presidency College, Chennai
  • Bangalore University
Died
Dec 25, 1972
Chennai

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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