(Last Updated on : 22/02/2012)
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari or Cakkaravartti Rajagopalachariar, popularly known as C.R. or Rajaji, was an Indian was a renowned Indian freedom fighter, lawyer, politician, statesman and a reputed Tamil
author. He was the very last Governor-General of the country. Rajagopalachari or Rajaji was also appointed as the leader of the Indian National Congress
, Governor of West Bengal
, Premier of the Madras Presidency
, Chief Minister of Madras state and Minister for Home Affairs of the Indian Union. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari is also the founder of the Swatantra Party. He was honoured with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, for his contributions. Later Chakravarti Rajagopalachari established himself as an eminent writer in Tamil and English.
Early Life of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was born on 10 December 1878, to the parents Chakravarti Venkatarya Iyengar, who was the munsiff of Thorapalli Village, and Singaramma, into a devoted Iyengar family of Thorapalli in the Madras Presidency. He had two older brother named Narasimhachari and Srinivasa. Rajagopalachari was rather weak and unhealthy during his childhood which was a major concern for his parents. He started his studies at a village school in Thorapalli. When Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was 5 years old, his family moved to Hosur and he was admitted at Hosur Government School.
He successfully completed his matriculation examinations in the year 1891 and pursued his graduation in arts from Central College, Bangalore (now Bengaluru
) in the year 1894. Rajagopalachari continued his higher studies in Law at the Presidency College, Madras (Chennai
). He finished his graduation in 1897. During this period, he displayed his ability in politics. He was given the title Gandhi
of South India. After he obtained a degree in law and started working as an advocate. He was very interested in literature.
Rajagopalachari as a Freedom Fighter
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari served as the Chairman of Municipal Council of Salem. During this time he launched a campaign against caste system, and drinking of alcohol. Afterwards he entered into national politics. In 1906 he joined the Surat session of the Indian national Congress. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was initially the follower of extremist Lokamanya Tilak. During the separation of Indian national Congress he joined the group of extremist and started working with Lokamanya Tilak and Dr. Annie Besant
. After few days he started following Gandhiji's view. He was the member of the Congress Working Committee from 1919 to 1942. In 1921 he became the General Secretary of the Indian national Congress. At that time Chakravarti Rajagopalachari established an intimate relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru
, Vallabhbhai Patel
, Maulana Azad
, Anugrah Narayan Sinha
, Rajendra Prasad
. Within a short time he became one of the top leaders of the party.
In 1932 Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was the acting President of Congress Party and played a crucial role in the Poona Pact with Ambedkar. During the time of provincial election he showed his organizational skill which led congress to get the majority. He actively took part in the Dandi March and inspired the 'Satyagrahis'. He was imprisoned by the British Goverment as 'Satyagrahi' for five times. During this time he wrote several books He was also the editor of 'Young India' during Gandhiji's incarceration. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was appointed as the provincial leader of Madras after his jail-term. After Gandhi-Irwin pact and Government of India Act in the year 1935, he served as the premier of Madras Presidency. He also contributed a lot for social reformation. He brought Agriculturists' Debt Relief Act to save the poor debt ridden farmer from the grasp of landlord .For the first time the idea of sales tax was introduced by Rajaji.
Political Career of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was selected as the member of the Governor?s Council in 1946. In the interim Government he served as the minister of Education and Arts .He also held the post of Industries and Supply minister and Finance minister. After independence he was appointed as the Governor-General of India and served in this post for next three years. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari served as the Home minister of Nehru's Cabinet. He became the chief minister of Madras in 1952. For the ideological differences with the congress men Chakravarti Rajagopalachari formed the 'Swatantra' Party. He protested against the license-permit Raj. He also criticized the formation of linguistic states and wanted to retain English language as Official language of India.
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari as an Author
Apart from political career Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was also a well-known writer. He composed various Tamil short stories with a definite purpose and most of his works contain some high principles to express. Various socials evils like untouchability and other problems that was widespread in his days. He translated the two Hindu epics Ramayana
to Tamil; and later into English. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari also translated the Upanishad, Bhaja and the Tirukkural
, which is an ancient work of Tamil literature
, into English. His interpretations of Hinduism
, Bhagavad Gita
and Indian Culture were incorporated in his famous book Hinduism- Doctrine and Way of Life. He also penned some poems, novels and short stories.
Annaiyum Pitavum, one of his well known short stories depicted the attitude of a Harijan boy towards his family after he became a learned and sophisticated person with a high designation job. The protagonist overlooked his moral responsibility towards the family and eventually overlooked his moral responsibility towards the family and left his parents, siblings in sheer misery and despair. After the sudden occurrence of an incident he realized his mistakes and renounced the worldly life. Tevanai is another story composed by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari which narrates the tale of poor villagers in big towns, through the character of a village woman. The villagers leave their villages in search of an occupation in towns and are eventually turned into beggars.The problems of untouchability that existed during that era are graphically described in the story.
Most of the short stories composed by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari in Tamil are in a narrative style. He gives no importance to techniques in handling the short story.
Personal Life of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was married to Alamelu Mangamma in the year 1897. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. Unfortunately his wife died in 1916 as a result of which Rajagopalachari took responsibility for the proper care of his children. C. R. Narasimhan, his son was elected to the Lok Sabha
in the years 1952 and 1957.
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari died in the year 1972 as a result of an illness.