Prasad, Rajendra

Prasad, Rajendra

(rəjĕn`drə prəsäd`), 1884–1963, first president of India. Before entering politics, he taught English literature, history, economics, and law. In 1917 he began working with Mohandas K. GandhiGandhi, Mohandas Karamchand
, 1869–1948, Indian political and spiritual leader, b. Porbandar. In South Africa

Educated in India and in London, he was admitted to the English bar in 1889 and practiced law unsuccessfully in India for two years.
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, and in 1920 he joined the Indian National CongressIndian National Congress,
Indian political party, founded in 1885. Its founding members proposed economic reforms and wanted a larger role in the making of British policy for India.
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 and was several times (1934, 1939, 1947–48) its president. He was imprisoned (1942–45) for supporting the Congress opposition to the British war effort in World War II. Prasad became president of India in 1950, when the republic of India was proclaimed, and held that office until 1962. His many writings include his autobiography (tr. 1958) and At the Feet of Mahatma Gandhi (1961).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prasad, Rajendra


Born Dec. 3, 1884, in Zeradei, Bihar State; died Feb. 28, 1963, in Patna. Indian statesman and political figure.

The son of a landowner, Prasad was educated at the University of Calcutta. From 1911 to 1916 he was a lawyer for the Calcutta High Court, and from 1916 to 1920, for the Patna High Court. He joined the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1911. Prasad became an active Gandhian for the first time in 1917, during the satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) in the Champaran District of Bihar. From then on he was active in the national liberation movement of India. In 1934, 1939, and 1947–48, he was president of INC. He was imprisoned many times, the last time from 1942 to 1945.

From 1946 to January 1948, Prasad was a member of the Indian interim government, serving as minister for food and agriculture. From 1946 to 1950 he was chairman of the Indian Constituent Assembly. After India was proclaimed a republic in 1950, he was elected as interim president. Prasad was president of India from 1952 to 1962. In 1960 he paid an official visit to the USSR. He was made an honorary doctor of historical sciences by Moscow State University.


In Russian translation:
Avtobiografiia. Moscow, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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