Remembering the first president of India

Published: 04 December, 2013 23:28 IST | Richa Pinto |

Navi Mumbai residents from Bihar recently celebrated the birth anniversary of Dr Rajendra Prasad, who hails from the same state; the function highlighted his contributions to history

The satellite city witnessed a celebration of a different kind on December 1. Kharghar-based Bihar Navchetna Seva Samiti (BNSS) and the Khargharcha Raja Trust commemorated the birth anniversary of Dr Rajendra Prasad — the first president of the Republic of India.

Remembering the man: Residents of the area attended the function and lit candles in front of a portrait of Dr Rajendra Prasad

Though his birthday falls on December 3, the ceremony was held on the weekend to attract maximum participation from community members.

The programme, which began at 7.30 pm, was held at a farmhouse located in Sector 5, Kharghar and a large number of people from various nodes in Navi Mumbai came attended.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Rajesh K Shreevastava of BNSS said, “Dr Rajendra Prasad is a well-known name in history, but is not remembered much.

He became a major leader from Bihar region and joined the Indian National Congress during the pre-Independence era. People remember Gandhi and Nehru, but we forget an extraordinary figure like Dr Prasad.

We observed this day not only because he was a member of our community, but also because his contribution to Indian history was commendable — he was the only Indian president to be elected twice to office.”

Around 400 people were present in the audience and various people spoke about the role of Dr Prasad in the freedom struggle.

From adults to children, everyone was given an opportunity to express their thoughts. Five-year-old Siddharth Varun Lal read out an essay on the leader’s life to the crowds, which responded with a huge applause.

Arvind Thakur, a writer by profession, also delivered a speech on the man who was not just a freedom hero, but also a well-known teacher and lawyer. Community members were also seen singing various patriotic songs on the occasion. Later, the audience too joined in.

This was the third year in a row that such a function had been held. Shreevastava concluded, “We are keen on doing this every year. We will continue doing so, as long as we receive the support and participation from our community members.” The programme concluded at 10 pm.

>> Dr Prasad was born on December 3, 1884 in Ziradei, Bihar
>> He did his Masters in Economics and taught in several colleges. Subsequently, he completed his Masters in Law with honours and practised as a lawyer
>> Mahatma Gandhi was a major influence in his life. He extended his support to Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and initiated it in Bihar, and also launched the salt satyagraha in Bihar.
>> He was President of the Constituent Assembly that framed the Constitution of India
>> He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 1962 

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