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Rajendra Prasad was born on 3 December 1884. He was  the first president of India in office from 1950 to 1962. He was an Indian independence activist, lawyer, scholar and an Indian political leader and lawyer by training. Upon independence in 1947, Prasad was elected as the first President of the constituent assembly of India, which prepared the constitution of India.

At the age of five years old, Prasad was placed under the guidance of a Maulavi, an accomplished Muslim scholar, to learn the Persian language, Hindi and arithmetic. After the completion of elementary education, he was sent to the Chapra District School. He, along with his elder brother, Mahendra Prasad, then went to study at T.K. Ghosh’s Academy in Patna for a period of two years. In the entrance examination to the University of Calcutta he secured first place and was awarded Rs. 30 per month as a scholarship.

In 1902, Prasad was appointed in Presidency college, Calcutta as a science student. He passed the F.A. under the University of Calcutta in March 1904 and then graduated with a first division from there in March 1905. Impressed by his intellect, an examiner once commented on his answer sheet that the “examinee is better than examiner“.

In 1907, from the University of Calcutta he graduated in the subjects arts and M.A. in Economics with a first division . There he lived with his brother in the Eden Hindu Hostel.  Prasad was instrumental in the formation of the Bihari Students Conference in 1906 in the hall of the Patna College. It was the first organization of its kind in India and produced important leaders from Bihar.

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Rajendra Prasad worked in various educational institutions as a teacher. He was appointed as professor of English at the Langat Singh College of Muzaffarpur in Bihar after completing his M.A in economics and went on to become the principal of the college. Later he left the college to undertake legal studies and entered the Ripon College, Calcutta(now the Surendra Nath Law college). In 1909, while pursuing his law studies in Kolkata he also worked as Professor of Economics at Calcutta City College. In 1915, Prasad appeared in the examination of Masters in Law from the Department of law, University of Calcutta passed the examination and won a gold medal. He completed his Doctorate in Law from Allahabad University in 1937.

In 1916, he joined the High Court of Bihar and Odisha. In 1917, he was appointed as one of the first members of the Senate and Syndicate of Patna University. Thereafter he  also practiced law at Bhagalpur.

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Prasad had a major role in the independence movement. Prasad’s first association with Indian National Congress was during 1906 annual session organized in Calcutta, where he participated as a volunteer, while studying in Calcutta. During the Lucknow Session of Indian National Congress held in 1916, he met Mahatma Gandhi. He was so greatly moved by the dedication, courage and conviction of Mahatma Gandhi that as soon as the motion of Non-cooperation was passed by Indian National Congress in 1920, he retired from his lucrative career of lawyer as well as his duties in the university to aid the movement.

Later in the year 1946, he was nominated as the minister of Food and Agricultural department in the interim government. Later in the year 1950, he was appointed as the first president of  India.

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By: Debarati Pal

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