3 December 1884 – 28 February 1963
Out first President may be truly described as one of the finest representatives of modern India, a product of Western culture with an outlook on life essentially Indian. His life reflects a combination of cultures and varied experiences through which he passed his life.
Rajandra Prasad was born in a Bihar village in Chapra on December 3, 1884, the son of a landlord. His first school was the Chapra District School, where the Headmaster, Khirode Chandra Ray Chaudhury, recognized his remarkable gifts. He passed the Entrance examination from the Patna District School, standing first in the Calcutta University, whose jurisdiction in those days extended from Bengal 'undivided) and Bihar to Burma including Assam, Orissa etc.
He now came to Calcutta and joined the Presidency College where he studied Science. He took his degree in Law and joined the bar of the Calcutta High Court. When Patna High Court was established (1917), he shifted his practice to that Court.
Meanwhile, from his student-day in Calcutta, he came under the influence of Satis Mukherjee's 'Dawn Society'. He also acted as a volunteer at the Calcutta session of the Congress in 1906 and heard the speeches of the leaders of the time, Surendranath Banerjee, Gokhale and others. In 1917, his fateful meeting with Gandhiji took place over the Champaran agrarian troubles. So deep was the Mahatma's influence over Rajendra Prasad, that he joined the Congress, after the Satyagraha movement. He became President of the Bihar Congress unit in 1920. Soon then he became the General Secretary of the Congress. He joined the Civil Disobedience Movement and suffered arrest and imprisonment in 1930. He did a youngman's job in organising relief in the areas divested by the Bihar Earthquake of 1934. Rajendra Prasad's dignity, sincerity, devotion had by now so impressed his older colleagues that in 1934 he was elected President of the National Congress at its Mumbai