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Welcome to Gandhi Ashram  

A note on Founder Bharat Ratna Shri C.Rajagopalachari:

       

Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari popularly know as "Rajaji" or "C.R", an ardent patriot and one of India's most eminent Statesmen was the first Indian Governer-General of Independent India. He was a pioneering social reformer, an able administrator and a profound scholar.



                                                               
                                                                                       
                                                                                        Rajaji’s office at the Ashram premises.


        Rajaji was born on December 10 1878 in a small village called Thorapalli in the erstwhile Salem District of Tamil Nadu. He completed his early schooling in Hosur and Central College Bangalore. After obtaining his Law Degree from Madras Law College he joined the Salem Bar in 1900. He soon cavred out of niche for himself with his formidable logic and analytical ability. He was elected Chairman of the Salem Municipal Council where he zealously furthered his ideals of Person of weaker section. upliftment and Prohibition. In 1919 he moved from Salem to Madras to practice in the High court.

        It was during this year that Rajaji met Gandhji at Madras. Drawn like a fish to water Rajaji followed the clarion call of the Mahatma, gave up his lucrative practice and plunged into the freedom movement. The first of Rajaji's jail terms came in December 1921 when he was the General Secretary of the Indian National Congress. He was arrested for participating in the Non-Cooperation movement and lodged at the Vellore Jail. At the Gaya Congress in December 1922 the nation discovered Rajaji. Gandhiji was in prison and his non-cooperation programme was opposed by the 'Pro Changers' who wished for council entry. The 'No Chengers' ably led by Rajaji were able to carry the day and ensure the continuation of Gandhiji's policies. Rajaji edited Gandhiji's Young India when the Mahatma was in prison. Gandhiji was later to call Rajaji "My Conscience Keeper"

        This ashram was devoted to implement Gandhiji's constructive programme of Khadi, Prohibiton and eradiction of Untouchability. Rajaji stayed in the Tiruchengodu Gandhi Ashram for about 10 years. The great Dandi salt march of 1930 led by the Mahatma found it's echo in the South where Rajaji organized a march from Tiruchi to Vedaranyam to make salt. The fifteen day march with a loyal band of followers was a moving and inspiring event as the people in the villages defied Government orders to provide the satyagrahi's with food and shelter and courted arrest. As a result of the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha Rajaji was imprisoned for a year. He was subsequently arrested twise later in 1931 after the failure of the First Round Table conference.


                                                               
                                                                                               
                                                                                                Gandhiji’s arrival at 1925.

        The Congress in 1937 opted to contest the elections for provincial governments and won resounding victories all over India. Rajaji was called upon to shoulder the distinction of becoming the Premier of the Madras Presidency. (Comprising of present day Gandhiji’s arrival at 1925 TamilNadu, Andhra Pradesh, parts of Karnataka and Kerala.)

        During the two years in office Rajaji brought about several important social and administrative reforms. Beginning with the Madurai Meenakshi Temple, Rajaji enacted laws that opened all the temples in province to Weaker section and the oppressed classes for the first time ever. Prohibition was enforsed in Salem and three other Districts. Sales tax an innovation in revenue collection in India was introduced by Rajaji. He was amoung the first to resign office when the Congress called on it's ministries to do so. Rajaji returned to the path of satyagraha and was again imprisoned.


                                                               


        In 1942 he differed from Gandhiji on Quit India and after seeking the permission of Gandhji he resigned from the Congress and carried on his campaign with conviction. He rejoined the Congress in 1946 and was inducted as a minister in the Interim Government at the Centre. Rajaji was appointed Governor of West Bengal in 1947 after the Indian Independence. His simplicity, astuteness and sagacity played an important role in the smooth transition of affairs in the state which was quite distrubed and troubled then with Partition.

        When Lord Mountbatten relinquished his office as Victory of India in 1948, Rajaji was bestowed upon the unique and high honor by his distinguished colleagues of becoming the first Indian to ever become the Governor-General of India. Rajaji graced the office which was till then a symbol of authority with simplicity, dignity and elegance. He retired to Madras in 1950 when India became a Republic and the office of Governor-General was replaced by the office of President.

        Bowing again to the call of duty and the nation he served as Home Minister of India in 1951 and Chief Minister of Madras from 1952-54. In 1954 he became the first recipient of the highest civilian honor bestowed in the country the Bharat Ratna at the age of 76. Rajaji championed the cause of free enterprise and nuclear disarmament. Rajaji journeyed in 1962 at the age of 84, part of an Indian delegation to United States to plead with John Kennedy for the cause of Nuclear Non Proliferation.

                                                               
                                                                     
                                                                      Gandhiji did prayer under this flag mast at 1925 and 1934.

        Rajaji was gifted with the rare talent of re-telling stories from the epics and the puranas in his own inimitable lucid and limpid style which could be understood by one and all. He wrote and translated a number of books of enduring value as the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Marcus Aurelius and the Upanishads to name a few which have left an indelible impression on our contemporary life.

        Rajaji passed away on December 25 1972 at age of 94. His blessed life of service and purpose continues to inspire us to do our bit in making India what she was meant to be.