Rajendra Prasad was gentleman of Indian politics: Ansari
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 28, 2010, 17:48
Patna: Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Sunday described the first president of the country, Rajendra Prasad, as the "gentleman of Indian politics" and said he was the epitome of "simplicity and selflessness".

"Prasad's personal way of life and integrity were his great assets and this was for this reason that he was conferred the title of gentleman of Indian politics and prompted Gandhiji to call him Ajatashatru -- one who had no enemies," Ansari said at a function here on Prasad's 47th death anniversary.

Ansari said it had been said that he "lacked the inspiring eloquence of Jawaharlal Nehru, the hard-headed realism of Vallabbhai Patel and the subtlety and debating skills of Rajagoplachari," yet his contribution was substantial as an eminent jurist, a great scholar and a prominent freedom fighter... the nation owes gratitude to him for firming up democratic ideal in the nascent republic.

Ansari recalled Prasad's address to the Constituent Assembly in November 1949, where he had said, "if the people who are elected are capable and men of character and integrity they would be able to make the best even of a defective constitution.

"It they are lacking in these, the Constitution can not help the country... It's up to us to preserve and protect the independence that we have won and to make bear fruit for the man in the street."

Ansari said the emerging phenomenon of corruption in public life, especially in high place, disturbed him greatly and Prasad was candid about it.

During his second term as President, he was convinced that judicial intervention and political example were principal instruments in tackling corruption.

"I think, he wrote....it is time the government from the highest level downwards, took serious notice of it and took serious notice of it and took some action which would convince even scoffers and doubters of its earnestness to eliminate and suppress with Strong hand corruption whenever found and whatever form seen," Ansari said.

Ansari further quoted Prasad and said in his own words "Sanatanist Hindu by faith and daily practice," his conviction in the Indian secular ideals was firm as was his respect for all religions and places of worship.

Prasad believed that religious intolerance breeds "bitterness and immorality among men" and that "all paths lead to God."

He had called on citizens to "cultivate tolerance and goodwill towards one another and let people of all faiths living in this country feel that they have all an equal right to live here and follow the faith of their choice," Ansari said.

Ansari thanked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for inviting him to participate in the function organised to commemorate the 125th year of the birth of Rajendra Babu and his 47th death anniversary.

Earlier, Ansari accompanied by Nitish Kumar laid a wreath on Prasad's "samadhi asthal" at Banshghat here.

Addressing the function Nitish Kumar said each and every student should take lessons from the Rajenra Prasad's answer books of matriculation when the examiners said that the "examinee is better than the examiner."

He said not only Bihar but the entire nation should commemorate the 125th year of his birth and 47th death anniversary of Prasad, who propagated Gandhian ethics in politics and was the epitome of simplicity, Kumar said.

On the occasion the vice president released commemorative coins of Rs five and Rs 100 denominations as a mark or respect to Rajendra Prasad.


First Published: Sunday, February 28, 2010, 17:48

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