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
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
"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
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
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
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.