Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | December 10, 2014 | 10.00 am IST Today we celebrate the 136th birth anniversary of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, fondly called Rajaji.  The "conscience keeper of Gandhiji" apart from playing a leading role in the freedom struggle, was also, in the words of Jayaprakash Narayan, "the Nestor of modern Indian politics." A staunch Congressman, he donned the roles of the first and last Indian Governor General, Governor of Bengal, Union cabinet minister and Chief Minister of Madras in independent India. He was also a prolific writer, most famous of his works being the retelling of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.   Here are some quotes and photographs of Rajaji, many from the book Unfolding Rajaji by CR Kesavan.                                                               Rajaji's four children                                                                                                                     With his in-law Mahatma Gandhi. On Partition: You can of course tie a cat and a dog together; drag them along the road and say, “What perfect unity!” The way to real unity, however, was to say, “Go if you want. Come back if you want. Remain if you want.”  When two brothers separate they do not become enemies of one another in the eyes of the world. The world still recognizes them as brothers.                                                                                            The PM and Rajaji with the first cabinet Rajaji addressing a crowd From left: Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Rajaji, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.                                                                                                                       On Education: Education does not consist in carrying a very heavy load of knowledge in your head. Will you call a donkey which carries a heavy load of clothes on its back a well-dressed one?  Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's letter to Rajaji to take up Governor Generalship after Lord Mountbatten left.                                                         On Atomic Energy: It would be quixotic to imagine that we could scoop Thorium sand out of the Travancore beaches and put it in a bag to go out and destroy our enemies. The main aim is to harness atomic energy for peace. In every atom of matter rides Rudra, the God of destruction, and so when the atom is broken up, out comes the primordial energy. We seek to domesticate this power. We seek to make Shiva slave for us! We may succeed if indeed that be Shiva’s pleasure. Kamaraj with Rajaji On Bureaucracy: Increasing order of irresponsibility is the life-principle of bureaucracy.  Rajaji as the Governor General of India. On the need for a strong opposition: A strong opposition is essential for the health of democratic government. In a human body, two eyes and two ears aid a person to place the objects seen and heard. A single party democracy soon loses its sense of proportion. It sees, but cannot place things in perspective.  With the Mountbattens.   On imposition of Hindi in Madras (now Tamil Nadu): Hindi is like chutney on the leaf, taste it or leave it alone. On why as a Chief Minister of the state he spent less money in his own constituency: A man earns and gives his earnings to his wife, who feeds all the guests first. Only if anything is left can she eat. On lottery tickets: What moral rights have state governments to ask magistrates to punish those who hold gambling house, if they themselves run lotteries to get revenue.  During an election campaign against the Congress in Madras - to the left of Rajaji is C.N. Annadurai and to the right is M. Karunanidhi.   His reply when a scheme introduced by his government was criticized: Laughing at a bullock cart because it was not a motor car was like laughing at our feet because we have bought a bicycle. On Ramayana: The Ramayana is mother’s milk for India. It should be left to itself and not philosophized. Mother’s milk should not be sent to the chemical analyst. How Raja became RajajiThe nation discovered Rajaji during the Gaya Congress. The honorific ji was added to his name after that, and since then he was addressed in that way. His humourAn Englishman once commented about India’s heat to him in a train compartment saying “ It is aa very hot afternoon” He replied smiling saying “not hot enough” When the man surprised with Rajaji's reaction replied “What do you mean not hot enough?” he smiled and said “ Not hot enough to keep you gentlemen out of the country” Tweet
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