Bihar plans Rajendra Prasad’s 125th birth anniversary

July 14th, 2008 - 9:51 am ICT by IANS  

Patna, July 14 (IANS) After paying ritualistic respect to India’s first president Rajendra Prasad for decades, Bihar is planning to celebrate his 125th birth anniversary in a big way in an attempt to take his ideas across the country and even to the diaspora abroad. The celebration will be used to develop historical places associated with him in Bihar with an eye on tourists. A research centre named after him is to come up to promote rural economy-based occupations, official sources said.

The celebrations will begin Dec 3 this year. Rajendra Prasad was born Dec 3, 1884, in Zeradei village in Bihar’s Siwan district. He died Feb 28, 1963, in Patna. He was the first president of independent India - and for two terms (1950-62).

Subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour, Rajen Babu - as he was popularly known - spent the last months of his life at the Sadaqat Ashram in Patna, the headquarters of the Congress party.

Bihar culture secretary Vivek Kumar Singh said a bronze statue of Rajendra Prasad would be installed at the Patna museum gallery. Memorial lectures and seminars would also be organised.

The Reserve Bank of India has been urged to issue a special coin in his memory. The postal department will be coming out with a postage stamp.

Rajendra Prasad’s ancestral home in Zeradei village will be developed and preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The ASI plans to include the 105-year-old house in the list of protected monuments.

The Siwan district administration says that no one lives in the house except for a caretaker.

The central government has released a grant for the upkeep and protection of Rajendra Prasad’s personal collections displayed at the Rajendra Memorial Museum here and other related activities.

The government is busy completing work on the facelift of Rajendra Udyan, a memorial here built in 1985 in honour Rajendra Prasad at Bansh Ghat, next to the river Ganges, where he was cremated. Till last year the memorial was a virtual den of gamblers and drug addicts due to years of neglect.

A new boundary wall has been erected in place of the original one that had cracked. A new iron gate was also installed in place of a small one.

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