Rajendra Prasad (1884—1963) was the first President of the Republic of India. An
independence activist and a prominent Gandhian, Rajendra Prasad was a close associate of Gandhi's
from the time of the Champaran Satyagraha in 1916. Prasad was elected president of the Indian
National Congress in 1934, and again in 1939, after Subhas Chandra Bose resigned from the post.
He served as president of the Constituent Assembly which drafted India's Constitution over 1948
and 1949. On 26 January 1950, Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as the first President of India. He
remained in the post for twelve years, before resigning in 1962. He was also honoured with the
Bharat Ratna that year.
This selection from Rajendra Prasad's speeches includes a landmark speech on the Constitution
to the Constituent Assembly (1949), and two speeches delivered on 26 January 1950, including the
President's swearing-in speech. An appendix includes three significant speeches Rajendra Prasad
delivered soon after the Republic was formed—the Independence Day speeches of 1950 and 1951,
and the speech on the first anniversary of the Republic delivered on 25 January 1951 .Together, they
reflect the great leader's vision for the formation and administration of the new nation.
To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Indian Republic, the Words of Freedom
series showcases the landmark speeches and writings of fourteen visionary leaders whose thought
animated the Indian struggle for Independence and whose revolutionary ideas and actions forged the
Republic of India as we know it today.