Advocate’s Day: Commemorating the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad

Advocate’s Day: Commemorating the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad

In our nation, Advocate’s Day is annually observed on the 3rd of December, marking the birthday of Dr. Rajendra Prasad (3 December 1884 – 28 February 1963), the inaugural President of India and a highly distinguished lawyer.

Rajendra Prasad, an Indian independence activist, lawyer, and scholar, served as the first President of India from 1950 to 1962. A devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Prasad faced imprisonment by British authorities during the Salt Satyagraha of 1931 and the Quit India movement of 1942. Following the 1946 elections, he assumed the role of Minister of Food and Agriculture in the central government. Post-independence in 1947, Prasad was elected as the President of the Constituent Assembly of India, instrumental in drafting the Constitution of India and functioning as its provisional parliament.

Upon India's transition to a republic in 1950, Prasad was elected as its First president by the Constituent Assembly. Despite his ceremonial role, Prasad actively advocated for educational development in India and provided counsel to the Nehru government on multiple occasions. In 1957, he secured re-election to the presidency, marking the only instance of a president serving two complete terms, totaling around 12 years.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad passed away on 28 February 1963, at the age of 78. The Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalaya in Patna stands as a dedicated memorial to his legacy, and he was honored with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the nation.

The Pivotal Role of Advocates in Society

Advocates have played a crucial role in leading societal movements toward positive change. In contemporary times, lawyers in various nations have assumed leadership roles in pivotal historical events. Notable figures like Abraham Lincoln, a prominent American President during the Civil War, and Robespierre, a key French leader in the French Revolution, were lawyers. Likewise, Lenin, the influential leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, had a background in law.

Prominent freedom fighters, including Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Dr. Ambedkar, Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer, and K.M. Munshi, emerged from the legal fraternity and actively contributed to the framing of the Constitution. Many lawyers sacrificed their practices to participate in the freedom movement, facing imprisonment for their convictions.

The legal profession is inherently challenging, demanding immense hard work, dedication, and devotion. Advocates are considered officers of the court, owing duties not only to their clients but also to the court itself, aiming to assist in the administration of justice. Regarded as a learned profession, the advocacy profession is distinctive in that its members, while adversaries in court, collaborate in the pursuit of truth and justice.

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