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Purshottam Das Tandon
1882 - 1962

Early Life:

Purushottam Das Tandon popularly referred to as ‘Rajarshi’ was born on 1 August 1882 at Allahabad. After being homeschooled, he went on to graduate in law and history from Muir Central College, Allahabad. Thereafter, he began his law practice and joined Tej Bahadur Sapru.


Between 1914 and 1918 he served as the Law Minister in Nabha state, Punjab.


Role in India’s Independence Movement:

In 1899, Tandon joined the Indian National Congress and got involved in the freedom movement. He took part in the Non-cooperation movement, Civil Disobedience movement, Salt March, and Quit India movement. Further, he worked towards strengthening farmer rights through ‘Kisan Sabhas’.


Contribution to Constitution Making:

Tandon was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the United Provinces. In the Assembly, he spoke on national language and freedom of religion.


Later Contributions:

In 1950 Tandon was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress. However, in 1952, due to growing differences with Nehru, he resigned.


He was elected to the first Lok Sabha, and in 1956 he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. In 1961, Tandon was conferred with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, for his contribution to public affairs.


Key Writings:

Tandon was a Hindi scholar and worked towards popularising Hindi in India. His writings include ‘Ṭaṇḍana nibandhāvali’ (a collection of essays) and ‘The Unforgettable Nehru’ (biographical account of Jawaharlal Nehru).

  1. Tandon argued for adopting Hindi in Devanagari script as the National language.
  2. While debating the scope of religious freedom, Tandon clarified that that it did not cover the right to convert minor children.