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 home schooled, 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 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 United Provinces. In the Assembly he spoke on national language and freedom of religion.


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).


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 – Bharat Ratna – for his contribution to Public Affairs.

Committee memberships:

  1. Committee on Rules and Procedure
  2. The Advisory Committee
  3. Committee on Functions of the Constituent Assembly

  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.