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Purushottam Das Tandon

(1882 -1962) – (Uttar Pradesh)

Purushottam Das Tandon (Aged 80) was born on 1 August 1882 in Prayagraj (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh, India. After completing his degree in law and an MA in history, he started practicing in 1906 and joined the bar of Allahabad High Court in 1908 as a junior to Tej Bahadur Sapru. However, he gave up his practice in 1921 to concentrate on public activities. Tandon worked as a Professor of Hindi at Victoria College, Gwalior.

He was associated with the Indian National Congress since his student days in 1899. In 1906, he represented Allahabad in the All India Congress Committee. Tandon was also part of the Congress Party committee that studied the Jallianwala Bagh incident in 1919. In the 1920s and 1930s, he was arrested for participating in the Non-Cooperation movement and Salt Satyagraha respectively.

Tandon and Jawaharlal Nehru were among the people arrested even before Mohandas K. Gandhi returned from the Round Table Conference in London in 1931. He was known for his efforts in farmers’ movements and served as the President of Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha in 1934. He also remained the President of Servants of the People Society (Lok Sevak Mandal), a social service organization founded by Lala Lajpat Rai, in 1921.

Tandon was customarily given the title Rajarshi (etymology: Raja + Rishi = Royal Saint). He was popularly known as “UP Gandhi.” He worked as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of present-day Uttar Pradesh for a period of 13 years, from 31 July 1937 to 10 August 1950. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly of India in 1946. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1961. He passed away on 1 July 1962.