Buoyed by the Centre’s recent decision to set up a national memorial in the memory of Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan at his birthplace in Sitab Diara village of Chapra (Saran) district, Bihar, there is now demand to acknowledge the contributions of independent India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad.
Born in Ziradei village of Siwan district, 142 kms north-west of Patna, Prasad was also the first President to serve two terms in office between 1950 and 1962.
Fifty-two years after the Gandhian follower’s death, a group of intelligentsia now wants Prasad’s home district to be rechristened as Deshratna Nagar Siwan or Rajendrapuram Siwan. It also wants that the Siwan railway junction be renamed as Deshratna Nagar Siwan junction or the Rajendrapuram Siwan junction.
Besides, it has also pitched for a chapter on the life and contributions of Dr Prasad in the schoollevel NCERT and state-level text-books under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Working under the umbrella of the Human Rights Awareness Organisation, an NGO, the group sent a formal request to President Pranab Mukherjee on July 10.
Copies of the letter have also been marked to the Prime Minister, the ministers of home, law, railways, human resources development, information and broadcasting, the Bihar governor, chief minister, and a host of civil officials.
Among those driving the proposal are legal luminaries, former bureaucrats and eminent doctors, including Padma awardees. There are more than 65 signatories to the letter, including former chief secretary of Bihar and Jharkhand VS Dubey and other superannuated senior bureaucrats like IC Kumar, BB Lal and Raghunandan Prasad.
Legal luminaries like chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI) Manan Kumar Mishra, former BCI chairman Suraj Narayan Prasad Sinha, chairman Bihar state bar council Akhouri Mangla Charan Srivastava, senior advocates Shashi Shekhar Dwivedi, Yadu Vansh Giri, Vinod Kumar Kanth, Rajendra Prasad Singh and Janardan Prasad Singh, besides Padmashrees Dr SN Arya and Dr Gopal Prasad Sinha, are also signatories to the letter.
“It is painful that even after 67 years of our independence, in which Rajendra Babu had played a pivotal role, we have not done enough to venerate him. I firmly believe that it is never too late to atone a national remiss,” said Uday Kumar Singh, the organisation’s national president.
The Centre had only last month decided to set up a national memorial in the memory of Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan at his birthplace in Lala Ka Tola of Sitab, Diara village in Saran district, better known as Chapra. This being an election year in Bihar, the forum is hopeful that the government would be sympathetic to its demands.