On 3rd December Dr. Rajendra Prasad Birth Anniversary

From Bombay I came to Delhi and got a job in the International Trade Exhibition in Pragati Maidan, Handloom Pavilion. President Com. Khrushehev and Com. Bulganil Prime Minister of U.S.S.R. were the Chief Guest of the Exhibition, I had an opportunity to see them. I was staying in the working girls hostel. I started working as an assistant librarian in Indian Council of World Affairs, Sapru House, Barakhamba Road. N.Delhi. The library was open from 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. So,I had shift duties- morning 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. and evening 2 P.M. onwards.

One day while I was free in the morning, walking through the corridors I heard a voice of lady in pain. I went inside her room. That lady was crying by Muscle pain, I massaged her leg. She became alright. She was an elderly lady returning from America. After taking PHD in Agriculture Science and working there for some time, she came to India for some work and staying in the hostel. After that incident, she became very friendly with me and adopted me as a daughter. She had many big contacts in Delhi. Whenever she goes there for some party, she used to take me. One day she took me to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet Shrimati Rajamanshi Devi, wife of Dr. Rajendra Prasad first President of India. She was her childhood friend. They grow together in the village. When I met Rajamanshi Devi it was hard for me to believe that she was the first lady of India. She was very simple Lady, wrapped up in white Khaadi Saari. They were chatting for a long time recollecting memories of village life. After taking some refreshment we were returned.

Second, time also we went to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet Rajamanshi Devi. Then I was introducesd to her. Then she inquired about me. And she came to know that I was a Mathematics Teacher in Bombay. She told her Grand Children are poor in Maths. And ask me to take tution class of Maths. I happily accepted it. 
Dr. Rajendra Prasad had only two sons and elder son was widower and younger son was not keeping well. So all the school going grand children of two sons were brought to Delhi. There were five children. There was unmarried, Mrs Kiran to look after them. I became very friendly with them. After some time I was treated as a family member. On holiday I used to be there all time looking after them and helping them in their all subjects.

They are the people – what they preached they practised it. Their children were going to the ordinary Govt: School where the common people children Studied. They could offered to send them in big private school. They wanted to study them in Hindi medium schools. All of them wore khaadi dress – the school uniforms were also in khaadi. If the cloth is torned, Rajamansi Devi used to make them to stich it and wear. She never allowed them waste food. Tea and Coffee were not served to the children. The time of snacks they were given water or milk. 
She taught them to respect the servants. One day the smallest one, five year old threw water on the bearer who served food. When Rajamansi Devi came to know about it she scolded the child and asked him to say in front me and other children “sorry”. The bearer was requesting not to do it “leave it” small child he is my boss Rajamansi Devi insisted and the child said ”sorry” to the bearer. Children upbringing was in the way inculcating patriotism and Indian culture in them. 
Even though there were cooks, she made the children sometimes to cook. One day Dr. Rajendra Prasad was coming for lunch. She asked one of the grand daughters to cook “poori” for the grandfather. While she was making it, grand father came. The “poori” which she took out from the stove was one side burned. She got very angry with her. “Is this way you are making food for grandfather and giving him”. The daughter began to cry. Grandfather took the burned one and ate it. He consoled the child and told her that next time she should be careful. Raja Mansi Devi told me this incident and grandfather is over fondling the children. Grandchildren and grandfather were very close and just like friends.
Another Incident I remember is that when one granddaughter Renu failed in one of the subjects when we saw in the report, grandmother scolded her. She began to cry. At that moment grandfather came there and saw the child crying. He consoled her and told to do well in the next exam. On that day evening he was going to witness “Ramleela” in his horse chariot. Usually no one sits with him. But he took Renu along with him to Ramleela ground. The next day when I went to teach them, the children told me this news. He was a very, very loving grandfather. 

One of the married granddaughters had twins “Hemant and Jayant”. They were brought to the grandparents. The grandparents were extremely happy to feed them. Both of them were sitting in the perambulator and the grandfather gave grapes and kept it in the middle. Both of them were struggling to take it first then the other one. Garndfather was laughing all the time looking at the struggle. Children used to tell me sometimes this kind of stories.
If I am going then not in between in the office time or holidays. Rajamansha Devi used to insist me to have food there, as I am staying in a hostel and not getting home made food. .

My friends wanted to see Rashtrapati Bhavan. Through Kiran I have organised it. They were very happy, they have seen Mughal garden also. Kiran invited all my friends and gave them refreshments. All the children are well mannered and family oriented.

I used to visit kerala M.P’s families. His 5yr old child has became very much attached with me. One day she accompanied me to president house.

Babu and she were the same age. They both did not know each other language. But they were happily playing. She will talk in Malayalam to him and he will talk in Hindi. But they understand each other and played well until I finish my class. They were playing with a toy horse. She wanted to take it home. He won’t give it Kiran made passified. Finally without any hesitation he gave the toy to her.

One day Nehru ji came to the family while I was taking classes. He patted the children and asked me how many yrs they have to complete matriculation. Dr. Rajendra Prasad sister who was a child widow and a freedom fighter was staying with them. So those who are known to her the leaders used visit her. Classroom was near to her room I was introduced to her as Dr. Radhakrishnan – Vice President of India (Gav Walli) from the village. I used to take the children for horse riding sometime Rajaiv Gandhi & Sanjay Gandhi also used to be there in the Race Course for riding. Returning time we will go together either to Teen Murti (Prime Ministers Residence) or Rashtrapati bhavan. Children used to call me “mastrani”. I used to teach them until Rashtrapities second term.

There is a small cinema hall. Good films were shown over there. We have reserved seats there. I accompanied them. One day when I was taking lunch there I noticed a silver jug with a tap for water hand washing and I enquired about it I was told that it was a present to the President when he got married from the wife’s family.

When the foreign guest like – Hochmen President of Vietnam and Chowenlai President of China, etc. They used to give gifts to children. Children had a sharing mentality so I also get a share of it. Even from the village they get anything special I also used to get share of it. 
Both the Grandparents were very particular about their studies & bringing up them in full Indian Culture – very well managed, humble in character, respect to others, obedient hard working and truthful. Though children were very high position in life. They were leading ordinary position life under the umbrella of loving grandparents.

Cicily Kodiyan
President, ANHLGT