Rajaji was born on December 8, 1878
in Thorapalli Village near Hosur in Salem District of Tamilnadu. His mother
was Shringaramma. His father Chakravarti lyengar was not only the village
munsiff but also a great scholar in the Vedas, Puranas, and other Sanskrit
lore. Rajaji completed his primary education in his native village and
then joined the District Board High School at Hosur. Later he passed the
B.A. degree examination from the Central College in Bangalore and secured
a Law Degree in Madras.
When he was studying in the Law College
in Madras, an interesting incident happened.
Swami Vivekananda visited Madras. He
was put in the very hostel where Rajagopalachari was staying. Going round
the rooms of the students in the hostel, he entered Raja- gopalachari's
room. He saw on the wall a picture of Lord Krishna. He asked, "Why is Lord
Sri Krishna blue in hue?" Raja- gopalachari, still a student, answered:
"Sir, the sea is limitless. So is the sky. And both are blue. God is also
boundless. And so His hue is also blue."
Swami Vivekananda was overjoyed. He
said the young boy would rise to eminence and would become very famous.
It was in Salem that Rajaji began independent
practice as a lawyer. He was just twenty years old. He came to be known
as an expert in conducting criminal cases. He was so skilful that he won
even very complicated cases quite easily.
Soon Rajaii became very famous as an
advocate in Salem. He was the very first person there to own a car. When
he was twenty, he married Alamelu Mangammal.
When he was just twenty-one, he conducted
very difficult cases independently. His knowledge of law, his intelligence
and his fearlessness brought him great fame and wealth in a short time.
Just then, the Government had prosecuted
a patriot by name Varadarajulu Naidu; the charge was that he had spoken
against the Government. Rajagopalachari was the advocate for Varadarajulu
Naidu. Whenever Rajaji stood up to speak, the judge would say "Please sit
down." Next day, at the very outset Rajaji stood up and made a submission:
"I have great respect for the Honorable Judge. But if like a teacher in
a classroom, Your Honor always asks me to sit down, I shall not be able
to discharge my duty; and it will not add to the dignity of this court."
The Judgeapologized to Rajaji. Finally, on the basis of Rajaji's arguments,
Varadarajulu Naidu was acquitted.