1878 – Chakravarti Rajagopalachari also known as ‘C.R.’, ‘Rajaji’ and the ‘Mango of Salem’ was born. Considered as one of the most able statesmen of India, Rajaji was the last Governor-General of India. Greatly influenced by Bal Ganagdhar Tilak, Rajaji joined the Indian National Congress and participated in its Calcutta (1906) and Surat (1907) sessions. He vehemently opposed the enactment of the Rowlatt Act and was actively involved in the Non-Cooperation movement, the Civil Disobedience movement and the Vaikom Satyagraha. He even led the Salt Satyagraha at Vedaranyam in 1930.
In 1946, he served in the Interim Government of India as the Minister of Finance, Industry, Supply and Education. In 1948, Rajaji was appointed as the Governor-General of India until 1950. Rajaji was one of the first recipients of the Bharat Ratna, country’s highest civilian honour.
1948 – Human Rights Day. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
1995 – Eminent mathematician Dr. Sarvadaman Chowla passed away. Dr. Chowla, who was an elected member of the Indian National Academy of Sciences and an honorary member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters, conducted research under the supervision of J.E. Littlewood and obtained his doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 1931. He contributed greatly to field of number theory in the form of the Bruck-Chowla-Ryser theorem on designs, the Chowla-Mordell theorem on Gauss sums, the Chowla-Selberg formula to determine the product of ceratin values of Dedekind eta function, the Ankeny-Artin-Chowla congruence and the Mian-Chowla sequence. He was honoured by the Indian Government with the third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan.
2001 – ‘Dadamoni’ of Indian Cinema, legendary actor Kumudlal Ganguly better known as ‘Ashok Kumar’ passed away. In a career that spanned over six decades, Ashok Kumar starred in over 275 films. He made his debut on screen with Franz Osten’s ‘Jeevan Naiya’ (1936). He was cast opposite Devika Rani. However, it was ‘Achhut Kanya'(1936) again with Devika Rani that catapulted him to spotlight. A Love story of a brahmin boy and an untouchable girl, the film was a major success. Subsequently Dadamoni featured in a number of films with Devika Rani including ‘Savitri'(1937), ‘Izzat'(1937) and ‘Nirmala'(1938). He also co-starred with other actresses like Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Nargis, Nutan, Leela Chitnis etc.
Ashok Kumar appeared in several films that are now revered as classics. These include ‘Kismet’ (1943), ‘Mahal’ (1949), ‘Parineeta’ (1953), ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi’ (1958), ‘Pakeezah’ (1972) etc. He was also seen in light-hearted films like ‘Choti Si Baat ‘(1975), ‘Khoobsurat’ (1980), ‘Khatta Meetha’ (1981) and ‘Shaukeen'(1982). In 1959, Dadamoni was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He received the Filmfare Award for Best Actor twice- in 1962 for ‘Rakhi’ and in 1969 for ‘Aashirwaad’. ‘Aashirwaad’ also brought him the National Film Award for Best Actor. In 1966 he bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Suppporting Actor for ‘Afsana’ while in 1995 he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1988, he was awarded India’s highest honour for excellence in cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. In 1998, the Government of India honoured him the India’s third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan.