Rajagopalachari, Chakravarti chəkrəvär´tē rä˝jəgōpä´ləchä˝rē [key], 1878–1972, Indian political leader. He was educated in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) and Madras (now Chennai) and admitted to the bar in 1900. Following World War I, he joined the Indian National Congress , in which he rose to prominence. A close friend of Mohandas K. Gandhi , he served several terms in prison for his political activities. After India became independent as a dominion, he served (1948–50) as the last governor-general, resigning that office when India was declared a republic. He was home minister in the central government (1950–51) and chief minister of the Madras state government (1952–54). His increasing concern about the socialist program of the Congress party led him in 1959 to found the Swatantra [freedom] party, a conservative group, dedicated to a free enterprise economy.
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