Rajaji's greatest service to mankind, in his own words, is his translation of Mahabaratha and Ramayana to simple English. In my view he is the greatest statesman that India has ever seen.
Gandhiji himself stated, "Rajaji could see six months ahead of me.". This was very appropriate as Rajaji was the first and only person to support Jinnah's Muslim League's request for Partition of India inorder to co-operate in the freedom struggle. While he was ridiculed for this view of his, after years of bloodshed, it was understood by the other leaders that it was inevitable. Such was his insight.
In 1921, Rajaji wrote from prison;
Freedom will come; but immediately thereafter or even for a long time it may not bring the people happiness or a good government. As soon as freedom comes, there will be a scramble for elected places; in its wake will come corruption, injustice and the wickedness caused by money and an inefficient administration. The life of the people will be like hell. Many will feel that the older regime, which was comparatively more just, efficient and honest, was better. What we get from our independence will be only freedom from indignity and slavery. Our future lies in making our youngsters good citizens by giving them from early days an education, which is likely to create good conduct, righteousness and mutual love. If that is not done, it is certain that they will be crushed under the wickedness of injustice and wealth.
How true it turned out to be! It is a shame that it still continues to be that way.
He was a champion of social justice. He fought against untouchability and believed in the equality of all humanbeings. He was later grossly misunderstood and accused of introducing "Kula Kalvi thittam". Politics played its part with EVR Periyar putting a spin on what was purely intended as a vocational course in addition to regular school.
He was also against public sector enterprises and was a big proponent of free market, liberty and the rule of law. He said, "The first thing that needs to be federalised is elections". And went on to condemn the private funding for elected representatives. He also proposed a six month governor rule before every election in order to eliminate the advantage of the ruling party. These went on to fall on deaf ears.
He was a selfless individual who gave up a lucrative law practice to join the freedom struggle. He was appointed as the first Indian Governor General, the highest post of free India. He later accepted the call to become the CM of Tamilnadu. He did not feel that it was a low position after having been the Governor General. He was never behind power, position or money. He was fearless to speak his mind and was never bothered about the praises or pelting that he received in turn.
A recipient of Bharat Ratna, Rajaji fought for independence and later fought for his ideals. A firm believer of Ghandian principles, Rajaji lived a life of principles as preached in the Hindu Dharma.
And that is why he remains my greatest hero.