Indian Leaders

1.Annie Besant
2.Bal Gangadhar Tilak
3.Shaheed Bhagat Singh
4.Chandrasekhar Azad
5.Dadabhai Naoroji
6.Abdul Gaffer Khan
7.Gopal Krishna Gokhale
8.Jaya Prakash Narayan
9.Lala Lajpat Rai
10.Madan Mohan Malaviya
11.Sri.M.S. Golwalkar
12.Abul Kalam Azad
13.Vallabhbhai Patel
14.Dr.Rajendra Prasad
15.Raja Ram Mohan Roy
16.Sarojini Naidu
17.Veer Savarkar
18.Sri Aurobindo
19.Swami Vivekananda
20.Vinoba Bhave

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Annie Besant
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Annie Besant (1847 – 1933) was a prominent Theosophist, activist for the rights of women, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self rule. A British social reformer and Theosophist, Annie Besant was one of the most active and remarkable personalities of her time. Born Annie Wood, in London, she played an important part in Indian nationalist politics. Annie was a brilliant speaker, and was soon in great demand. Using the railway, she criss-crossed the country, speaking on all of the most important issues of the day, always demanding improvement, reform and freedom. Soon after becoming a member of the Theosophical Society, she went to India for the first time (in 1893). She devoted much of her energy not only to the Society, but also to the freedom and progress of India. She was President of the Indian National Congress in 1917. Besant died in 1933 and was survived by her daughter, Mabel. Besant Nagar, a neighborhood near the Theosophical Society in Chennai, is named in her honor.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak
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Bal Gangadhar Tilak, (1856-1920) was the leader of the extreme wing of the Indian National Congress, and played a leading role in the Indian freedom movement before Mohandas Gandhi. Known as Lokmanya, he was a social reformer, freedom fighter, national leader, journalist and a scholar of Sanskrit and Indian history. He formed Home Rule League in 1916 to attain the goal of Swaraj(self-rule) . As a social reformer he tried for the redemption of the common man through quality education with national moorings. Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890 but opposed its moderate approach. He was imprisoned( 1897-9) for alleged sedition in his weekly Marathi-language newspaper Kesari (Lion). His suffering and sacrifice started bearing fruits. More leaders appeared on the political arena with redoubled vigour. His death in 1920 brought Mahatma Gandhi on the scene, and Gandhiji gave a concrete shape to the Swadeshi ideas of Thilak

Shaheed Bhagat Singh
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Shaheed Bhagat Singh (1907-1931) was an Indian freedom fighter and a revolutionary. Shaheed means "martyr". With a family tradition of patriotism and involvement in the freedom movement, Bhagat Singh was imbued with the spirit cherished by his family. At the time of his birth, his father Kishan Singh was in jail. His uncle, Sardar Ajit Singh, was a great freedom fighter. Bhagat Singh started following Non-Cooperation Movement called by Mahatma Gandhi with great enthusiasm. But his revolutionary ideas compelled him to dissociate from the moderate line of Gandhiji. He took extreme steps to fight the British. He avenged the brutal assault on Lala Lajapath Rai by killing a police officer responsible for it. Lala Lajapath Rai had later succumbed to the injuries from the police assault. Bhagath Sing threw a bomb in the assembly corridor to protest against the draconian rule, Defence of India Act. He was arrested and sentenced to death and later executed for the murder of the police officer and other acts of offences committed to challenge the British rule in India.

Chandrasekhar Azad
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Chandrasekhar Azad (Actual name Chandrashekhar Sitaram Tiwari, 1906-1931) A contemporary of Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad is adored for his heroism and deep patriotism. His heroic battle against the British and his relentless struggle for freedom have inspired patriots across the Indian nation. He vowed not to yield to the British or surrender to the police. He fulfilled his promise when entangled by the police by shooting himself dead on the fateful day of February 27, 1931. He was a revolutionary and co-patriot of Bhagath Sing. His role was crucial in inspiring others of his generation to participate in the national movement for freedom.

Dadabhai Naoroji
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Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji , known as "The Grand Old Man of India", was born in 1825 as the son of a Parsi priest. From the very beginning he was a pioneer in many fields. He became one of the first Indian graduates of Elphinstone College in Bombay and later became the first Indian professor of that college. Dadabhai Naoroji in his youth was referred to as “the promise of India”, and in the later years, affectionately as "The Grand Old Man of India”. He is remembered in India for his leadership of the Indian National Congress a record three times (1886, 1893 and 1906), and his economic critique of British rule in India, “the drain of wealth theory”. He was a staunch supporter of the principle of self-rule(Swaraj) for India. In 1855 he travelled to London. He got involved in both business and politics in England. His involvement in British politics reached its highest point when, after one failed attempt, he was elected Liberal MP for Finsbury Central in 1892. Naoroji left Britain in 1907 and returned to India. Dadabhai Naoroji was instrumental in the establishment of the Indian National Congress founded by A.O. Hume in 1885. Thrice he was elected to the post of the President of the Indian National Congress, in 1886, 1893 and in 1906. He died at the ripe old age of 92 in 1917.

Abdul Gaffer Khan
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Abdul Gaffer Khan was born in 1890 to Khan Behram Khan of Utmanzai village, Peshawar. He was a tall man with tall ideas. He demonstrated the beauty of Islam by his religious tolerance and non-violence vis-?is the grandeur of Hinduism. He was the embodiment of Gandhian ideals. He was a providential gift to India after Annie Besent. The Indian nation owes to him as much as to any other stalwart of the Indian freedom movement. While the people of the Indian sub-continent enjoyed freedom and sovereignty from 1947 destiny would have him remained in jail until his death(1988) even four decades after the British left the Indian sub-continent. He could have opted for the status of a hero in India or Pakistan, but he preferred to remain in jail for the cause he espoused.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale
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Gopal Krishna Gokhale,(1866-1915), Indian nationalist leader, the political Guru of Gandhiji and the founder of the Servants of India Society, was born in Kolh?r, studied at Elphinstone College, Bombay and became professor of history and political science in Pune. He was a member of the Indian National Congress from its inception. He inspired people through his writings and speech, which became easy for him through his command over the English language and his good grasp of Indian Economy. His twin ideas of reforming the society and freedom from the British rule were achieved through peaceful means and moderate approach by influencing the then authorities. The divergent views of moderation and extremism created a schism in the Indian National congress. Years of hard work and devotion of Gopal Krishna Gokhale had an adverse effect on his diabetic system. He passed away on February 19, 1915.

Jaya Prakash Narayan
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Jaya Prakash Narayan: After his studies in India and abroad, Jaya Prakash Narayan joined the Indian National Congress. He was arrested several times. He had already been enamoured by marxisn and left wing politics. He was closely associated with both moderates and radicalists. He was also associated with Vinobha Bhave in the Bhoodan movement for rural reforms. As a man of principles, he worked for public welfare and even refused posts of higher status. The verdict of the Allahabad High Court which held the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, guilty on charge of corrupt practices made JP once again prominent in politics. He incurred the wrath of Indira Gandhi who acted like a despot. He was arrested. There were upheavals in Indian politics marked by the declaration of emergency, its subsequent withdrawal, the congress being unseated prom power as an aftermath of it, etc. JP was at the helm of affairs of In the contemporary politics. The new era of politics was dominated by the ideology of total revolution of JP though it had only a short stint. The new politics of change collapsed due to its inner conflicts. The life of JP came to an end by this time in the year 1979.

Lala Lajpat Rai
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Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the trio Hindu nationalist leader, a lawyer by profession and a follower of the Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswatjhi. He took abroad the Indian cause for garnering support from the world outside India. His book "Young India" severely indicting the British was banned before its publication. He led stout protest against the Chauri Chaura incident and continued non-cooperation movement and had to dissociate with Gandhi on his suspension of non-cooperation by Gandhi. Lalaji was arrested several times. Lala Lajpat Rai himself led one such procession against Simon Commission. While the procession was peaceful, British Government brutally assaulted(lathi-charged) activists in the procession. Lala Lajpat Rai received severe head injuries. The trauma deeply hurt him both mentally and physically. His death on November 17, 1928 was the result of the trauma.

Madan Mohan Malaviya
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Madan Mohan Malaviya, born on December 25, 1861, was a reformer ,educationist , journalist, freedom fighter and a nationalist to the core. To him education was a means of liberation. He was the founder of the Benares Hindu University. He spread the message of the slogan "Satyamev Jayate", i.e., Truth alone wins. He joined the Indian National Congress during its Second session in 1886. He was associated with the Congress party and twice elected as the president of the Indian National Congress during 1909 and in 1918. Along with Mahatma Gandhi he represented India in the First Round Table Conference in 1931. Though an orthodox, he felt strongly for the deprived classes and was critical of the injustice done to them. Malaviya passed away in 1946 leaving a legacy of long struggle for freedom for the posterity without being able to enjoy the fruits of freedom

Sri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar
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Sri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar(Guruji): Born in 1906 as the only surviving child of a school teacher young Madhav was endowed with talents. His surprising memory took him to new heights in studies as well as in later life. Seeds of religious and spiritual ideas were sown in him by his mother Lakshmibai. His life swung between spirituality and nationalism. But, as fate would have it, he settled for spiritually oriented nationalism, which is a balanced blend of both Sanathana Dharma( Native spirituality) and love for the mother land. He was Professor of zoology in the Banares Hindu University and acquired the epithet Guruji. He was a voracious reader, and garnered proficiency in art, culture, science and religion. "The Bunch of Thoughts" written by him vouches for the ideology he embodied. He dedicated his life for long 33 years to organize and develop the RSS, a nationalist organization which tries to breath patriotism into the budding generation of the nation with a missionary zeal. He left his mortal coil on the 5th day of June 1973.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
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Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: A scholar, polyglot, poet and the forefront leader of the freedom struggle, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad whose real name was Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin was born on November 11, 1888. His solemn pledge and emphatic assertion of the Hindu-Muslim unity make him an outstanding figure of the freedom movement. His interaction with Islamic revolutionaries metamorphosed him into a progressive revolutionary. His journal Al Hilal tried to narrow down the cleavage between the Hindu Muslim communities. But the nefarious British banned it attributing secession. He aroused the Muslims through Khilafat. He joined the non-cooperation movement of Gandhiji and was arrested for the salt-law violation. He became the Congress President in 1940 and staunchly opposed partition. But partition shattered his dream of a united India. In the post partition period he became the 1st Education Minister of independent India. He died of a stroke on February 22, 1958.

Vallabhbhai Patel
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Vallabhbhai Patel: Popularly known as Iron Man of India, he was the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister in the post independent India. He played a key role in the integration of the new political India comprising many territorial units and princely states. His tireless pursuit of the study of law in India and England elevated him to a popular lawyer. He started his political career with the blessings of Gandhiji by successfully leading the Kheda riot against the British tax policy affecting the famine ravaged farmers. He continued his fight against the British under the banner of the Indian National Congress by boycotting British goods and promoting Swadeshi. He led another Kheda model riot revolt in Bardoli Taluka following flood and famine. Vallabhai was arrested and released several times. He was also elected President of the Congress Party. In the independent India, as the Home minister he had the Herculian task of integrating the 565 rebellious princely states refusing to merge with the Indian domain. He successfully persuaded them and achieved his dream of an integrated Indian Nation. He became the Iron man of India. Sardar Patel died of cardiac arrest on December 15,1950.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad
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Dr. Rajendra Prasad: Rajen, as he was known in his family circles, was born on Dec. 3, 1884, in Zeradei, in Bihar. Born in an orthodox family he was married at the age of twelve. He was a brilliant student. He made advanced studies in law. He was not only a popular layer but also a scholar in law. After his initial hesitation to follow Gandhian life, Dr Prasad became a staunch follower of Gandhi. In 1917 he began working with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , and in 1920 he joined the Indian National Congress and was several times (1934, 1939, 1947–1948) its president. He was imprisoned (1942–45) for supporting the Congress opposition to the British war effort in World War II. Rajendra Prasad became president of India in 1950, when the republic of India was proclaimed, and held that office until 1962. He maintained throughout his life the great simplicity practised and preached by Gandhiji. Bihar had its share of Salt Sathyagraha-the violation of the salt law- under Rajen Babu. As the 1st president of Independent India he continued for 12 years till he retired in 1962. He died on 28 February 1963 at Sadaqat ashram, Patna.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
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Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833) whose name is invariably associated with Brahmo Samaj, was an influential socio-religious reformer. Raja Ram Mohan Roy has come to be called the "Maker of Modern India". Without giving up what was good and noble in the past, he laid the foundations for a great future. He put an end to the horrible custom of burning the living wife with the dead husband. He was a great scholar and an independent thinker. He advocated the study of English, Science, Western Medicine and Technology. He spent his money on a college to promote these studies. He rejected outright orthodox Hindus. In 1831 Ram Mohan Roy traveled to the United Kingdom as an Ambassador of the Mughal Emperor to plead for his pension and allowances. Raja Ram Mohan Roy passed away on September 27, 1833 at Stapleton near Bristol due to meningitis.

Sarojini Naidu
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Sarojini Naidu was born on 13 February, 1879 as the daughter of Dr. Aghornath Chattopadhyaya, a scientist, philosopher, and educator, and Varada Sundari Devi, a Bengali poetess. Sarojini Naidu was a distinguished poet, She was called the "The Nightingale of India". On the partition of Bengal in 1905 she decided to join the Indian freedom struggle. Sarojini rose to the leadership of the Indian National Congress Party. She traveled extensively in the United States of America and many European countries seeking support for the freedom movement. In 1925, Sarojini Naidu presided over the annual session of Indian National Congress at Kanpur. Sarojini Naidu played a leading role during the Civil Disobedience Movement and was jailed along with Gandhiji and other leaders. In 1942, Sarojini Naidu was arrested during the "Quit India" movement and was jailed for 21 months with Gandhiji. She shared a very warm relationship with Gandhiji. Sarojini Naidu was the first woman Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Her Chairmanship of the Asian Relations onference in 1947 was highly appraised. Two years later, on 02 March 1949, Sarojini Naidu died at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.'

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
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Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, commonly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar was a fearless freedom fighter, social reformer, writer, dramatist, poet, historian, political leader and philosopher. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was one of the most dynamic, outspoken and revolutionary leaders of the freedom struggle. Born on May 28, 1883 in the village of Bhagpur near Nasik. Vinayak was one of four children. he jumped into the band wagon of freedom movement as a student. His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed the British Government. As a result the British Government withdrew his B.A. degree. In London, where he came to become a barrister, he united and inflamed the Indian students in England against British. He believed and advocated the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of Indians in England, equipped with weapons. The British government arrested Savarkar in London on 13 March 1910 for sedition and was sent to India for trial. However as the ship in which he was being taken neared Marseilles in France, Savarkar escaped and swam to the port. But he was caught by the French Police. Savarkar was declared guilty and was sentenced to 50 years of "Kala Paani" in Andaman on 24 December 1910. Vithalbhai Patel demanded the release of the Savarkar brothers in the Central Legislative Assembly. Tilak and Gandhi also appealed for the release of Savarkar. On May 2, 1921, Savarkar was brought back to India. Savarkar remained imprisoned in Ratnagiri Jail and then in Yeravada Jail until January 6, 1924 when he was freed with restriction on his political freedom. Later Savarkar joined the Swaraj Party of Tilak and founded the Hindu Mahasabha. He joined the Quit India movement. Savarkar was a fervent freedom fighter, good orator, prolific writer, poet, historian, philosopher, and a social worker. His contribution to Marathi literature is immense. Savarkar breathed his last at the age of 83. He passed away on February 26, 1966.

Sri Aurobindo
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Sri Aurobindo 1872 – 1950),born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872,was a freedom fighter, major Indian English poet, philosopher, and yogi. He joined the Indian freedom movement for a duration (1905–10), became one of its most important leaders before turning into a devout spiritualist. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education. Here he passed the final examination for the Indian Civil Service. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. During this period he also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India. After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement. Sri Aurobindo was the first of the Nationalist leaders to insist on full independence for India as the goal of the movement, and for several years he lent all his considerable abilities and energies to this struggle. This led to him being arrested on a charge of treason and being kept in solitary confinement for almost a year as an "under trial" prisoner in Alipore jail. Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realizations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual practice, where he developed the Integral Yoga. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. His mundane sojourn came to an end on 5 December 1950.

Swami Vivekananda
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Swami Vivekananda was The beacon light of what India is today. He redeemed a moribund nation with the richest tradition from extinction accomplished by a providential mission by instilling in the minds of millions a sense of pride and confidence that were lost by the inherent weakness accelerated by waves of incursion by marauding invaders. He inspired and rejuvenated the traditional Indian society responding to a call from within, which was guided and moulded by his beloved teacher(Guru) Sree Ramakrishna paramahamsa. Both of them had divine mission to accomplish during their short sojourn on this earth. Vivekannanda(Narendranath Datta in his previous ashram) was born Jan. 12, 1863, in Calcutta as the son of Vishwanath Datta, a successful attorney and Bhuvaneshwari Devi, a deeply devoted woman. As a child he he had a spiritual bend of mind. During his college days he was haunted by the quest for truth marred by conflicting ideas about the existence of God. As destiny would have, he stumbled upon the pious man of the Kali Temple at Dakshineswar. He asked the saint of Calcutta, who became the saint of India and subsequently of the world at large, “have you seen God”. Without an iota of hesitation pat came the answer emphatically, “yes”. Narendra did not turn back afterward. He not only became the disciple of Sri Ramakrishna but also the leader of the group of disciples that joined Ramakrishna before and after this meeting. There began his man-making, soul-stirring spiritual journey inspiring and awakening a nation in slumber forgetful of its immense strength and power. By the time he made his famous Chicago address at the Parliament of religions in 1993 he had risen to the status of A universal spiritual stalwart amalgamating the best from the East and the West galvanizing the Indian masses steeped in ignorance and Western elites immersed in materialism. He lectured through the US, London and other European countries. He returned to India and continued his victorious journey. His dedication coupled with deep patriotism inspired millions in India. The wheel of independence has already been set in motion by restoring in the enfeebled Indian minds pride, prestige, confidence and strength by enlightening them of their glorious past and reminding them that they were children of immortal bliss. Leaving a legacy of untiring spirit and strength he left his mortal frame and attained Samaadhi on the night of 4 July 1902.

Vinoba Bhave
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Vinoba Bhave was born in a Brahmin family on September 11, 1895 at the village of Gagoda in Kolaba district of Maharashtra. He was influenced by his mother Rukmini Devi, a pious woman. He had deep interest in studies but not in acquiring certificates and degrees. He preferred studies to certificates and service to status in politics and society. As a youth he sought to become a recluse, but he was destined to become a true Gandhian. He was well-versed in Hindu scriptures. He had a wider vision of life that transcended the common goal of the average Indians of national freedom. He translated his vision through Sarvodya(total awakening) and Bhoodan(the gift of land). Vinoba met Gandhi on June 7, 1916. With this meeting his metamorphosis began and he entered the mainstream freedom movement. In 1923, he was jailed for months at Nagda jail and Akola jail for taking a prominent part in the flag Satyagraha at Nagpur. Bhave was interned several times during the 1920s and 1930s for his resistance to British rule. In 1925, he joined the Vaikkom Sathyagrah for the Harijan entry into temple. In the post-independent period the scope of Bhoodan expanded from land to life through through Kanchan Dhan(gold gift), Sramdan(offering service) Balidan(sacrificing life) and so on. After about 50 years of Bhoodan triggered by a serendipity in Telungana, he began to withdraw from public life and picked up the thread that he had left behind after his association with Gandhiji. The Sevagram School was the first experimental base for the educational ideas of Gandhiji, which Vinoba put into practice. The Sarvodaya movement tried for the establishment of equality. He fought for this until he breathed his last on 15 November 1982

Dr.Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
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Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar: Born on the 14th April, 1891, Dr. Ambedkar became one of the architect of the Indian Constitution. His bitter experience from caste Hindus transformed him into a champion of the oppressed and deprived classes in a rabidly caste-ridden society. He dedicated his life for the uplift of the low caste(Dalits) in India. After graduating from Elfinstone College, Bombay in 1912, he joined Columbia University, USA where he was awarded Ph.D. Later he joined the London School of Economics & obtained a degree of D.Sc. ( Economics) & was called to the Bar from Gray’s Inn. He endeavoured and to a great extent succeeded in according equal status and equal right to all low caste people by constitutional means as well as by organizing and educating them. 1932 Poona Pact was a landmark agreement between Gandhiji and Ambedkar. According to the pact the separate electorate demand was replaced with special concessions like reserved seats in the regional legislative assemblies and Central Council of States. Undaunted by the discrimination and humiliation from the upper caste Hindus he waded his way through all ordeals to become the 1st Law Minister o India. Despite his power and status the attitude of the society did not change. This became apparent when the Hindu Code bill was introduced in Parliament in 1951. He could not muster enough support for it. He was Embittered over the failure of Nehru and the Congress to back the Hindu Code Bill. In the wake of the failure to get the Hindu code bill passed in the parliament he decided to embrace Buddhism with many of his followers. On Dec. 6, 1956 he died quietly in his sleep.


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