president of india

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President Of India

The President of India is the head of state of the Republic of India.
1. Rajendra Prasad
Period-26-Jan-1950 to 13-May-1962

Political party-Indian National Congress

Contributions

Dr. Rajendra PrasadRajendra Prasad was a great leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement and also one of the architects of the Indian Constitution. He was elected as the first President of Republic of India. Rajendra Prasad was a crucial leader of the Indian Independence Movement, who left his lucrative profession to participate in the nationalist movement of India. He was also awarded with Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. on 28 February, 1963, following a brief illness, the great soul passed away.

Life

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was born into a big joint family of Mahadev Sahay in the Siwan district of Bihar, near Chhapra. His father, Mahadev Sahay was a scholar of Persian and Sanskrit language while his mother Kamleshwari Devi was a religious lady.

When Rajendra Prasad was five years old, his parents put him under a Maulavi learn Persian language followed by Hindi and arithmetic. After the completion of traditional elementary education, Rajendra Prasad was sent to the Chhapra District School. At the age of 12, Rajendra Prasad was married to Rajavanshi Devi. He, along with his elder brother Mahendra Prasad, then went on to study at R.K. Ghosh's Academy in Patna. Mahendra was eight years older than him.

Since childhood, Rajendra Prasad was a brilliant student. He stood first in the entrance examination to the University of Calcutta and was awarded Rs.30 per month as scholarship. In 1902, Rajendra Prasad joined the Presidency College. He was initially a student of science and his teachers included J.C.Bose and Prafulla Chandra Roy. Later he decided to switch his focus to the arts. Prasad lived with his brother in the Eden Hindu Hostel. A plaque still commemorates his stay in that room. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was instrumental in the formation of the Bihari Students' Conference in 1908. It was the first organization of its kind in the whole of India. The move produced the entire political leadership of the twenties in Bihar

In 1915, Rajendra Prasad passed with a Gold medal in Masters in Law examination with honors. He then went on to complete his Doctorate in Law. Rajendra Prasad used to practice his Law & studies at Bhagalpur in Bihar and eventually emerged as a popular and eminent figure of the entire region. In 1916, Rajendra Prasad joined the High Court of Bihar and Orissa. Such was his intellect and his integrity, that often when his adversary failed to cite a precedent, the judges asked Rajendra Prasad to cite a precedent against himself.

Nationalist Movement

Dr. Rajendra PrasadIn 1911, during his stay in Calcutta (now Kolkata) as a legal practitioner, Rajendra Prasad joined the Indian National Congress Party and was subsequently elected to the AICC. During the Champaran movement, Mahatma Gandhi asked Rajendra Prasad to visit Champaran along with the other volunteers and partisans of the Indian National Congress. Initially Rajendra Prasad was not impressed with Gandhiji's appearance and conversation but deeply moved by the dedication, conviction and courage of Gandhi.

Rajendra Prasad also responded to the call of Mahatma Gandhi to boycott Western education. He asked his son Mrityunjaya Prasad, a brilliant student to leave the University and enroll himself in Bihar Vidyapeeth. He would write articles for magazines like Searchlight and Desh. When the earthquake of Bihar occurred on January 15, 1934, Rajendra Prasad was in jail. He was released two days later. He set himself for the task of raising funds and collected over Rs 38 Lakhs. Nationalist India expressed its admiration by electing Rajendra Prasad as the President of the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress Party in October 1934.

In July 1946, when the Constituent Assembly was established to frame the Constitution of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected its President. And, eventually he was also elected as the first President of Republic of India. Unfortunately, on the night of 25 January 1950, a day before the Republic Day of India, his sister Bhagwati Devi passed away. He set about the cremation but only after his return from the parade ground.

Death

In September 1962, Rajendra Prasad's wife Rajavanshi Devi passed away. The incident helped in the deterioration of his health and after suffering from brief illness for around six months on February 28, 1963, Dr. Prasad expired. Rajendra Prasad spent the last few months of his life in retirement at the Sadaqat Ashram in Patna. Rajendra Prasad was awarded with """"Bharat Ratna, the nation's highest civilian award.

2. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Period-13-May-1962 to 13-May-1967

Political party-Independent

Born: September 5, 1888
Died: April 17, 1975
Achievements: First Vice President and second President of India. Placed Indian philosophy on world map.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was first Vice President of India and second President of India. He was also a philosopher and introduced the thinking of western idealist philosophers into Indian thought. He was a famous teacher and his birthday is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888 at Tirutani, Madras in a poor Brahmin family. As his father was poor Radhakrishnan supported most of his education through scholarships. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had his early education at Gowdie School, Tiruvallur and then went to the Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati for his high school. He joined the Voorhee's College in Vellore and later switched to the Madras Christian College. He chose Philosophy as his major subject and did his B.A. and M.A. in it.

After completing his M.A., Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, accepted an Assistant Lectureship at the Madras Presidency College in 1909. In college, he mastered the classics of Hindu philosophy, namely the Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, Brahmasutra, and commentaries of Sankara, Ramunuja and Madhava. He also acquainted himself with Buddhist and Jain philosophy and philosophies of Western thinkers such as Plato, Plotinus, Kant, Bradley, and Bergson.

In 1918, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was selected as Professor of Philosophy by the University of Mysore. In 1921, Radhakrishnan was nominated as Professor of Philosophy at the Calcutta University, 1921. In 1923, Dr. Radhakrishnan's book Indian Philosophy was published. The book was hailed as a philosophical classic and a literary masterpiece.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was called to Oxford University, to deliver lectures on Hindu philosophy. He used his lectures as a platform to further India's cause for freedom. He also argued that Western philosophers, despite all claims to objectivity, were biased by theological influences from their wider culture. He showed that Indian philosophy, once translated into standard academic jargon, is worthy of being called philosophy by Western standards. He thus placed Indian Philosophy on world map.

In 1931, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected Vice Chancellor of the Andhra University. In 1939, Radhakrishnan became the Vice Chancellor of the Benaras Hindu University. In 1946, he was appointed as Ambassador to UNESCO. After Independence Dr. Radhakrishnan was requested to Chair the University Education Commission in 1948. The Radhakrishnan Committee's suggestions helped mould the education system for Indias needs.

In 1949, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union. He helped laid the foundation for a strong relationship with Soviet Union. Radhakrishnan was elected first Vice-President of India in 1952. He was honored with the Bharat Ratna in 1954. After serving two terms as Vice-President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was elected President of India in 1962. During his tenure as President India fought wars with China and Pakistan. As President he helped see India through those trying years safely. He retired as President in 1967 and settled in Madras.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan died on April 17, 1975.

3. Zakir Hussain
Period-13-May-1967 to 3-May-1969

Political party-Independent

Born On: February 8, 1897
Born In: Kaimganj, Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh
Died On: May 3, 1969
Career: Teacher and President of India
Nationality: Indian

Dr Zakir Hussain is best known for his two year stint at the office of the President of India spanning from May 13, 1967 to May 3, 1969. He was the third President of independent India. However, it is not only his career in the President's office which makes him one of the greatest heroes that India has seen. Dr Zakir Hussain was one of the biggest exponents of education in India and it was under his leadership that the National Muslim University was founded. Till today, the National Muslim University exists under the name of Jamia Milia Islamia, a central university in New Delhi, and continues to flourish, producing some of the best students each year. Dr Zakir Hussain had served as the Governor of Bihar and had also taken oath as the Vice President of the country before ending his political career as the third President of India.

Childhood & Early Life

Zakir Hussain was born in the Kaimganj district of Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh. Though he was born an Indian, his family history can be traced back to the Pushtun tribes that occupied the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is said that his ancestors migrated to Uttar Pradesh during the 18th century. His father and mother passed away when he was only 10 and 14 years old respectively, leaving young Zakir to complete his school education from the Islamia High School in Etawah. He, later, attended the Anglo-Muhammadan Oriental College in Aligarh (today known as the Aligarh Muslim University), the place which saw the beginning of his career as a reformist politician.

Middle Years

Zakir Hussain had already gained recognition throughout India as the leader of the student union during his years of study at the Anglo-Muhammadan Oriental College. However, it was not only politics that interested him. After completing his formal education, Zakir Hussain became the leader of a young group of students who together founded the National Muslim University in Aligarh on October 29, 1920. (The university then shifted base to Karol Bagh, New Delhi in 1925. Ten year later it yet again shifted base this time permanently to Jamia Nagar, New Delhi and was named it Jamia Millia Islamia). He was merely 23 years old when he established the educational institution

Zakir's keen interest and dedication towards education more than politics became evident when he went to Germany to pursue a PhD in Economics. It was in the University of Berlin that Zakir Hussain brought out an anthology of some of the best works of Urdu poet Mirza Khan Ghalib. The chief motive of Zakir Hussain was to use education as the chief tool to help India during the period of freedom struggle against the British. In fact, Zakir Hussain was so dedicated in his goal towards dissemination of education in India, that he was also successful in winning the attention of his adversary, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, in the field of politics.

Return To India

Though Dr. Zakir Hussain visited Germany for his education, he returned soon after to provide academic and administrative leadership to Jamia Milia Islamia. The university was on the verge of being shut down in the year 1927 and it was due to the efforts of Dr Zakir Hussain that the educational institution has managed to stay afloat. He continued to lend his support, providing academic and managerial leadership to the institution for twenty one years. It was due to his efforts that the university immensely contributed in India's struggle for freedom from the British Rule. As a teacher, Dr Zakir Hussain propagated the learnings of Mahatma Gandhi and Hakim Ajmal Khan. He was an active member of several educational reform movements in the country in the mid 1930s.

Dr Zakir Hussain was elected the Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University (his alma mater previously known as Anglo-Muhammadan Oriental College) in independent India. During his stint as Vice Chancellor, Dr Zakir Hussain was able to avert several teachers within the institution from lending their support in creating a separate state of Pakistan. Dr. Zakir Hussain was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1954. With the end of his term as Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Dr Zakir Hussain was nominated to the Rajya Sabha and thus, became a member of the Indian Parliament in 1956. However, he held this position only for a year after which he became the Governor of Bihar, a post he occupied for five years from 1957 - 1962.

Zakir was honored with the Bharat Ratna award in 1963. He was also the recipient of D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) by the Universities of Delhi, Calcutta, Aligarh, Allahabad and Cairo. With the end of his term as Governor, Dr Zakir Hussain soon succeeded to the office of Vice President of India, becoming the second Vice President of the country for a period of five years. It was on May 13, 1967 that Dr Zakir Hussain created history by being the first Muslim President of India to be elected for such a prestigious position. He was also the third politician to occupy the office of the Indian President, after Dr Rajendra Prasad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

Death

Dr Zakir Hussain passed away on the 3rd of May, 1969, two years after he was sworn in as President of India. His death also made him the first President to die while still in office. He was buried on the campus of the Jamia Millia Islamia (or Central University) in New Delhi.

4. Varahagiri Venkata Giri
Period-3-May-1969 to 20-Jul-1969 and 24-Aug-1969 to 24-Aug-1974

Political party-Independent

Born On: August 10, 1894
Born In: Berhampur, Orissa
Died On: June 23, 1980
Career: Freedom Fighter and Statesman
Nationality: Indian
If the situation in the labor force of India is going from strength to strength, if workers in Indian industries and other sectors are able to exercise their rights today, then the only person responsible for this is the charismatic activist and social reformer V.V Giri. Thanks to him, the labor force found a new voice and it was only through his struggles and leadership, his sympathies and concern for the weaker class that ensured that the rights of workers were not trampled upon. V.V. Giri was built on the socialist mold, but at the same time, he was a pragmatist who believed in the practical and humane approach to all problems. His dream of a career in law was cut short when he came under the influence of Irish nationalists and a chance meeting with Gandhi made him decide to work for his country. He realized that if the labor force of India can be organized then not only can their condition be improved, but they can also become a potent force in the national struggle for freedom from the British rule. His commitment to his cause and his abiding empathy for the weak and the downtrodden had kept him in a league that is far different from any other politician nowadays.

Childhood & Early Life

Varahagiri Venkata Giri was born in a Telugu-speaking Brahmin family in Berhampur in the year 1894. His father, Varahagiri Venkata Jogaiah Pantulu, was an eminent and prosperous lawyer. The young lad completed his primary and secondary education in his hometown. In order to study law, V.V Giri went to the University College Dublin in 1913. The same year, he met Gandhi who influenced Giri deeply and finally made him realize that the freedom struggle is far more important than law. At college, Giri became involved with the Sinn Fein movement which led to his expulsion from Ireland in 1916, leaving him unable to complete his law degree. It was the freedom and workers movement of Ireland and the revolutionary ideas of people like De Valera, Collins, Pearee, Desmond Fitzgerald, MacNeil, and Connolly, whom he met personally, that influenced him further to participate in such movements in India. Subsequently, V.V Giri returned to India and started actively participating in the Labor Movement, later becoming the General Secretary. He was also very active in the Nationalist Movement.

Career

Pre-Independence

By 1922, Giri became a trusted aide of N.M. Joshi, who worked for the cause of the workers, and with the support of his mentor, Giri aligned himself with the organizations working for the cause of the working class. Later, because of his commitment to the Trade Union Movement, he was elected as the President of the All India Railwaymens Federation. He also served as the President of the All India Trade Union Congress twice, once in 1926 and again in 1942. He was instrumental in propelling the various trade unions towards the nationalist movement. From 1931 to 1932, as a Worker's Representative, Giri attended the Second Round Table Conference in London. In 1934 he was selected as a member of the Imperial Legislative Assembly. His tryst with politics began when he stood in 1936 General Elections as a Congress candidate. He won the election and the next year his party made him the Minister of Labor and Industries in the Madras Presidency. When the Congress Government resigned in 1942 to protest against the British rule, V.V. Giri returned to the Labor Movement to take part in the Quit India Movement. He was imprisoned and sent to jail. Again, after the General Election of 1946 he was given the labor ministry.

Post-Independence

After India got its independence, V.V. Giri was sent to Ceylon as the High Commissioner. After his tenure there, he returned to India and ran for Parliament in 1952, when he was elected for the 1st Lok Sabha and served till 1957. During this time, Giri was made a member of the Union Cabinet heading the Ministry of Labor and served from 1952 until his resignation in 1954. After his stint at the Lok Sabha, he headed a team of distinguished academicians and public men working towards promoting the study of labor and industrial relations. Their efforts bore fruit when in the year 1957 The Indian Society of Labor Economics was established. After union activism and politics, another era for this statesman began when he was appointed as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, where he served from 1957 to 1960 and then as the Governor of Kerala from 1960 to 1965 and finally as the Governor of Mysore from 1965 to 1967.

From 1957, while still occupying the post of Governor, he worked as the President of the Indian Conference of Social Work. Then after a decade long spell of being the Governor of various Indian states, he was elected as the Vice-President of India in 1967. In 1969, when the then President Zakir Hussain passed away V.V Giri became the acting President. He, then, ran the election for the post of the president and after initial opposition from his party members whom he prevailed over he became the fourth President of India and served till 1974. The Government of India recognized his contributions and achievement when he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award in 1975. Throughout his life, V.V Giri was noted for his oratorical skills. He was also a prolific writer who has written books on Industrial Relations and Labor problems in Indian industry.

Legacy

In 1974, the Government of India's Ministry of Labor established an autonomous institution for research, training, education, publication and consultancy on labour related issues. This institution was, in 1995, renamed the V.V Giri National Labor Institute in his honor. An outspoken activist of labor rights, Giri will always be remembered for his work towards uplifting the workers and working towards preserving their rights.

Personal Life & Death

V.V Giri married early in life to Saraswati Bai. At the age of 85, Giri passed away in Chennai in the year 1980.

5. Muhammad Hidayatullah
Period-20-Jul-1969 to 24-Aug-1969

Political party-Independent

Muhammad Hidayatullah, the first Muslim Chief Justice of India, the second Muslim to hold the post of the President of India (July 20,1969-August 24,1969) was born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in 1905.

His father was Mirza Samiullah Beg, former Chief Justice of Hyderabad State.After completing his education in India at St. Georges Summer School, Hyderabad, he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, England with Honors in Archaeological and Anthropological and Historical Triposes in 1934 followed by a M.A. Degree from Cambridge University.

Then he pursued further education at the London School of Economics in Public Finance, political theory and organization, constitutional law and international law. At the Bar Examinations held by the Council of Legal Education in England, he came first class first in Hindu and Mohameddan laws.

In 1941 he was called to the Bar. He began his career as an Advocate of the Allahabad High Court in 1942. In 1971 he was appointed as the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh . In January 1968 he became the first Muslim Chief Justice of India.

He became the acting President of India in 1969 after President Varahagiri Venkata Giri. He was the second Muslim to hold the post after Zakir Hussain. He served as the Vice-President of India from August 1979 to August 1984. In Jodhpur a national law university has been set up in his name.

6. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
Period-24-Aug-1974 to 11-Feb-1977

Political party-Indian National Congress

Born On: May 13, 1905
Born In: Hauz Qazi, Old Delhi
Died On: February 11, 1977
Career: Lawyer, Political Leader
Nationality: Indian

Regarded as one of the greatest sons of Assam and India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was a highly successful political leader who left a permanent imprint on the political landscape of India, leaving every citizen immensely inspired till date. Such was the impact of this eminent leader's long and distinguished career who made priceless contributions towards the Indian independence movement. Further, by occupying the position of the President of India is just one shining example of his commitment towards the selfless service and ethical values bestowed upon the nation and its people. Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, this prominent leader grew to lead the nation with undying love, passion, and determination.

Early Life

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was born in Hauz Qazi area of the walled city of Old Delhi to Col. Zalnur Ali and daughter of Nawab of Lohari. His father, during his bachelorhood, was serving in Indian Medical Service when he was asked to leave Assam. He, along with Col. Sibram Bora, was offered seats in the Shillong Club away from the European guests at a function. On boycotting the function, he was transferred to the distant North-West Province. This was where he came in contact with the Nawab of Lahori in Delhi and eventually, married his daughter. Fakhruddin received his formal education at Government High School, Gonda district, Uttar Pradesh. On completion of his matriculation from Delhi Government High School, he went to England in 1923 to pursue his higher studies from St. Catherine's College, Cambridge. After his return from London, he started practicing law in Lahore High Court in 1928.

Political Career

During his stay in England, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed met Jawaharlal Nehru in 1925 whose progressive ideas touched him so much that he treated him as his mentor and friend from 1930s onwards. On Nehru's request, Ali Ahmed joined the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Indian freedom struggle, though he was persuaded by his co-religionists to join the Muslim League. He offered Satyagraha in 1940 for which he was arrested and imprisoned. Further in 1942, he supported the Quit India Movement for which he was yet again arrested in August 9, while returning from the historic session of All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting in Bombay. He was, thus, detained as a security prisoner for three and a half years until April 1945.

While serving as a Congress leader, Ali Ahmed occupied several positions. To begin with, he was a member of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee since 1936 and was elected to Assam Assembly in 1935. Later, he became the Minister of Finance, Revenue, and Labor in September 1938. During his term at the Ministerial office, Ali Ahmed gave a proof of his administrative abilities. He introduced the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Bill, the first of its kind in India, which levied taxes on tea garden lands in the Province and his pro-labor policy in the labor strike in the British-owned Assam Oil Company Ltd. Though Ali Ahmed also met with criticism, what was one thing that had been established was his ability as a administrator.

Post-Independence

After India gained independence, Fakhruddin was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1952 and eventually became Advocate-General of the Government of Assam. He fought from Congress in the Assam Assembly and served two terms, from 1957-62 and 1962-67. He gained a senior position in the Chaliha Ministry in 1957 and was asked by Nehru to join his cabinet in January 1966. In 1971, he was elected to Lok Sabha from Barpeta constituency. During his tenure, Ali Ahmed handled various portfolios, including Food and Agriculture, Cooperation, Education, Industrial Development, and Company Laws. He attained the membership of AICC from 1947 to 1974.

Tenure As A President

With the split of congress in 1969, Fakhruddin chose to be with Indira Gandhi due to his deep-rooted association with Nehru and his family. As such, he was picked up by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the President of India on August 29, 1974, thereby becoming the second Muslim Indian president after Dr Zakir Hussain. In the wake of Emergency rule in 1975, Fakhruddin became the target of his detractors claiming that he put his signature at the behest of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Honors

Fakhruddin was a multifaceted personality. His deep and intense interest in sports and other extra-curricular activities was extremely popular during his time. Being a half tennis player and golfer, he was elected as the President of the Assam Football Association and Assam Cricket Association on various terms. He even served as the Vice President of Assam Sports Council. Apart from being a member of Delhi Golf Club and Delhi Gymkhana Club since in 1961, he was selected as the President of All India Cricket Association in 1967. During his visit to Yugoslavia in 1975, he was conferred upon with an honorary doctorate by the University of Pristina in Kosovo.

Personal Life

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed married a young 21-year old Abida on November 9, 1945 at the age of 40. Abida was educated at Aligarh Muslim University and belonged to a respectable family from Uttar Pradesh. Begum Abida Saheba was elected to Lok Sabha in 1981 from UP constituency.

Death

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was unable to complete his 5-year tenure as the President of India since he suffered a heart attack immediately after his return from a tour of the South-East Asian countries. He breathed his last on 11th February, 1977 in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi while still in office. He was 71 years old.

7. Basappa Danappa Jatti
Period-11-Feb-1977 to 25-Jul-1977

Political party-Independent

Basappa Danappa Jatti was the Acting President of India, who served in office from 11 February 1977 to 25 July 1977. He was also appointed as the 5th Vice President of India. Jatti was born on September 10, 1912 in Savalgi in Jamakhandi Taluk of Bijapur district in a Kannadiga Lingayat Banajiga family. He completed his graduation as a lawyer from Rajaram College, in Kolhapur, which was then affiliated with the University of Bombay. Later he became an Attorney in Jamakhandi. Basappa Danappa Jatti entered Indian politics as a Municipality member at Jamakhandi in the year 1940 and eventually became was appointed as its President. Later he was elected to the Jamakhandi State Legislature. Jatti was a well mannered person who ascended from his modest beginning as a member of the Jamakhandi Municipality to second highest office in India during a diversified political career that lasted for over 5 decades.

Political Career of Basappa Danappa Jatti

Basappa Danappa Jatti was a Law Graduate from Rajaram College, in Kolhapur, Kolhapur. He practised as an Attorney General for a brief period in Jamakhandi. He was appointed minister of Jamakhandi state, and subsequently became Chief Minister. Jatti was also nominated as member of the Bombay State Legislative Assembly to represent the merged area, and, within a week of his nomination, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the then Bombay Chief Minister B G Kher. After the general elections held in the year 1952, Jatti was appointed as the Minister of Health and Labour of the Bombay Government and held that post till the re-organisation of states.

Basappa Danappa Jatti became the member of Mysore Legislative Assembly and was also the Chairman of the Land Reforms Committee. He became Chief Minister in the year 1958 and continued in that office until 1962. Jatti was appointed Finance Minister on July 2, 1962 in the Nijalingappa Ministry. He was re-elected from the same constituency and made Minister of Food and Civil Supplies to the fourth Assembly. He was appointed as the Governor of Orissa in the year 1973. He became Vice President in 1974 and assumed office until 1980. He became acting President for a brief period after the death of Fakruddin Ali Ahmed.

Personal Life of Basappa Danappa Jatti

Basappa Danappa Jatti was a religious man and was the founder president of the Basava Samithi, which spread the preaching of 12th century saint philosopher Basaveshwara. He was also involved in various organisations concerned with social activities. He died on 7 May 2002 at the age of 88 years.

8. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Period-25-Jul-1977 to 25-Jul-1982

Political party-Janata Party

Born On: May 19, 1913
Born In: Illuru, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh
Died On: June 1, 1996
Career: Political Leader, Preseident of India
Nationality: Indian

India remembers Neelam Sanjiva Reddy as the sixth President of India and a veteran statesman and administrator. Right from his childhood, Reddy had been actively involved into the freedom movement and hence, held several eminent positions before and after India attained independence. Political leaders in our nation are assumed to play an unfair game when they hold the position of a speaker while electing for parties from the same ticket. In Reddy's case, he was the first person to formally resign from his political party after being elected to office. Further, he is the only elected President of India without any opposition who brought about distinctive changes to public life through his intense commitment towards parliamentary democracy and its essential norms. His active participation in the freedom struggle landed him in prison but that did not stop his faith, determination, and passion for nation's independence. Early Life

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was born in a well-to-do peasant family in the village of Illuru in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. He received his early formal education at Theosophical High School at Adyar in Madras. He later joined the Government Arts College at Anantapur to pursue his higher studies. It was Mahatma Gandhi's visit to Anantapur in 1929 that changed the course of his life and left a great impact on Reddy. As a result, he left his studies midway and gave away his foreign clothes only to dress himself in khadi.

Association With Congress

Reddy joined the Indian independence movement in 1931. He joined the Congress Party and was active in the student Satyagraha. At a young age of 25 years, Reddy was appointed as the Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Provincial Congress Committee in 1938. He remained in the office for 10 years. For most of the period from 1940-45, Reddy spent time in prison. Though he was released in March 1942, was re-arrested in August. During this tenure in Amraoti jail in Madhya Pradesh, he met Shri Prakasam, Shri Satyamurti, Shri Kamaraj, Shri Giri and others, who along with him remained imprisoned until 1945. 1946 was a turning point for Reddy when he was elected to the Madras Congress Legislature Party and became the Secretary in 1947. In the same year, he was elected as a member of the Indian Constituent Assembly.

Reddy served as the Minister of Prohibition, Housing, and Forests in Madras from 1949 to 1951. He then resigned from this post in 1951 to contest for the election of the Presidentship of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC). Eventually, he won. In the following year in 1952, he was elected as a member of Rajya Sabha. During this period, his 5-year old son met with a tragic accident and died which left Reddy deeply shocked. He was so moved that he resigned from the post of President of APCC though he was forced to withdraw his resignation later on. He became the Deputy Chief Minister in the cabinet of T. Prakasam and became the leader of the Congress Legislature Party. In 1955, he was re-elected to the Legislature Assembly and assigned the post of Deputy Chief Minister under B. Gopala Reddi's cabinet.

Tenure As President

Reddy was nominated as the official candidate of Congress party after President Dr. Zakir Hussain's death. Even though he was a strong candidate for the post of President of India, he resigned considering that he was assumed to take advantage of the position since he was already holding a position in hand. Further, Indira Gandhi, knowing that it would be hard to make Reddy follow her line of belief and thought, asked the electors to vote for one person, amongst Reddy and V. V. Giri as to who was suitable for the position. As a result, Reddy lost and Giri won the elections. Post elections, Reddy devoted much of his time towards agriculture, his fore-fathers occupation. But he re-entered politics in 1975, with support from Jayaprakash Narayan. He fought elections as a Janata Party candidate for Lok Sabha from Nandyal constituency in Andhra Pradesh in March 1977. Surprisingly, he was the only non-congress candidate to win from Andhra Pradesh and hence, was even elected as speaker of Lok Sabha on March 26, 1977. He served his term dedicatedly and passionately that led him to the title of the best speaker ever in Lok Sabha of Indian parliament. He even stated that he would prove to be one of the most influential and dynamic presidents India has given. True to his statement, he was nominated for the post of President of India and won the elections in July 1977. At this time, he was the youngest President and the only unanimous Indian President till date.

Other Achievements

Reddy served as Union Minister of Transport, Civil Aviation, Shipping, and Tourism from January 1966 to March 1967 under Indira Gandhi's cabinet. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Hindupur constituency in Andhra Pradesh. He was chosen as the speaker of Lok Sabha on March 17, 1967 that gave him immense recognition and admiration.

Personal Life

Reddy married Shrimati Nagarathnamma on 8th June, 1935. The couple gave birth to one son and three daughters.

Death

On completion of his tenure as the Indian President, Reddy retired back to his village of Illuru and continued with agriculture. He passed away on June 1, 1996 in Bangalore, at the age of 83.

9. Giani Zail Singh
Period-25-Jul-1982 to 25-Jul-1987

Political party-Indian National Congress

Born On: May 5, 1916
Born In: Sandhwan, Punjab
Died On: December 25, 1994
Career: Freedom Fighter & Politician
Nationality: Indian

Zail Singh, throughout his life, had been praised and criticized for his unflinching devotion to the Nehru-Gandhi clan. While early in his career such loyalty was instrumental in his rapid rise to the top, later on his outspoken commitment for the 'family' received only scorn and colored every other aspect of his character. To rise from a humble village life to the top position in public affairs of India requires a lot more grit and determination than only sycophancy, and Zail Singh showed that he had all that was required in a leader, which not even his enemies and critics could deny. For he started to display the qualities that would prove invaluable in his political career from a very early stage and the first of these was the epitaph 'Giani' fondly bestowed on him by people, which means 'one who is well versed in religious texts'. Coupled with his natural oratorical skills, he could very easily sway people. This quality which served him throughout his life was the very characteristic of a mass leader. To this day he remains one of the most enduring and controversial leaders of India.

Childhood & Early Life

Sardar Zail Singh, also known as Jarnail Singh was born in 1916 to Bhai Kishan Singh, a carpenter and Mata Ind Kaur in Sandhwan in the formerly princely state of Faridkot. He was the youngest of five brothers and sisters. He lost his mother at a very early age and was brought up by his mother's sister. His father was a simple and upright man who was a devout Sikh and so imparted in his children extensive religious learning. As a result, Zail Singh gained fluency in reading the Guru Granth Sahib as well as developed a broad knowledge of Sikh philosophy and history, though he received only little formal education. Later, he enrolled in the Shahid Sikh Missionary College at Amritsar even though he was not a matriculate. Early in his life he impressed his teachers and other people with his flair for public speaking, and mastered his oratorical skills while at college. He would captivate his audience with his speech mixed with Urdu verses and snippets from Sikh religion and history and also put his subtle sense of humor to good work.

Freedom Struggle

At the age of 15, Giani Zail Singh joined the Freedom Movement to liberate his country from foreign rule. In 1938 he joined the Riyasati Praja Mandal and was instrumental in establishing a branch of Congress Committee in Faridkot. At that time Faridkot was ruled by Raja Harinder Singh and this did not go down well with the Maharaja who had him arrested and sent to prison for five years. It was while in prison that he began to adopt the name Zail Singh. After his release from prison he was harassed by the Maharaja and so he had to spend a couple of years outside the state. Heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, in 1946 he launched the Satyagraha Movement leading mass protests for freedom. He also campaigned against feudal rule and set up a parallel government in defiance of the Maharaja.

After Independence

After India gained Independence, Zail Singh worked towards building mass support for Faridkot's accession to India. When Punjab was divided, the small princely states were grouped into a new state, Punjab and in the year 1949 a non-party government was established in which Zail Singh was appointed the revenue minister. In 1951, the first election was held and in the congress-led government, he was elected as the agricultural minister. In 1955, he was sworn in as the President of the state Congress and after serving as the agricultural minister; he was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1956 and served as a Member of Parliament till 1962. In 1956, Zail Singh was also elected as the Vice President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. He contested the General Elections in 1972 and was elected as the Chief Minister of Punjab.

In 1977 when Indira Gandhi was voted out of power, Zail Singh placed his full support behind her and in 1980, when she came back to power; he was rewarded for his loyalty as she made him the minister of home affairs in the new government. The same year, he was also elected to the lower house of Legislature, the Lok Sabha. The congress party in the year 1982 announced that he was their candidate for the President of India and was subsequently, elected to the highest office of the country unanimously. As President, Zail Singh had to tide over some of the most tumultuous period in the nation's history. This period saw the height of Sikh extremism, the storming of the Golden Temple by the army on the orders of the Prime Minister, the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi and the subsequent political upheaval.

Fall From Grace

When Singh was the President, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the army to storm the Golden Temple to flush out the Sikh Extremists holed there. This hurt the sentiment of the Sikhs, as the temple was considered to be their holiest shrine, and they accused Zail Singh of not stopping her, as they thought that he had the power to do so, or resigning in protest. Since he continued acting as the President, it isolated him among his own community. Four months after the storming of the Golden Temple, Indira Gandhi's body guards assassinated her. Zail Singh immediately appointed her son, Rajiv Gandhi as the next Prime Minister. However, it was not smooth sailing with the new Prime Minister. A major conflict arose when Singh refused to sign a bill in 1987 making it into a law. This and his negative comments of Rajiv Gandhi further made him lose favor with the government.

Death

Giani Zail Singh passed away in 1994, in Chandigarh, at the age of 79 when he succumbed to his injuries in a car accident while returning from a pilgrimage from Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib.

10. Ramaswamy Venkataraman
Period-25-Jul-1987 to 25-Jul-1992

Political party-Indian National Congress

Born On: December 4, 1910
Born In: Tanjore, Tamil Nadu
Died On: January 27, 2009
Career: Lawyer, Freedom Fighter & Politician
Nationality: Indian

When Ramaswamy Venkataraman passed away, the Government of India declared a seven day state of mourning, a fitting tribute to a man who had spent his entire life in the service of the nation and its people. A true patriot, Venkataraman had the distinguished record of leading any post or organization that he was heading from strength to strength. And in his sparkling career he led many institutions with the wisdom and charisma of a true statesman. Be it defending Indians detained in Malaya and Singapore or presiding over the turmoil of coalition politics when he was the President of India, a period which saw three Prime Ministers in two years, he essayed each role with a felicity keeping only the national interest in mind. Venkataraman was perhaps the last of the ideal public servants who was noted for his work, integrity and commitment, rather than rhetoric and sycophancy that characterizes most of the so-called statesmen nowadays. A strict follower of the Nehru-Gandhi tradition, his life and work is a statement of the fact that he didn



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