Pranab Mukherjee no more: A look back at former India Presidents and their illustrious political career
First Published 31, Aug 2020, 7:43 PM
Pranab Mukherjee, former president of India and Congress stalwart, passed away on August 31 at Army Hospital in Delhi Cantonment area
Rajendra Prasad (1884 – 1963): The first president of India, Rajendra Prasad was born on December 3, 1884. He held the office of the first President of India from 1950 to 1962. The guidelines set up by the President of India are still followed by the parliamentarians. He was also the recipient of the highest national honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1962.
Zakir Hussain (1897 – 1969): Dr Zakir Husain, India’s third President had a deep understanding of politics. His kind of politics was subservient to the importance of education. Dr Husain held the President’s office from 1967 till his death on 3 May, 1969.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888 – 1975): Every year teacher's day marks a grand celebration for students across India. It is the day when the country celebrates the birthday of India's first Vice President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He was also the second President of India - a position he held from 1962 to 1967. A symbol of academics and education, Radhakrishnan was a renowned philosopher, statesman as well as a teacher. He is remembered for being one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century as well as for introducing western philosophies into the Indian society.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1905 – 1977): Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (13 May 1905 – 11 February 1977) was an Indian lawyer and politician who served as the fifth President of India from 1974 to 1977. He was also the 2nd President of India to die in office.
VV Giri (1894 – 1980): Varahagiri Venkata Giri better known as VV Giri, who served as the fourth President of India, was born on August 10, 1894. Giri served as the President of India from August 24, 1969 to August 24, 1974.
Giani Zail Singh (1916 - 1994): In 1994, when the other parts of the world were celebrating Christmas, India was mourning the death of former president Giani Zail Singh. In his long career, the former president held a number of portfolios. His presidency saw him brave some of the darkest moments in the history of independent India — Operation Blue Star, former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the anti-Sikh riots that followed. Singh remains the only Sikh president India has had.
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913 – 1996): Many remember Neelam Sanjiva Reddy as the sixth President of India, who was elected unopposed and saw unprecedented political turmoil with the swearing-in of three governments led by the Janata Party’s Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Congress’ Indira Gandhi during his term.
Shankar Dayal Sharma (1918 – 1999): Shankar Dayal Sharma was the 9th President of India and has also served as the 8th Vice President of Indian under Ramaswamy Venkataraman, 8th President of India.
KR Narayanan (1921 – 2005): Narayanan, the country’s 10th President, had an illustrious career adorned with many ‘firsts’. Apart from being the first Dalit President, he was also the first from his community to get a Master’s degree, the first journalist to serve as the President and the first President to vote in the 1998 general elections. Before him, India’s Presidents refrained from adult suffrage.
Ramaswamy Venkataraman (1910 – 2009): As India’s eighth President, Venkataraman, who took office on 25 July 1987, was witness to India’s fractured mandate that led to formation of a coalition government in Parliament. His participation in the Indian freedom struggle helped him in his tenure during these testing times.
APJ Abdul Kalam (1931 – 2015): Referred to as ‘People’s President’, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India. Popularly known as people's president and Missile Man of India, Dr Abdul Kalam passed away in Shillong on July 27, 2015, while delivering a lecture to students. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including Padma Bhushan (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1990), Bharat Ratna (1997), Veer Savarkar Award (1998). His notable works include - Wings of Fire, India 2020, Ignited Minds, Indomitable Spirit, Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji.
Pranab Mukherjee (1935 – 2020): Known as “Man for all seasons,” Pranab Mukherjee played a crucial role in getting through the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal – 123 Agreement — and earning an exemption for India from the Nuclear Suppliers Group. He served as the 13th President of India.