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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.



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