Thursday, May 07, 2009

My India Series - IV - Presidents of India

Took office - Left office
Vice PresidentNote
1 Dr. Rajendra Prasad 26 January 1950 - 13 May 1962 Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Bharat Ratna (1962) Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first President of independent India. A lawyer turned journalist, He was also an independence activist of the Indian Independence Movement. He served as President of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the constitution India. He was unanimously elected president in 1950 and, after the first general election (1952), was chosen by an overwhelming majority of the new electoral college; in 1957 he was elected to a third term. Prasad was the only president who took oath 26 January & elected for three terms in office.
2 Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 13 May 1962 -13 May 1967 Dr. Zakir Hussain Bharat Ratna (1954) Dr. Radhakrishnan was a prominent philosopher, writer, a Knight of the Realm and also held the position of vice chancellor of the Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University. He was also made a Knight of the Golden Army of Angels by Pope Paul VI.
3 Dr. Zakir Hussain 13 May 1967 - 3 May 1969 Varahagiri Venkata Giri Bharat Ratna (1963) Dr. Zakir Hussain was vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and a recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. He died before his term of office was ended.

Varahagiri Venkata Giri * 3 May 1969 - 20 July 1969
Giri was appointed as acting president following the death of Hussain. He resigned in a few months to take part in the presidential elections.

Muhammad Hidayatullah * 20 July 1969 - 24 August 1969
Hidayatullah served as the Chief Justice of India, and was a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. He served as acting president until the election of Giri as the President of India. He was also the Vice-President of India for one complete term.
4 Varahagiri Venkata Giri 24 August 1969 - 24 August 1974 Gopal Swarup Pathak Bharat Ratna (1975) Varahagiri Venkata Giri is the only person to have served as both an acting president and president of India. He was a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, and has functioned as Indian Minister of Labour and High Commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
5 Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed 24 August 1974 - 11 February 1977 Basappa Danappa Jatti Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed served as a Minister before being elected as president. He died in 1977 before his term of office ended, and was the second Indian president to have died during a term of office.

Basappa Danappa Jatti * 11 February 1977 - 25 July 1977
Jatti was the vice president of India during Ahmed's term of office, and was sworn in as acting president upon Ahmed's death. He earlier functioned as the Chief Minister for the State of Mysore.
6 Neelam Sanjiva Reddy 25 July 1977 - 25 July 1982 Muhammad Hidayatullah Reddy was the only Member of Parliament from the Janata Party to get elected from Andhra President of India. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha on 26 March 1977 and relinquished this office on 13 July 1977 to become the 6
7 Giani Zail Singh 25 July 1982 - 25 July 1987 Ramaswamy Venkataraman In March 1972, Singh assumed the position of chief Minister of Punjab, and in 1980, he became Union Home Minister.
8 Ramaswamy Venkataraman 25 July 1987 - 25 July 1992 Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma In 1942, Venkataraman was jailed by the British for his involvement in the India's independence movement. After his release, he was elected to independent India’s Provisional Parliament as a member of the Congress Party in 1950 and eventually joined the central government, where he first served as Minister of Finance and Industry and later as Minister of Defence.
9 Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma 25 July 1992 - 25 July 1997 Kocheril Raman Narayanan Dr. Sharma was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, and the Indian Minister for Communications. He has also served as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.
10 Kocheril Raman Narayanan 25 July 1997 - 25 July 2002 Krishan Kant Narayanan served as India's ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and United States of America. He received doctorates in Science and Law and was also a chancellor in several universities. He was also the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
11 Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam 25 July 2002 - 25 July 2007 Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Bharat Ratna (1997) Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is a scientist who played a leading role in the development of India's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
12 Pratibha Patil 25 July 2007 ~ till today
Mohammad Hamid Ansari Patil is the first woman to become the President of India. She was also the first female Governor of Rajasthan.
  • The symbol (*) with a light brown background indicates an acting president (therefore not numbered.).
(~ Based on information from Wikipedia & Government of India sources.)

Top present functionaries of Government of India are:

President: Mrs. Pratibha Patil
Vice-President: Mr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Prime Minister: Dr. Manmohan Singh
Speaker (Lower House): Mr. Somnath Chatterjee
Chief Justice of India: Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan