August 19, 2022
V V Giri

V V Giri: 4th president of India

V V Giri full name is Varahagiri Venkata Giri. Giri was an officer in the Indian National Army and later a prominent politician. He served as the fourth President of India from 1962 to 1967.

About V V Giri

His Birth

V V Giri was born on February 19, 1905 in Biccavolu village of Andhra Pradesh to Varahagiri Venkata Ramanayya Chowdary and Seethalakshmi Ammal. His father was a Sub-Registrar. He studied at Hindu High School, Guntur and graduated in 1919 from Presidency College, Madras (now Chennai). He studied law at Madras Law College and graduated as an Advocate in 1930.

V V Giri Personal Life

V V Giri married and had three sons and a daughter. He died on June 29, 1985 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Political Life

V V Giri was married to Padmavathi in 1928 who died in 1986. He married Indira Gopalkrishna, who he met when her husband was imprisoned for participating in the Telangana Rebellion of 1922 against the British government’s policy of granting representation to Muslims and Christians. V V Giri was elected President of India (1962–1967) at the age of 53 on July 30 1962 with a huge majority of 434 out of 536 electoral votes as a candidate of Congress, defeating B. R. Ambedkar. He was the first President of India to die in office.

V V Giri was a dedicated Congressman and participated in the Indian freedom movement from his college days. He began his active political career as a member of the Congress party in 1930 at the age of 25. Giri became President of the Madras Mahajana Sabha, an association that represented non-Brahmins in the Madras Presidency during 1932–1934.

Career

Role in the labour movement

V V Giri was an active trade unionist and social worker. He participated in the labour movement as a leader of the factory workers in Madras during 1938–1943. He was imprisoned for his participation in the labour movement during 1942 – 1944.

Minister

V V Giri was elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly from Mylapore constituency during 1946–1952 and remained a cabinet Minister holding several portfolios including Town Planning, Labour and Housing. He served as the Food and Civil Supplies Minister of Madras Presidency from 1946 to 1952. Giri moved a resolution in 1954 urging the Indian Government to free Pondicherry, Mahé and Karikal from French rule which passed unanimously.

Electoral career in British India

V V Giri served as the President of the Indian National Congress in Tamil Nadu during 1953–1954. He was elected to the 5th Lok Sabha during February–March 1957 and replaced B. R. Ambedkar later that year was Minister of Agriculture in Nehru’s cabinet. Giri became a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and served as a minister in different ministries until 1960.

Career in independent India

Union Minister for Labour (1952–1954)

After the dissolution of the Congress in 1951, Giri was elected as President of the Indian National Congress in 1952. In 1953, he became Union Minister for Labour in Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet.

Minister of Agriculture (1957–1960)

In 1957, V V Giri became Union agriculture minister and held that position until 1960. In 1958, he introduced a bill to nationalize foreign trade and import control on imported food items which was passed by Lok Sabha.

Minister of Food and Civil Supplies (1958–1960)

In 1958, Giri became minister for food and civil supplies under Kailashnath Katju’s ministry.

Minister of Food and Civil Supplies (1960–1962)

After the Lok Sabha election of 1962, he became minister for food and civil supplies in the cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru. Giri continued as a minister when Sardar Patel was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of India.

President (1962–1967)

He became president on July 30, 1962 after President Rajendra Prasad resigned due to his failing health. Giri became an ex-officio member of the Rajya Sabha where he served from December 1963 to March 1967.

High commissioner to Ceylon and ambassador to Nepal. He also served as the first Indian High Commissioner to Singapore. He was named Governor of West Bengal on April 29, 1969 and held office until July 30, 1970. Giri was appointed vice-president after Zakir Hussain’s death on May 13, 1967 and served until his own death on June 29, 1985.

He participated in the world peace conference in Moscow during 1960. He visited many countries like China, Vietnam and Japan.

V V Giri travelled widely and visited countries as far apart as Sweden, China, Japan, Korea and Ceylon. Giri was a friend of Mahatma Gandhi.

Art & Literature

V V Giri was a great art lover and an active patron of the fine arts. He purchased many paintings from world renowned artists like Akshay Kumar, Keshav Rai and Vidyasagar. He was a member of the Andhra Pradesh Fine Arts Academy for more than 50 years. Giri was President of the Art Council of India (1950–1958).

He wrote many poems which were included in several anthologies.

Awards and Honors

He was awarded with honorary doctorate degrees from Gwadar University, West Bengal University and Calcutta University. Giri was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1968. Giri Nagar in Kolkata is named after him.

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