UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Feb 08

8 February 1897

Third President of India Zakir Husain was born.


What happened?

Zakir Husain, educationist and India’s third President was born on 8 February 1897 at Hyderabad.

Biography

  • Zakir Husain was the second of the seven sons of Fida Husain Khan and his wife. Though he was born in the princely state of Hyderabad, the family moved to Kaimganj in Uttar Pradesh soon after.
  • His parents died during his childhood. He pursued his primary education at Hyderabad and then finished his schooling at Etawah, UP.
  • He received his MA degree from the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, which is now called the Aligarh Muslim University at Aligarh. He was a noted student leader during his university days.
  • He was a good student and academic, and also received his doctoral degree from the University of Berlin in economics.
  • Before he went to Germany for his PhD, he had established along with a few others, the National Muslim University at Aligarh on 29 October 1920. He was only 23 years old then but already a visionary.
  • This National Muslim University was shifted to Karol Bagh, New Delhi in 1925 and then again shifted to Jamia Nagar, New Delhi in 1935. It was then renamed Jamia Millia Islamia. It is now a central university and an ‘A’ grade institution in the country in higher education.
  • While in Germany, Husain published an anthology of the works of the great Urdu poet Ghalib.
  • Through the Jamia Millia Islamia, Husain was involved in the freedom movement in the country. He believed in Mahatma Gandhi’s value-based education and conducted various reforms in the education sector.
  • His contribution in keeping the Jamia alive was exceptional and even his political rivals like M A Jinnah praised his zeal in education.
  • In 1948, he became the Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University. He was also a member of the Indian Universities Commission. He was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • From 1956 to 1958, he was a member of the UNESCO. He was also a member of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and also the chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
  • He was appointed as the Governor of Bihar in 1957. In 1962, he was elected the President of the country.
  • He was awarded the country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1963.
  • Zakir Husain died while in office (becoming the first president to die in office) on 3 May 1969.
Also on this day

1872: Assassination of Lord Mayo (Viceroy of India) in the Andaman Islands by a prisoner. The murder was motivated only by a personal reason and not a political one. 1971: Death of K M Munshi, independence activist and educationist. 1986: Sister Alphonsa beatified by the Catholic Church. She became the first Indian woman to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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