This Day in History – 21 June 1991 – India’s Fourth President V V Giri Passed Away
It is important to know about the leaders of the Indian government who remain in the news. V V Giri’s 126 birth anniversary was paid tribute to on 10th August 2020. IAS exam candidates should know some important facts about former President V V Giri, to gain some additional information that can help them in writing mains answers.
V V Giri – India’s Fourth President
Varahagiri Venkata Giri (V V Giri) took the oath of the President on 24th August 1969 and entered Rashtrapati Bhawan and remained in the office for the full term. Before this, he, as the Vice-President took the role of acting President on the death of the then President Zakir Hussain in May 1969. As an acting President, he remained in the office for three months.
Important Facts about V V Giri
Some relevant facts about the leader, are listed below:
- He was born on 10th August 1894 in Berhampur to V. V. Jogayya Pantulu and Subhadramma.
- His father was a lawyer and mother was an activist in Berhampur who participated during Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements.
- V V Giri was married to Saraswati Bai.
- He participated in Home Rule League Movement started by Annie Besant.
- The first time he was arrested was in 1922 for demonstrating against the sale of liquor shops.
- The most important point to be remembered is that V V Giri has been the only President of India to be elected as an independent candidate.
Journey of V V Giri
- Giri finished his schooling and initial higher education at his native Berhampur (now in Odisha).
- After that, he went to Ireland to study law.
- In Ireland, Giri took part in politics. He produced a pamphlet that showcased the maltreatment of Indians taking place in South Africa.
- He was suspected to have associations with the leaders of the 1916 Irish Uprising. This led the authorities to serve him a legal notice asking him to leave Ireland.
- Once he came back to India, Giri started his legal practice at Madras.
- He was part of Annie Besant’s Home Rule League and also joined the Indian National Congress.
- The Non-cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi made him plunge fulltime into politics. He relinquished his law practice in 1922 for this purpose.
- His demonstration against liquor shops led to his arrest in 1922.
- Giri was one of the patriarchs of the Indian labour and the trade union movement.
- In 1923, he co-founded the All India Railwaymen’s Federation, and also served as its General Secretary.
- In 1926, he was appointed the president of the All India Trade Union Congress.
- Other organisations he co-founded include the Bengal Nagpur Railway Association and the Indian Trade Union Federation (ITUF). He was also the president of the ITUF.
- 1927, Giri represented Indian workers in the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
- In 1928, he led a workers’ non-violent agitation for the rights of retrenched employees of the Bengal Nagpur Railway. This incident was a landmark event in the labour movement because the government gave in and conceded to the legitimate demands of the workers.
- Giri also participated in the Second Round Table Conference.
- He was a member of the Madras Legislative Assembly and a member of the Imperial Legislative Council (1934 – 1937).
- In the provincial government formed after the 1937 elections, he became the Labour & Industry Minister of the Madras Presidency.
- For his participation in the Quit India Movement, he was imprisoned for three years.
- After independence, he became the Labour Minister in 1952. He served as the governor of various states including Kerala, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
- From 1967 to 1969, he was the Acting President after the death of Zakir Hussain.
- In 1969, he contested as an independent presidential candidate and won. He served as the president of the country from 1969 till 1974.
- He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award in 1975.
- Giri passed away in Chennai aged 85 in 1980.
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