Presidents & Precedents

I found this particular article in the Times of India page 10 in todays print edition quite amusing. I wouldn’t differ if some of you found it to be just informative. But my analysis; here it is.

The Presidents

Rajendra Prasad

Term of Office | January 26, 1950 to May 13, 1962

First President of independent India. A freedom fighter, Rajendra Prasad was the only president to serve two terms in office.

Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan

Term of Office | May 13, 1962 to May 13, 1967

A prominent philosopher, writer, a Knight of the Realm who held the position of vicechancellor of Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University. He was also made a Knight of the Golden Army of Angels by Pope Paul VI.

Zakir Husain (1897-1969)

Term of Office | May 3, 1967 to May 3, 1969

He was vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. Husain died before his term of office ended.

Shri Varahagiri Venkata Giri

Term of Office | May 3, 1969 to July 20, 1969 and August 24, 1969 to August 24, 1974

The only person to have the distinction of serving as both acting president and President of India. V V Giri was
   a recipient Bharat Ratna, and his previous positions included minister of labour and high commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed

Term of Office | August 24, 1974 to February 11, 1977

A veteran politician, he held various cabinet posts including food & agriculture, education, industrial development, etc. He died in 1977 before his term ended, and was the second president to have died in office.

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913-1996)

Term of Office | July 25, 1977 to July 25, 1982

N S Reddy was the first CM of Andhra Pradesh. He was the only MP from Janata Party to get elected from Andhra. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha on March 26, 1977 and relinquished this office on July 13, 1977 to become the 6th President of India.

Giani Zail Singh

Term of Office | July 25, 1982 to July 25, 1987

Zail Singh served as Punjab CM and later as Union home minister in the Indira Gandhi government.

R Venkataraman

Term of Office | July 25, 1987 to July 25, 1992

A former freedom fighter, he first served as minister of finance and industry and later as minister of defence.

Shankar Dayal Sharma

Term of Office | July 25, 1992 to July 25, 1997

Sharma had been chief minister of MP, and then Union minister for communications. He also served as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra. As vice-president, broke down in the Rajya Sabha while witnessing an ugly row by the members.

K R Narayanan (1920-2005)

Term of Office | July 25, 1997 to July 25, 2002

India’s first Dalit president. Served as India’s ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and the US. Regarded as an independent president who set several precedents and enlarged the scope of the highest constitutional office.

A P J Abdul Kalam
(born 1931)

Term of Office | July 25, 2002 to July 25, 2007

Eminent scientist and visionary who played a leading role in the development of India’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes. Kalam also received the Bharat Ratna and has authored 4 books.

And the Precedent..

Pratibha Patil
(born 1934)

Term of Office | July 25, 2007 –

Patil is the first woman to become the President of India. She was also the first woman Governor of Rajasthan. In 2009, Patil followed Kalam’s precedent and flew in a fighter aircraft.

It can be seen that all the previous presidents had some sort of qualification under their belt. Some were former ministers, governors, scientists, writers, freedom fighters etc.

But a precedent has been set by selecting a president based on conveniences of the ruling party. Without any bigger qualification to promote(enlighten me if I am not well informed), except for the will to fly in a fighter plane, it seems that the cause of women’s rights and the protection of a particular community(read marathi), has been the judging factor. A precedence of this sort at such a high level in the governance doesn’t go down well.

(Data sourced from The Times of India)


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