History of the Presidency in India
Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963)
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 of office as President.
Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975)
Term of Office: May 13, 1962 to May 13, 1967
A prominent philosopher, writer, a Knight of Realm who held the position of Vice -Chancellor 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 Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. Husain died before his term of office ended.
Shri Varahagiri Venkata Girl (1894-1980)
Term of Office: May 3, 1969 to July 20, 1969 and 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 of the Bharat Ratna, and his previous positions included Minister of Labour and High Commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1905-1977)
Term of Office: August 24, 1974 to February 11, 1977
A veteran politician, he held various cabinet posts including food and agriculture, education, industrial development, etc. He died in 1977 before his term ended, and was the second president to have died in the 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 to become the 6th President of India.
Giani Zail Singh (1916-1994)
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 (1910-2009)
Term of Office: July 25, 1987 to July 25, 1992
A former freedom fighter, he first served as a minister of finance and Industry and later as Minister of Defence
Shankar Dayal Sharma (1918-1999)
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 governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra. As Vice-President, broke down in the Rajya Sabha while witnessing 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. He served as India’s Ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and the US. He was regarded as an independent president who set several precedents and enlarged the scope of the highest constitutional office.
A P 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.
Pratibha Patil (born 1934)
Term of Office: July 25, 2007
Prathibha Patil is the first woman to become the president of India. She was also the first woman Governor of Rajasthan. In 2009 Prathibha Patil followed Kalam’s precedent and flew in a fighter aircraft.