The President is the formal head of the administration. He is the head of the Union Executive. In this post, we will remind the Presidents of India since independence. Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th & current President of India. Prior to Mr. Kovind, there were thirteen Presidents who had served our nation. The list starts with Dr. Rajendra Prasad who was elected as the first President of India by the Constituent Assembly.
List of Presidents of India since Independence:
1. Dr. Rajendra Prasad: (1950 – 1962)
Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first President of the Republic of India. He was a political leader and lawyer by training. After India became a Republic in 1950, Rajendra Prasad was elected India’s first President by the Constituent Assembly.
Mr. Prasad joined the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement and became a major leader from the region of Bihar.
Dr. Prasad served one term as President of the Indian National Congress from 1934 to 1935. After the 1946 elections, he served as minister of food and agriculture in the central government. Upon independence in 1947, Prasad was elected president of the Constituent Assembly of India, which prepared the Constitution of India and served as its provisional parliament.
He was the only President to serve for two terms in office. He was honored by Bharat Ratna in 1962.
2. Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan: (1962 – 1967)
Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was the first Vice President of India (1952 – 1962) and the second President of India from 1962 – 1967.
He was a philosopher and professor of Calcutta University & later Oxford University. Mr. Radhakrishnan was one of India’s most distinguished twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy.
Radhakrishnan was awarded several high awards during his life, including a knighthood in 1931, the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.
Since 1962, his birthday is celebrated in India as Teachers’ Day on 5 September.
3. Dr. Zakir Husain: (13 May 1967 to 3rd May 1969)
Dr. Zakir Husain was the 3rd President of India from 13 May 1967 to 3rd May 1969. He was the first Muslim President of India. He was also the first President to die in office, and also the shortest serving President of India.
He previously served as Governor of Bihar from 1957 to 1962 and as Vice President of India from 1962 to 1967.
He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, in 1963
4. Varahagiri Venkata Giri: (1969 to 1974)
Varahagiri Venkata Giri commonly known as V. V. Giri was the fourth president of the Republic of India from 24 August 1969 to 24 August 1974.
As President, Giri subordinated the office of the President to the Prime Minister and came to be known as a “Rubber Stamp President“.
Between 1947 – 1951, Giri served as India’s first High Commissioner to Ceylon. Mr. Giri was honored with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1975 for his contributions in the area of public affairs.
5. Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed: (1974 to 1977)
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (13 May 1905 – 11 February 1977) was the 5th President of India from 1974 to 1977 and also the 2nd President of India to die in office.
On 24 August 1974 Mr. Ali Ahmed became the second Muslim President of India chosen by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Dr. Ahmed is known to have issued the proclamation of emergency by signing the papers at midnight after a meeting with Indira Gandhi the same day.
Check Out the List of First Indians (male & female)
6. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy: (1977 to 1982)
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was the sixth President of India, serving from 1977 to 1982. He was the youngest Indian President ever.
Mr. Reddy was the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, a two-time Speaker of the Lok Sabha and a Union Minister.
Reddy worked with three governments, with Prime Ministers Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, and Indira Gandhi.
7. Gyani Zail Singh: (1982 – 1987)
Gyani Zail Singh was the seventh President of India serving from 1982 to 1987. Before his Presidency he was a politician with the Indian National Congress Party. He was elected as the Chief Minister of Punjab in 1972.
Mr. Singh was a Sikh by religion. He was given the title of Gyani, as he was educated and learned about Guru Granth Sahib at Shaheed Sikh Missionary College in Amritsar.
His presidency was marked by Operation Blue Star, the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
8. R. Venkataraman:
Ramaswamy Venkataraman was the eighth President of India. He was an Indian lawyer, Indian independence activist and politician. He was elected to Lok Sabha four times.
- He took office as the Union Minister of Finance on January 14, 1980, to January 15, 1982.
- He was appointed as the Minister of Defence on June 22, 1982, and he served the post until August 2, 1984.
9. Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma: (1992 to 1997)
Shankar Dayal Sharma was the ninth President of India, serving from 1992 to 1997. Before his Presidency, Mr. Sharma had been the eighth Vice President of India serving under R. Venkataraman.
He was also the Chief Minister of Bhopal from 1952 to 1956. Mr. Sharma was also the President of the Indian National Congress in 1972- 1974.
The International Bar Association presented Sharma with the ‘Living Legends of Law Award of Recognition‘ for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession internationally and for commitment to the rule of law.
10. K.R. Narayanan
Kocheril Raman Narayanan was the tenth President of India serving from 1997 to 2002. Mr. Narayanan was elected to the Presidency of India with 95% of the votes in the electoral college.
He was elected as the ninth Vice-President of India in 1992 and was elected as President in 1997. He was the first President and so far the only member of the Dalit community to hold the post.
Narayanan began his career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service. He served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, People’s Republic of China and the United States of America. He was referred to by Nehru as “the best diplomat of the country”
11. Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam:
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. He was a scientists and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space program and military missile development efforts.
Dr. Kalam is known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played an important role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
Dr. Kalam was widely known as the “people’s President“.
Dr. Kalam received seven honorary doctorates from 40 universities. The Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997.
12. Smt. Pratibha Patil:
Pratibha Devisingh Patil was the 12th President of India from 2007 to 2012.
She was the first woman to become the President of India. Smt. Patil was also the first female Governor of Rajasthan from 2004 to 2007.
Smt. Patil started her professional career as a practicing lawyer and later she entered into politics.
13. Pranab Mukherjee:
Pranab Kumar Mukherjee was the 13th President of India for the term 2012 – 2017.
He was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. Prior to his election as President Mr. Mukherjee was the Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.
Mr. Mukherjee is the first Bengali to hold the post of the President of India. He was honored with Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
14. Ram Nath Kovind:
Ram Nath Kovind was the Governor of Bihar from 2015 until 2017. He was a member of Parliament for 12 years from 1994 to 2006. After K R Narayan, he is the second Dalit President of India.
Mr. Kovind was a lawyer who practiced in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court for 16 years. He served as a member of the Board of Management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow and also a member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.
Kovind represented India in the United Nations in New York and addressed United Nations General Assembly in October 2002.
So, fourteen Presidents have served our Nation till independence. The President is the common head of all the independent Constitutional entities.