Presidents of India on Indian Stamps

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Dr. Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963)

Sc# 357, SG# 455

Term of Office: 26th Jan 1950 - 13th May 1962

Year: 1962 
Date: May 13th 1962
Occasion: Retirement of Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Perforation: 13 
Watermark: None, Coated paper
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of Independent India was born in Zeradei, a small village in Bihar on December 3, 1884. After completing his Master of Law examination with honors and winning a gold medal, he went on to complete his Doctorate in Law. In 1917 he joined Mahatma Gandhi in the Champaran Satyagraha. He gave his full support to the Mahatma's constructive programmes to reform society and in his work for humanity. He was recruited by Gandhiji to help in a campaign to improve he conditions for the peasants who were exploited by the British indigo planters. In response to Gandhiji's call of non-cooperation, he gave up his successful practice as a lawyer and started a National College near Patna in 1921. Because of his active participation in the Salt Satyagraha he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. 

An active journalist, he wrote for 'Searchlight' in English, founded and edited the Hindi weekly 'Desh' and started his lifelong campaign to establish Hindi as a national language. He was again imprisoned for his active participation in the Quit India Movement in 1942. In 1946 he was sworn in a Minister for food and agriculture in the interim government preceding full independence. From 1946-1949 he presided over the Indian constituent assembly and helped shape the constitution of India. He was unanimously elected as President of republic of India in 1950. As president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad visited many countries on goodwill missions and stressed for peace in  a nuclear age. He wrote several books like. 'Satyagraha in Champaran', 'India Divided'. 'Mahatma Gandhi and Bihar', 'Some Reminiscences' and a few more. The Government of India honored him by awarding him the 'Bharat Ratna' in 1962. He chose to spend the last few months of his life at his beloved Sadaqat Ashram in Patna, where he passed away on February 28th 1963.  

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975)

Sc# 454, SG# 552

Sc# 1289, SG# 1381

Term of Office: 13th May 1962 - 13th May 1967

Year: 1967 (Sc#454), 1989 (Sc#1289) 
Date: 5th September 1967, 11th September 1989
Occasion/Theme: S. Radhakrishnan Commemoration.
Perforation: 13 (1967, 1989)
Watermark: None
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the great Indian Statesman and philosopher was born in Tiruttani, South India on 5th September 1888 to a poor Brahmin couple, Sarvepalli Veeraswami and Sitamma. Sarvepalli is a village in Andhra Pradesh from where Radhakrishnan's ancestors migrated to Tamilnadu. He had his early schooling at Tiruttani and higher studies at the Lutheran mission school in Tirupati. He then joined Vorhees college in Vellore, 60kms from Madras.  At 17 he switched over to the Madras Christian College and did his graduation and post graduation with Philosophy and logic as his major subjects. After completing his M.A. with distinction Radhakrishnan started teaching career as an assistant lecturer at the Madras Presidency college in 1909.

Radhakrishnan mastered the classics of Indian thought - The Upnishads, Bhagvad Gita as also the Brahmasutras, commentaries of Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhava. Simultaneously he also specialized in Western Philosophy and was thoroughly influenced by the teachings of the leading western thinkers like Plato, Plotinus, Kant, Bradley and Bergson. He was equally interested in English literature and his books contain numerous citations from Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Mathew Arnold, Browing as well as from European classical masters such as Dante, Goethe and others. In 1918 he was selected professor of Philosophy by the university of Mysore. He also started writing books which earned him international fame and admiration. His achievements were noted by Sir. Ashutosh Mukherjee, the dynamic Vice chancellor of Calcutta university who offered Radhakrishnan the prestigious post of professor of Philosophy at Calcutta university in 1921. In 1923, he brought out his magnum opus, 'Indian Philosophy' which was hailed as a 'philosophic classic and a literary masterpiece'. It was because of this book that Indian Philosophy got recognized as an important branch of study.

Radhakrishnan was invited to Oxford university in England to deliver the special 'Upton Lectures', the topic of his lecture being 'The Hindu view of Life'. From 1931 to 1937 he was vice chancellor of Andhra university and from 1938 to 1948 he was vice chancellor of Baneras Hindu university. In 1949 he was chosen as India's first envoy to the Soviet Union. In 1952 Jawaharlal Nehru appointed Radhakrishnan as vice president and in 1962 he was elected as the second president of the Republic of India. He received the prestigious 'Bharat Ratna' in 1954. 

Dr. Zakir Husain (1897-1969) 

Sc# 495, SG# 593

Sc# 1682, SG# 1788

Term of Office: 13th May 1967 - 3rd May 1969

Year: 1969 (Sc#495), 1998 (Sc#1682)
Date: 11th June 1969, 3rd May 1998
Occasion: President Zakir Husain Commemorative
Perforation: 13 (1969, 1998)  
Watermark: None
The third president of India and a great educationist, Dr. Zakir Husain was born on February 8, 1897, at Hyderabad and came of a Pathan family, settled in Qaimganj in the district of Farukhabad, Uttar Pradesh. His father passed away when young Zakir was only 9, and he had to stay with a relative to complete his primary education. While doing his M.A at M.A.O college in Aligarh, he met Gandhiji who had come to visit the institution as a part of the non cooperation movement campaign. Zakir Husain, who was only 23 then, was one of the students who responded to Gandhiji's call to develop centers of national education . In his own words: "I began my public career at the feet of Gandhiji and he has been my guide and inspirer." Later, he went to Berlin in Germany and returned to India with a Ph.D. degree in Economics.

On his return to India, Zakir Husain founded an institution which went on to be known as the Jamia Milia Islamia. In 1926, he was made the vice chancellor of Jamia Milia and he spent the next 22 years building up the institution into a distinguished center of learning which advocated more work-centered rather than book centered education. After partition Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad requested him to take up vice chancellorship of Aligarh Muslim university, a position he continued to hold for eight years till 1956, serving on the university education commission and subsequently the Press commission.  The government of India awarded him the 'Padma Vibhushan' in 1954 for his excellent work in the field of education . He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1956 and later became the Governor of Bihar. In 1962 he was elected to the office of the Vice president of India. In 1963 he was awarded the highest honor of the land, 'Bharat Ratna' for his great service to the nation. 

Throughout his life, Dr. Zakir Husain displayed a keen interest in literary and academic work. He has several literary works to his credit. He translated Plato's 'Republic' and Cannon's 'Elementary Political Economy' into Urdu soon after joining Jamia Milia. His convocation addresses have been collected and published under the title, "The Dynamic University'. On 9th May, 1967 Dr. Zakir Husain was elected as  the Head of state and was formally sworn in as the third President of India four days later. He died of a sudden heart attack on 3rd May 1969, while in office.

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