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Shri Varahagiri. Venkata. Giri (1884-1980)
Sc# 357, SG# 455
Term of Office: (1) 3rd May 1969 - 20th July 1969, (2) 24th August 1969 - 24th August 1974
Date: August 24th 1974
Occasion: V.V. Giri Commemorative
Varahagiri Venkata Giri was born on 10th August, 1894, at Berhampur. His father V. V. Jogaiah Pantulu was a propserous lawyer at Berhampur and the leader of the local bar association. V. V. Giri began his education at Khallikote College, Berhampur and then went to Dublin to study law. It was here that he came under the spell of freedom struggle in Ireland and drew his inspiration from De Valera. His involvement in the Sinn Fein movement caused him to be expelled from Ireland in 1916. He returned to India and joined the upcoming labor movement. He became general secretary and the president of the All India Railway men's federation and was twice president of the All India Trade Union Congress, an organization closely linked to the Congress. In 1927, he attended the International Labor Conference in Geneva. In 1931-32 he attended the second Round Table Conference in London as the worker's representative.
Giri was a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly from 1934 to 1937. I 1937, when the congress party formed a government in Madras, he was made the minister for labor and industries. In 1942 with the launching of the anti-British Quit India Movement Giri returned to the labor movement and was subsequently imprisoned with a few others.
Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1905-1977)
Sc# 752, SG# 842
Term of Office: 24th August 1974 - 11th February 1977
Date: 22nd March 1977
Occasion/Theme: Death of President Ahmed
Perforation: 13 1/2 x 13
The fifth president of India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was born on May 13, 1905 at Delhi to Col. Z. A. Ahmed and Rukaiyya Sultana. Fakhruddin Ali had his early education at home. In 1921 he did his matriculation from Punjab University and later did his graduation from St. Stephen's college at Delhi. He later went to London and became a barrister in 1928.
On his return from England Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed first practiced law at he Punjab High Court and ;later in Gauhati. He joined the congress party in 1931 at the age of 26. In 1935 he was elected to the Assam Legislative assembly and became the minister of finance. He took an active part in the 1942 'Quit India Movement' which led to his imprisonment. In 1957 he was elected to the Assam legislative assembly and became the minister for Law and social welfare. From 1966 to 1974 he was a cabinet minister abd held various portfolios as minister for electricity, education, agriculture etc. However even during this time he did not neglect his favourite sport - Tennis and played it regularly. In 1972 he was President of the Indian lawn tennis association. His wife, Abida Begum was also a good tennis player who took a keen interest in politics and social work.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed became the fifth president of India on 24th August 1974. During his tenure as president, he toured several countries like England, France, Germany and Italy. It was during his presidency that the then prime minister Indira Gandhi had declared a state of emergency. Dr. Ali Ahmed passed away on 11th February 1977 of a massive heart attack.
Zail Singh (1916-1994)
Sc# 1547, SG# 1649
Term of Office: 25th July 1982 - 25th July 1987
In April 1946, Giani Zail Singh launched a Satyagraha movement. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited Faridkot and led a mass of people with Gianiji in the vanguard to hoist the tricolour. Giani declared an open revolt against the feudal rule and set up a parallel Government. Giani was sworn in as minister in the first PEPSU government in 1946 and was unanimously elected President of the PEPSU Congress in 1955. He became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1956 and in 1962. After being elected Member of the Punjab assembly, he became a minister in the state. In 1966 he was unanimously elected President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress and in 1972 became the Chief Minister of Punjab. After being elected to the Lok Sabha in 1979, he was included in Smt. Indira Gandhi's cabinet as Home Minister.
In 1982 Gianiji took oath, as the seventh President of the Republic. He was a champion of national unity and stood steadfast on the principle of secularism. His origins were humble but his achievements were remarkable. He won the hearts of the masses and was described as the President of the people. He passed away on 25th December, 1994 in an unfortunate road accident while returning from Anandpur Sahib to Chandigarh.
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