DR. A. P. J. Abdul kalam (b 1931) Term of Office: 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007

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DR. A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM (b - 1931)
Term of Office: 25 July 2002 TO 25 July 2007

Born on 15th October 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, specialized in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. Dr. Kalam made significant contribution as Project Director to develop India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of Space Club. He was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration. After working for two decades in ISRO and mastering launch vehicle technologies, Dr. Kalam took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defence Research and Development Organisation as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He was responsible for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles and for building indigenous capability in critical technologies through networking of multiple institutions. He was the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development from July 1992 to December 1999. During this period he led to the weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy, which made India a nuclear weapon State. He also gave thrust to self-reliance in defence systems by progressing multiple development tasks and mission projects such as Light Combat Aircraft.

As Chairman of Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) and as an eminent scientist, he led the country with the help of 500 experts to arrive at Technology Vision 2020 giving a road map for transforming India from the present developing status to a developed nation. Dr. Kalam has served as the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, in the rank of Cabinet Minister, from November 1999 to November 2001 and was responsible for evolving policies, strategies and missions for many development applications. Dr. Kalam was also the Chairman, Ex-officio, of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C) and piloted India Millennium Mission 2020.

Dr. Kalam took up academic pursuit as Professor, Technology & Societal Transformation at Anna University, Chennai from November 2001 and was involved in teaching and research tasks. Above all he took up a mission to ignite the young minds for national development by meeting high school students across the country.

In his literary pursuit four of Dr. Kalam's books - "Wings of Fire", "India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium", "My journey" and "Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India" have become household names in India and among the Indian nationals abroad. These books have been translated in many Indian languages.

Dr. Kalam is one of the most distinguished scientists of India with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. He has been awarded the coveted civilian awards - Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997). He is a recipient of several other awards and Fellow of many professional institutions.

Dr. Kalam became the 11th President of India on 25th July 2002. His focus is on transforming India into a developed nation by 2020.


Shri K. R. Narayanan (1920-2005)

Term of Office: 25 July 1997 TO 25 July 2002

Shri Kocheril Raman Narayanan assumed office as President of India on July 25, 1997. Shri Narayanan was born on October 27, 1920 in the village of Uzhavoor in Kottayam district, Kerala.


Shri Narayanan received his education from the University of Travancore where he obtained an M.A. degree in English Literature standing first in the University. Later, he obtained B.Sc. (Econ.) degree from the London School of Economics with First Class Honours specialising in Political Science.


Shri Narayanan started his career as a Lecturer in the University of Travancore (1943). Later he took to journalism and worked with The Hindu, Madras (now Chennai) and Times of India, Bombay (now Mumbai - 1944-45). While a student in London, he served as the London Correspondent of "Social Welfare", a weekly from Bombay edited by Shri K.M. Munshi (1945-48).

Shri Narayanan joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1949 and served in Indian Embassies in Rangoon, Tokyo, London, Canberra and Hanoi and held different positions in the Ministry of External Affairs.

In between he taught Economic Administration at Delhi School of Economics from 1954-55 and was also the Joint Director of the Orientation Centre for Foreign Technicians.

Shri Narayanan also served as India's Ambassador to Thailand (1967-69), Turkey (1973-75), the People's Republic of China (1976-78) and Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (1976).


After retirement from the Foreign Service in 1978, Shri Narayanan was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in January 1979 and held the post till October 1980.

Shri Narayanan was sent as a political appointee to be India's Ambassador to the United States of America from 1980-84.

After completing his term as Indian Ambassador to USA, Shri Narayanan entered politics and won three successive General Elections in 1984,1989 and 1991 from his Parliament Constituency of Ottapalam in Kerala. He was Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from 1985 to 1992.

During this period he was Union Minister of State for Planning (1985), External Affairs (1985-86) and Science and Technology, Atomic Energy, Space, Electronics and Ocean Development and Vice-President, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (1986-89).

Shri Narayanan was elected Vice-President of India and served in this position from 21st August, 1992 till he assumed the office of the President of India in July 1997. He was ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) during this period.

Shri Narayanan has been a Member of various Indian delegations to :

(i) United Nations General Assembly (1979), (ii) The UN Security Council in November 1985 on Namibian Independence, (iii) Conference of Non-aligned Nations at Harare (1986) and (iv) The Special Session of the UN General Assembly in May 1986 on the critical situation in Africa

Shri Narayanan has been associated with several institutions in diverse capacities. He was President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations; President, Indian Institute of Public Administration; President, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Cultures, Calcutta; Patron of the International Award for Young People - India.

Shri Narayanan has also served as Chairman of

(i) The Jury of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding; (ii) The International Jury for the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development; (iii) The Advisory Committee for the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award; (iv) The Jury for International Gandhi Award for Leprosy; (v) The Jury for Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar; (vi) The Jury for Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Award for Social Understanding and Upliftment of Weaker Sections; (vii) The Jury for Dr. B.R. Ambedkar International Award for Social Change; (viii) The Jury for G.D. Birla Awards for Humanism, India's Heritage and Culture and Rural Upliftment; and (ix) The Jury for Communal Harmony Awards.


A scholar and writer, Shri Narayanan has authored four books viz.,

(i) "India and America : Essays in Understanding" of which a new edition was reissued in 1998; (ii) "Images and Insights"; (iii) "Non-alignment in Contemporary International Relations" (Joint Authorship); and (iv) "Nehru and His Vision".

He has also contributed a number of articles on social, political, international and literary matters in various magazines and periodicals.

Shri Narayanan is a Member of the Universal Academy of Cultures, Paris; Honorary Fellow of London School of Economics; Honorary Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore; Honorary Fellow of Centre for Development Studies, Kerala. He was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970-72 for study of Pandit Nehru's Non-alignment.

The President received the World Statesman Award of The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, New York in 1998.

Shri Narayanan has received several degrees and honours. These are : Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa), University of Toledo, USA; Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa), Australian National University; Australian National University has instituted an annual "K.R. Narayanan Oration"; Honorary Professor of Bishkek Humanities University (Kyrghyz Republic); Vachaspati (D. Litt) (Honoris Causa), Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi; Doctorate (Honoris Causa), University of San Marcos, Peru; Doctorate of Letters (Honoris Causa), Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Doctorate of Political Science (Honoris Causa), Bilkent University, Turkey.

Shri Narayanan is the Visitor of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and several other Central Universities. He has also been the Chancellor of Delhi University, Punjab University, Pondicherry University, Assam University, North Eastern Hill University and Gandhigram Rural Institute (Deemed University); Visitor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University Institute of Journalism, Bhopal; Visitor of Madras School of Economics. He is also visitor of Viswa Bharati University, established by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Shri Narayanan has delivered Convocation Addresses at several Universities in India and abroad.

The President has gone on State Visits to Peru, Brazil, Nepal, Germany, Portugal, Luxembourg and Turkey, Austria, France, China, Singapore and Mauritius.


Political thought and international affairs, education; philosophy of science and social applications of science and technology; Poetry, Literature and the fine arts; Folk and Classical Music; Walking. Shri Narayanan is Patron of various social, cultural and sports organisations.

Shri Narayanan is married to Smt. Usha Narayanan. Smt. Narayanan has a Masters Degree from the Delhi School of Social Work, Delhi University and her field of specialization is 'Juvenile Delinquency'. Smt. Narayanan is closely involved in social welfare activities for women and children. As National President of KARUNA, an all-India organization for the welfare of women and children from 1985 to 1992, she was responsible for building Working Girls' Hostels and Day Care Centres, Potters' Cooperatives and Sericulture projects in Kerala. She is actively associated with women's organisations in India.

In addition to interest in landscaping, gardening, orchid cultivation, Ikebana and Bonsai, Smt. Narayanan has also translated Burmese short stories into English. Most of them have been published in the national fortnightly journal "Frontline". A collection of her translations of Thein Pe Myint's Burmese Short Stories was published as a book entitled "Sweet and Sour" in December, 1998. Smt. Narayanan has also worked with All India Radio for many years, translating and broadcasting news and talks for the External Services of A.I.R.

The Narayanans have two daughters, Chitra and Amrita

Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (1918-1999)
Term of Office: 25 July 1992 TO 25 July 1997


Dr. Sharma received his education at St. John's College, Agra, Allahabad University, Lucknow University, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, Lincoln's Inn and Harvard Law School. He took his M.A. Degrees in English Literature, Hindi and Sanskrit standing first in the University. He obtained his LL.M. from Lucknow University once again standing first in the University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Law at Cambridge. Dr. Sharma was awarded the Chakravarti Gold Medal for Social Service by Lucknow University.

Dr. Sharma taught Law at Lucknow University and at Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, Dr. Sharma was Treasurer of the Tagore Society and the Cambridge Majlis. Called to the Bar from Lincoln's Inn, he was later a Fellow at Harvard Law School. He has been elected Honorary Bencher and Master of Lincoln's Inn and Honorary Fellow, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. The University of Cambridge has honoured him with degree of Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa).

Dr. Sharma was Pro-Chancellor, Sagar University (1956-1959). During his tenure as Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra, he was Chancellor of 22 Universities in those States and also Rector of the University of Hyderabad.

During his tenure as Vice-President of India he was Chancellor of Delhi University, Punjab University, Pondicherry University, Gandhigram Rural Institute (Deemed University), and Visitor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrakarita Vishwavidyalaya Sansthan, Bhopal. He was also Chairman of the Central Sanskrit Board.

Dr. Sharma has delivered Convocation Addresses at (1) Madras University, (2) Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Puttaparthy (Deemed University) (in 1987 and in 1992), (3) Agra University, (4) Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati, (5) Bombay University, (6) Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay (Deemed University), (7) Gandhigram Rural Institute (Deemed University), (8) Sardar Patel University, (9) Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, (10) Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi, (11) Telugu University, Hyderabad, (12) Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore, (13) Goa University, Panjim, (14) University of Roorkee, (15) Indira Gandhi National Open University, (16) All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, (17) Dibrugarh University, (18) Meerut University, (19) Himachal Pradesh University, (20) Hyderabad University, (21) Gujarat Vidyapeeth, (22) National Law School of India University, Bangalore, (23) Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth and (24) Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

Dr. Sharma was accorded the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from (1) Vikram University; (2) Bhopal University; (3) Agra University; (4) Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati; (5) Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore and University of Sofia, Bulgaria. He was also accorded the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences (Honoris Causa) from the University of roorkee, the degree of Doctor of Civil Law (Honoris Causa) from the University of Mauritius (Port Louis), the degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) from Meerut University, the degree of Doctorate (Honoris Causa) from Kiev State University, Ukraine, the degree of 'Vachaspati' from the Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth (Deemed University), New Delhi, the degree of Doctorate (Honoris Causa) from Bucharest University, Romania, the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from Agra University and the degree of 'Mahamahopadhyaya' (Honoris Causa) from the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati.

Dr. Sharma was President of: (i) Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi; and (ii) Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, and Chairman of: (i) the Jury for the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, and (ii) the International Jury for the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.


Dr. Sharma started his legal practice in 1940 in Lucknow.

Dr. Sharma participated in the historic Quit India Movement during the national struggle for freedom, and in the merger Movement in Bhopal, and underwent imprisonments.

Dr. Sharma was Chief Minister of the erstwhile Bhopal State (1952-1956), Cabinet Minister, Government of Madhya Pradesh, holding the portfolios of Education, Law, Public Works, Industry and Commerce, National Resources and Separate Revenue (1956-1967) and was thereafter Union Minister for Communications (1974-1977).

Dr. Sharma was Vice-President of India and Chairman of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) from September 3, 1987 till he assumed office of the President of India in 1992. Earlier he has been the Governor of three States: Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.

Dr. Sharma was President of the (i) Bhopal Congress Committee (1950-52) and (ii) Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (1967-68): General Secretary, Indian National Congress (1968-72); Member, (i) All India Congress Committee for more than 32 years (1952-84) and (ii) Congress Working Committee for about 20 years.

Dr. Sharma was the President of the Indian National Congress in 1972-1974.

Dr. Sharma was Member, Bhopal Legislative Assembly (1952-1956); Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly (1956-1971); Fifth Lok Sabha (1971-1977) and Seventh Lok Sabha (1980-1984). His participation in matters concerning Parliament was resumed when he assumed office as Vice-President of India and ex-officio Chairman of the Council of State (Rajya Sabha), and continues in his office as President of India.

Dr. Sharma led several official delegations to International Conferences including a Parliamentary Delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference at Oslo in 1980; a Special Delegation of veteran freedom fighters to Moscow in August, 1987 for the celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of India's Independence during the Festival of India in USSR, also led a Special Delegation of veteran freedom fighters to Jalalabad (Afghanistan) to pay homage to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1988.

The title of 'Rashtra Ratnam' (Jewel of the Nation) has been conferred upon Dr. Sharma by His Holiness the Shankaracharya of Sringeri. The title of "Dharmaratnakara' has been conferred on him by the Pontiff of Shravanbelagola.

The International Bar Association has presented to Dr. Sharma 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.


International Affairs; Linguistics; Law; Philosophy; Education; Rural Development and Comparative Study of Religions.


During his University career, Dr. Sharma won distinction as a sportsman, having excelled in athletics, rowing and swimming. He was Lucknow University's swimming champion for three consecutive years and was Captain and later President of its Rowing and Swimming Club.


Reading and writing on various subjects of national and international interest and study of languages, history, art and culture, comparative religion, philosophy, poetry, literature and classical Indian and Western music.


(a) Publications

(1) Congress Approach to International Affairs

(2) Kranti Drashta

(3) Rule of Law and Role of Police

(4) Jawaharlal Nehru - Selected Speeches

(5) Secularism in the Indian Ethos

(6) Eminent Indians

(7) Horizons of Indian Education

(8) For a Better Future

(9) The Democratic Process

(10) Aspects of Indian Thought

(11) Towards a New India

(12) Ideas, Thoughts and Images - Selected Speeches

(13) New Directions of Development

(14) Our Heritage of Humanism

(15) Hamare Path Pradarshak (Hindi)

(16) Deshmani (Hindi)

(17) Hamare Chintan Ki Mool Dhara (Hindi)

(18) Hamari Sanskritik Dharohar (Hindi)

(19) Chetana Ke Srot (Hindi)

(20) Hamare Prerana Punj (Hindi)

(21) Pragati Ke Paridrishya (Hindi)

(22) Shiksha Ke Aayam (Hindi)

(23) Behetar Bhavishya Ke Liye (Hindi)

(24) Bharatiya Chintan (Hindi)

(25) Loktantra Ki Prakriya (Hindi)

(26) Ekatva Ke Mool (Hindi)

(27) Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (Hindi)

(28) Manjusha (Hindi)

Dr. Sharma has also contributed a number of articles on different subjects to national and international journals.

(b) Editorial Assignments:

(1) Lucknow Law Journal (1941-1943)

(2) Light and Learning (1942-1943)

(3) Ilm-o-Noor (Urdu)

(4) Jyoti (Hindi) and

(5) Socialist India (1971-1974)

Shri R Venkataraman (1910-2009)
Term of Office: 25 July 1987 TO 25 July 1992

Born on December 4, 1910 in the village of Rajamadam, Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu, Shri Venkataraman married Smt Janaki Venkataraman in the year 1938. They have three daughters.


Educated locally and in the city of Madras, Shri Venkataraman obtained his Master Degree in Economics from Madras University. He later qualified in Law from the Law College, Madras.


Shri Venkataraman was enrolled in the High Court, Madras in 1935 and in the Supreme Court in 1951.

While practicing Law, Shri Venkataraman was drawn into the movement for India's freedom from Britain's colonial subjugation. His active participation in the Indian National Congress's celebrated resistance to the British Government, the 'Quit India Movement of 1942', resulted in his detention for two years under the British Government's Defence of India Rules.

Shri Venkataraman's interest in the Law continued during this period. In 1946, when the Transfer of Power from British to Indian hands was imminent, the Government of India included him in the panel of lawyers sent to Malaya and Singapore to defend Indian nationals charged with offences of collaboration during the Japanese occupation of those two places.

In the years 1947 to 1950, Shri Venkataraman served as Secretary of the Madras Provincial Bar Federation.


Shri Venkataraman acquired, early in his legal career, an abiding interest in the law pertaining to labour. On his release from prison in 1944, Shri Venkataraman took up the Organisation of the Labour Section of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. He founded, in 1949, the Labour Law Journal which publishes important decisions pertaining to labour and is an acknowledged specialist publication. Shri Venkataraman came to be intimately associated with trade union activity, founding or leading several unions, including those for plantation workers, estate staff, dock-workers, railway workers and working journalists. Shri Venkataraman also took a direct and keen interest in the conditions of agricultural workers in his home district of Thanjavur.


Law and trade union activity led to Shri Venkataraman's increasing association with politics. He was elected in 1950, to free India's Provisional Parliament (1950-1952) and to the First Parliament (1952-1957). During his term of legislative activity, Shri Venkataraman attended the 1952 Session of the Metal Trades Committee of International Labour Organisation as a workers' delegate. He was a member of the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in New Zealand.

Shri Venkataraman was also Secretary to the Congress Parliamentary Party in 1953-1954.


Although re-elected to Parliament in 1957, Shri Venkataraman resigned his seat in the Lok Sabha to join the State Government of Madras as a Minister. There Shri Venkataraman held the portfolios of Industries, Labour, Cooperation, Power, Transport and Commercial Taxes from 1957 to 1967.

During this time, he was also Leader of the Upper House, namely, the Madras Legislative Council.

Shri Venkataraman was appointed a Member of the Union Planning Commission in 1967 and was entrusted the subjects of Industry, Labour, power, Transport, Communications, Railways. He held that office until 1971.

In 1977, Shri Venkataraman was elected to the Lok Sabha from Madras (South) Constituency and served as an Opposition Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

In 1980, Shri Venkataraman was re-elected to the Lok Sabha and was appointed Union Minister of Finance in the Government headed by Smt Indira Gandhi. He was later appointed Union Minister of Defence.

Shri Venkataraman was also, variously, member of the Political Affairs Committee and the Economic Affairs Committee of the Union Cabinet; Governor, International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank.

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