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Finance Ministers of India

P. Chidambaram (1996-1997, May 2004-Nov 2009, July 2012-Continuing)


P Chidambaram (born 16 September, 1945) is Union Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of India. He is among the most prominent cabinet ministers of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) union government led by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. From May 2004 to November 2008, he was the Finance Minister of India. However, after the resignation of Shivraj Patil, Chidambaram was made the Home Affairs Minister. In the new cabinet, Chidambaram continues to remain as the Home Minister.

P. Chidambaram was also a Cabinet Minister with the Finance portfolio for a brief period in the United Front coalition government from 1996 to 1998. Prior to this, he was Minister of State (Deputy Minister) in the Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao led Congress-party governments, holding other portfolios. He hails from the royal family of Nagarathar or Nattukotai Chettiars of Tamil Nadu.

Chidambaram, a former staunch socialist, ushered in full-on market reforms and liberalisation. He has been fully supportive of the calibrated economic reforms, ushered in since 1991. He was a trade union activist in his early years. He was a critic of Friedrich Hayek and the free-market and was a proponent of the economic theory by which banks must set apart 15% of all loans to poor Muslims. Chidambaram was also instrumental in implementing the ideas of Friedrich Engels by banning futures trades in wheat and rice. As an ideologue opposed to the free-market and as a firm believer of the planned economy, he forced the steel industry to cut its exports and threatened the cement manufacturers to cut prices or face punitive action. Chidambaram, as finance minister under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Deputy Chairman of India's Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia is a part of the Planning Commission of India.

Chidambaram was born to Kandanur L. Ct. L. Palaniappa Chettiar and Mrs. Lakshmi Achi in Kanadukathan in the Sivaganga District, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. He was born into the royal family of Chettinad.

Chidambaram did his schooling from the Madras Christian College Hr.Sec.School, Chennai. After graduating with a B.Sc. degree in Statistics from The Presidency College, Chennai, he completed his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the Madras Law College, and his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School, Harvard University.

In 1969, he enrolled as an Advocate in the Chennai High Court. He was designated as a Senior Advocate in 1984. He has chambers in Delhi and Chennai and practices in the Supreme Court and in various High Courts in India. He has also appeared in a number of arbitration proceedings, both in India and abroad.

Chidambaram was first elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) of the Indian Parliament from the Sivaganga constituency of Tamil Nadu in general elections held in 1984. He was re-elected from the same constituency in the general elections of 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2009.

He was inducted into the Union (Indian federal) Council of Ministers in the socialist government headed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 September 1985 as a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Commerce and then in the Ministry of Personnel. His main actions during his tenure in this period was to control the price of tea. He has been criticized by the Government of Sri Lanka for destroying the Sri Lankan tea trade by fixing the prices of the commodity in India using state power. He was elevated to the rank of Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in January 1986. In October of the same year, he was appointed to the Ministry of Home Affairs as Minister of State for Internal Security. He continued to hold both offices until general elections were called in 1989. The Indian National Congress government was defeated in the general elections of 1989.

When Chidambaram was first given a ministerial post, he was one among a relatively young, well educated class of men brought into the Government by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in May 1991, during an election campaign appearance in the state of Tamil Nadu; in the general elections the following month a wave of sympathy for the assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, and a disunited opposition brought the Congress party back to power. Manmohan Singh, a socialist economist who had advised the Indian government on many socialist policies and who was a former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (India's central bank) was made Finance Minister in the new government headed by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, essentially the first bureaucrat on the job in post-independent India. Manmohan Singh implemented Narasimha Rao's reforms just as he had implemented Indira Gandhi's socialist policies and these reforms began taking India away from the erstwhile Soviet-style centralised planning, into a liberalized, free market economy.

In June 1991, Chidambaram was inducted as a Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce, a post he held till July, 1992. He was later re-appointed Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce in February 1995 and held the post until April 1996. He made some radical changes in India's export-import (EXIM) policy, while at the Ministry of Commerce.

In 1996, Chidambaram quit the Congress party and joined a breakaway faction of the Tamil Nadu state unit of the Congress party called the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). In the general elections held in 1996, TMC along with a few national and regional level opposition parties formed a coalition government. The coalition government came as a big break for Chidambaram, who was given the key cabinet portfolio of Finance; this put him in the limelight. The coalition government was a short-lived one (it fell in 1998), but he was reappointed to the same portfolio in the Government formed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2004.

In 1998, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took the reins of the Government for the first time and it was not until May 2004 that Chidambaram would be back in Government. Chidambaram became Minister of Finance again in the Congress party-Communist Party United Progressive Alliance government on 24 May 2004. During the intervening period Chidambaram made some experiments in his political career, leaving the Tamil Maanila Congress in 2001 and forming his own party, the Congress Jananayaka Peravai, largely focused on the regional politics of Tamil Nadu. The party, however, failed to take off into mainstream Tamil Nadu or national politics. Just prior to the elections of 2004, he merged his party with the mainstream Congress party.

Pranab Mukherjee( 1982-1985, Feb 2009-May 2009, May 2009-June 2012)


Finance Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee is a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress. He has a degree in law from the University of Calcutta and has been an advocate and college teacher at some time. He also holds Masters degree in both History and Political Science, and an honorary D. Litt.

Pranab Mukherjee was born in Mirati village near Kirnahar town, District Birbhum, West Bengal, on December 11, 1935, the son of Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee and Rajlakshmi Mukherjee. His father was active in the Congress party from 1920, was a member of AICC, and West Bengal Legislative Council (1952-64), and President, District Congress Committee, Birbhum (WB). His father was also a respected freedom fighter who had been sent to prison for more than 10 years for his opposition to the British rule. He attended the Suri Vidyasagar College, Suri (Birbhum), then affiliated with the University of Calcutta.

He married Suvra Mukherjee on July 13, 1957 and has three sons and a daughter. Pranab started career as a teacher first and later as journalist. He worked for noted Bengali publication Desher Dak (Call of Motherland). He also became trustee of Bangiya Sahitya Parishad and later President of Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan.

Pranab Mukherjee has a parliamentary career of nearly five decades, having first become a Rajya Sabha (upper house) member from the Congress Party in 1969; he was re-elected in 1975, 1981, 1993 and 1999. In 1973, he joined the cabinet as Union Deputy Minister, Industrial Development. His initial inclusion was an accident, having gone to witness the swearing in of ministers at Rashtrapathi Bhavan, when the number to be sworn in was found inauspicious, the spectator Pranab was added on to make it auspicious.

He rose through a series of cabinet posts to become the Finance Minister of India from 1982 to 1984. In 1984, he was rated as the best Finance Minister of the World according to a survey of Euromoney magazine. His term was noted for India not withdrawing the last US$ 1.1 billion instalment of an IMF loan. Dr. Manmohan Singh was serving RBI as Governor during Pranab's term as Finance Minister. As he did not fully endorse the summary installment of Rajiv Gandhi as the caretaker Prime Minister after Indira Gandhi's assassination, he was not included in Rajiv's cabinet. He left the Congress party for a brief period to form his own political party Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress, but later merged it with Congress party in 1989 after settlement with Rajiv. His political career revived when P. V. Narasimha Rao chose to appoint him as deputy chairman of the planning commission and subsequently as a union cabinet minister. He served as External Affairs Minister for the first time from 1995 to 1996 in Rao's cabinet. In 1997 he was voted Outstanding Parliamentarian.

He is also President of West Bengal state unit of Congress since 1985. In 2004, when the Congress formed a government at the head of a coalition the new Congress Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was only a Rajya Sabha MP. So Pranab Mukherjee was made Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha when he won the Lok Sabha elections for the first time from Jangipur (Lok Sabha constituency). He also had the distinction of being a Minister for various high profile Ministries including Defence, Finance, External Affairs, Revenue, Shipping, Transport, Communication, Economic Affairs, Commerce and Industry ,He also heads the Congress Parliamentry Party and the Congress Legislative Party which consists of all the Congress MPs and MLAs in the country apart from being Leader of the House in Lok Sabha, Bengal Pradesh Congress Comitee President and the Minister of Finance affairs in the Congress-led Government.

Manmohan Singh (1991-1997, Dec 2008-Jan 2009)


Manmohan Singh is the 18th and current Prime Minister of India. He is the first person of Sikh faith to hold the office. An economist by profession, Singh was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987 and the Finance Minister of India from 1991 to 1996.

Singh is a graduate of the Punjab University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. After serving as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, Singh was appointed as the Union Minister of Finance in 1991 by then-Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. During his tenure as the Finance Minister, Singh was widely credited for initiating economic reforms in India in 1991 which resulted in the end of the infamous Licence Raj system.

Following the 2004 general elections, Singh was unexpectedly declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Indian National Congress–led United Progressive Alliance. He was sworn in as the prime minister on May 22, 2004. During its five year term, Singh's administration largely focused on reducing government fiscal deficit, providing debt relief to poor farmers and advancing pro-industry economic and tax policies.

After the Indian National Congress won the 2009 general elections, Singh was reappointed as the Prime Minister of India on May 22, 2009, making him the first Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term.

Manmohan Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab, (now in Chakwal District, Pakistan) into a Sikh Kukhran Khatri family. He lost his mother, when he was very young, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close. He was a hard working student, who studied, by the candle light, as his village did not have electricity. Due to this, his eyes got weakened. After the Partition of India, he migrated to Amritsar. He went to Panjab University, Chandigarh to study Economics and attained his bachelor's and master's degree in 1952 and 1954 respectively, standing first throughout his academic career. He went on to read for the Economics Tripos at Cambridge University as a member of St John's College. (In the Oxbridge tradition, holders of the BA degree with honours are entitled in due course to an MA degree.) He won the Wright's Prize for distinguished performance in 1955 and 1957. He was also one of the few recipients of the Wrenbury scholarship. In 1962, Singh completed his PhD from the University of Oxford where he was a member of Nuffield College. The title of his doctoral thesis was "India’s export performance, 1951-1960, export prospects and policy implications", and his thesis supervisor was Dr I M D Little. From this thesis he published the book "India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth".

In 1997, the University of Alberta presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2005, and in October 2006, the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour. St John's College further honored him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship.

In 1991, India's then-Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, chose Singh to be the Finance Minister. At the time, India was facing an economic crisis. Rao and Singh decided to open up the economy and change the socialist economic system to a capitalist economy. The economic reform package included dismantling License Raj that made it difficult for private businesses to exist and prosper, removal of many obstacles for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and initiating the process of the privatization of public sector companies. These economic reforms are credited with bringing high levels of economic growth in India, and changing the annual 3%, to an average of 8–9% economic growth in the following years. However, in spite of these reforms, Rao's government was voted out in 1996 due to non-performance of government in other areas.

After the 2004 general elections, the Indian National Congress stunned the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) by becoming the political party with the single largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. In a surprise move, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi declared Manmohan Singh, a technocrat, as the UPA candidate for the Prime Minister post. Despite the fact that Singh had never won a Lok Sabha seat, his considerable goodwill and Sonia Gandhi's nomination won him the support of the UPA allies and the Left Front. He took the oath as the Prime Minister of India on May 22, 2004, becoming the first person of Sikh faith and the first non-Hindu to hold the office in predominantly Hindu-majority India.

During his tenure, Singh's administration has focused on reducing the fiscal deficit, providing debt relief to poor farmers, extending social programs and advancing the pro-industry economic and tax policies that have launched the country on a major economic expansion course since 2002. However, his government has been criticized for not carrying forward the momentum in economic reforms. Singh took the oath for his second term on 22 May 2009.

Manmohan Singh and the External Affairs ministry have continued the pragmatic foreign policy that was started by P.V. Narasimha Rao and was continued by BJP's Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Prime Minister has continued the peace process with Pakistan initiated by his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Exchange of high-level visits by top leaders from both countries have highlighted his tenure, as has reduced terrorism and increased prosperity in the state of Kashmir. Efforts have been made during Singh's tenure to end the border dispute with People's Republic of China. In November 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited India which was followed by Singh's visit to Beijing in January 2008. A major development in Sino-Indian ties was the reopening of the Nathula Pass in 2006 after being closed for more than four decades. In 2007, the People's Republic of China became the biggest trade partner of India, with bilateral trade expected to surpass US$60 billion by 2010. However, there is a growing trade imbalance. Relations with Afghanistan have also improved considerably, with India now becoming the largest regional donor to Afghanistan. During Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to New Delhi in August 2008, Manmohan Singh increased the aid package to Afghanistan for the development of more schools, health clinics, infrastructure, and defense.

Singh's government has worked towards stronger ties with the United States. He visited the United States in July 2005 initiating negotiations over the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. This was followed by George W. Bush's successful visit to India in March 2006, during which the declaration over the nuclear agreement was made, giving India access to American nuclear fuel and technology while India will have to allow IAEA inspection of its civil nuclear reactors. After more than two years for more negotiations, followed by approval from the IAEA, Nuclear Suppliers Group and the US Congress, India and the U.S. signed the agreement on 10 October 2008.

During Singh's tenure as Prime Minister, relations have improved with Japan and European Union countries, like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Relations with Iran have continued and negotiations over the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline have taken place. New Delhi hosted an India–Africa Summit in April 2006 which was attended by the leaders of 15 African states. Relations, have improved with other developing countries, particularly Brazil and South Africa. Singh carried forward the momentum which was established after the "Brasilia Declaration" in 2003 and the IBSA Dialogue Forum was formed.

Jaswant Singh (2003-2005)


Jaswant Singh (born January 3, 1938) is an Indian politician. He is from the Indian State of Rajasthan and was an officer in the Indian Army in the 1960s and is an alumnus of Mayo College and the National Defence Academy (India), Khadakwasla. He served as Finance minister in the short-lived government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which lasted just from May 16, 1996, to June 1, 1996. After Vajpayee became Prime Minister again two years later, he became Minister for External Affairs of India, serving from December 5, 1998 until July 1, 2002. Responsible for foreign policy, he dealt with high tensions between India and Pakistan. In July 2002 he became Finance Minister again, switching posts with Yashwant Sinha. He served as Finance Minister until the defeat of the Vajpayee government in May 2004 and was instrumental in defining and pushing through the market-friendly reforms of the government. Known for his moderate political views, he is a self-described liberal democrat even though the Bharatiya Janata Party is often described as a right-wing nationalist organization. He was conferred the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for the year 2001. Currently he is the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

He is one of the few Indian politicians to have been the Minister for Defence, Finance and External Affairs.

He started the new government of Vajpayee, which lasted its full term, as the External Affairs Minister and later on switched his ministry to Finance with Yashwant Sinha. He was also the Defence Minister when George Fernandes was forced to resign after the Tehelka exposure.

Mr. Singh is widely regarded for his handling of relations with the United States which were strained after the 1998 Indian nuclear tests but which ameliorated soon after culminating in the visit of U.S. President Clinton to India. His skill as a negotiator and diplomat during talks with the United States has been well acknowledged by his U.S. counterpart Strobe Talbott.

Jaswant Singh is also the most influential person in the BJP not from a RSS background.

Jaswant Singh has been criticized by Political parties frequently for escorting terrorist to Kandhar, Afghanistan who were released by Government of India in exchange of passengers from the hijacked Indian Airlines plane. However, an all party meeting was called by the Indian government during that time and the decision taken was mutual by bringing all political parties in confidence.

In 2009 general election, he becomes the candidate of BJP in Darjeeling parliamentary constituency under the state of west Bengal. He replaced the already declared candidate of BJP Mr. Dawa Sherpa, an ex IPS officer.

His candidature was the outcome of long political discussion between BJP and Gorkha Janamukti Morcha(GJM), an outfit demanding separate statehood for Hilly and Foothills of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts in the name of Gorkhaland.

The outfit, presumably having good support base in hills, offered its support in the election to different political wings including Indian National Congress, BJP or NCP of Mr. P A Sangma in Darjeeling. In return, they wanted inclusion of the demand of separate Gorkhaland statehood in the parties Election Manifesto. They have also put an additional condition for BJP to replace their declared candidate Mr. Sherpa.

After lot of turmoils and discussion, on the 2nd April late evening, finally BJP declared its decision to go with GJM. It was also accepted to give sympathetic consideration to Gorkhaland issue. Against this, GJM offered their support to BJP in two additional adjoining PCs in foothills- Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri.

Jaswant Singh has been criticized by Political parties frequently for escorting terrorist to Kandhar, Afghanistan who were released by Government of India in exchange of passengers from the hijacked Indian Airlines plane. However, an all party meeting was called by the Indian government during that time and the decision taken was mutual by bringing all political parties in confidence.

In July 2006, Singh released a book titled A Call to Honour: In Service of Emergent India. A controversy erupted immediately after the release of the book, in which Singh insinuated that a mole had existed in the Prime Ministerial Office during the tenure of Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao, who had leaked information to American sources. Soon after, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh challenged him to name the mole. In response, Singh sent a letter to him. The letter, Singh said later, had no signature, and no name of any mole. Jaswant Singh then backed off, saying his views on the subject were based on a "hunch".

Yashwant Sinha (1998-2003, 1991-1992 (I))


Yashwant Sinha (born November 6, 1937, Patna) is an Indian politician and a former finance minister of India (1990-1991 under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and March 1998 - July 2002 under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) and foreign minister (July 2002 - May 2004) in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet. He is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently the largest Opposition party in India.

Born and educated in Patna, Bihar, Sinha received his Masters Degree in Political Science in 1958. Subsequently, he taught the subject at the University of Patna till 1960.

Yashwant Sinha joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1960 and spent over 24 years holding important posts during his service tenure. He served as Sub-Divisional Magistrate and District Magistrate for 4 years. He was Under Secretary and Deputy Secretary in the Finance Department of the Bihar Government for 2 years after which he worked in the Ministry of Commerce as Deputy Secretary to the Government of India.

From 1971 to 1973, he was First Secretary (Commercial) in the Indian Embassy, Bonn, Germany. Subsequently, he worked as Consul General of India in Frankfurt from 1973 to 1974. After working for over seven years in this field, he acquired experience in matters relating to foreign trade and India's relations with the European Economic Community. Thereafter, he worked in the Department of Industrial Infrastructure, Government of Bihar and in the Ministry of Industry, government of India dealing with foreign industrial collaborations, technology imports, intellectual property rights and industrial approvals. As Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India from 1980 to 1984, his main responsibilities were road transport, ports and shipping.

Yashwant Sinha was the finance minister until July 1, 2002, when he exchanged jobs with foreign minister Jaswant Singh. Sinha, during his tenure, was forced to roll back some of his government's major policy initiatives for which he was much criticised. Still, Sinha is widely credited for pushing through several major reform measures that put the Indian economy on a firm growth trajectory. Among them are lowering of real interest rates, introducing tax deduction for mortgage interest, freeing up the telecommunications sector, helping fund the National Highways Authority, and deregulating the petroleum industry. Sinha is also known for being the first Finance Minister to break the 53 year tradition of presenting the Indian budget at 5 pm local time, a practice held over from British Rule days that sought to present the Indian budget at a time convenient to the British Parliament (1130a GMT) rather than India's Parliament.

Sinha has written a comprehensive account of his years as Finance Minister titled "'Confessions of a Swadeshi Reformer'".

Yashwant Sinha has a wide range of interests including reading, gardening and meeting people. He has widely travelled and has led a number of political and social delegations. He played a leading role in many negotiations on behalf of the country.

Madhu Dandavate (1990-1991)


Madhu Dandavate(21 January 1924 - 12 November 2005) was an Indian politician. From 1971 to 1990 he was an M.P., elected to the Lok Sabha for 5 times consecutively from Rajapur in Konkan, Maharashtra. He was one of the prominent opposition leaders when Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were the Prime Ministers. He was the minister for railways in the Morarji Desai Ministry. He initiated improvements in second-class railway travel for passengers by replacing the wooden berths with berths consisting of two inches foam. He was also the Finance minister in the cabinet of V. P. Singh. He actively campaigned for the Konkan Railway. He was also the Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission of India in 1990 and again from 1996 to 1998. He was associated with the Janata Dal (Secular), a party led by H. D. Deve Gowda. He was known for his probity in public life. He was born in Deshastha family. He was popularly known as Economist. His wife , Pramilla Dantavate was also prominently involved in the Socialist movement in India.

As per his wish, his body was donated to JJ Hospital, Mumbai.

S.B.Chavan (1989-1990)


Shankarrao Bhaurao Chavan (July 14, 1920 - February 26, 2004) was an Indian politician who served twice as Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1975 until 1977 and from March 13, 1986 until June 24, 1988. He was Finance Minister of India from 1987 to 1990, and served as Home Minister of India in the Narasimha Rao cabinet.

Chavan completed his Bachelor of Arts from Madras University and LL.B. from Osmania University. He started his career as an advocate. He initiated the Student's Movement and gave up practice of law during 'Quit Court' Movement in former Hyderabad State.

He served as President of The Bharat Scouts and Guides from April 1983 to November 1998. His son Ashok Chavan is currently chief minister of Maharashta.

N.D.Tiwari (1988-1989)


Narayan Dutt Tiwari (born 18 October 1925) is an Indian politician. He is the present Governor of Andhra Pradesh, and has previously remained Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarkhand. He is a member of the Indian National Congress.

Narayan Dutt Tiwari was born in 1925, in village Baluti, Nainital district. His father Poornanand Tiwari was an official in the forest department, and who later resigned and joined the Non-cooperation movement. Tiwari received his education at various schools including, M.B. School, Haldwani, E.M. High School, Bareilly and C.R.S.T. High School, Nainital.

His initiation into politics came early, when during the Indian Independence movement, he was arrested on December 14, 1942 for writing Anti-British leaflets opposing imperialist policies, and sent to Nainital jail , where his father was already lodged.

Upon his release 15 months in 1944, he joined Allahabad University, where he topped the University in M.A. (Political Science), he continued his education doing LLB from the same university, and elected as the President of the Students’ Union of the Allahabad University in 1947. Meanwhile he was remained Secretary, All India Students Congress, 1945-49.

In the first election in Uttar Pradesh after the independence for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly held in 1952, he was elected from Nanital constituency and became an MLA for the first time on Praja Samajwadi Party ticket. In 1957, he was elected from the Nainital legislative constituency, and became the leader of Opposition in the Assembly. He was married to Dr. Sushila Semwal in the year 1954.

In 1963, he joined the Indian National Congress, and was elected M.L.A. from the Kashipur constituency in 1965, in the same year he was appointed a minister in the Government of Uttar Pradesh. After that he also remained Minister for Finance and Parliamentary Affairs in the Chaudhary Charan Singh Government (1979-1980). In 1968, he established Jawaharlal Nehru National Youth Centre (JNNYC) is a voluntary Organisation. He remained the first President of Indian Youth Congress from 1969 to 1971.

N.D. Tiwari was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh three times: from January 1976 to April 1977, from August 1984 to September 1985 and from June 1988 to December 1988. He did a lot of work in developing the road and bridge network of U.P. - the network expanded significantly.

He was elected to 7th Lok Sabha in 1980, and served as a union minister in several portfolios in the 1980s: starting with Planning, and also remained Dpt. Chairman, Planning Commission. Thereafter he became a member of Rajya Sabha 1985-1988, during this period he also remained the Minister of Industries in September 1985 and in addition to that portfolio, became minister of Petroleum in 1986. He then served as India's External Affairs Minister from October 1986 until July 1987, at which point he became Minister of Finance and Commerce, serving in that position until June 1988, when he became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the third time.

He was a contender to be Prime Minister of India in the early 1990s but was beaten by the late Narasimha Rao. One of the key reasons was that he lost the Lok Sabha elections by a mere 800 votes. In 1994, he resigned from Congress and formed his own 'All India Indira Congress' (Tiwari Congress) along with senior Congress leader, Arjun Singh in 1995, but joined back when Sonia Gandhi came at the helm of affairs of the party two years later, and after a devastating defeat of the party under Narasimha Rao during the general elections in 1996. Tiwari was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha in 1996, and again to the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999.

He later served as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, which was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, from 2002 through 2007. He offered to resign on 5 March 2006, citing his age. He left office in March 2007 following setbacks for his party in the state elections.

Tiwari was appointed governor of Andhra Pradesh on 19 August 2007 and was sworn in on 22 August.

Rajiv Gandhi (1987-1988)


Rajiv Gandhi (20 August 1944 – 21 May 1991), the elder son of Indira Nehru and Feroze Gandhi, was the 9th Prime Minister of India from his mother's death on 31 October 1984 until his resignation on 2 December 1989 following a general election defeat. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India when he took office (at the age of 40).

Rajiv Gandhi was a professional pilot for Indian Airlines before entering politics. While at Cambridge, he met Italian-born Sonia Maino whom he later married. He remained aloof from politics despite his mother being the Indian Prime Minister, and it was only following the death of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi in 1980 that Rajiv entered politics. After the assassination of his mother in 1984 after Operation Blue Star, Indian National Congress party leaders nominated him to be Prime Minister.

Rajiv Gandhi led the Congress to a major election victory in 1984 soon after, amassing the largest majority ever in Indian Parliament. The Congress party won 411 seats out of 542. He began dismantling the License Raj - government quotas, tariffs and permit regulations on economic activity - modernized the telecommunications industry, the education system, expanded science and technology initiatives and improved relations with the United States.

In 1988, Rajiv reversed the coup in Maldives antagonising the militant Tamil outfits such as PLOTE. He was also responsible for first intervening and then sending Indian troops (Indian Peace Keeping Force or IPKF) for peace efforts in Sri Lanka in 1987, which soon ended in open conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group. In mid-1987, the Bofors scandal broke his honest, corruption-free image and resulted in a major defeat for his party in the 1989 elections.

Rajiv Gandhi remained Congress President until the elections in 1991. While campaigning, he was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) group. His widow Sonia Gandhi became the leader of the Congress party in 1998, and led the party to victory in the 2004 elections. His son Rahul Gandhi is a Member of Parliament and the General Secretary of All India Congress Committee.

Rajiv Gandhi was posthumously awarded the Highest National Award of India, Bharat Ratna, joining a list of 40 luminaries, including Indira Gandhi.

Rajiv Gandhi was an active amateur radio operator, and used the callsign VU2RG.

Rajiv Gandhi was born into India's most famous political family. His grandfather was the Indian independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, who would later become India's first Prime Minister after independence.

Rajiv is not related to Mahatma Gandhi, although they share the same surname. Feroze was one of the younger members of the Indian National Congress party, and had befriended the young Indira, and also her mother Kamala Nehru, while working on party affairs at Allahabad. Subsequently, Indira and Feroze grew closer to each other while in England, and they married, despite initial objections from Jawaharlal due to his religion (Zoroastrian), - in March 1942.

Rajiv was born in 1944, during a time when both his parents were in and out of British prisons. In August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru became the prime minister of independent India, and the family settled in Allahabad, and then at Lucknow, where Feroze became the editor of The National Herald newspaper (founded by Motilal Nehru). However, the marriage was faltering and, in 1949, Indira and the two sons moved to Delhi to live with Jawaharlal, ostensibly so that Indira could assist her father in his duties, acting as official hostess, and helping run the huge residence. Meanwhile, Feroze continued alone in Lucknow. Nonetheless, in 1952, Indira helped Feroze manage his campaign for elections to the first Parliament of India from Rae Bareli.

After becoming an MP, Feroze Gandhi also moved to Delhi, but "Indira continued to stay with her father, thus putting the final seal on the separation." Relations were strained further when Feroze challenged corruption within the Congress leadership over the Haridas Mundhra scandal. Jawaharlal suggested that the matter be resolved in private, but Feroze insisted on taking the case directly to parliament:

"Parliament must exercise vigilance and control over the biggest and most powerful financial institution it has created, the Life Insurance Corporation of India, whose misapplication of public funds we shall scrutinise today." Feroze Gandhi, Speech in Parliament, December 16, 1957.

The scandal, and its investigation by justice M C Chagla, lead to the resignation of one of Nehru's key allies, finance minister T.T. Krishnamachari, further alienating Feroze from Jawaharlal.

After Feroze Gandhi had a heart attack in 1958, the family was reconciled briefly when they vacationed in Kashmir. However, Feroze died soon afterwards from a second heart attack in 1960.

By the time of his father's death, Gandhi was away at a private boarding school for boys: initially at the Welham Boys' School and later The Doon School. He was sent to London in 1961 to do A levels. In 1962, he was offered a place at Trinity College, Cambridge to study engineering. Rajiv stayed at Cambridge until 1965 and left the university without a degree mainly because he did not appear in the final Tripos examinations. In 1966, he was offered a place at the Imperial College London. He again left Imperial College after a year without a degree.

In the January of 1965, he met Sonia Maino in Varsity restaurant in Cambridge. Sonia was studying English at Lennox School of Languages (which was not associated with the University of Cambridge in any way) and working at the Varsity Restaurant as a Maid. Maino's family opposed the match, but Maino came to India with Gandhi and they were married in 1968.

He began working for Indian Airlines as a professional pilot while his mother became Prime Minister in 1967. He exhibited no interest in politics and did not live regularly with his mother in Delhi at the Prime Minister's residence. In 1970, his wife gave birth to , their first child Rahul Gandhi , and in 1972, to Priyanka Gandhi , their second. Even as Gandhi remained aloof in politics, his younger brother Sanjay became a close advisor to their mother.

Following his younger brother's death in 1980, Gandhi was pressured by Indian National Congress party politicians and his mother to enter politics. He and his wife were both opposed to the idea, and he even publicly stated that he would not contest for his brother's seat. Nevertheless, he eventually announced his candidacy for Parliament. His entry was criticized by many in the press, public and opposition political parties.

Elected for Sanjay's Lok Sabha (parliamentary) constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh state in February 1981, Gandhi became an important political advisor to his mother. It was widely perceived that Indira Gandhi was grooming Rajiv for the prime minister's job, and he soon became the president of the Youth Congress - the Congress party's youth wing.

Gandhi was in West Bengal when his mother was assassinated on 31 October 1984 by her bodyguards. Top Congress leaders, as well as President Zail Singh pressed Rajiv to become India's Prime Minister, within hours of his mother's assassination by two of her Sikh bodyguards. Commenting on the anti-Sikh riots in the national capital Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi said, "When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes"; a statement for which he was widely criticised. Many Congress politicians were accused of orchestrating the violence. Soon after assuming office, Rajiv asked President Zail Singh to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections, as the Lok Sabha completed its five year term. Rajiv Gandhi also officially became the President of the Congress party.

The Congress party won a landslide victory — with the largest majority in history of Indian Parliament— giving Gandhi absolute control of government. He also benefited from his youth and a general perception of being Mr. Clean, or free of a background in corrupt politics. Rajiv thus revived hopes and enthusiasm amongst the Indian public for the Congress.

Gandhi began leading in a direction significantly different from his mother's socialism. He improved bilateral relations with the United States — long strained owing to Indira's socialism and close friendship with the USSR — and expanded economic and scientific cooperation. He increased government support for science and technology and associated industries, and reduced import quotas, taxes and tariffs on technology-based industries, especially computers, airlines, defence and telecommunications. He introduced measures significantly reducing the License Raj, allowing businesses and individuals to purchase capital, consumer goods and import without bureaucratic restrictions. In 1986, he announced a national education policy to modernize and expand higher education programs across India. He founded the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya System in 1986. His efforts created MTNL in 1986, and his public call offices, better known as PCOs, helped spread telephones in rural areas.

Rajiv authorized an extensive police and Army campaign to contain terrorism in Punjab. A state of martial law existed in the Punjab state, and civil liberties, commerce and tourism were greatly disrupted. There are many accusations of human rights violations by police officials as well as by the militants during this period. It is alleged that even as the situation in Punjab came under control, the Indian government was offering arms and training to the LTTE rebels fighting the government of Sri Lanka. The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed by Rajiv Gandhi and the Sri Lankan President J.R.Jayewardene, in Colombo on 29 July 1987. The very next day, on 30 July 1987, Rajiv Gandhi was assaulted by a Sinhalese naval cadet named Vijayamunige Rohana de Silva, while receiving honour guard. Though the embarrassed Sri Lankan President Junius Richard Jayewardene initially attempted to pass off the bizarre assault as "Rajiv tripped a little and slightly lost his balance", Rajiv Gandhi while en route to New Delhi asserted to J.N. Dixit "Of course, I was hit." Rajiv's government suffered a major setback when its efforts to arbitrate between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE rebels backfired.

He impressed everyone with his speech while addressing the Joint Session of the US Congress and India, when he famously said, "India is an old country, but a young nation; and like the young everywhere, we are impatient. I am young and I too have a dream. I dream of an India, strong, independent, self reliant and in the forefront of the front ranks of the nations of the world in the service of mankind."

Rajiv Gandhi's last public meeting was at Sriperumbudur on 21 May 1991, in a village approximately 30 miles from Madras, Tamil Nadu, where he was assassinated while campaigning for the Sriperumbudur Lok Sabha Congress candidate. The assassination was carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber Thenmozhi Rajaratnam also known as Gayatri and Dhanu.

At 10:10 p.m., the assassin Dhanu approached him in a public meeting and greeted the former Prime Minister. She then bent down to touch his feet (an expression of respect among Hindus) and detonated a belt laden with 700 grams of RDX explosive tucked under her dress. The former Prime Minister along with many others were killed in the explosion that followed. The assassination was caught on film through the lens of a local photographer, whose camera and film were found at the site. The cameraman himself also died in the blast but the camera remained intact.

The Rajiv Gandhi Memorial was built at the site recently and is one of the major tourist attractions to the small industrial town.

The Supreme Court judgement, by Judge Thomas, confirmed that the killing was carried out due to personal animosity of the LTTE chief Prabhakaran towards Mr Rajiv Gandhi arising out of his sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka and the alleged IPKF atrocities against Srilankan Tamils. However, it should be noted that the Rajiv Gandhi administration had already antagonised other Tamil militant organisations like PLOTE for reversing the military coup in Maldives back in 1988.

The judgment further cites the death of Thileepan in a hunger strike and the suicide by 12 LTTE cadres in a vessel in Oct 1987.

In the Jain Commission report, various people and agencies are named as suspected of having been involved in the murder of Rajiv Gandhi. Among them, the cleric Chandraswami was suspected of involvement, including financing the assassination. The interim report of the Jain Commission created a storm when it accused Karunanidhi of a role in the assassination, leading to Congress withdrawing its support for the I. K. Gujral government and fresh elections in 1998. LTTE spokesman Anton Balasingham told the Indian television channel NDTV that the killing was a "great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy which we deeply regret." A memorial christened Veer Bhumi was constructed at his cremation spot. The International Airport constructed at Hyderabad has been named after Rajiv Gandhi and was inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

V. P. Singh (1985-1987)


Vishwanath Pratap Singh was the 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.V. P. Singh studied at Colonel Brown School, Dehradun for five years, and entered local politics in Allahabad during the Nehru era. He soon made a name for himself in the state Congress Party for his unfailing rectitude, a reputation that he would carry with him throughout his career.

He was appointed by Indira Gandhi as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1980, when the Congress came back to power after the Janata Party interregnum. As Chief Minister, he cracked down hard on the dacoity, or banditry, problem, that was particularly severe in the rural districts of the south-west. He received much favourable national publicity when he offered to resign following a self-professed failure to stamp out the problem, and again when he personally oversaw the surrender of some of the most feared dacoits of the area in 1983.

Called to the Centre following Rajiv Gandhi's massive mandate in the 1984 General elections, he was appointed to the pivotal post of Finance Minister, where he oversaw the gradual relaxation of the license Raj as Rajiv had in mind. During his term as Finance Minister, he oversaw the reduction of gold smuggling by reducing gold taxes and the excellent tactic of giving the police a portion of the smuggled gold that they found. He also gave extraordinary powers to the Enforcement Directorate of the Finance Ministry, the wing of the ministry charged with tracking down tax evaders, then headed by Bhure Lal. Following a number of high-profile raids on suspected evaders - including Dhirubhai Ambani and Amitabh Bachchan - Rajiv was forced to sack him as Finance Minister, possibly because many of the raids were conducted on industrialists who had supported the Congress financially in the past. However, Singh's popularity was at such a pitch that only a sideways move seemed to have been possible, to the Defence Ministry.

Once ensconced in North Block, Singh began to investigate the notoriously murky world of defence procurement. After a while, word began to spread that Singh possessed information about the Bofors defence deal that could damage the Prime Minister's reputation. Before he could act on it, he was dismissed from the Cabinet and, in response, resigned his memberships in the Congress Party and the Lok Sabha.

V. P. Singh died after a long struggle with multiple myeloma(cancer of the bone marrow) and renal failure at Apollo Hospital in Delhi on 27 November 2008. He was cremated at Allahabad on the banks of the River Ganga on 29 November 2008, his son Ajeya Singh lighting the funeral pyre.

Ramaswamy Venkataraman (1980-1982)


Ramaswamy Venkataraman was an Indian lawyer, freedom-fighter and politician who served as an Union minister and as the 8th President of India.

Venkataraman was born in Tanjore district, Madras Presidency. He studied law and practised in the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court of India. In his young age, he was an activist of the Indian independence movement and participated in the Quit India Movement. He was appointed member of the Constituent Assembly and the provisional cabinet. He was elected to Lok Sabha four times and served as Union Finance Minister and Defence Minister. In 1984, he was elected Vice-President of India and in 1987, he became the 8th President of India and served from 1987 to 1992. He also served as a State minister under K. Kamaraj and M. Bhaktavatsalam.

Venkataraman was born in Pattukottai, near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.

Educated locally and in the city of Madras (now Chennai), Venkataraman obtained his Master Degree in Economics from Madras University. He later qualified in Law from the Law College, Madras. Venkataraman was enrolled in the Madras High Court in 1935 and in the Supreme Court in 1951.

While practicing law, 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 Defence of India Rules. 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, Venkataraman served as Secretary of the Madras Provincial Bar Federation.

Venkataraman acquired, early in his legal career, an abiding interest in the law pertaining to labour. On his release from prison in 1944, he took up the Organisation of the Labour Section of the Tamil Nadu Provincial Congress Committee. He founded, in 1949, the Labour Law Journal which publishes important decisions pertaining to labour and is an acknowledged specialist publication. He 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.

Law and trade union activity led to Venkataraman's increasing association with politics. He was the member of constituent assembly that drafted India's constitution. In 1950 he was elected to free India's Provisional Parliament (1950-1952) and to the First Parliament (1952-1957). During his term of legislative activity, 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. Venkataraman was also Secretary to the Congress Parliamentary Party in 1953-1954.

Although re-elected to Parliament in 1957, 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.

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, 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.

Venkataraman was also, variously, a 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. Venkataraman was a Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1953, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961. He was Leader of the Indian Delegation to the 42nd Session of the International Labour Conference at Geneva (1958) and represented India in the Inter Parliamentary Conference in Vienna (1978). He was a member of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal from 1955 to 1979 and was its President from 1968 to 1979.

In 1980, 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, here he is credited for initiating India's missile programme, he shifted A P J Abdul Kalam from space programme to the missile programme, and consolidated the entire missile system, naming it as Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. Later he was to serve as Vice-President of India and then as a President of India starting 1987, where he had the unique distinction working with four prime ministers, and appointing three of them: V P Singh, Chandrashekhar and P V Narasimha Rao, during his five-year term, which saw the advent of coalition politics in India.

Venkataraman received the Doctorate of Law (Honoris Causa) from University of Madras, the Doctorate of Law (Honoris Causa) from Nagarjuna University. He is Honorary Fellow, Madras Medical College; Doctor of Social Sciences, University of Roorkee; Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa) from University of Burdwan. He was awarded The Tamra Patra for participation in the freedom struggle, the Soviet Land Prize for his travelogue on Shri Kamraj's visit to the Socialist countries. He was the recipient of a Souvenir from the Secretary-General of the United Nations for distinguished service as President of the U.N. Administrative Tribunal. The title of "Sat Seva Ratna" was conferred on him by His Holiness the Sankaracharya of Kancheepuram.

On January 12, 2009, Venkataraman was admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital with complaints of Urosepsis (a toxic condition caused by the extravasation of urine into bodily tissues). His condition grew critical on January 20, when he was detected with low blood pressure and E. coli tract infection.

Venkataraman died at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, New Delhi on January 27, 2009 at 1430 IST due to multiple organ failure at the age of 98.

With Venkataraman's death, Abdul Kalam became the only surviving former President of India.

Choudhary Charan Singh (1979-1980)


Chaudhary Charan Singh was the seventh Prime Minister of the Republic of India, serving from 28 July 1979 until 14 January 1980.

Born into a Jaat family of Tevatia clan in 1902, Charan Singh entered politics as part of the Independence Movement. After independence he became particularly notable in the 1950s for opposing and winning a battle against Nehru's socialistic and collectivist land use policies, for the sake of the Indian Farmer, which endeared him to the agrarian communities throughout the nation, particularly in his native Uttar Pradesh.

The leader of the Bharatiya Lok Dal, a major constituent of the Janata coalition, he was disappointed in his ambition to become Prime Minister in 1977 by Jayaprakash Narayan's choice of Morarji Desai. He settled at the time for the largely honorary post of Deputy Prime Minister of India. However, the internal stresses of the coalition's government caused him to leave the government with the former Lok Dal, after being promised by Mrs. Gandhi the support of the Congress Party on the floor of the House in any efforts to form a government. He was sworn in as Prime Minister with the support of just 64 MPs.

During his term as Prime Minister the Lok Sabha never met. The day before the Lok Sabha was due to meet for the first time the Indian National Congress withdrew their support from his Bharatiya Lok Dal Government. Choudhary Charan Singh resigned and fresh elections were held six months later.

He continued to lead the Lok Dal in opposition till his death in 1987, when he was succeeded as party president by his son Ajit Singh. His association with the causes dear to farming communities in the North caused his memorial in New Delhi to be named Kisan Ghat. (In Hindi, Kisan is the word for farmer.)

The university of Meerut city in Uttar Pradesh, India, is named after him (Chaudhary Charan Singh University).

Charan Singh's ancestor was the prominent leader of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Raja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh (in present day Haryana). Maharaja Nahar Singh was sent to the gallows in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. In order to escape the oppression from the British Government following their defeat, the Maharaja's followers, including Charan Singh's grandfather moved eastward to district Bulandshaher in Uttar Pradesh.

Charan Singh was born on 23 December 1902 in village Noorpur, town Hapur, Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh. He was a good student, and received a Masters of Arts degree in 1925 and Law degree in 1926 from "Meerut" University.

In February 1937 he was elected Chhaprouli (Baghpat) to the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces) at the age of 34. In 1938 he introduced an Agricultural Produce Market Bill in the Assembly which was published in the issues of The Hindustan Times of Delhi dated 31 March 1938. The Bill was intended to safeguard the interests of the farmers against the rapacity of the traders. The Bill was adopted by most of the States in India, Punjab being the first state to do so in 1940.

Charan Singh followed Mahatma Gandhi in non-violent struggle for independence from the British Government, and was imprisoned several times. In 1930 he was sent to jail for 6 months by the British for contravention of the salt laws. He was jailed again for one year in November 1940 for individual Satyagraha Movement. In August 1942 he was jailed again by the British under DIR and released in November 1943.

In 1952, he became the Revenue Minister of state of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in independent India. He was dedicated to enforcing and implementing the provisions of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reform Act of which he was the major architect. It has been argued by leading political scientists that success of Indian Democracy lies in successful implementation of this reform. Pakistan on the other hand did not have similar reforms, and the power is concentrated amongst the few powerful landlords or Zamindar who run their lands as their private fiefdom, and use their influence to further their wealth.

Charan Singh opposed Nehru on his Soviet Style Economic reform. Charan Singh was of the opinion that cooperative farms would not succeed in India. Being a son of a farmer, Charan Singh opined that the right of ownership was important to the farmer in remaining a cultivator. Charan Singh's political career suffered due to his open criticism of Nehru's economic policy.

Charan Singh left the Congress party in 1967, and formed his own political party. He had two short stints as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1967, and later in 1970. In 1975, he was jailed again, but this time by then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, daughter of his former rival Nehru. She had declared the state of 'Indian Emergency (1975-1977)' and jailed all her political opponents. The Indian populace voted her out, and the opposition party, of which Chaudhary Charan Singh was a senior leader came into power. He served as Deputy prime minister and home minister in Janata government headed by Morarji Desai.

He became Prime Minister of India in 1979. His speech to the nation on India's Independence Day (15 August 1979 ) was very prophetic in which he identified Pakistan's nuclear ambition as a major threat to India. He also mentioned that Indian labour laws had to be refined if India were to become competitive in world economy. He also opened high level diplomatic relations with Israel, which Indira Gandhi's government which took office following the 1980 elections curtailed.'

Charan Singh died on 29 May 1987. He was survived by his wife, Gayatri Devi and 6 children. His grandson Jayant Chaudhary is recently elected to 15th Lok Sabha.

H. M. Patel (1977-1979)


Haribhai M Patel (1903 - November 30, 1993) was an Indian civil servant who played a major role in the issues regarding internal and national security in the first years after the independence of India. From 1977 to 1980, he would serve as the Finance Minister and later the Home Minister of India.

H.M. Patel became cabinet secretary to the Ministry for Home Affairs under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in 1946, serving till 1950. Prior to independence, Patel worked with Chaudhry Muhammad Ali future Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Walter John Christie on the preparation and implementation of the crucial document The Administrative Consequences of Partition

He was the head of the Emergency Committee administering Delhi in the days following the outbreak of massive violence following the Partition of India. Patel headed the effort to rehabilitate millions of Hindu and Sikh refugees entering the city, while protecting the Muslims living in the city.

He continued as one of India's highest-ranking civil servants till 1959. He would be Patel's closest aide on curbing the communal violence, fighting the first Kashmir war and integrating over 500 princely states into the Union, under Patel's leadership with V.P. Menon.

Patel was a fervent admirer of Patel, and a critic of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He wrote two books, Rites of Passage: A Civil Servant Remembers and The First Flush of Freedom: Recollections and Reflections.

He was a senior ranking functionary of the erstwhile Sumati Morarjee Shipping Company after his retirement from the ICS.

H.M. Patel became the Chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Board and was a trustee and supporter of the Vallabh Vidyanagar University in Anand.

He also joined the Swatantra Party of Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, which was committed to free market economic policies, and critical of the socialist policies of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Following the defeat of Indira Gandhi's Congress Party in the 1977 elections that ended the Indian Emergency, H.M. Patel was appointed the Finance Minister by the new Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who was leading India's first non-Congress administration. He changed many of India's socialist economic policies, ending barriers to foreign investment and reducing tariffs while protecting home industries. He was responsible for the policy that all foreign companies must form corporations with an Indian company holding 50% stake, which caused Coca Cola to pull out of India, but most others did not.

Patel was later appointed Home Minister in the administration of Charan Singh, who briefly succeeded Desai in 1979.

First Power Plant was built by British in Gujarat at Dhuvaran. Dhuvaran is situated at the bank of mahi river. Now a days the old plant is not in operation. New plant inauguration was just held by chief minister of Gujarat on 21 August 2007.

Dhuvaran Power Station was built in 1961-65 and therefore, it was built by British is incorrect. This error needs to be corrected. First phase plant consisted on 4 units of 63.5 MW capacity whereas second phase units (2 nos. 140 MW each) were commissioned in 1972.

For one of the meetings of the Swatantra party, Patel had to sit outside the gate of Dhuvaran Thermal Station, on a concrete bench below a tree, though he was the Chairman of GEB earlier. When he was asked inside after the meeting he refused saying that his position is different. He was thus very principled.

C.Subramaniam (1975-1977)


Chidambaram Subramaniam was the man who ushered in an era of self-sufficiency in food production in India. He hails from an agricultural family in Pollachi near Coimbatore. He was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 1998.

C. Subramanium was born on January 30, 1910, to Chidambara Gounder and his wife, in a village called Senguttaipalayam. Subramaniam completed his early education in Pollachi before moving to Chennai where he did a B.Sc in Physics at the Presidency College, Chennai. Later he took a degree in law at the Law college, Chennai.

Subramaniam participated in the freedom struggle actively and went to prison. He was later elected to the Constituent Assembly and had a hand in the framing of the Constitution of India.

C. Subramaniam is best known as the architect of India’s modern agricultural development policy, after the success of his programme which led to a record production of wheat in 1972 — an achievement termed as the Indian Green Revolution. As Minister for Food and Agriculture, he played a decisive role in the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and more intensive application of fertilizers which paved the way for increased output of cereals in the late 60s and attainment of self-sufficiency in food-grains in the country. About his contribution, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the Nobel Laureate, writes: "The vision and influence of Mr. Subramaniam in bringing about agricultural change and in the very necessary political decisions needed to make the new approach effective, should never be under-emphasized. The groundwork for this advance (in the production of wheat) was solidly laid during that period (1964-67) when Mr. Subramaniam was the guiding political force instituting change."

Among his proteges who are notable in their own right are M.S. Swaminathan, who played a major role in translating the dream of a 'green revolution' into reality; former Agriculture Secretary B. Sivaraman (who, along with Subramaniam and Swaminathan, formed the three 'S's instrumental in heralding the Green Revolution), and Verghese Kurien Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board.

He was awarded the nation's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1998.

Yashwantrao Chavan (1971-1975)


Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan (12 March 1913 - 25 November 1984) was the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra after the division of Bombay State, and Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was Chief Minister of Maharashtra from May 1,1960 to November 19, 1962.

Yashwantrao Chavan was born in the village of Devrashtre in Karad Taluka of Satara District,Maharashtra State in India. Apart from being the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra, he occupied the high positions of Defence Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, and Deputy Prime Minister of India.

He had planned to write his autobiography in three parts. First part covering his early years in Satara district. His native place is situated on the banks of Krishna River and therefore the name of the first part was "Krishna Kath" (The bank of the Krishna River). In the middle phase of his political development he was the Chief Minister of bilingual Bombay state and later from 1 st May 1960, the newly formed Maharashtra state. All these years were spent in Mumbai so the proposed name for the second volume was "Sagar Tir". Later in 1962 he was appointed Defence Minister of India by Nehru. From then onwards he was in Delhi until his death in 1984; so he had proposed the name "Yamuna Kath" for his third volume. He was able to complete and publish only the first volume. He was a capable orator and writer. He strongly advocated socialist democracy and was instrumental in establishing co-operatives in Maharashtra for the betterment of the farmers.

In 1989, an open university named 'Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University' was establishChidambaram Subramaniamed in Maharashtra after his name.

Indira Gandhi (1970-1971)


Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the Republic of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, a total of fifteen years. She was India's first and, to date, only female Prime Minister.

Born in the politically influential Nehru Family, she grew up in an intensely political atmosphere. Despite the same last name, she is of no familial relation to the statesman Mohandas Gandhi. Her grandfather, Motilal Nehru, was a prominent Indian nationalist leader. Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a pivotal figure in the Indian independence movement and the first Prime Minister of Independent India. Returning to India from Oxford in 1941, she became involved in the Indian Independence movement.

In the 1950s, she served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as the first Prime Minister of India. After her father's death in 1964, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha by the President of India and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

The then Congress Party President K. Kamaraj was instrumental in making Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister after the sudden demise of Shastri. Gandhi soon showed an ability to win elections and outmaneuver opponents through populism. She introduced more left-wing economic policies and promoted agricultural productivity. A decisive victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan was followed by a period of instability that led her to impose a state of emergency in 1975; she paid for the authoritarian excesses of the period with three years in opposition. Returned to office in 1980, she became increasingly involved in an escalating conflict with separatists in Punjab that eventually led to her assassination by her own bodyguards in 1984.

During 1959 and 1960, Gandhi ran for and was elected the President of the Indian National Congress. Her term of office was uneventful. She also acted as her father's chief of staff. Nehru was known as a vocal opponent of nepotism, and she did not contest a seat in the 1962 elections.

Nehru died on 27 May 1964, and Indira, at the urgings of the new Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, contested elections and joined the Government, being immediately appointed Minister for Information and Broadcasting. She went to Madras when the riots over Hindi becoming the national language in non-Hindi speaking state of Tamilnadu. There she spoke to government officials, soothed the anger of community leaders and supervised reconstruction efforts for the affected areas. Shastri and senior Ministers were embarrassed, owing to their lack of such initiative. Minister Gandhi's actions were probably not directly aimed at Shastri or her own political elevation. She reportedly lacked interest in the day-to-day functioning of her Ministry, but was media-savvy and adept at the art of politics and image-making.

"During the succession struggles after 1965 between Mrs. Gandhi and her rivals, the central Congress leadership in several states moved to displace upper caste leaders from state Congress organizations and replace them with backward caste persons and to mobilize the votes of the latter castes to defeat its rivals in the state Congress and in the opposition. The consequences of these interventions, some of which may justly be perceived as socially progressive, have nevertheless often had the consequences of intensifying inter-ethnic regional conflicts...

While the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was ongoing, Gandhi was vacationing in the border region of Srinagar. Although warned by the Army that Pakistani insurgents had penetrated very close to the city, she refused to relocate to Jammu or Delhi and instead rallied local government and welcomed the media attention. The Pakistan attack was successfully repelled, and Prime Minister Shastri in January 1966 signed a peace agreement with Pakistan's Ayub Khan, mediated by the Soviets in Tashkent. A few hours later, Shastri was dead of a heart attack.

The Indian National Congress President K. Kamaraj was then instrumental in making Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister, despite the opposition from Morarji Desai who was later defeated by the members of the Congress Parliamentary Party, where Indira Gandhi beat Morarji Desai by 355 votes to 169 to become the fifth Prime Minister of India and the first woman to hold that position.

Morarji Desai (1967-1970, 1959-1964 )


Morarji Ranchhodji Desai was an Indian independence activist and the Prime Minister of India from 1977-79. He was the first Indian Prime Minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress. He is the only Indian to receive the highest civilian awards from both India and Pakistan, the Bharat Ratna and Nishaan-e-Pakistan.

Before the independence of India, he became Bombay's Home Minister and later was elected as Chief Minister of Bombay State in 1952. The state was home to Marathi linguistic movements, with calls for the creation of a separate linguistic state. Considered as a tough leader, Desai was also known for pioneering beliefs and enforcing strict discipline and authority and thus possessed a radical mindset. By Desai's orders in 1960, a demonstration by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was fired upon by the police resulting in the deaths of 105 demonstrators. 105 demonstrators were killed in the incident leading to public outrage that shook the central government. The incident led to the formation of the present State of Maharashtra.

As Home Minister, Desai outlawed any portrayals of indecency (which included "kissing" scenes) in films and theatrical productions. Although a staunch Gandhian, Desai was socially conservative, pro-business, and in favour of free enterprise reforms, as opposed to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's socialistic policies.

Rising in Congress leadership, Desai was at odds with Prime Minister Nehru and his allies, and with Nehru's age and health failing, he was considered as a possible contender for the position of Prime Minister. Outflanked in the leadership contest after Nehru's death in 1964 by the Nehruvian Lal Bahadur Shastri, Desai remained content to build support within the ranks.

After Shastri's death in 1966, he contested for Prime Minister and fought a closely-contested election with Indira Gandhi. Desai obtained 169 votes but lost to Indira Gandhi who garnered 351.

Initially Desai stayed out of the Cabinet, biding his time. As the young Indira Gandhi's government became embroiled in controversy following a poor harvest, currency devaluation, and rising disenchantment in the country, Desai's influence grew in strength and he returned to the Cabinet in 1967. He demanded the powerful position as the Minister for Home Affairs, but he settled for the Ministry for Finance, with the added title of Deputy Prime Minister. Relations between Desai and the young Prime Minister were strained at best.

In 1969, Indira Gandhi and her allies engineered a major schism in the Congress Party, and her leftist supporters within the Congress Party formed the Congress (R), later to become the Congress (I) Party. Desai and the rest of the Congress establishment cohered to form the Congress (O) Party. But in the General Elections held in 1971, the Congress (O) was drubbed owing to Indira Gandhi's popularity.

In a petition filed by veteran socialist leader Raj Narain, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was convicted in June 1975 of wrongfully using government machinery for election work and corruption, Desai joined Jaya Prakash Narayan and Raj Narain in organising mass protests throughout the country calling for her resignation. In a show of intolerance towards any sort of opposition, Indira Gandhi declared Emergency and had all the opposition leaders including Desai arrested.

When Indira called for elections in January 1977, she lost to Raj Narain from Rae Bareilly, and with many opposition groups, including the Congress (O), joined with longtime rivals, regional parties and blocs of rival ideologies to form the Janata Party. It won 356 seats, close to 2/3 majority, and for the first time since independence, the dominance of the ruling Congress Party was broken. Morarji Desai finally came into office as the Prime Minister when Jaiprakash Narayan picked him as the man most likely to keep the coalition united.

At the time, he was 81 years old but still healthy and vigorous, without any particular ailments.

Desai led a fractious coalition government, and thus failed to achieve much owing to continuous in-wrangling and much controversy. With no party in leadership of the coalition, rival groups vied to unseat Desai. Controversial trials of prominent Congress leaders, including Indira Gandhi over Emergency-era abuses worsened the fortunes of his administration. Desai worked to improve relations with neighbour and arch-rival Pakistan and restored normal relations with China, for the first time since the 1962 war. He communicated with Zia-ul-Haq and established friendly relations and diplomatic relations were also re-established with China. His government undid many amendments made to the constitution during emergency and made it difficult for any future government to impose national emergency.

Since India's first nuclear test in 1974, Desai kept India's nuclear reactors stating "they will never be used for atomic bombs, and I will see to it if I can help it". In 1977, the Carter administration sold India, heavy water and uranium for its nuclear reactors but required American on-site inspection of nuclear materials. Desai declined, seeing the American stance as contradictory, in light of its own nuclear arsenal.

In 1979, Raj Narain and Charan Singh pulled out of the Janata Party, forcing Desai to resign from office and retire from politics at the age of 83. Desai campaigned for Janata Party in 1980 General Election as a senior politician but did not contest the election himself.

In retirement, he lived in Bombay, and died at the age of 99. He had been honoured much in his last years a freedom-fighter of his generation.

Kanti Desai, Morarji Desai's son, was often criticized for being corrupt and using his father's name as an influence. During Desai's retirement, the family was evicted from their apartment in 'Oceanea' Complex in Mumbai by a court order issued by Justice Chandrachud. Sharad Pawar, then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, provided him with permanent Govt Residence in Mumbai until his death.

It's bizarre but true that Morarji Desai is most often remembered for his championing of Urine Therapy. He told journalist Khushwant Singh that he was advised to try drinking his own urine when in his 40s to cure piles (hemorrhoids), and he got immediate results. Thereafter he continued the practice and was quite open about it, saying that you should not do anything you would be ashamed of.

Morarji Desai was a strict follower of Mahatma Gandhi's principles and a moralist.

Sachindra Chaudhuri (1965-1967)


Sachindra Chaudhuri

T.T.Krishnamachari (1964-1965, 1957-1958 )


Tiruvellore Thattai Krishnamachari (1899-1974) was the Indian Finance Minister from 1956-1958 and from 1964-1966. Krishnamachariar, who was born into a middle class Tamil Iyengar brahmin family graduated from Madras Christian College (MCC) and was a visiting professor to the department of economics at MCC. He resigned from the position twice. He was popularly known as TTK.

Krishnamachari was one among the founders of modern India. He was instrumental in building the basic economic and industrial infrastructure of the country and also left his mark on the Indian Constitution as a member of the Drafting Committee. Krishnamachari began his life as a businessman and went on to lay the foundation of the hugely successful firm TT Krishnamachari & Co. in 1928, in Chennai, which is now known as the TTK Group. By the mid-thirties, when the company was well established, Krishnamachari decided to turn his attention to politics. He was initially elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly as an independent member, and later joined the Congress. In 1946, he was made a member of the Constituent Assembly at the Centre.

From 1952 to 1965, he served the country twice as a Central Minister. He was the first Minister for Commerce and Industry and then Finance Minister. He also remained in charge of the Steel Ministry for quite some time. He became Minister again in 1962, first without portfolio, then the Minister for Economic and Defence Cooperation and finally Finance Minister, in 1964. Krishnamachari was instrumental in setting up the country’s three major steel plants and financial institutions like IDBI, ICICI and UTI. He introduced path-breaking tax reforms during his stint as Finance Minister. Embarking upon measures needed for providing social security, Krishnamachari expanded the pension scheme to cover family members of the deceased government servants by introducing a new Family Pension Scheme in 1964. He planned schemes like the Rajasthan Canal Schemes, Dandakaranya and Damodar Valley Projects. The Neyveli Projects owe their existence to the fillip given by Krishnamachari.

However, one of his major schemes called the Freight Equalization Policy made coal and other natural resources available in the Eastern part of India cheaply available to the other parts. This led to constant deprivation of the eastern states like West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. On the other hand, the southern and the western states flourished since the commodities available there were not subjected to this discriminatory policy.

Feroze Gandhi had asked a Parliamentary question about the Life Insurance Corporation putting in 1.24 crore rupees in industrialist Haridas Mundhra's sinking companies without consulting Parliament's Investment Committee. This question put the government in a spot and Krishnamachari was forced to quit as finance minister. The government appointed a commission of inquiry headed by Justice M.C. Chagla. The proceedings, which began on January 20, 1958, were open to the public which took a keen interest. A large number of witnesses was examined under oath, including the then finance minister, T.T. Krishnamachari (TTK), and the principal finance secretary, H.K. Patel. It was over on the eleventh day and a comprehensive report was released by the government on February 13, 1958.

He resigned from the post of Minister in 1965 after his term as Lok Sabha member was over and led an intellectually active life till illness overtook him.

  • Under-Secretary and Deputy Secretary to the Government of Madras (1919-1924)
  • Finance Department (1925-1926) as Secretary to the Indian Taxation Committee
  • Finance Department (1926-1928) as Deputy Secretary
  • Simons Commission (1928-1930) as Financial Adviser
  • Industries Department Joint Secretary
  • Round Table Conference as Secretary
  • Indian Bill (1931-1934) in the Joint Select Committee of Parliament
  • Deputy High Commissioner for India in London (1934-1938)
  • High Commissioner for India in South Africa (1938-1941)

When he returned to India he was appointed Chairman of the Bombay Port Trust (1941-1946). After serving in the post he once again served as a diplomat as the Indian Ambassador to Japan (1947-1948), and as the Ambassador to the United States (1948-1949). His last position was as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India .

He was a Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin and his mother-tongue was Konkani.

Jawaharlal Nehru (1958-1959)


Jawaharlal Nehru was the first, and is so far the longest-serving, prime minister of independent India, serving from 1947 to 1964. A leading figure in the Indian independence movement, Nehru was elected by the Congress party to assume office as independent India's first Prime Minister, and later when the Congress won India's first general election in 1952. As one of the founders of the Non-aligned Movement, he was also an important figure in the international politics of the post-war era. He is referred to as Pandit Nehru ("pandit," Sanskrit, "scholar", as honorific) and in India, as Panditji (-ji, honorific suffix).

The son of a wealthy Indian barrister and politician, Motilal Nehru, Nehru became a leader of the left wing of the Indian National Congress when still fairly young. Rising to become Congress President, under the mentorship of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru was a charismatic and radical leader, advocating complete independence from the British Empire. In the long struggle for Indian independence, in which he was a key player, Nehru was eventually recognized as Gandhi's political heir. A life-long liberal, Nehru was also an advocate for Fabian socialism and the public sector as the means by which long-standing challenges of economic development could be addressed by poorer nations.

To Nehru was given the singular honour of raising the flag of independent India in New Delhi on 15 August 1947, when India gained Independence. Nehru's appreciation of the virtues of parliamentary democracy, secularism and liberalism coupled with concerns for the poor and underprivileged are recognised to have guided him in formulating policies that influence India to this day. They also reflect the socialist origins of his worldview. As prime minister and as Congress' leader Nehru pushed through India's Parliament, which was dominated by members of his own party, a series of legal reforms intended to emancipate Hindu women and bring equality. These reforms included raising the minimum marriageable age from twelve to fifteen, empowering women to divorce their husbands and inherit property, and declaring illegal the ruinous dowry system. His long tenure was instrumental in shaping the traditions and structures of independent India. He is sometimes referred to as the 'Architect of Modern India'. His daughter, Indira Gandhi, and grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, also served as Prime Ministers of India.

Nehru was born the eldest child of Swarup Rani and the wealthy barrister Motilal Nehru in the city of Allahabad, now in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Nehru family came of Kashmiri Brahmin stock . Motilal had moved to Allahabad many years before and developed a successful legal practice. He was also an active member of the fledgling Indian national movement led by the Indian National Congress. Nehru and his two sisters—Vijaya Lakshmi and Krishna— were brought up in a large mansion, Anand Bhavan, and were raised predominantly in the English custom, then thought necessary by the Indian elite. They were also taught Hindi, Sanskrit and given a grounding in the Indian classics.

Motilal Nehru wished his son to qualify for the Indian Civil Service, and duly sent young Jawaharlal to Harrow in England. Jawaharlal apparently did not enjoy his schooling at Harrow, finding the school syllabus stifling and the residency conditions far removed from home and quite unbearable. Nevertheless, after completing school, Nehru took the Cambridge entrance examinations in 1907 and went up to Trinity College, to study natural sciences. Jawaharlal stood second in his Tripos and graduated in 1910. The famously liberal atmosphere of the University also encouraged him to participate in a host of extra-curricular activities and has been noted as having been a key influence on his general outlook. He then enrolled at the Inner Temple for his legal studies in October 1910. This decision, as with studying at Harrow and Cambridge, was not apparently taken due to any fascination with the law on the part of Jawaharlal, but apparently at the behest of his father. Jawaharlal Nehru passed the Bar final examination in 1912 and was called to the bar later that year at the Inner Temple. He returned to India soon after to set up a legal practice.

However, the political world soon grasped his full attention. After the British massacre of protesters in Amritsar in 1919, an outraged Nehru devoted his energies to the political realm. Although initially sceptical of his son's political views, Motilal Nehru likewise joined the Congress party in the pursuit of Indian independence. Jawaharlal Nehru rapidly became Gandhi's trusted lieutenant. Nehru's protests, though strictly non-violent, landed him in jail for a total of nine years over the course of his life. During his time in prison, Nehru wrote "Glimpses of World History" (1934), his "Autobiography" (1936), and "The Discovery of India" (1946). These works earned him distinction as a writer in addition to his growing reputation in the independence movement. Under Gandhi's direction, Nehru led the Indian National Congress for the first time in 1929, at the Lahore session. He was again elected to the Congress presidency in 1936, 1937, and 1946, at which point he reached a political prestige in the independence movement second to none but Gandhi.

Nehru and his colleagues had been released as the British Cabinet Mission arrived to propose plans for transfer of power.

Once elected, Nehru headed an interim government, which was impaired by outbreaks of communal violence and political disorder, and the opposition of the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who were demanding a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. After failed bids to form coalitions, Nehru reluctantly supported the partition of India, according to a plan released by the British on 3 June 1947. He took office as the Prime Minister of India on 15 August, and delivered his inaugural address titled "A Tryst With Destiny":

"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity."

However, this period was marked with intense communal violence. This violence swept across the Punjab region, Delhi, Bengal and other parts of India. Nehru conducted joint tours with Pakistani leaders to encourage peace and calm angry and disillusioned refugees. Nehru would work with Maulana Azad and other Muslim leaders to safeguard and encourage Muslims to remain in India. The violence of the time deeply affected Nehru, who called for a ceasefire and UN intervention to stop the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Fearing communal reprisals, Nehru also hesitated in supporting the annexation of Hyderabad State.

In the years following independence, Nehru frequently turned to his daughter Indira to look after him and manage his personal affairs. Under his leadership, the Congress won an overwhelming majority in the elections of 1952. Indira moved into Nehru's official residence to attend to him. Indira would virtually become Nehru's chief of staff and constant companion in his travels across India and the world.

Chintamanrao Deshmukh (1951-1957)


Sir Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh, CIE (14 January 1896 - October 2, 1982), better known as C. D. Deshmukh, was the first Indian to be appointed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in 1943 by the British Raj authorities. He subsequently served as the Finance Minister in the Union Cabinet (1950 -1956).

Deshmukh received his education at Jesus College, Cambridge, England in the field of Natural Sciences. He was married to freedom fighter and activist, Durgabai Deshmukh.

Deshmukh joined the Indian Civil Services, and became associated with the Reserve Bank of India since 1939 as its liaison officer to the Government. He then consecutively served as the Bank's Secretary, Deputy Governor (1941 - 43), and Governor (1943 - 50).

Deshmukh represented India at the Bretton Woods Conference in July 1 - July 22, 1944. The conference led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). He was a member of the Board of Governors of both of these institutions for the next ten years. In 1950, at the Paris conference of these institutions, he served as the Chairman of the Joint Annual Meeting.

When British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947, Deshmukh oversaw the post-partition division of the assets and liabilities of the Reserve Bank between India and Pakistan.

The Indian Government nationalized the Reserve Bank on January 1, 1949. Deshmukh saw through the smooth transition of the Bank from a shareholder’s institution to a national institution.

Deshmukh held the office of Union Finance Minister from 1950 until his resignation in protest in 19

The following is the background of Deshmukh's resignation in protest.

In 1956, the Central Government reorganized the states in India on linguistic basis. The Central Government with Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister made, however, an exception by newly forming the State of Bombay which comprised the neighbouring overwhelmingly Gujarati and overwhelmingly Marathi regions, the City of Bombay, the nation's prime economic centre, being made the new state's capital.

This exception was done even though the city was a natural part of the overwhelmingly Marathi region and should have logically been made a part of a separate Marathi-speaking state to be called Maharashtra, the overwhelmingly Gujarati region also being organized as a separate Gujarati speaking state to be called Gujarat. The genesis of the exception was that the Gujarati-speaking community wanted to have a stake in the governance of the City of Bombay, and the Central Government under Mr. Nehru's leadership had gone along with the above desire of the influential Gujarati-speaking community.

After the Central Government announced the above scheme, Deshmukh, who belonged to the Marathi-speaking community, resigned from the office of Union Finance Minister to register his protest against the idea of not letting the City of Bombay be a part of a separate Marathi-speaking State of Maharashtra.

After the Marathi-speaking community's long, four-year struggle under the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, the Central Government finally partitioned in 1960, the bilingual State of Bombay into the Marathi speaking State of Maharashtra with the City of Bombay as its part, and the Gujarati speaking State of Gujarat. In 1995, the City of Bombay was renamed as Mumbai.)

In 1937, Deshmukh was appointed a CIE (Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire).

In 1944, the British Government bestowed a knighthood upon Deshmukh.

In 1959, Deshmukh was a co-recipient (along with Jose Aguilar of the Philippines) of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for distinguished Government Service. Jesus College, Cambridge, Deshmukh's alma mater, elected him its Honorary Fellow in 1952 in recognition of his distinguished contribution in the areas of Indian and international finance and administration.

In 1975, the Government of India honored Deshmukh with a Padma Vibhushan award.

John Mathai (1949-1951)


John Mathai was an economist who served as India's first Railway Minister and subsequently as India's Finance Minister, taking office shortly after the presentation of India's first Budget, in 1948. Mathai graduated in economics from Madras Christian College. He presented two Budgets, but resigned following the 1950 Budget in protest at the increasing power of the Planning Commission and P.C. Mahalanobis. His nephew,Verghese Kurien, was the father of India's White Revolution.His son Ravi.J.Mathai, was the director of Indian institute of management, Ahamedabad. Dr.John Mathai Centre, Thrissur, located on the large plot of land donated by his family, is named in his honour.

R.K.Shanmukham Chetty (1947-1949)


Sir R. K. Shanmukham Chetty (1892 – 1953) was an economist. Chetty graduated from the prestigious Madras Christian College . He became the first finance minister of India after it became independent in 1947. He belonged to Tamil Vania Chetty family who were traditional businessmen in Tamil Nadu that owned mills in Coimbatore. He believed in constitutional means rather than confrontational means to secure self-rule and independence. He was the Chief Whip of the Swarajya Party for some time. He was also a member of the Justice Party for a brief while. He represented India at the 1929 ILO conference. From 1923 to 1931, he was a member of the Central Legislative Assembly. He held the positions of its Deputy President and President during 1931-33 and 1933-34 respectively. He was also the Indian delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva in 1938 and the World Monetary Conference at Bretton Woods in 1944. He was a Constitutional Adviser to the Chamber of Princes in 1945. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India. Regarding India’s independence, he is reported to have said "... we have secured freedom from foreign yoke, mainly through the operation of world events, and partly through a unique act of enlightened self-abnegation on behalf of the erstwhile rulers of the country...." Thus, though he did not hail from the mainstream movement for independence, he was made the first Finance Minister of Independent India and he presented its first budget. He resigned shortly. It is believed that he was asked to resign by Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India due to a minor dereliction of duty by a subordinate official, so as to ensure probity. John Mathai, India's first railway minister, a former director of Tata Sons and the person who replaced Chetty as finance minister once said about Chetty that "he is more sinned against than sinning." In 1952, Chetty became a member of the Madras Legislative Council.

Sir R.K.Shanmukham Chetty was the Diwan of Cochin State from 1931 to 1945. His period of office was marked by all round administrative progress. The Cochin Secretariat was organised on modern lines under his supervision. High Court was opened in 1938 and harbor development scheme was successfully completed.

Sir R K Shanmugham Chetty hailed from Coimbatore and was the founder President of The Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Coimbatore.

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