Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Biography

(5th President of India)

Birthday: May 13, 1905 (Taurus)

Born In: Old Delhi, India

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was the fifth president of India; he held office from 1974 to 1977. He was the 2nd president of India to die in office after Zakir Husain. Born in the Hauz Qazi region of Old Delhi to an Assamese army doctor, he was educated at St. Stephen's College, Delhi. Ahmed later attended St Catharine's College, Cambridge, before starting his legal practice in 1928. He then became a member of the Indian National Congress. On the outbreak of Second World War in 1939, Ahmed was imprisoned for a year due to his nationalistic activities. He was released and again jailed before finally being released in 1945. Ahmed eventually became the advocate general of Assam. Under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, he was appointed the president of the Indian Republic in August 1974. Though politics was his forte, he had a keen interest in sports as well. A golfer and tennis player himself, Ahmed served as the president of the Assam Cricket Association and the Assam Football Association for several terms. He passed away in 1977 in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, at the age of 71.
Quick Facts

Indian Celebrities Born In May

Died At Age: 71


Spouse/Ex-: Begum Abida Ahmed (m. 1945)

father: Col. Zalnur Ali Ahmed

mother: Sahibzadi Ruqaiyya Sultan

Born Country: India

Presidents Political Leaders

Died on: February 11, 1977

place of death: New Delhi, India

Notable Alumni: St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, Inner Temple

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

More Facts

education: University Of Cambridge, Inner Temple, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi

Political Career
Following his graduation from St Catharine's College in 1927, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed joined the Lahore High Court and started his legal practice. His family links brought him in association with the leaders of the Congress in Assam. In 1935, Ahmed was elected to the Assam legislature for the first time. Three years later, he was appointed minister of finance, labor, and revenue.
During his first tenure at the ministerial office, Ahmed proved his administrative prowess. He introduced the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Bill that levied taxes on the province’s tea gardens. As this bill was the first of its kind in the nation, it proved Ahmed’s ability as a politician.
As an administrator of the Bardoloi ministry, Ahmed faced strong opposition from the European planters at Digboi who considered the Congress-led coalition government’s measures as revolutionary. According to them, these measures posed a danger to the British commercial community. Ahmed, however, continued with the measures and eventually brought applause to the Bardoloi ministry.
Once Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed became a part of the Indian National Congress, he adhered to its tenets even though the members of the Muslim league tried to distract him. As a Congressman, he was actively engaged in the freedom movement. He joined the 'Quit India Movement’ and was arrested in August 1942. Ahmed was kept a prisoner for about three and a half years till 1945.
In 1946, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed became the advocate general of Assam, a position he held for six years. He stayed a member of the All India Congress Committee from 1947 till 1974. Following independence, he became a member of the Rajya Sabha and was retained in the parliamentary house until 1953. He then went on to become the advocate general of the Government of Assam.
For several years, Ahmed served in the Assam Legislative Assembly as a Congressman. Meanwhile, he also became a member of the Delhi Gymkhana Club and the Delhi Golf Club. In April 1967, he was elected the president of the All India Cricket Association.
After serving in the parliament, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed returned to Assam politics and later joined Indira Gandhi in her first cabinet in 1966. During his tenure here, he occupied several departments, including education, agriculture, company laws, and industrial development. In the Great Split of the Congress that occurred in 1969, Ahmed stayed with Indira Gandhi and was loyal to her leadership till his death. In 1971, Ahmed joined the Lok Sabha from the Barpeta constituency.
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Presidential Tenure
On 24 August 1974, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed became the fifth president of the Indian Republic. He also became the second Muslim to hold this position. When the Emergency in India was officially declared in 1975, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed employed his constitutional authority to rule by decree.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed's tenure was cut short due to his untimely death. On 11 February 1977, he suffered a massive heart attack while preparing for his routine Namaz prayer and died. He was the second president of India to have died while in office. His grave is situated near the Parliament of India beside New Delhi’s Sunhari Masjid.
Other Significant Positions & Honors
In 1975, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed earned an honorary doctorate from the University of Pristina. He also served as the president of the Assam Cricket Association and Assam Football Association. He was elected the vice-president of the Assam Sports Council.
The government of Assam honored him by dedicating a medical college to him. This college, named Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital, is located in Barpeta, Assam.
Family & Personal Life
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was born on May 13, 1905, in Delhi, British India, to Col. Zalnur Ali Ahmed and Sahibzadi Ruqaiyya Sultan. His father was the first indigenous Assamese to get an MD degree. His grandfather was Khaliluddin Ali Ahmed who belonged to a well-known Assamese Muslim family.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed studied at St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He later attended St Catharine's College in Cambridge, England.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed married Begam Abida Ahmed from Assam. Together, they had a daughter and two sons.

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