Birthday: December 4, 1919
Died At Age: 92
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Inder Kumar Gujral
Born Country: India
Born in: Jhelum, Punjab, British India (now in Punjab, Pakistan)
Famous as: Former Prime Minister of India
Spouse/Ex-: Sheila Gujra
father: Avtar Narain
mother: Pushpa Gujral
children: Naresh Gujral and Vishal Gujral
Died on: November 30, 2012
place of death: Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Founder/Co-Founder: Gujral Doctrine
Who was I. K. Gujral?
Inder Kumar Gujral, also known as I.K. Gujral, was an Indian politician and served as the thirteenth Prime Minister of India. He was a poetic person who found his true calling in politics from his college days. He belonged to a family of true patriots; his father and mother were actively involved in the freedom struggle and even his sister and brother were known as freedom fighters during that time. Gujral himself followed the footsteps by taking part in the Quit India Movement. His college politics expeditions took him to join the Communist Party of India but not for long, he switched to the Indian National Congress after the Indo-Pak war. His brilliance in administration and other political duties earned him the special attention of the then Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi, who appointed him as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting during the Emergency in 1975. Besides his love for his country and politics, Gujral spent most of his time writing poetry in Urdu as he was a big fan of the language and admired many Urdu poets and writers. In his book, ‘The Foreign Policies of India’ he has talked in depth about the aspirations that he had for India, how he wanted India to have warm and welcoming relations with the neighboring countries.
Childhood & Early Life
Inder Kumar Gujral was born in 1919 in Jhelum, Pakistan, to Avtar Narain and Pushpa Gujral. He was born into the family of freedom fighters - his parents took active part in the freedom struggle. Even his brother and sister, Satish and Uma, joined the freedom struggle.
In 1942, Gujral was sent to jail for taking a part in the Quit India Movement. He finished his studies from D.A.V. College, Hailey College of Commerce and Forman Christian College University, Lahore, Pakistan. He became a member of the Communist Party of India during college days.
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Gujral became the vice-president of the New Delhi Municipal Committee in 1958.
In 1964, he joined the Indian National Congress and became a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament in the same year.
During the tough times of Emergency in 1975, he was the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and was put into the important position of taking care of media during a time of censorship in India and was in total control of Doordarshan.
From 1976-1980, Gujral served as the Ambassador of India to the U.S.S.R. Gujral left the Congress party in 1980s and joined Janta Dal.
From 1989-1990, he served as the Minister of External Affairs during the reign of V. P. Singh, and again in 1996, he became the Minister of External Affairs during the rule of H.D. Deve Gowda.
In 1997 Gujral was chosen as the Prime Minister of India, but he held the position only for eleven months.
”The Gujral Doctrine” that he developed as an instrument of foreign policy, remains the highlight of his career. It stresses on the importance on maintaining friendly relations with the neighboring countries. This doctrine earned him a great deal of respect.
Personal Life & Legacy
Gujral married Shiela Bhasin in 1945. She was his friend from college and a poet by profession, an acclaimed one at that. The couple had two sons together - Naresh Gujral and Vishal Gujral. Sheila died in 2011.
He was diagnosed with a lung infection in 2012 and was admitted at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana. His condition worsened at the hospital and soon he was declared quite critical. He passed away within a few days.
This former Prime Minister of India was a big admirer of the Urdu language, poets and poetry and used to converse and write in Urdu language quite fluently.
Gujral’s brother Satish Gujral is a famous painter.
Gujral’s autobiography is called Matters of Discretion: An Autobiography.