Birthday: December 11, 1935
Died At Age: 84
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Pranab Kumar Mukherjee
Born Country: India
Born in: Mirati, Birbhum, Bengal Presidency, British India (now West Bengal, India)
Famous as: 13th President of India
Height: 5'4" (163 cm), 5'4" Males
political ideology: Political party - Independent
Spouse/Ex-: Suvra Mukherjee
father: Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee
mother: Rajlakshmi Mukherjee
children: Abhijit Mukherjee, Indrajit Mukherjee, Sharmistha Mukherjee
Died on: August 31, 2020
place of death: New Delhi, India
Founder/Co-Founder: Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress
education: University of Calcutta, Suri Vidyasagar College, University of Calcutta
awards: Padma Vibhushan
Bharat Ratna (2019)
Who was Pranab Mukherjee?
Pranab Mukherjee is an Indian politician and a former President of India. He assumed the office of the President on July 25, 2012, and continued till July 25, 2017. A veteran in Indian politics, he has the rare distinction of having served as foreign, defence, commerce, and finance minister at different times over his long and illustrious political career spanning several decades. He was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and served as a member of the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy making body of the Party, for a period of 23 years. Born as the son of freedom fighters, Shri Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee and Rajlakshmi, he grew up watching his father play an active role in the Indian independence movement. His father was also a longtime member of the Indian National Congress. Pranab Mukherjee went on to earn an advanced degree in history and political science as well as a law degree from the department of law of the University of Calcutta. He embarked on a career as a college teacher and journalist. Eventually, he followed in his father’s footsteps and ventured into politics. He got a big break when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi helped him get elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, on a Congress ticket. This marked the beginning of a fruitful career that culminated in his election as the 13th President of India in 2012. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 2019.
Childhood & Early Life
Pranab Mukherjee was born on 11 December 1935 in Mirati in Birbhum District in West Bengal, India, into a Brahmin family. His parents were freedom fighters, Shri Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee and Rajlakshmi. His father was very active in the Indian independence movement and was jailed several times for his involvement in the freedom struggle. His father was also a longtime member of the Indian National Congress.
Mukherjee attended the Suri Vidyasagar College in Suri and earned an MA degree in political science and history. He then furthered his education and received an LL.B degree from the department of law of the University of Calcutta.
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Pranab Mukherjee embarked on a professional career as a college teacher when he began teaching political science at the Vidyanagar College in 1963. He also worked as a journalist for some time with the ‘Desher Dak’ (Call of Motherland).
He ventured into politics in 1969 when he became a member of the Rajya Sabha. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi recognized Mukherjee's potential and helped him join her party, the Indian National Congress (INC). She mentored him during his initial years in politics and played a significant role in his growth and development a as politician.
He quickly rose through the ranks in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet and became the Deputy Leader of the INC in the Rajya Sabha in 1979, and was appointed Leader of the House in 1980. He went on to serve as the Finance Minister from 1982 to 1984.
He was sidelined from the INC after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 following which her son Rajiv gained control. In 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated and P. V. Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minister.
Rao appointed Pranab Mukherjee as deputy chairman of the Indian planning commission in 1991 and subsequently as a union cabinet minister. Pranab Mukherjee’s political career revived and he also served as External Affairs Minister from 1995 to 1996 in Rao's cabinet.
Pranab Mukherjee held many other prominent positions over the next few years including the portfolio of Minister of Defence from 2004 to 2006 and once again the Minister of External Affairs from 2006 to 2009. From 2009 to 2012 he was the Minister of Finance. He also served as the Leader of the Lower House of Parliament from 2004 to 2012.
Pranab Mukherjee also has several years of diplomatic experience. He has served on the Board of Governors of the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and African Development Bank. In addition, he has led the Indian delegations to the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Conferences in 1982, 1983 and 1984. He participated in the Conference of Commonwealth Heads of Government at Auckland in 1995.
He was nominated as the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in June 2012. In order to file his nomination for the presidential poll, Mukherjee resigned from the government. He easily won the election defeating P. A. Sangma in the race to Rashtrapati Bhavan, and was sworn into office on 25 July 2012 as the 13th President of India.
As the president of India, he promulgated the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, which provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.
He is also a noted author and has written many books including ‘Off the Track’ (1987), ‘Saga of Struggle and Sacrifice’ (1992), ‘Challenges before the Nation’ (1992), and ‘The Dramatic Decade: The Days Of Indira Gandhi years’ (2014).
During his second term as the External Affairs Minister of India, Pranab Mukherjee oversaw the successful signing of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement with the U.S. government and then with the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The agreement allowed India to participate in civilian nuclear trade in spite of not having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
During his first stint as the Finance Minister in the early 1980s, he was credited with being an early reformer of the Indian economy. After assuming this post once again in 2009 he presented the annual budgets in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He also expanded funding for several social sector schemes including the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
Awards & Achievements
In 2008, he was honored with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of India.
He was named Finance Minister of the Year for Asia by ‘Emerging Markets’, the daily newspaper of record for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2010.
In 2013, he was awarded Bangladesh's second highest award Bangladesh Liberation War Honor (Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sanmanona).
On January 25, 2019, the government of India awarded him Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.
Personal Life & Legacy
Pranab Mukherjee married Suvra Mukherjee (nee Ghosh) in 1957. The couple had three children: two sons and one daughter. His wife died of an illness in August 2015.