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The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India.
The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of India.
Although the president is vested such powers by the constitution of India, the position is largely a ceremonial role and the executive powers are de facto exercised by the Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister.
The President is elected by an electoral college composed of members of the parliament houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and also members of the Vidhan Sabha, the state legislative assemblies.
The President may remain in office for a tenure of five years, as stated by article 56, part V, of the constitution of India.
Two presidents, Zakir Hussain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, have died in office.
Varahagiri Venkata Giri, Muhammad Hidayatullah, and Basappa Danappa Jatti, have functioned as acting presidents.

1. Dr. Rejendra Prasad(26 January 1950-13 May 1962)

  • Rajendra Prasad was the first President of independent India.
  • He was also an independence activist of the Indian Independence Movement.
  • He was the only president to serve for two terms in office.

2. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan(13 May 1962-13 May 1967)
  • Radhakrishnan was a prominent philosopher, writer, a Knight of the Realm and also held the position of vice chancellor of the Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University.
  • He was also made a Knight of the Golden Army of Angels by Pope Paul VI.

3. Zakir Hussain(13 May 1967-3 May 1969)
  • He was the first elected Muslim president of India.
  • He was awarded the highest Indian national honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1963.
  • In his inaugural speech he said that the whole of India was his home and all its people were his family.
  • He was the first Indian President to die in office on the 3rd day of May, 1969.
  • He was buried on the campus of the Jamia Millia Islamia (or Central University) in New Delhi.
  • Hussain was vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and a recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna.

4. Varahagiri Venkata Giri(24 August 1969-24 August 1974)
  • Giri was appointed as first acting president following the death of Hussain.
  • He was the only person to have served as both an acting president and president of India.
  • He was a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, and has functioned as Indian Minister of Labour and High Commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

5. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed(24 August 1974-11 February 1977)
He died in 1977 before his term of office ended, and was the second Indian president to have died during a term of office.

6. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy(25 July 1977-25 July 1982)
  • He was the sixth President of India, serving from 1977 to 1982.
  • He was the only person to be elected President of India unopposed.

7. Giani Zail Singh(25 July 1982-25 July 1987)
  • Sardar Zail Singh, a Sikh by religion, was given the title of Giani, as he was educated and learned about Guru Granth Sahib however he did not have formal education.
  • Following his accidental death, Zail Singh was cremated at EKTA STHAL in the vicinity of the Raj Ghat.

8. Ramaswamy Venkataraman(25 July 1987-25 July 1992)
  • He was the member of constituent assembly that drafted India's constitution.
  • Venkataraman died at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, New Delhi on January 27, 2009.
  • With Venkataraman's death, Abdul Kalam became the only surviving former President of India.

9. Shankar Dayal Sharma(25 July 1992-25 July 1997)
  • Shankar Dayal Sharma (August 19, 1918 - December 26, 1999) was the 9th President of republic of India serving from 1992 to 1997.
  • He was cremated near the Vijay Ghat.

10. K. R. Narayanan(25 July 1997-25 July 2002)
  • Narayanan served as India's ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and United States of America.
  • He was also the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

11. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam(25 July 2002-25 July 2007)
  • Kalam was a scientist who played a leading role in the development of India's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
  • Kalam also received the Bharat Ratna.
  • Before his term as India's president, he worked as an engineer with DRDO and ISRO and was awarded India's highest civilian honor Bharat Ratna in 1997 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Indian government.
  • He is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on development of ballistic missile and space rocket technology.
  • The Government of India has honoured him with the nation's highest civilian honours: the Padma Bhushan in 1981; Padma Vibhushan in 1990; and the Bharat Ratna in 1997.
  • Wings of Fire is his autobiography.

12. Pratibha Patil
  • Patil is the first woman to become President of India.
  • She is also the first female Governor of Rajasthan.


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