India has had 13 Presidents and 12 Vice Presidents since its independence. This Historyplex article brings to you a complete list of each of them since 1947.
Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (1954), Dr. Zakir Hussain (1963), and Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (1997) were awarded the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, before becoming the President of India.
President of India
The President is the head of state of the Republic of India. He is the first citizen of the country. He is also the formal head of the executive, legislature, and judiciary of India and is the commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces. The President is indirectly elected by the elected members of the Legislature Assembly (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) for a term of 5 years. The role of a President is largely ceremonial. The Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi is the official residence of the President.
Vice President of India
The Vice President of India is the 2nd highest constitutional office after the President. He/she is also the ex officio Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. The Vice President is elected indirectly by the members of both the houses of Parliament. He holds the office for a period of five years.
List of Presidents
Dr. Rajendra Prasad (1884 – 1963)
Term of Office: 26 January 1950 to 13 May 1962
Achievements: Dr. Rajendra Prasad is the first President of Republic of India. He is the only President to hold the office twice.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888 – 1975)
Term of Office: 13 May 1962 to 13 May 1967
Achievements: He was one of the first recipients of the Bharat Ratna in 1954. His birthday, 5th September, is celebrated as Teacher’s Day since 1962.
Dr. Zakir Hussain (1897 – 1969)
Term of Office: 13 May 1967 to 3 May 1969
Achievements: The first Muslim President of India, he was the President up to 1969 till his death. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1963 and is the co-founder of Jamia Millia Islamia.
Shri Varahagiri Venkata Giri (1894 – 1980)
Term of Office: 3 May 1969 to 20 July 1969 and 24 August 1969 to 24 August 1974
Achievements: V. V. Giri has served successfully as the governor of Uttar Pradesh (1956 – 1960), Kerala (1960 – 1965), and Karnataka (1965-1967).
Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1905 – 1977)
Term of Office: 24 August 1974 to 11 February 1977
Achievements: Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was an active participant of the Indian freedom movement. In the Central Cabinet, he has successfully handled portfolios relating to Food and Agriculture, Cooperation, Education, Industrial Development, and Company Laws.
Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913 – 1996)
Term of Office: 25 July 1977 to 25 July 1982
Achievements: Neelam Reddy was the youngest President of India and the only one to be elected unopposed. He had previously held the posts of Chief Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and Union Minister.
Gyani Zail Singh (1916 – 1994)
Term of Office: 25 July 1982 to 25 July 1987
Achievements: He was given the title of Gyani as he was educated and learned about Guru Granth Sahib. His presidency was marked by Operation Blue Star, the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Shri R. Venkataraman (1910 – 2009)
Term of Office: 25 July 1987 to 25 July 1992
Achievements: R. Venkataraman was a lawyer and a independence activist. He had participated in the Quit India movement. He also served as the Union Finance Minister and Defense Minister.
Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma (1918 – 1999)
Term of Office: 25 July 1992 to 25 July 1997
Achievements: Shankar Dayal Sharma was the Chief Minister of Bhopal from 1952 to 1956. He had held various cabinet portfolios like Education, Law, Public Works, Industry and Commerce, National Resources, and Separate Revenue.
Shri K. R. Narayanan (1920 – 2005)
Term of Office: 25 July 1997 to 25 July 2002
Achievements: He was a member of the Indian Foreign Service under the Nehru Administration. He was called as the best diplomat of the country by Nehru. He served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, People’s Republic of China, and United States of America.
Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (1931)
Term of Office: 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007
Achievements: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, usually referred to as Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, worked as an Aerospace engineer with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). He is known as the Missile Man of India. He is also known for his motivational and inspirational books and speeches.
Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil (1934)
Term of Office: 25 July 2007 to 25 July 2012
Achievements: Pratibha Patil is the first woman to become the President of India. She was also the first female Governor of Rajasthan from 2004 to 2007.
Shree Pranab Mukherjee (1935)
Term of Office: 25 July 2012 to present
Achievements: Pranab Mukherjee is the 13th and the current President of India. He was a senior member of the Indian National Congress and has handled many portfolios. He was the Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012, before his election as the President.
List of Vice Presidents
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
Term of Office: 13 May 1952 to 12 May 1962
Achievements: Radhakrishnan had a very successful academic career before entering politics. He became the first Vice President and the second President of India.
Dr. Zakir Hussain
Term of Office: 13 May 1962 to 12 May 1967
Achievements: The second Vice President, Zakir Hussain was the Governor of Bihar from 1957 to 1962. He has also served as the Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia from 1928.
Sh. V. V. Giri
Term of Office: 13 May 1967 to 3 May 1969
Achievements: V. V. Giri was elected as the third Vice President of India in 1967. He also became Acting President of India in May 1969 upon the death of President Zakir Hussain while in office.
Gopal Swarup Pathak (1896 – 1982)
Term of Office: 31 Aug 1969 to 30 Aug 1974
Achievements: Gopal Pathak was a judge in the Allahabad High Court in 1945-46, member of the Rajya Sabha in 1960-66, Union Minister of Law from 1966-67, and the Governor of Mysore state from 1967-69.
Sh. B. D. Jatti
Term of Office: 31 Aug 1974 to 30 Aug 1979
Achievements: Basappa Danappa Jatti was the fifth Vice President of India. He was also the Chief Minister of Mysore from 1958 to 1962.
Sh. M. Hidayatullah
Term of Office: 31 Aug 1979 to 30 Aug 1984
Achievements: Mohammad Hidayatullah was the eleventh Chief Justice of India from 1968 to 1970. Later, he was elected as the sixth Vice President of India in Aug 1979.
Term of Office: 31 Aug 1984 to 24 July 1987
Achievements: R. Venkataraman was elected to the Lok Sabha four times and has served as the Union Finance Minister and Defence Minister. He was elected as the seventh Vice President of India in 1984.
Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma
Term of Office: 3 Sept 1987 to 24 July 1992
Achievements: Shankar Sharma was the President of the Indian National Congress from 1972 to 1974. He was the Union Minister for Communications from 1974 to 1977.
K. R. Narayanan
Term of Office: 21 August 1992 to 24 July 1997
Achievements: K. R. Narayanan was elected as the ninth Vice President of India. He later became the President of India and is the only Dalit to hold this position.
Sh. Krishan Kant
Term of Office: 21 August 1997 to 27 July 2002
Achievements: Krishan Kant was appointed as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh in 1989. He was later elected as the tenth Vice President of India in 1997.
Sh. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Term of Office: 19 August 2002 to 21 July 2007
Achievements: Before being elected as the 11th Vice President of India, he has served as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan three times, from 1977 to 1980, 1990 to 1992, and 1993 to 1998.
Shri M. Hamid Ansari
Term of Office: 11 Aug 2007 to present
Achievements: Mohammad Hamid Ansari is the current Vice President of India since 2007. He is the only Vice President after Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan to serve two consecutive terms in office.