Calm and Composed well-known politician Pranab Mukherjee served as the 13th President of India from 2012-2017. His political journey has been quite long. For any political issues, he was the one to be approached as he had immense knowledge. He authored several books on the political field as well. Even opposition party members appreciated his intellectual skills. This was his aura. Sadly, he left us on August 31, 2020, after fighting a long illness.
Quick Facts about Pranab Mukherjee
- Full Name: Pranab Kumar Mukherjee
- Also Known As: Pranab Da, Poltuda
- Famous As: 13th President of India
- Born On: 11 December 1935
- Died On: 31 August 2020
- Birthplace: Mirati, West Bengal, India
- Education: MA in Political Science and History, LL.B
- Parents: Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee (Father), Rajlakshmi Mukherjee (Mother)
- Profession: Politician
- Religion: Hindu
- Spouse: Suvra Mukherjee (died in 2015)
- Children: Abhijit Mukherjee, Indrajit Mukherjee, and Sharmistha Mukherjee
- Awards: Padma Vibhushan in 2008, Bharat Ratna in 2019
Early Life of the Former Indian President
Pranab Mukherjee was born into a Bengali Kulin Brahmin family in a small village called Mirati, now in West Bengal. His father was an active member of the Indian National Congress. His mother was a freedom fighter too. He had four sisters and an elder brother also.
But the great politician did not jump on to the politics at first. In fact, he served as an upper-division clerk in the Deputy Accountant office in Kolkata. He also served as an Assistant professor at Vidyanagar College in Kolkata and as a Journalist with Desher Dak.
Education and College Life
So, where did the great intellectual took his education from? You might be wondering how he became such a scholar and book worm?
Well, he went to the Dhaka Collegiate School in Bangladesh. This was before independence. He then attended Suri Vidyasagar College in Birbhum situated in West Bengal, earning his LL.B degree. He majored MA in Political Science and History from the same college.
Marriage and Family Life
Pranab Da married Suvra Mukherjee in the year 1957. Suvra was a Bangladeshi migrant when she was just ten years old. They are blessed with two sons and one daughter.
Elder son Abhijit is also into politics. He is Congress MP from Jangipur in West Bengal. His daughter Sharmistha is a trained Kathak dancer and even into politics. Suvra Mukherjee said goodbye to the world in 2015, citing heart problems.
The Political Career of the Versatile Leader
His political Career started in 1969, being elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Congress. Indira Gandhi supported him, but he thought he would not get enough in the party anymore after her death. So he formed his political party named Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress.
His career span has been generous, serving four crucial ministries in India- Finance, External Affairs, Defense, and Commerce.
In 2012, he became the 13th president of India against P.A Sangma.
He was a firm believer in Justice. He amended several criminal laws and passed a few, keeping in mind the problems faced by our nation.
After finishing his Presidential duties in 2017, he declared his retirement from politics. Health issues were cited for his retirement, and he did not go for re-elections.
Even though his political career ended in 2017, he was still seen at some political events. His affiliation with the Indian National Congress was long.
Contribution by Pranab Mukherjee
During his five decades-long tenure, Pranab Da has served the country with his full spirit. He has given it all for the sake of a better nation.
Have a look at his contributions:
- Smart Gram Project – The initiative was carried out for five villages in Haryana in 2016. The main aim of the project was to induce a high standard of living among the locals. Humane, hi-tech and happy townships were the main motto, which was sustainable and could be developed in other villages.
- Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex – The Stables and the Coach House were reformed into a museum showing it to be a symbol of Independence and Free India. The Museum showcases all the gifts received by presidents after Independence. There are also Arms and Ammunition collection, Photos, Textiles, and Sculptures displayed.
- Rejecting Mercy Plea – With a record of 37 mercy pleas rejected, the versatile leader made sure he went on Justice’s path. He turned down the mercy pleas of Ajmal Kasab, Afzal Guru, and Yakub Memon, who were then hanged till death. He also rejected the infamous Nirbhaya gang rape culprits showcasing his stand for injustice.
- Social and Welfare Activities – A ‘4S’ initiative was motivated by the Former President in the presidential estate, wherein.
- Sanskar aimed at the nutritional needs of preschool toddlers.
- Sanskriti for the overall development of children aged 7 to 15 years.
- Sparsh for the welfare of specially-abled children and
- Samagam for the senior citizens.
Achievements of Former Indian President
- Pranab Mukherjee was awarded India’s highest civilian honor- Bharat Ratna, in 2019 by President Ramnath Kovind.
- The versatile leader was also awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
- He was voted to be the Best Finance Minister in the world in 1984 by the Euromoney magazine.
- He is the only Finance Minister to serve in Pre-Liberalisation and Post-Liberalisation period.
- Other recognitions include-
- Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sanmanona (2013),
- Cross of National Order of the Ivory Coast ( 2016), and
- Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios II.
Lesser-Known Facts about Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Da was a powerful orator and had extensive experience in the political field.
Here we will look at some of the lesser-known facts about the former Indian president.
- Pranab Mukherjee was a workaholic and used to work 18 hours a day without any leave.
- He used to visit his village, Mirati, during Durga Puja every year.
- Pranab Da was a great Intellectual and has authored several books.
- He was a prolific reader as well and could also read three books at a time. He also has a diary preserved, which he was writing for the past 40 years.
- Deng Xiaoping, a Chinese Politician, hugely inspired Pranab Da.
- Pranab Mukherjee was a heavy smoker in the 90s, but then he quit it.
- He loved travelling, reading, gardening, and listened to music as well.
- Pranab Da owned an Ambassador and Ford Ikon.
- He owns agricultural land in his village.
- Fish Curry with rice, a staple Bengali food, was his favorite dish.
Books written by Pranab Mukherjee
- Midterm Poll
- Beyond Survival: Emerging Dimensions of Indian Economy in 1984
- Off the Track in 1987
- The Saga of Struggle and Sacrifice in 1992
- Challenges before the Nation in 1992
- A Centenary History of the Indian National Congress – Volume-V: 1964-1984 in 2011
- Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation in 2011
- Thoughts and Reflections in 2014
- The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years in 2014
- Selected Speeches – Pranab Mukherjee in 2015
- The Turbulent Years: 1980-1996 in 2016
- The Coalition Years
The voracious reader, enthusiastic politician, and a great Scholar left us on 31st August 2020.
He retired from his political career in 2017, citing health reasons. He was earlier tested Positive for the Dreaded Corona Virus, and then his health deteriorated further owning to his death.
The Former president would be remembered for his outstanding contribution towards the society and the Indian Government.
Famous Quotes by Pranab Mukherjee
“We are all equal children before our mother; and India asks each one of us, in whatsoever role we play in the complex drama of nation-building, to do our duty with integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty to the values enshrined in our Constitution.”
“No problems are ever resolved by violence. It only aggravates the pain and the hurt on every side.”
“There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger.”
“Our federal Constitution embodies the idea of modern India: it defines not only India but also modernity.”
“I personally believe that the office of the President of India is not to be sought. It is to be offered.”