Shri Varahagiri Venkata Giri

4th President of India
In office
24 August 1969 – 24 August 1974
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Vice President Gopal Swarup Pathak
Preceded by Mohammad Hidayatullah(Acting)
Succeeded by Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
Acting President of India
In office
3 May 1969 – 20 July 1969
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Preceded by Zakir Hussain
Succeeded by Mohammad Hidayatullah(Acting)
3rd Vice President of India
In office
13 May 1967 – 3 May 1969
President Zakir Hussain
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Preceded by Zakir Hussain
Succeeded by Gopal Swarup Pathak
Governor of Karnataka
In office
2 April 1965 – 13 May 1967
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Chief Minister S. Nijalingappa
Preceded by Satyawant Mallannah Shrinagesh
Succeeded by Gopal Swarup Pathak
Governor of Kerala
In office
1 July 1960 – 2 April 1965
Chief Minister Pattom Thanu Pillai
R. Sankar
Preceded by Burgula Ramakrishna Rao
Succeeded by Ajit Prasad Jain
Governor of Uttar Pradesh
In office
10 June 1956 – 30 June 1960
Chief Minister Sampurnanand
Preceded by Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi
Succeeded by Burgula Ramakrishna Rao
Minister of Labour and Industry for Government of Andhra Pradesh
In office
1 October 1953 – 15 November 1954
Chief Minister Tanguturi Prakasam
Personal details
Born Varahagiri Venkata Giri
10 August 1894
Berhampur, British India
(now in Odisha, India)
Died 24 June 1980 (aged 85)
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India
(now Chennai)
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Saraswati Bai (1904–1978)
Relatives Palagummi Sainath[1](grandson), Palagummi Harish[2] (great grandson)
Alma mater Khallikote College
University College Dublin
Awards Bharat Ratna (1975)
Signature Varahagiri Venkatagiri Signature in English

Varahagiri Venkata Giri  (10 August 1894 – 24 June 1980), commonly known as V. V. Giri, was the fourthPresident of India from 24 August 1969 to 24 August 1974.

As President, Giri was the only person to be elected as an independent candidate. He was succeeded by Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed as President in 1974.  After the end of his full term, Giri was honoured by the Government of India with the Bharat Ratna in 1975. Giri died on 24 June 1980.

Giri was born in Berhampur Odisha to a Telugu-speaking family. His father, V. V. Jogayya Pantulu, was a successful lawyer and political activist of the Indian National Congress. Giri’s mother Subhadramma was active in the national movement in Berhampur during the Non Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements and was arrested for leading a strike for prohibition during the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Giri was married to Saraswati Bai and the couple had 14 children.

Giri completed his initial education at the Khallikote College in Berhampur. In 1913 he went to Ireland to study law which he did at University College Dublin and the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin between 1913–1916. Giri was one among the first crop of thirteen Indian students who sat the obligatory year long course at UCD in 1914–15. This was a requirement for being called to the Irish Bar through study at the King’s Inns. In total, 50 Indian students studied at UCD between 1914 and 1917.

Giri and a fellow law student also enrolled to study on the full bachelor of arts course in UCD. Giri studied English, where he was lectured by Thomas MacDonagh, and Political Economy. His lecturer in political economy was the reformer and co-operativist Thomas A. Finlay SJ.

During the First World War, Giri travelled from Dublin to London and met with Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi wanted for Giri to join the Imperial war effort as a Red Cross Volunteer. Giri initially acceded to Gandhi’s request but later regretted his decision. According to one of Giri’s biographers, “Gandhiji with his characteristic magnanimity relieved Giri of the obligation to join the Red Cross and did not breathe a word about it to anyone.”

Giri was active in both Indian and Irish politics during his studies. Along with fellow Indian students he produced a pamphlet documenting the abuse of Indians in South Africa. The pamphlet was intercepted by Indian Political Intelligence and resulted in increased police scrutiny of Giri and his fellow students in Dublin. Meanwhile, anonymous articles were written by Indian students for the newspaper of the Irish Volunteers and in The National Student, a UCD student magazine.

He was suspected of association with prominent ring leaders in the 1916 Rising including James Connolly, PH Pearse and the young Éamon de Valera. Giri was called to the Irish Bar on 21 June 1916 but he did not complete his studies for BA in UCD. Indian students were subjected to police raids following the 1916 Rising and Giri recounts how he was served with one month’s notice to leave Ireland on 1 June 1916.


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