Bharat Ratna award winners in 1975

V. V. Giri – (1894 -1980)

V. V. Giri was the fourth President of Republic of India and his full name was Varahagiri Venkata Giri. He served in this position from 24th August 1969 to 23rd August 1974 during the tenure of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He was preceded by Mohammed Hidayatullah and was succeeded by Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.

He was born on 10th August 1894 in a Niyogi Telugu Brahmin family in Berhampur in the Ganjam district of Madras Presidency. His father was Varahagiri Venkata Jogaiah who was an eminent lawyer. In 1913, he studied law in the University College Dublin but was expelled out of Ireland in the year 1916 as he was involved in the Sinn Fein Movement. He became closer to Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, Patrick Pearse, Desmond FitzGerald, Eoin MacNeill, James Connolly and many others.

After his return to India, he took part in the labor movement. He became the general secretary and then the president of the All-India Railwaymen’s Federatin and served as the president of the All-India Trade Union Congress twice. In the year 1934 he became the member of the Imperial Legislative Assembly.

He contested against the Raja of Bobbili in the 1936 General Election in Madras in the Bobbili constituency as a Congress candidate and won in that election. He was made as the minister of labor and industries in 1937 in the government of C. Rajagopalachari. The government resigned in 1942 and he returned back to the labor movement. He took part in Quit India Movement and was imprisoned by the British and was put in Rajahmundry jail.

After the independence of India, he was appointed as the high commissioner to Ceylon. In 1952 he was elected for the first Lok Sabha from the Pathapatnam constituency. He served as the minister of labor until his resignation in 1954. In 1957, he headed the newly formed team, The Indian Society of Labor Economics. He served as the governor of Uttar Pradesh from 1957 to 1960, governor of Kerala from 1960 to 1965, and governor of Mysore from 1965 to 1967.

He was elected as the Vice President of India in 1967. When Zakir Husain died in 1969, he was chosen to be the acting president of India. Then he was elected as the President of India. He received Bharat Ratna award in 1975. He died on 23th June 1980.