Former President of India : K. R. Narayanan
Kocheril Raman Narayanan was the tenth President of India, holding office from July 25, 1997, to July 25, 2002. Born on October 27, 1920, in the village of Uzhavoor in Kerala, Narayanan's journey from humble beginnings to the highest office in the land remains a symbol of the democratic spirit of India.
Narayanan's academic prowess was evident from an early age, culminating in his receiving an Honours degree in English Literature from the University of Travancore. This was a precursor to a scholarship-funded study period at the prestigious University of London, followed by a stint at the London School of Economics, where he studied political science.
In 1949, Narayanan began his career in the Indian Foreign Service, taking on assignments in several key Embassies, including in Rangoon, Tokyo, London, Canberra, and Hanoi. His diplomatic expertise was further recognized through his appointments as India's Ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, and China.
Entering the political sphere, Narayanan was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984. His political career saw him serving in various ministerial positions under the cabinets of Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
In 1997, Narayanan was elected as the President of India, becoming the first person from Kerala to hold the post and the first Dalit to ascend to this high office. His presidency is remembered for his meticulous adherence to constitutional proprieties and his maintenance of the dignity and independence of the office.
Narayanan was also renowned for his intellectual pursuits. He was a deep thinker and an erudite speaker, known for his extensive knowledge of both Indian and world affairs.
K.R. Narayanan passed away on November 9, 2005. His life journey, from a thatched hut in Kerala to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, reflects the inclusive and democratic nature of the Indian political system. His life and work continue to inspire countless people across the nation and the world.