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Biography of Bharat Ratna “V V Giri” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Varahagiri Venkata Giri



Politician, an experienced Parliamentarian and veteran Trade Unionist Varahagiri Venkata Giri was born at Berhampore in Ganjam District in the then Madras Presidency and now in Orissa, on August 10, 1894, as the second son of a prominent and prosperous lawyer and the leader of the local bar, V.V. Jogaiah Pantulu.

V.V. Giri started taking keen interest in public life when he was merely 12. He drew great inspiration from his father. Father and the family atmosphere influenced the mind and career of V.V. Giri. He was married at an early age in 1917 to Saraswati Bai.

After graduation from the local Kalikota College, he had his further education in England and Ireland. He emerged a barrister-at-law from Dublin’s National University.

As a student in Ireland he took active part in the Sinn Fien Movement and was externed from Britain on July 1, 1916.

On his return to India, Giri joined the Indian National Congress, the Home Rule Movement in 1916, and the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1918. Giri, at the age of 22, started legal practice in his home town Berhampore. In response to Mahatma Gandhi’s call, he gave up his legal practice in 1921. He was jailed fora brief period for one month and one week—February 7, 1922 to March 14, 1922.

From 1922, Giri worked in close cooperation with N.M. Joshi for the establishment of the Trade Union Movement in India on sound lines. An accomplished Trade Unionist, Giri was among those responsible for the formation of the All India Trade Union Congress, of which he was President twice.

A long period of his public life was devoted to building up the All India Railwaymen’s Federation. In 1923 he became its one of the founders. He was its General Secretary for seven years and later its President for another seven years (1926-1942).

He attended the International Labour Organisation Conference in Geneva in 1927 and the Round Table Conference in London in 1931 as the representative of the Indian workers.

Between 1934 and 1937 he was a member of the Central Legislative Assembly. He made his mark as a forceful speaker, specially on labour questions.

Giri, as the Congress candidate, had no difficulty in defeating the veteran Justice Party Chief Minister of Madras Presidency, the Raja of Bobbili in the 1936 general election and became the Labour and Industry Minister in the first popular Ministry of the Presidency headed by C.Rajagopalachari in 1937.

He was re-elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1946 and was Minister of Labour for a year in the Prakasam Cabinet soon after the end of the Second World War. He was later appointed India’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka and served in that post till 1950. Giri was a member of the Lok Sabha from 1952 to 1957. During the first general election in 1952 Giri was returned to the Lok Sabha from the Pathapatnam constituency in Andhra Pradesh on the Congress ticket. Subsequently he joined the Nehru Cabinet as Labour Minister (1952-54). After about two years he resigned this office over the bank award issue.

In 1957 Giri was defeated in the general elections in a double member constituency, but he contended that it was because of an anomaly in the Constitution. Though the High Court and the Supreme Court refused to give him the benefit of the anomaly, it was Giri’s efforts that the anomaly was brought into focus leading to the amendment of the Constitution abolishing the double-member constituencies.

After 1957 began a long spell of gubernatorial assignments for Giri. Successively he served as Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore. He won friends everywhere, initiated new activities and became a mentor for the younger generation. It was during these years that he imparted new depth and dimension to social work as the President of the Indian Conference of Social Work, to which office he was elected in 1958.

In 1967 he was elected Vice-President of India and, within two years, assumed charge as the Acting President on the death of the then President, Dr. Zakir Husain. Soon he resigned his office as Vice-President and Acting President and contested the Presidential poll.

In August 1969, he was elected as the fourth President of the Indian Republic, defeating N. Sanjiva Reddi in a bitterly contested election which followed the split of the Congress Party. With him the arena of the election shifted from the close preserve of politicians to the broad wishes of the people.

After he demitted office at the end of five years in 1974 he could not keep himself idle and launched a new political party called the Indian Labour Party. He was taking keen interest in civic affairs and launched campaigns for keeping the cities clean.

Giri wrote important books : Industrial Relations, Labour Problems in Indian Industry, fobs for Our Millions and My Life and Times (Volume I of his autobiography) was published in 1976 and the residue part of his memoirs remained unfinished and, therefore, unpublished.

He had been a socialist of long standing, but never a doctrinaire socialist, always a pragmatist. His approach was at once practical and human. In his opinion, of the tree of socialism the root is man. He gave expression to his economic and social thoughts in terms of ‘jobs for the millions’.

He was awarded D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) by Benares Hindu, Andhra and Lucknow Universities and LL. D. by Agra, Moscow, Bulgaria and Bratislava Universities.

A 25 paise postage stamp was issued in his honour on August 24 when he laid down office as the President of India. He was awarded Bharat Ratna the highest civil award in 1975.

Giri breathed his last on June 24, 1980 in Madras at his residence.

He was a many splendoured personality, a freedom fighter, trade unionist, a minister, a diplomat, a governor, the Vice-President, and the President—all combined in one. He was a man of deep conviction, a great Parliamentarian and a great national leader. His part in the freedom struggle and also his service to the nation in the post Independence years are of great significance.

Favoured neither by affluence nor the circumstances, Varahagiri Venkata Gin attained eminence in public life in India by the strength of his character and a spirit of independence.


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