Varahagiri Venkata Giri better known as VV Giri, who served as the fourth President of India, was born on August 10, 1894. Giri served as the President of India from August 24, 1969 to August 24, 1974. In his twenties, Giri joined the Swarajya Party founded by Pandit Motilal Nehru and Chittaranjan Das and was a member of the Central Legislative Assembly from 1927 to 1930.
On V V Giri’s 125 birth anniversary, here’s looking at a few interesting facts about him.
In 1967, during the period of turmoil, V V Giri was invited to be the Vice-President.
Following the death of the then President Dr. Zakir Hussain on May 3, 1969, V V Giri had to officiate as the President.
In 1969, Giri was elected the fourth President of India.
Following his early education in India, Giri moved to Ireland to study law. It was there he became associated with the Sinn Fein Movement and came in close contact with De Valera, Collins, Pearee, Desmond Fitzgerald, MacNeil, Connolly and others.
Giri was called to the Bar during World War I and returned to India in 1916. Upon returning, he enrolled at the Madras High Court.
In India, Giri joined the Indian National Congress party and attended its Lucknow session and joined the Home Rule League.
He abandoned his flourishing legal career in response to Mahatama Gandhi’s call for a Non-cooperation Movement in 1920.
Giri was arrested for the first time in 1992 for demonstrating against the sale of liquor.
In 1923, Giri became one of the founders of the All India Railway men’s Federation.
Giri was twice elected President of the Trade Union Congress, in 1926 and 1942 respectively.
As a leading trade unionist, Giri attended many international gatherings. He attended the International Labour Conference at Geneva in 1927 and also attended the Trade Union Congress at Geneva. In 1931-1932, Giri attended the Second Round Table Conference in London as the Workers’ Representative.
Giri was a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly from 1934 to 1937. In a house dominated by stalwarts like Satyamurty, Bhulabhai Desai, Jinnah, Govind Ballabh Pant, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Asaf Ali and others, Giri soon made his mark as a forceful speaker, especially on labour questions.
During the General Election in Madras 1935, after the introduction of the Act of 1935, Congress fielded Giri as its candidate in Bobbili against the Raja of Bobbili, the most powerful political personality in the Madras Presidency.
After the election when C Rajagopalachari formed the Congress Ministry in Madras in 1937, Giri was included into the Cabinet and given the portfolio of Labour.
After the General Election of 1946 in Madras, Giri was once again taken into the Cabinet formed by T. Prakasam and given the portfolio of Labour.
Giri was a member of the Lok Sabha from 1952 to 1957 and from 1952 to 1954 he served as the Union Labour Minister. Once when an issue cropped up that involved the interest of labour, Giri resigned to uphold his beliefs. Eventually, the Government had to come round to his viewpoint.
VV Giri also served as Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore.
Giri has written two important books, one on “Industrial Relations” and the other on “Labour Problems in Indian Industry”.
Giri was married to Saraswati Bai and the couple had 14 children.
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