Varahagiri Venkata Giri was born on August 10, 1894 and died on June 23, 1980. He was commonly known as V. V. Giri. He was the fourth President of the Republic of India
from August 24, 1969 to August 23, 1974. He was a creative writer and a good orator. He has written books on `Industrial Relations` and `Labour problems in Indian Industry`.
V.V. Giri was born into a Telugu speaking family, residing in Berhampur in the Ganjam district of the previous Madras Presidency. In 1913, he went to University College Dublin to study law, but he was expelled from Ireland in 1916 as he became involved with the Sinn Fein movement. This involvement had brought him into close contact with Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, Patrick Pearse, Desmond FitzGerald, Eoin MacNeil, James Connolly and others.
When Giri returned to India, he became heavily involved in the labour movement, becoming general secretary and then president of the All-India Railway men`s Federation and twice serving as president of the All-India Trade Union Congress. In the 1936 General Election in Madras, Giri was put up as the Congress candidate in Bobbili against the Raja of Bobbili and he won that election. He became minister of labour and industries in 1937 for the Congress Party led government formed by C.Rajagopalachari in the Madras Presidency. When the Congress governments resigned in 1942, he returned to the labour movement as part of the Quit India movement and was imprisoned by the British. After India got independence, Giri was first appointed as high commissioner to Ceylon and then successfully ran for parliament in 1952, serving as minister of labour until 1954.
Shri Giri headed the team of The Indian Society of Labour Economics founded in 1957 by a distinguished group of academicians and public men engaged in promoting the study of labour and industrial relations. He had also served as governor of Uttar Pradesh from 1957 to1960, Kerala from 1960 to1965 and Mysore from 1965 to 1967. He was elected as Vice-president of India in 1967. Giri became acting president of India in 1969 upon the sudden death of Zakir Hussain in office and decided to run for that position in the coming election. He remained President till 1974. In 1975 he received India`s highest civilian Award, the Bharat Ratna.