(Last Updated on : 13/01/2010)
Giani Zail Singh was born on May 5, 1916 and died on December 25, 1994. He was the President of India
from1982 to1987 and the first Sikh to hold India's highest public office and honour. Zail Singh's public life was long and varied. He was a freedom fighter, state Congress leader, Chief Minister and Union Home Minister. A prominent fighter against principality, feudalism (political, economic, or social order similar to the medieval system) and foreign domination in the pre-independence days, he is also remembered for his campaign against communalism, economic inequality and social injustice in the country.
Giani Zail Singh Ramgarhia was elected to the highest office of the President of India on July 15, 1982 and he took the oath of President on July 25, 1982. He was critiqued for his domineering attitude towards Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. He was on state that "he will even sweep floors for Indira Gandhi, who eventually created a rubber-stamp President, a complete symbolic head. When Zail Singh was the President, Indira Gandhi launched Operation Blue Star to attack the highest holy shrine of Sikhs and drived out the terrorists. His relations with Rajiv Gandhi who became Prime Minister after the death of his mother Indira Gandhi were rocky at best. However Zail Singh was not ready to embarras Rajiv Gandhi government by seeking re-election as President of India with support of non-Congress parties. He was cremated in the vicinity of the Raj Ghat.