Bhubaneswar- (Avilash Panigrahi): Varahagiri Venkata Giri, was born on Aug.10, 1894 in Odisha’s Berhampur and died on June 24, 1980. He was known as a statesman and president of India from 1969 to 1974.
Giri began his education atKhallikote College in Berhampur, and then went to Dublin to study law. There he became engaged in the Sinn Féin (Irish political party) movement and was expelled from Ireland in 1916.
Upon his return to India, he joined the nascent labour movement. He became general secretary and the president of the All-India Railwaymen’s Federation and was twice president of the All-India TradeUnion Congress, an organization closely linked with the Indian National Congress .
When the Congress Party formed a government in Madras state (now Tamil Nadu) in 1937, Giri became minister of labour and industries.With the resignation of the Congress governments and the launching of the anti-British “quit India” movement in 1942, he returned to the labour movement and was subsequently imprisoned with his colleagues.
After India became independent, he was appointed high commissioner in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and in 1952 was elected to the Lok Sabha, one of the two chambers of the Indian Parliament. He was made minister of labour in the central Indian government but resigned in 1954. After this, he was appointed successively to the largely ceremonial governorships of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Mysore (now Karnataka).
In 1967 he was elected vice president of India. On the death of President Zakir Husain in 1969, Giri became acting president and announced his intention to stand for the presidency. By that time the office, until then largely ceremonial, had become a prize in the developing factional struggle within the Congress Party. The party’s nomination went to another candidate. Indira Gandhi, the prime minister, supported Giri, however, and he was elected by a narrow majority. In 1974 he was succeeded in office by Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.
President Ramnath Kovind, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and others paid tribute to former President of India VV Giri on the occasion of the latter’s birth anniversary.