So long, Pranab Mukherjee: An exceptional life that was
New Delhi, Aug 31: Former president Pranab Mukherjee passed away at Indian Army's Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi. He was 84. Mukherjee was admitted to hospital on August 10 and a health bulletin this morning said he was in a deep coma and on ventilator support.
"With a Heavy Heart, this is to inform you that my father Shri Pranab Mukherjee has just passed away in spite of the best efforts of Doctors of RR Hospital and prayers duas and prarthanas from people throughout India! I thank all of You Folded hands," his son Abhijit Mukherjee tweeted.
The former president was admitted to the hospital in Delhi Cantonment on August 10 and was operated the same day for removal of a clot in his brain. He later developed a lung infection. Mukherjee was the 13th president of India from 2012 to 2017
Born 11 December 1935, Mukherjee served as the 13th President of India from 2012 until 2017. He was succeeded as President by Ram Nath Kovind. A powerful orator, scholar and a statesman, Mukherjee had been a Congress stalwart before he was elected as India's 13th President.
In a political career spanning five decades, Mukherjee has been a senior leader in the Indian National Congress and has occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India.
Prior to his election as President, Mukherjee was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.
Early Life and Education:
Pranab was born in a Bengali family in Mirati, a village in the Bengal Presidency of British India (now in Birbhum district, West Bengal, India). His father, Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee was active in the Indian independence movement and was a member of West Bengal Legislative Council between 1952 and 1964 as a representative of the Indian National Congress and was the member of AICC. His mother was Rajlakshmi Mukherjee.
Mukherjee did his schooling from Suri Vidyasagar College, Suri. He did his Masters in Political Science and History from the University of Calcutta. From the same university, he earned his LLB degree.
Prior to politics, he served as an upper-division Clerk in the Office of Deputy Accountant-General, Calcutta. In the year 1963, he joined Vidyanagar College, Kolkata as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He also worked for Desher Dak (Call of Motherland) as a journalist.
Mukherjee became a protégé of Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India in 1966-77 and 1980-84. Under her tutelage, he began in 1973 to fill administrative positions of increasing responsibility in the cabinet, and in 1982 he was named to the important post of minister of finance. Following the assassination of Gandhi in 1984, however, Mukherjee had a falling out with Rajiv Gandhi, her son and successor (1984-89) as prime minister, and was relegated to the political backwater. He subsequently left the Congress Party in 1986 and by early 1987 had formed his own small political party. By 1989, however, the two men had been reconciled, and Mukherjee had merged his group back into Congress.
Mukherjee's fortunes improved in 1991 when, after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, P.V. Narasimha Rao took leadership of Congress and, after the party's success in parliamentary elections, was named prime minister. Under Rao (who served until 1996) and the party's Manmohan Singh (who became prime minister in 2004), Mukherjee held most of the major ministerial portfolios in the cabinet: commerce (1993-95), external affairs (1995-96 and 2006-09), defense (2004-06), and finally back to finance (2009-12). He also occupied several important legislative posts, including leader of the Rajya Sabha (1980-84), Congress Party whip in the upper house (1996-2004), and leader of the Lok Sabha (2004-12). In addition to his government activities in India, Mukherjee was involved with a number of prominent international organizations, most notably occupying seats on the boards of governors of the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank during his two stints as finance minister.
On July 13, 1957, Pranab Mukherjee married Surva Mukherjee and the couple had two sons (Indrajit Mukherjee and Abhijit Mukherjee and a daughter (Sharmistha Mukherjee). His wife Surva migrated from Narail, Bangladesh to Kolkata when she was 10. She died on August 18, 2015, due to a cardiac arrest, at the age of 74.
His elder son Abhijit is a Congress MP from Jangipur, West Bengal and his daughter Sharmishtha is a Kathak dancer and a politician with Congress.
Mukherjee enjoys reading, gardening and music in his spare time. Simple in his tastes, Mukherjee is a dedicated patron of the arts and culture. An avid traveller, there are few parts of India and few countries in the world he has not visited in his illustrious and long public career.
He was awarded Padma Vibhushan-- India's second-highest civilian award in 2008. Mukherjee was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 2019 by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.
Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sanmanona-- Bangladesh Liberation War Honour in March 2013.
Grand Cross of National Order of the Ivory Coast-- highest state order of knighthood of the Ivory Coast in June 2016.
Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios II-- highest order of Merit awarded by Cyprus.
Best Finance Minister in World (1984)-- a survey by Euromoney magazine.
Finance Minister of Year for Asia (2010)-- Emerging Markets, the daily newspaper of record for World Bank and IMF.
Finance Minister of Year (2010) by the Banker.
Honorary Citizenship of Abidjan, the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire in June 2016.
Author of several books:
Mukherjee is the author of several books:
Beyond Survival: Emerging Dimensions of Indian Economy 1984
Off the Track 1987
Saga of Struggle and Sacrifice 1992
Challenges Before the Nation 1992
Thoughts and Reflections 2014
The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years' 2014
The Turbulent Years - 1980-1996 2016
The Coalition Years: 1996 - 2012 2017