వి.వి.గిరి

వి.వి.గిరి(1894–1980)

వి.వి.గిరి గా పేరొందిన వరహగిరి వెంకటగిరి గారు ఒరిస్సాలో ఉన్న బరంపూర్ లో జన్మించారు. తల్లిదండ్రులు స్వాతంత్ర్య పోరాటంలో పాల్గొన్నారు. ఐర్లాండ్ దేశంలో న్యాయ విద్యను పూర్తి చేసి స్వదేశానికి తిరిగి వచ్చి కొంతకాలం న్యాయ వాదిగా పనిచేసారు. ఐర్లాండ్ లో చదువుతున్న సమయంలో గాంధీజీ ప్రేరణతో దేశ స్వాతంత్ర్య పోరాటం కోసం సంఘీభావం గా అక్కడ అనేక కార్యక్రమాలు నిర్వహించారు. న్యాయవాదిగా కొనసాగుతూనే కాంగ్రెస్ పార్టీలో చేరారు, కాంగ్రెస్ పార్టీ అనుబంధ కార్మిక సంఘాల తరుపున అనేక కార్మిక ఉద్యమాల్లో పాల్గొన్నారు, కార్మిక సంఘాల నాయకుడిగా మంచి గుర్తింపు తెచుకున్నారు.

కార్మికుల తరుపున 1934లో కేంద్ర శాసనసభ కు పోటీ చేసి విజయం సాధించారు, 1937లో జస్టిస్ పార్టీ వ్యవస్థాపకుడు బొబ్బిలి రాజు మీద మద్రాస్ అసెంబ్లీకి జరిగిన ఎన్నికల్లో విజయం సాధించారు.1946లో రెండో సారి మద్రాస్ అసెంబ్లీకి ఎన్నికయ్యారు, 1951లో మొదటి లోక్ సభకు పార్వతి పురం నుంచి ఎన్నికయ్యారు. 1957లో అక్కడి నుండే ఓటమి పాలయ్యారు. 1937 నుంచి 1939 వరకు రాజగోపాలచారి మంత్రి వర్గంలో కార్మిక శాఖ మంత్రిగా , 1946 నుంచి 1947 వరకు మరోసారి ఆంధ్ర కేసరి ప్రకాశం పంతులు గారి మంత్రి వర్గంలో కార్మిక శాఖ మంత్రిగా పనిచేశారు.1952 నుంచి 1954 వరకు నెహ్రూ గారి మంత్రివర్గంలో కేంద్ర కార్మిక శాఖ మంత్రిగా పనిచేశారు. రాష్ట్ర, కేంద్ర లలో కార్మిక శాఖ మంత్రిగా కార్మికుల సంక్షేమం కోసం అనేక చర్యలు తీసుకున్నారు, అలాగే అనేక చట్టాలు రూపకల్పనలో భాగమయ్యారు.

1957 నుంచి 1967 వరకు ఉత్తరప్రదేశ్, కేరళ, కర్ణాటక రాష్ట్రాలకు గవర్నర్ గా పనిచేశారు. 1967 నుంచి 1969 వరకు దేశానికి ఉపరాష్ట్రపతి గా పనిచేశారు. 1969లో అప్పటి రాష్ట్రపతి జకీర్ హుస్సేన్ అకాల మరణం వల్ల జరిగిన మధ్యంతర రాష్ట్రపతి ఎన్నికల్లో మరో తెలుగు నేత నీలం సంజీవ రెడ్డి గారిని ప్రధానమంత్రి ఇందిరా గాంధీ మద్దతు తో ఓడించారు.1969 నుంచి 1974 వరకు దేశానికి రాష్ట్రపతి గా పనిచేశారు.

గిరి గారు కేవలం రాజకీయలలో నే కాకుండా మంచి రచయిత కూడా ముఖ్యంగా తెలుగు భాషా మీద మంచి పట్టు కలిగి ఉండేవారు. గిరి గారి సుదీర్ఘ రాజకీయ జీవితంలో ఎక్కువ భాగం కార్మికుల సమస్యలు మీద పోరాటానికే వేచించారు. అలాగే ఆయన దేశానికి చేసిన సేవలకు గాను 1975లో అప్పటి ప్రభుత్వం “భారత రత్న” బిరుదు తో సత్కరించటం జరిగింది.

President’s Bodyguard (PBG)

Yes, the President of India does have a special, rather a unique security force, which is known as the President’s Bodyguard (PBG). Here is a photograph in which we may see that the president of India is seen presenting the Banner and Silver Trumpet to the President’s Bodyguard.

President presents Silver Trumpet and Banner to President’s Bodyguards

This is the main gate of the President’s Estate at Dehradun. Long back, for the first time, I had seen the President’s Bodyguard, with their horses and regalia here only.

This is the President’s Estate (Rashtrapati Niwas) Dehradun. (within the above gate).

See this picture. You might have seen them earlier during the Republic Day Parades.

Here is a rare picture of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, passing through a market place in his horse carriage, escorted by the President’s Bodyguard.

Here are more pictures of the President’s Bodyguard, as may be seen often in Delhi.

Well, there are few special requirements for joining the President’s Bodyguard. One is that you have to be at least 6 feet tall. Also, you must be from 3 specified castes.

The matter of specific castes is challenged in court and the Army defends it strongly.

As of today, President’s Bodyguards (PBG) is a small body of handpicked men, comprising 4 Officers, 14 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and 161 troopers backed by administrative support personnel. This establishment has not changed much since the 19th century. Its men are trained for operational duties, both, as tankmen and airborne troops in addition to their ceremonial role.

The physical standards for the PBG are very specific with 6 feet being the minimum height for a trooper. Men of the PBG are expert horsemen, adept at ceremonial punctilio, trained combat paratroopers, armoured vehicle crewmen and tradesmen.

Honed in diverse combat skills, the PBG personnel have proven their worth in battle as well as in mounted tourneys and equestrian skills.

The records indicate that the first time a force like PBG was raised in 1773 at Benares (Varanasi) by the then Governor Warren Hastings, with a strength of 50 handpicked troopers. This nucleus of the Bodyguard was later augmented by another 50 horsemen, provided by Raja Cheyt Singh of Benares, thus bringing the overall strength of the regiment up to 100 horses and men by the end of that year, say the records.

The establishment of the regiment varied through the years, being augmented in times of war and it attained its maximum strength of 1,929 all ranks, as per the Army List of 1845, just prior to the First Sikh War. The PBG continued to be a select Cavalry Unit, primarily for the personal and battlefield security of the Governor and later Governor General, who often had to personally lead his forces into battle.

The Raising Charter clearly spelt out the role of the PBG, namely — “To act as Bodyguard to the Governor in peace and to accompany him as Commander-in-Chief in battle”.

This unique band of select troops, in over two centuries of service, has seen action in various roles — as mounted and dismounted cavalry; Artillery, with ‘Galloper Guns’ in the Egyptian Expedition of 1801-1802; Marines in 1809, protecting naval transports in the Bay of Bengal; and more recently as mechanised and airborne troops.

Pranab Mukherjee

  • 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).
  • Mukherjee’s father, Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee, was deeply involved in India’s struggle for independence from Great Britain in the first half of the 20th century. A longtime member of the Indian National Congress
  • He attended the Suri Vidyasagar College in Suri (Birbhum), then affiliated to University of Calcutta. He subsequently earned MA degree in Political Science & History and LL.B. degree; both from University of Calcutta.
  • He was an upper-division Clerk in the Office of Deputy Accountant-General (Post and Telegraph) in Calcutta.
  • In 1963, he became Lecturer(Assistant Professor) of Political Science at Vidyanagar College, Kolkata and he also worked as a Journalist with the Desher Dak (Call of Motherland) before entering politics.
  • Mukherjee’s political career began in 1969, when he managed the successful Midnapore by-election campaign of an independent candidate, V. K. Krishna Menon. Then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, recognized Mukherjee’s talents and recruited him to her party, the Indian National Congress.
  • He became a member of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Indian parliament) in July 1969. Mukherjee was re-elected to the house in 1975, 1981, 1993 and 1999.
  • Mukherjee’s rise was rapid in the early phase of his career and he was appointed Union Deputy Minister of Industrial Development in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet in 1973.
  • Mukherjee was active in the Indian cabinet during the controversial Internal Emergency of 1975–77.
  • Mukherjee emerged unscathed and rose through a series of cabinet posts to become Finance Minister from 1982 to 1984.
  • As Finance Minister, Mukherjee signed the letter appointing Manmohan Singh as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • In 1979, Mukherjee became Deputy Leader of the INC in the Rajya Sabha, and in 1980 he was appointed Leader of the House
  • Mukherjee was sidelined from the INC following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
  • In 1986, Mukherjee founded another party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress (RSC), in West Bengal. The RSC and INC merged three years later after reaching a compromise with Rajiv Gandhi.
  • Mukherjee’s political career revived following Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 when P. V. Narasimha Rao chose to appoint him as a External Affairs Minister for the first time from 1995 to 1996 in Rao’s cabinet.
  • Mukherjee was made President of the West Bengal Congress in 2000 and held the position until his resignation in 2010.
  • It was speculated in 2004 that Mukherjee would be made Prime Minister of India after Sonia Gandhi declined to become Prime Minister and Manmonhan Singh was appointed.
  • Mukherjee held many important posts in the Manmohan Singh government. He had the distinction of being the Minister for various high-profile Ministries including Defence, Finance, and External Affairs.
  • Mukherjee also headed the Congress Parliamentary Party and the Congress Legislative Party which consists of all the Congress MPs and MLAs in the country apart from being Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee President.
  • Mukherjee ended his affiliation with the Indian National Congress and retired from active political life following his election as President in 2012.
  • Mukherjee was sworn-in by the Chief Justice of India on 25 July 2012, becoming the first Bengali to hold the post of President of India.
  • In January 2017, Mukherjee said he would not contest for 2017 Presidential elections. The reason he told for this was advanced age and failing health.
  • Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, in 2008.
  • Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 2019.

Pranab’s Positions:

Union Minister of Industrial Development 1973–1974

Union Minister of Shipping and Transport 1974

Minister of State for Finance 1974–1975

Union Minister of Revenue and Banking 1975–1977

Treasurer of Congress Party 1978–79

Treasurer of All India Congress Committee 1978–79

Leader of House of Rajya Sabha 1980–85

Union Minister of Commerce and Steel and Mines 1980–1982

Union Minister of Finance 1982–1984

Board of Governors of International Monetary Fund 1982–1985

Board of Governors of World Bank 1982–1985

Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank 1982–1984

Board of Governors of African Development Bank 1982–1985

Union Minister of Commerce and Supply 1984

Chairman; Campaign Committee of Congress-I for conducting National Elections to Parliament, 1984 Indian general election, 1991 Indian general election, 1996 Indian general election and 1998 Indian general election.

Chairman of Group of 24(a Ministerial Group attached to IMF and World Bank)1984 and 2009–2012

President of State Unit of Congress Party 1985 and 2000–08

Chairman of Economic Advisory Cell of AICC 1987–1989

Dy Chairman of Planning Commission 1991–1996

Union Minister of Commerce 1993–1995

Union Minister of External Affairs 1995–1996

President, SAARC Council of Ministers Conference 1995

General Secretary of AICC 1998–1999

Chairman of Central Election Coordination Committee 1999–2012

Leader of House of Lok Sabha 2004–2012

Union Minister of Defence 2004–2006

Union Minister of External Affairs 2006–2009

Union Minister of Finance 2009–2012

President of India 25 July 2012 – 25 July 2017.

Some of his Notable works:

  • During Mukherjee’s tenure 1991–96, Dr. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister oversaw many economic reforms to end the Licence Raj system and help open the Indian economy.
  • The 2010–11 budget included the country’s first explicit target to cut public debt as a proportion of GDP and Mukherjee had targeted a budget deficit reduction to 4.1% of GDP in fiscal year 2012–13, from 6.5% in 2008–09.
  • He scrapped the Fringe Benefits Tax and the Commodities Transaction Tax. He implemented the Goods and Services Tax during his tenure. These reforms were well received by major corporate executives and economists.
  • Mukherjee expanded funding for several social sector schemes including the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
  • He also supported budget increases for improving literacy and health care. He expanded infrastructure programmes such as the National Highway Development Programme.
  • Under his leadership, India was made “Full Dialogue Partner” of ASEAN as part of the Look East foreign policy initiated by Narasimha Rao.
  • He oversaw the successful signing of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement with the US government and then with the Nuclear Suppliers Group, allowing India to participate in civilian nuclear trade in spite of not having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Mukherjee played a crucial role in mobilising world opinion against Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • He contributed significantly to the negotiations leading to the establishment of the World Trade Organization.
  • His work in improving the finances of the government and for successfully returning the last installment of India’s first IMF loan.
  • 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.