24th death anniversary remembrance of Former President Zail Zail Singh
24th death anniversary remembrance of Former President Zail Zail Singh

On his 24th death anniversary, it takes a look at his journey from a freedom fighter to the country’s highest chair.

Giani Zail Singh born Jarnail Singh, 5 May 1916 – 25 December 1994 was the seventh President of India serving from 1982 to 1987. Prior to his presidency, he was a politician with the Indian National Congress party, and had held several ministerial posts in the Union Cabinet, including that of Home Minister. He also served as the Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1983 to 1986.  Giani   Singh remains the only Sikh president India has had.

He inherited religious leanings and spirituality from his father. He also was familiar in Urdu and knowledgeable about Hindu scriptures and mythology. It was after completing a course at the Shahid Sikh Missionary College in Amritsar that he earned the title ‘Giani’, which is conferred upon an individual proficient in religious studies.

In his long career, the former president held a number of portfolios. His presidency witnessed him brave some of the darkest moments in the history of independent India. But Singh is most well-known for his unwavering loyalty to Gandhi. On his appointment as president, Singh reportedly said he would sweep Gandhi’s courtyard if she asked him to.

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