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Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Mukherjee Portrait (cropped).jpg
Official portrait, 2012
13th President of India
In office
25 July 2012 – 25 July 2017
Prime Minister
Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Preceded by Pratibha Patil
Succeeded by Ram Nath Kovind
Minister of Finance
In office
24 January 2009 – 24 July 2012
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Manmohan Singh
Succeeded by Manmohan Singh
In office
5 January 1982 – 31 December 1984
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Preceded by R. Venkataraman
Succeeded by V. P. Singh
Minister of Defence
In office
22 May 2004 – 26 October 2006
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by George Fernandes
Succeeded by A. K. Antony
Minister of External Affairs
In office
24 October 2006 – 22 May 2009
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Manmohan Singh (acting)
Succeeded by S. M. Krishna
In office
10 February 1995 – 16 May 1996
Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao
Preceded by Dinesh Singh
Succeeded by Sikander Bakht
15th Leader of the Lok Sabha
In office
22 May 2004 – 26 June 2012
Preceded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded by Sushilkumar Shinde
Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission
In office
24 June 1991 – 15 May 1996
Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao
Preceded by Mohan Dharia
Succeeded by Madhu Dandavate
14th Leader of the Rajya Sabha
In office
January 1980 – 31 December 1984
Preceded by K. C. Pant
Succeeded by V. P. Singh
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
10 May 2004 – 26 June 2012
Preceded by Abul Hasnat Khan
Succeeded by Abhijit Mukherjee
Constituency Jangipur
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
10 July 1969 – 10 July 1981
Constituency West Bengal
In office
14 August 1981 – 13 August 1987
Constituency Gujarat
Personal details
Born (1935-12-11)11 December 1935
Mirati, Bengal Presidency, British India
(present-day West Bengal, India)
Died 31 August 2020(2020-08-31) (aged 84)
New Delhi, India
Political party Indian National Congress
(1972–1986; 1989–2020)
Other political
  • Bangla Congress
  • Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress
(m. 1957; died 2015)
Children 3, including Sharmistha and Abhijit
Alma mater University of Calcutta
(BA, MA, LL.B.)
  • Pranab Da
  • Poltuda

Pranab Mukherjee (11 December 1935 – 31 August 2020) was an Indian politician and statesman who served as the 13th president of India from 2012 until 2017. He was the first person from West Bengal to hold the post of President of India. In a political career spanning five decades, Mukherjee was a senior leader in the Indian National Congress and occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India. Prior to his election as President, Mukherjee was Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012. He was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2019, by his successor as president, Ram Nath Kovind.

Early life and education

Pranab Mukherjee was born on 11 December 1935 during the British Colonial rule, into a Bengali Brahmin family in Mirati, a village in the Bengal Presidency (now in Birbhum district, West Bengal). His father, Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee, was active participant in the Indian independence movement and was a member of the West Bengal Legislative Council between 1952 and 1964 as a representative of the Indian National Congress; he was also a member of AICC. His mother was Rajlakshmi Mukherjee. He had two siblings: older sister Annapurna Banarjee (1928–2020) and older brother Piyush Mukherjee (1931–2017).

Mukherjee attended Suri Vidyasagar College in Suri (Birbhum), which was then affiliated to the University of Calcutta. He subsequently earned an MA degree in political science and history and an LL.B. degree, both from the University of Calcutta

He was an upper-division Clerk in the Office of the Deputy Accountant-General (Post and Telegraph) in Calcutta. In 1963, he became a lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Political Science at Vidyanagar College, Kolkata, affiliated to the University of Calcutta and he also worked as a journalist at Desher Dak (Call of the Motherland) before entering politics.

Political career

Mukherjee got his break in politics in 1969 when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi helped him get elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament of India, on a Congress ticket. Following a meteoric rise, he became one of Gandhi's most trusted lieutenants and a minister in her cabinet in 1973. Mukherjee's service in a number of ministerial capacities culminated in his first stint as Finance Minister of India in 1982–84. He was also the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985.

Mukherjee was sidelined from Congress during the premiership of Rajiv Gandhi. Mukherjee had viewed himself and not the inexperienced Rajiv, as the rightful successor to Indira following her assassination in 1984. Mukherjee lost out in the ensuing power struggle.

He formed his own party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress, which merged with Congress in 1989 after reaching a consensus with Rajiv Gandhi. After Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991, Mukherjee's political career was revived when Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao appointed him Planning Commission head in 1991 and foreign minister in 1995. Following this, as an elder statesman of Congress, Mukherjee was the principal architect of Sonia Gandhi's ascent to the party's presidency in 1998.

When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power in 2004, Mukherjee won a Lok Sabha (the popularly elected lower house of Parliament) seat for the first time. From then until his resignation in 2012, he held a number of key cabinet portfolios in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government – Defence (2004–06), External Affairs (2006–09), and Finance (2009–12) – apart from heading several Groups of Ministers (GoMs) and being Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha. After securing the UPA's nomination for the country's presidency in July 2012, Mukherjee comfortably defeated P. A. Sangma in the race to the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Indian presidential residence), winning 70 percent of the electoral-college vote.

In 2017, Mukherjee decided not to run for re-election and to retire from politics after leaving the presidency due to "health complications relating to old age." His term expired on 25 July 2017. He was succeeded as president by Ram Nath Kovind. In June 2018, Mukherjee became the first former President of India to address a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) event.

Personal life

Pranab Mukherjee married Suvra Mukherjee on 13 July 1957. Suvra Mukherjee was born at Narail, Bengal Presidency, Present Bangladesh. She moved to Kolkata while she was 10 and married Pranab in 1957. The couple had two sons and a daughter. Suvra died on 18 August 2015, aged 74, of heart failure, while Mukherjee was still in office. Their elder son, Abhijit Mukherjee, was a Congress MP from Jangipur, West Bengal, until 2019. He was elected in a by-election after his father vacated the seat. Before his election to the Lok Sabha, Abhijit was an MLA from Nalhati in Birbhum.

Mukherjee was inspired by Deng Xiaoping and quoted him quite frequently. His hobbies were reading, gardening, and music.

Illness and death

Mukherjee died on 31 August 2020, aged 84. His death was caused by lung infection.

The Government of India announced a seven-day period of state mourning between 31 August to 6 September, whereby the national flag would fly at half mast on all buildings wherever it is flown regularly. The West Bengal state government declared a closure of state-run offices for the following day as a mark of respect.

Mukherjee's funeral was held the following day, on 1 September at the Lodhi Road crematorium, with full state honours. His body was brought to the crematorium in a van instead of gun carriage due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in the country. His ashes were immersed into the Ganges river in Haridwar.


State honours

Decoration Country Date Note Ref.
Padma Vibhushan Ribbon.svg Padma Vibhushan  India 2008 The second-highest civilian honour of India.
Noribbon.svg Bangladesh Liberation War Honour  Bangladesh 5 March 2013 The second-highest honour of Bangladesh awarded to foreign dignitaries.
Cote d'Ivoire Ordre national GC ribbon.svg National Order of the Ivory Coast  Ivory Coast 14 June 2016 Grand Cross, the highest civilian honour of Ivory Coast.
Order of Makarios III (Cyprus) - ribbon bar.svg Order of Makarios III  Cyprus 28 April 2017 Grand Collar, the highest civilian honour of Cyprus.
Bharat Ratna Ribbon.svg Bharat Ratna  India 8 August 2019 The highest civilian honour of India.


  • Hon. Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Wolverhampton, UK in 2011.
  • Hon. D.Litt. by Assam University in March 2012.
  • Hon. Doctorate in Science by Visvesvaraya Technological University; Belgaum, Karnataka in 2012
  • Hon. LL.D. by President of Bangladesh and Chancellor Md. Zillur Rahman at the University of Dhaka on 4 March 2013.
  • DCL (Doctor of Civil Law) (honoris causa) by the University of Mauritius on 13 March 2013.
  • Hon. Doctorate by Istanbul University on 5 October 2013.
  • Honorary Doctorate from the University of Calcutta in on 28 November 2014.
  • Hon. Doctorate in Political Science by the University of Jordan on 11 October 2015.
  • Hon. Doctorate by Al-Quds University of Ramallah, Palestine on 13 October 2015.
  • Hon. Doctorate by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel on 15 October 2015.
  • Hon. Doctorate by Kathmandu University, Nepal on 3 November 2016.
  • Hon. Doctorate by Goa University on 25 April 2017.
  • D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) by Jadavpur University on 24 December 2017.
  • Hon. D.Litt. by the University of Chittagong on 16 January 2018.

Other recognition

  • Best Finance Minister in the World (1984), according to Euromoney magazine survey.
  • Finance Minister of the Year for Asia (2010), by Emerging Markets, daily newspaper of record for the World Bank and IMF.
  • Finance Minister of the Year (2010), by The Banker
  • Honorary Citizenship of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 15 June 2016.

Offices held

Pranab Mukherjee's positions in chronological order:

  • 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, 1998 Indian general election
  • Chairman of Group of 24 (a Ministerial Group attached to IMF and World Bank): 1984, 2009–2012
  • President of State Unit of Congress Party: 1985, 2000–08
  • Chairman of Economic Advisory Cell of AICC: 1987–1989
  • Deputy 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.

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