Dr Zakir Husain

Dr Zakir Husain Khan was the third President of India, from 13th May 1967 until his death on 3rd May 1969.

Updated: June 16, 2022

Dr Zakir Husain Khan was the third President of India, from 13th May 1967 until his death on 3rd May 1969. He previously served as Governor of Bihar from 1957 to 1962 and as Vice President of India from 1962 to 1967. He was also the co-founder of Jamia Milia Islamia, serving as its Vice Chancellor from 1928. 


He was a renowned educationist and intellectual and his contribution in the development of modern India through education is invaluable. He served as Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia for 22 years, making it one of the most distinguished centres of learning. He spent his entire life working for the cause of education and value of secularism. For his services to the country he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest national honour. He was born on February 8th, 1897 and died on May 3rd, 1969.


Childhood of Dr Zakir Husain:

Zakir Husain was born to Fida Husain Khan and Naznin Begum on February 8th, 1897, in Kaimganj, Farrukhabad. His family, which originally was based in Hyderabad, had migrated to Kaimganj. He was the third of the seven sons born to the couple. His father died when young Husain was merely ten years of age. Within three years, his mother too passed away leaving Husain and his six siblings orphaned.


Education of Dr Zakir Husain:

He completed his early education from Islamia High School in Etawah after which he enrolled at the Anglo Muhammadan Oriental College, which is now popular by the name of Aligarh Muslim University.


At college, he served as a prominent student leader. In 1918, he passed his B.A. Honors and joined M.A., but the Khilafat and Non-Co-operation Movement led by Mahatama Gandhi, inspired him to leave the government administered college.


Family of Dr Zakir Husain:

He married at the age of 18 in 1915 to Shah Jahan Begum following the tradition of early marriage. The couple was blessed with two daughters, Sayeeda Khan and Safia Rahman. His grandson, Salman Khurshid, took forward his political legacy by serving as a Congress politician. He even took up the profile of the Foreign Minister of India in the former government.


Some facts about Dr Zakir Husain:

  • In 1920, he led a small group of students and teachers and together they founded the National Muslim University at Aligarh in October 1920. Five years later, they shifted the university to Karol Bagh before finally shifting it to Jamia Nagar in New Delhi, where it eventually was re-christened as Jamia Milia University.
  • As an educator and teacher, he propagated the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi and Hakim Ajmal Khan and experimented with value-based education. In few time, he became one of the most celebrated educational thinkers of the country.
  • In 1962, he was appointed as the Vice President of India. He held the profile for a full five year term and created history by being the first Muslim to occupy such a prestigious post.
  • He not only founded Jamia Milia Islamia University but served as its Vice Chancellor as well. His contribution towards the institution has made the history. It has become one of the most distinguished centres of learning in modern India.
  • In 1954, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan
  • In 1963, he was conferred with India's highest national honour, Bharat Ratna.
  • He breathed his last on May 3, 1969 thus becoming the first Indian President to die in office. He was buried on the campus of Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi, alongside his wife.



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