Dr. Zakir Hussain was the third President of India. He was a freedom fighter and educational reformer.
Hussain was born on 1897 February 8th in Hyderabad. His father Fida Hussain was a very popular advocate who always fought for truth and justice. However, he died when Zakir was only 10. The next year, Zakir and family shifted to Itawa in Uttar Pradesh. He complted school education from Itawa Islamia School. When he was 14, Zakir lost his mother as well. The loss of his parents inspired great symapthy in Zakir to people in similar situation as well. He was active in schoolpolitics and once protested against the management who denied food to students who hadn't come to prayer.
Zakir completed his college education from Aligarh University. He got married to Shah Jahan Beegum in 1915. By 1918, when he passed BA as well, he had become popular as a student leader and speaker and a teacher.
He took part in Civil Disobedience movement following the prompting of Gandhiji. He met leaders such as Hakim Ajmal Khan and Dr. Ansari. They were the ones who established Jamia Milia Islamia. Zakir was both a teacher and student there. In those days he also translated Republis by Plato to Urdu.
Zakir later went on to acquire doctorate from Berlin University.He returned to India in 1926. The same year, he also met Mahatma Gandhi for the first time. He became the Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milia in 1929. He continued at the position till 1948. In 1937, Zakir was nominated by Gandhiji to the post of Chairman of National Education Meeting. It was a great honour for Zakir. After leaving Jamia in 1948, he went on to become the VC of Aligarh Muslim University.
Zakir Hussain was elected as a member of Rajya Sabha in 1952 for the first time. He was elected for one more time in 1956. He became the governor of Bihar state in 1957. In 1962, he was elected as the second Vice President of India. 5 years later, he was also elected as the 3rd President of the country. However, he could only occupy the position for 2 years. On 3 May 1969, he said goodbye to the world. He was the first Indian President to die while in office.
Zakir Hussain was someone who relentlessly worked for the nationality, educational progress and secularism in India. He always gave importance to others' matters above those of himself. The nation honoured him with Padma Vibhushan in 1954 and then Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in the country, in 1963.