Biography of Ramaswamy Venkataraman – The Eighth President of India

Ramaswamy Venkataraman is one of the individuals whose personality and patriotism has made India a modern, powerful country. Ramaswamy Venkataraman, who dedicated his entire life to the nation, was an uncompromising freedom fighter, an accomplished politician, an efficient MP. It may be recalled that Venkataraman was a professional lawyer. Ramaswamy Venkataraman also served as union minister by entering active politics by actively participating in India’s freedom struggle against British rule. Venkataraman, who held the highest prestigious position in the country, served as the eighth President of India.

Biography of Ramaswamy Venkataraman

Biography of Ramaswamy Venkataraman

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NameRamaswamy Venkataraman[1]
Date of Birth4 December, 1910
Place of BirthPattukottai, Rajamadam Village, Tanjore district, Tamil Nadu
Father’s NameShri K. Ramaswamy Iyer
Education1/ Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Pattukottai
2/ National College, Tiruchirappalli
3/ Loyola College, University of Madras
4/ Law College, Madras
Awards1/Honorary doctorate degree in law from University of Madras, Burdwan University, Nagarjuna University and University of Philippines.
2/1967 Soviet Land Award for travelogue titled K. Kamaraj’s Journey to Soviet Countries.
3/ Seven Service Gemstones.
Died27 January 2009

Early Life of Ramaswamy Venkataraman

Ramaswamy Venkataraman was born in Rajamadam village in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu in 1910. He started his formal education at Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Pattukottai. He later graduated from Loyola College in Chennai in economics after completing his higher secondary from National College at Tiruchirappalli. After successfully graduating, he completed his law degree from the Law College in Madras and joined the Madras High Court in 1935 and in the Supreme Court in 1951.

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Political Career

Importantly Ramaswamy Venkataraman actively participated in the British opposition freedom struggle which started under the leadership of the Indian National Congress while practicing law. His active participation in the Indian National Congress’s celebrated resistance to the British Government, the Quit India Movement of 1942, resulted in his detention for two years under the Defence of India Rules.

It may be recalled that Ramaswamy Venkataraman was interested in Labour Law since the beginning of his career. For which he played a key role in the formation of the Labour Wing of the Provincial Congress Committee in Tamil Nadu after being released from jail in 1944. Venkataraman was also closely associated with the trade union.

Venkataraman became involved in direct politics because of his involvement in various programmes of law and trade unions. It may be recalled that he also served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India that drafted India’s constitution. Venkataraman was elected as an MP to the Provisional Parliament of India in 1950 and served till 1952 and he was also elected to India’s first parliament after independence in 1952-1957. During his term of legislative activity, Venkataraman attended the 1952 Session of the Metal Trades Committee of International Labour Organisation as a workers delegate. He was a member of the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in New Zealand. Venkataraman was also Secretary to the Congress Parliamentary Party in 1953-1954.

Although re-elected to Parliament in 1957, Venkataraman resigned his seat in the Lok Sabha to join the State Government of Madras as a Minister. There Venkataraman held the portfolios of Industries, Labour, Cooperation, Power, Transport and Commercial Taxes from 1957 to 1967. Venkataraman subsequently served as a member of the Central Planning Commission in 1967.

Ramaswamy Venkataraman edited a political magazine ‘Swarajya’ from 1975 to 1977. It may be recalled that Venkataraman had also served as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee on various occasions, serving as a member of the Political Affairs Committee and Economic Affairs Committee of the Union Cabinet and serving as an MP of the opposition party in 1977 after being elected to the Lok Sabha from South Madras constituency. Venkataraman entered the national political arena in 1980 and was re-elected to the Lok Sabha and took over as minister in the finance portfolio of the Indira Gandhi government. Venkataraman subsequently took over as Defence Minister in 1983. Taking over as Defence Minister, Venkataraman radically transformed India’s missile programme by integrating the entire missile system into an integrated guided missile development programme. Importantly, Venkataraman shifted Dr.° APJ Abdul Kalam from space programme to the missile programme, and consolidated the entire missile system, naming it as Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, while serving as defence minister.

It may be recalled that Ramaswamy Venkataraman held the post of Vice President of India in 1984, he was elected as the seventh vice president of India and later served as eighth President of India in July 1987 till 1992. Importantly Venkataraman as president got a chance to work with four prime ministers. He also served as a State minister under K. Kamraj and M. Bhaktavatsalam.

Venkataraman was also closely involved in various international organizations. Venkataraman also served as Governor of The Asian Development Bank. Ramaswamy Venkataraman participated as India’s representative in the Un General Assembly in 1953, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961. Venkataraman led the Indian delegation at the 42nd session of the International Labour Summit held in Geneva in 1958. Ramaswamy Venkataraman also represented India at the Inter-Parliamentary Conference held in Vienna in 1978. It may be recalled that Venkataraman was appointed as a member of the UN Administrative Tribunal in 1955 and served as its president from 1968 to 1979.

Ramaswamy Venkataraman made an outstanding contribution to social life through writing various books despite being involved in active politics. The notable books he wrote are – Role of Planning in Industrial Development published in 1969, The Role of a Private Member of Parliament published in 1986, My Presidential Years published in 1995 – R Venkataraman, published in 1996 R. Venkataraman on Contemporary Issues, Relevance of Gandhi : And Other Essays published in 1998.

Award Honours

Importantly, Madras University, Burdwan University, Nagarjuna University and The University of the Philippines awarded Venkataraman an honorary doctorate in law.  Venkataraman was also an honorary fellow at Madras Medical College. Venkataraman was also awarded a doctorate degree in sociology from University of Roorkee. It may be recalled that Venkataraman was awarded the Tamra Patra Award in recognition of his active participation in the freedom movement. Importantly Venkataraman won the Soviet Land Award in 1967 for his travelogue titled K. Kamaraj’s visit to the Socialist Countries.  Apart from these Shankaracharya of Kancheepuram also conferred the title of “Saat Seva Ratna” to Venkataraman. He was a great devotee of the Paramacharya of Kanchi.


On January 27, 2009, at the age of 98, Venkataraman died of a complex disease called Urosepsis at Army Hospital in New Delhi. Venkataraman’s political integrity, values, strong personality, ideals will always be alive among the new generation even if he is not present physically. Ramaswamy Venkataraman, who is respected as a man of great personality in parallel with his contribution as a politician, is always relevant to his philosophy even today because of his intellectual approach, hard work and humble behaviour. Venkataraman, who dedicated his entire life to the nation, was an uncompromising freedom fighter, an efficient politician, an efficient MP, a strong leader who spoke out for the rights of the working class. Venkataraman’s intellectual approach, hard work and humble behaviour, who has been hailed as a lawyer, politician, a man of huge personality and who has contributed to the field of literature, is still popular and still relevant today.


1. When was Ramaswamy Venkataraman elected president of India?

Answer: Ramaswamy Venkataraman was sworn in as president in July 1987 and served as the eighth president till 1992.

2. What is Ramaswamy Venkataraman’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle?

Answer: Ramaswamy Venkataraman, like others, actively participated in the freedom movement to restore India’s lost independence against British rule. His active participation in the Indian National Congress’s celebrated resistance to the British Government, the Quit India Movement of 1942, resulted in his detention for two years under the Defence of India Rules.

3. Where and when was Ramaswamy Venkataraman born?

Answer: He was born on December 4, 1910 at Pattukottai in Rajamadam village in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu.

4. When did Ramaswamy Venkataraman died?

Answer: Venkatraman died of Urosepsis at the age of 98 on January 27, 2009 at Army Hospital in New Delhi.

5. What is the name of the political magazine edited by Ramaswamy Venkataraman?

Answer: Ramaswamy Venkataraman edited the political magazine from 1975 to 1977 called “Swarajya.”

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