Biography of Zakir Husain – The first Muslim President of India

Education is a life-extending process. It is not possible to build a stable society without education. Education is one of the major factors in the transition of humankind. Without education, there is no future. One person who has attempted to usher in light in society through education is Dr.° Zakir Husain. Not only education but one of the individuals whose personality and patriotism have made India a modern, powerful country is Dr.° Husain. Dr.° Zakir Husain took various steps to transform India into a strong nation despite various challenges in the aftermath of his election as the third President of independent India. He continued his efforts to make India a strong country by reforming the education sector in particular.

Biography of Zakir Husain

Biography of Zakir Husain

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Table of Contents

NameZakir Husain[1]
Date of BirthFebruary 8, 1897
Place of BirthHyderabad, India (present-day Telangana)
Father’s NameFida Husain Khan
Education1/ Islamic High School in Etawah, Farrukhabad district
2/ Aligarh Muslim University
3/ Berlin University, Germany
Awards1/ Bharat Ratna (1963)
2/ Padma Vibhushan (1954 )
3/ From universities like Allahabad, Aligarh, Kolkata, Delhi, Kahira etc. Honored with the D Lit title
DiedMay 3, 1969.

Early Life of Zakir Husain

Zakir Hussain was born on February 8, 1897, to an Afghan family in Southern Hyderabad. His father Fida Husain Khan was a lawyer. Zakir Husain spent his childhood through a lot of challenges. He was just 10 years old when he lost his father, later when he was 14 years old, he also lost his mother. Yet Husain never gave up on the battle of his life.

Zakir Husain took up primary education in Hyderabad. On the other hand, he studied higher secondary at Sultan Bazar High School, a residential school. He later graduated in economics from a Christian Degree college under the University of Lucknow after pursuing high school at Islamic High School in Etawah. The college is currently known as Aligarh Muslim University. It may be recalled that he received a Doctorate in economics from the University of Berlin in 1926. Importantly, Zakir Husain emerged as a strong student leader possessing leadership qualities from his student days.

Also Read: Biography of Ram Nath Kovind

The career of Zakir Husain

Significantly, in 1920, many students and teachers, including Zakir Husain, played an important role in establishing the National Muslim University in Aligarh. However, this National Muslim University was subsequently shifted to Jamia Nagar and renamed as Jamia Millia University. It may be recalled that Zakir Husain spent his professional life teaching at Jamia Millia University. He taught at Jamia Millia University from 1920 to 1922.

Later in 1927, Zakir Husain served as head and vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University till 1948. From the establishment of the university to serving as vice chancellor, he took various steps to make the students self-reliant despite facing problems and challenges in various aspects.

Importantly, Zakir Husain was nominated to the Upper House in the Indian parliamentary system in 1956 after holding the post of vice-chancellor for many years in a row amid various challenges and problems. It may be recalled that Husain served successfully by being appointed governor of Bihar from 1957 to 1962. In addition, Dr.° Hussain served as a member of the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1957 as chairman of the Central Council for Secondary Education. In 1957, he served as a member of the University Grants Commission and served as a member of the Educational Reconstruction Committee of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh in 1948-49, parallel to the university’s membership of the Education Commission.

He subsequently served as vice president of India in 1962 and served as vice president till 1967. Zakir Husain was elected as the third President of independent India on May 13, 1967, after serving as vice president. It may be recalled that he was the first President elected from Islam. Importantly, he was sworn in as president and commented through his first speech that “India is his home and every person living here is like a member of his family.”

Importantly, Zakir Husain was an educationist in parallel with being a notable figure in Indian parliamentary politics and a politician full of all qualities. It may be recalled that Dr. Husain, in parallel with the fact that Universities in India were firm believers in intellectual integrity, believed that encouraging better education and research was the best way to strengthen a country. It may be recalled that while studying in Class VIII, he mentioned in his first work that the purpose of a student’s life should be to remove prejudices and to give up dishonest and bad habits.

Apart from being an educationist and a politician, Dr.° Zakir Husain was a literary figure. When he was in Germany he played an important role in publishing a collection of poems by famous Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan called “Ghalibi”. Hussain also made an outstanding contribution to the field of translation of literature. It was only after he joined as a professor at Jamia Millia University in 1920, that he translated Plato’s The Republic and Canon’s Elementary Political Economy books into Urdu. In addition, Dr.° Husain made special efforts to develop scientific thinking by creating a variety of stories for children in Urdu to promote the mental excellence of a child. For example, through the story ‘Saeeda ki Amma’, Dr.° Husain explains the relevance of medical science. Apart from this, he has some other stories “Blowing Hot, Blowing Cold”, “Little Chicken in a Hurry”, “The Poori that Ran Away”, “The Bravest Goat in the World”, and “A Flower Song”, “A Pact with the sun” etc. Importantly, Dr.° Zakir Husain’s granddaughter and writer Samina Mishra collected many stories of Dr.° Husain and compiled them under the name “The Magic Key.” Apart from this, his other translated books are – Educational Reconstruction in India, The Dynamic University, Friedrich List’s ‘National system of economics, etc.’

Dr.° Zakir Husain was honored with the Padma Vibhushan in 1954, and the Bharat Ratna Award in 1963 as India’s highest civilian honor. In addition, Dr.° Husain was also honored with the DLit title by the University of Delhi, Kolkata, Aligarh, Allahabad, and Cairo.


It may be recalled that Zakir Husain died on May 3, 1969, without ending his term as the third President of India. Dr.° Husain’s political integrity, values, secular attitude, strong personality, and ideals will always be alive among the new generation. Zakir Husain’s intellectual approach, considered to be a man of a great personality who has contributed to the field of education, politicians, and literature, is still popular and people still remember the relevance of Dr.° Zakir Husain’s thoughts for his hard work and humble behavior.

Dr.° Husain was a man who was confident of liberal religious views and secularism. He was also popular as an educationist even though he held the highest post in the country as president of India through active participation in the political arena. It may be recalled that Dr.° Husain was born into a normal family but in the midst of tough challenges, he was able to establish himself as a distinguished educationist, well-writer, eminent politician, and kind human lover through his own talent, perseverance, zeal, and personality.


1. Who is Zakir Husain?

Ans: Zakir Husain was an Indian economist and politician who served as the third president of India.

2. When and where was Zakir Husain born?

Ans: Husain was born on February 8, 1897, in Hyderabad, India.

3. When was Zakir Husain sworn in as the third President of India?

Ans: Husain was sworn in as the third President of independent India on May 13, 1967, after serving as vice president.

4. When Zakir Husain was awarded with Bharat Ratna India’s highest civilian honour?

Ans: He was awarded with Bharat Ratna in 1963.

5. Name some of the books translated by Zakir Husain.

Ans: Some of the books translated by Husain are – Plato’s The Republic and Canon’s Elementary Political Economy books, Educational Reconstruction in India, The Dynamic University, Friedrich List’s ‘National System of Economics, etc.’

6. When did Zakir Husain die?

Ans: Zakir Husain died on May 3, 1969, without ending his term as the third President of India.

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