President of India during 1967-1969, Dr. Zakir Husain was an outstanding scholar who had contributed much to the popularization of the Gandhian scheme of the basic national education. The scheme was launched in 1938 and Dr. Husain was the President of the Hindustani Talimi Sangh, Sevagram (1938- 1948).He was first awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1954 and the Bharat Ratna in 1963. He had been the recipient of academic honors from various Indian Universities.
Tall, well built with an impressive personality, Dr. Zakir Husain was always associated with learning and culture. He was one of the founders of the Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi. He became its Vice Chancellor in the twenties. It was at the Jamia Milia that he developed his educational ideals.
Born at Hyderabad on February 8, 1897, Dr. Zakir Husain had his education in Uttar Pradesh. Later, he went to the University of Berlin in Germany and took doctorate in Economics in 1962. In 1948, Dr. Zakir Husain became the Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University. He was also a member of the first Indian Universities Commission. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was also a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO from 1956 to 1958. In 1962 he was elected Vice President of India. He became the third President of India on May 9, 1967. He passed away suddenly on May 3, 1969. Dr. Zakir Husain translated Plato’s “Republic” into Urdu.
A nationalist of the Gandhian vintage, Dr. Husain held up the highest moral values and lived up to them. He believed in democracy with individual freedom and self discipline.