Former president and senior Congress party leader Pranab Mukherjee was today conferred with country’s highest civilian award ‘Bharat Ratna’. The announcement was made on the eve of Republic Day. Pranab Mukherjee was born on December 11, 1935 in West Bengal’s Mirati. His father Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee was active in the Indian independence movement and was a member of West Bengal Legislative Council between 1952 and 1964 as a representative of the Indian National Congress and was the member of AICC. His mother was Rajlakshmi Mukherjee.
Mukherjee attended the Suri Vidyasagar College in Suri (Birbhum), then affiliated to University of Calcutta. He subsequently earned an MA degree in Political Science and History and also an LL.B.degree both from University of Calcutta. In 1963, he became Lecturer (Assistant Professor) teaching Political Science at the Vidyanagar College and also worked as a Journalist with the Desher Dak (Call of Motherland) before entering politics.
Pranab Mukherjee got married to Suvra Mukherjee, who was from Narail in Bangladesh, and migrated at the age of 10 years to Kolkata.
Pranab Mukherjee served as the 13th President of India from 2012 until 2017 and succeeded Pratibha Patil, India’s first woman president. With this award, he joins the elite club with Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Rajendra Prasad, Zakir Hussain and V V Giri who had been conferred the coveted award.
In a political career spanning five decades, Mukherjee has been a senior leader in the Indian National Congress and has occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India.
Under Manmohan Singh, who became prime minister in 2004, Mukherjee held most of the major ministerial portfolios in the cabinet: commerce (1993–95), external affairs (1995–96 and 2006–09), defense (2004–06), and finally back to finance (2009–12). He also occupied several important legislative posts, including leader of the Rajya Sabha (1980–84).
In addition to his government activities in India, Mukherjee was involved with a number of prominent international organizations, most notably occupying seats on the boards of governors of the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank during his two stints as finance minister.
On Friday, an official statement released by the Rashtrapati Bhawan said that former President Pranab Mukherjee, Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and singer Bhupen Hazarika will be conferred the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.
The Bharat Ratna will be conferred after a gap of four years. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and founder of Banaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya were given the award by the Narendra Modi government in 2015.