English Hindi


Politics & War

Politics & War

Shankar Dayal Sharma

Shankar Dayal Sharma





  • Shankar Dayal Sharma (19 August 1918 – 26 December 1999) was the ninth President of India, serving from 1992 to 1997. Prior to his presidency, Sharma had been the eighth Vice President of India, serving under R. Venkataraman.
  • He was also the Chief Minister (1952–1956) of Bhopal(then name of Madhya Pradesh), and Cabinet Minister (1956–1967), holding the portfolios of Education, Law, Public Works, Industry and Commerce, National Resources and Separate Revenue. He was the President of the Indian National Congress in 1972–1974 and returned to the Government as Union Minister for Communications from 1974 to 1977.
  • The International Bar Association presented Sharma with the ‘Living Legends of Law Award of Recognition’ for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession internationally and for commitment to the rule of law.


  • Sharma was born in the city of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He completed initial schooling from Government Hamidiya Boys school Bhopal and educated at St. John’s College, Agra College, Punjab University and Lucknow University.
  • After earning a doctorate in law at the University of Cambridge, he attended Lincoln’s Inn in London and Harvard University.


  • In 1940, he began his legal practice in Lucknow and soon after joined the Indian National Congress. Sharma’s involvement in the national movement for independence led to his arrest, and he was imprisoned for eight months.
  • Sharma served as the president of the Bhopal State Congress Committee (1950-52) and chief minister of Bhopal (1952-56).From 1956 to 1971, he was a member of the Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly
  • Sharma made his debut in national politics in 1971 when he was elected to the Lok Sabha.In 1972, he was elected president of the Congress party and served in that position for two years. He was the minister of communications (1974-77)


  • In 1984 he began serving as a governor of Indian states, first in Andhra Pradesh. In 1985, he left Andhra Pradesh and became governor of Punjab during a time of violence between the Indian government and Sikh militants, many of whom lived in Punjab.
  • He left Punjab in 1986 and took up his final governorship in Maharashtra. He remained governor of Maharashtra until 1987 when he was elected for a 5-year term as the eighth Vice-President of India and chairman of the Rajya Sabha.


  • The title of ‘Rashtra Ratnam’ (Jewel of the Nation) has been conferred upon Dr. Sharma by His Holiness the Shankaracharya of Sringeri. The title of “Dharmaratnakara’ has been conferred on him by the Pontiff of Shravanbelagola.
  • International Bar Association has presented to Dr. Sharma the Living Legends of Law Award of Recognition for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession internationally and for commitment to the Rule of Law.


  • Sharma served as Vice-President until 1992, when he was elected President. He received 66% of the votes in the electoral college, defeating George Gilbert Swell. During his last year as President, it was his responsibility to swear in three prime ministers. He didn’t run for a second term as President.
  • Sharma was a sentimental public leader who sometimes broke down in Parliament before unruly lawmakers. He once said he believed in retaliating by shaming offenders with acts of kindness.


  • During the last five years of his life, Sharma suffered from ill health. On 26 December 1999, he suffered a massive heart attack and was admitted to a hospital in New Delhi, where he died.
  • He was cremated at Karma Bhumi. Sharma is survived by his son Satish Dayal Sharma from his first wife and a son Ashutosh Dayal Sharma, from his second wife, Smt. Vimala Sharma.
  • His daughter Gitanjali was shot dead along with her husband Congress MP Lalit Maken by Khalistani Militants.