top of page

K.R. Narayanan's biography is a good example of how "hard work and talent brings success.




Born With: Born: October 27, 1920 Travancore, Kerala's Perumthanam died on: September 9, 2005 Profession: Political leader, lecturer Nationality: The story of Indian K.R. Narayanan's biography is a good example of how "hard work and talent brings success even in adversity." Even though Narayanan was born into a Dalit family that was extremely poor, he struggled and overcame a number of challenges to get an education and a good job. He was named the tenth President of India because of his dedication to the country's social welfare. Narayanan was the only Dalit and Malayali to hold the presidency. He called himself a "working President" and a "citizen President." As a result, he established a standard for the distinction between an "executive president," who has been given direct power, and a "rubber-stamp president," who simply accepts orders from the government without questioning or considering them. In 1955, Jawaharlal Nehru described him as "the best diplomat of the country." Childhood and Development K.R. Narayanan was born Kocheril Raman Narayanan in a small thatched hut in the village of Uzhavoor in Perumthanam, Travancore, which is now part of the Kottayam district in the state of Kerala. He was the fourth of seven children born to Punnaththuraveettil Paappiyamma and Kocheril Raman Vaidyar. His family belonged to the Paravan caste, which was obligated to harvest coconuts in accordance with the caste system. They were extremely poor. But because he was an expert in the ancient Indian medical systems of Siddha and Ayurveda, his father was highly regarded. His formal education began in 1927 at the Government Lower Primary School in Kurichithanam. From 1931 to 1935, he attended Our Lady of Lourdes Upper Primary School in Uzhavoor. Narayanan walked 10-15 kilometers each day through paddy fields to get to school due to his family's poor financial situation. Additionally, because he was unable to pay his school fees on time, he frequently attended lectures by standing outside the classroom. Narayanan received assistance with his studies from his asthmatic brother, K.R. Neelakantan, who borrowed books and copied notes for him. From 1935 to 1936, Narayanan attended St. John's High School in Koothattukulam before enrolling in St. Mary's High School in Kuravilangad in 1937. With the help of a merit scholarship, he completed his intermediate studies at CMS College, Kottayam, in 1940. He graduated with first place in the university in 1943 with a BA (Hons) and MA in literature from the University of Travancore, which is now the University of Kerala. As a result, he became the first Dalit to graduate with distinction. However, because he belonged to a lower caste, he refused the college's offer of a degree and a job. With a good result, Narayanan went to Delhi to work, but the bad conditions forced him to return home. From 1944 to 1945, he was a journalist for The Hindu and The Times of India, but he wanted to study abroad. On April 10, 1945, he even conducted an interview with Mahatma Gandhi in Bombay during this time. In any case, the charges requested were very high, especially for a person like Narayanan, and there were no extensions for grants during those days. As a result, he wrote a letter to JRD Tata requesting financial assistance. In 1945, Narayanan went to the prestigious London School of Economics to study political science after Tata came to his rescue. It was an honor for him to study under Harold Laski, a renowned scholar. Under V.V. Krishna Menon, he actively participated in the India League. He was K.M. Munshi's London correspondent for the publication Social Welfare Weekly. He had the good fortune to live in the same room as K.N. Raj and Veeraswamy Ringadoo, the first President of Mauritius. He even became friends with Pierre Trudeau, who later became Canada's Prime Minister. Academic and diplomatic career Narayanan returned to India in 1948 after earning a B.Sc. (Hons) in Economics with a concentration in political science. Laski, his professor, wrote a letter of introduction to Jawaharlal Nehru. After that, Nehru spoke with Narayanan for a full 20 minutes. He accepted a position in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), joined, and traveled to Burma in 1949. As a diplomat in the Rangoon, Tokyo, London, Canberra, and Hanoi embassies, he was given some interesting tasks here. He also served as the Indian ambassador to Turkey from 1973 to 1975, the People's Republic of China from 1976 to 1978, and Thailand from 1967 to 1969. Narayanan taught at the Delhi School of Economics in 1954, was a Jawaharlal Nehru fellow from 1970 to 1972, and was the secretary to the Minister of External Affairs in 1976 during his time at IFS. He became the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University from 1979 to 1980 after retiring from IFS in 1978. However, the then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi offered him the position of Indian ambassador to the United States from 1980 to 1984.



Political Career Narayanan entered politics in 1984 upon Indira Gandhi's request. He represented the Ottapalam constituency in Kerala in the Lok Sabha for three consecutive terms—in 1984, 1989, and 1991. He ran for office on a Congress ticket. After becoming the Minister of State in the Union Cabinet under Rajiv Gandhi in 1985, he was in charge of the Planning portfolio in 1985, the External Affairs portfolio from 1985 to 1986, and the Science and Technology portfolio from 1986 to 1989. When Congress was overthrown from 1989 to 1991, he ran for elections as a member of the opposition party. When Congress came back to power in 1991, he was not included in the cabinet because he was seen as a fellow traveler who traveled with the Communists. However, on August 21, 1992, under the presidency of Shankar Dayal Sharma, Narayanan was elected as the ninth Vice President of India on the proposal of V.P. Singh, the leader of the Janata Dal party at the time. From 1992 to 1997, he served his entire five-year term. "The greatest tragedy India has faced since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi," he called the December 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid. Tenure as President Following his successful tenure as Vice President, Narayanan was elected President of India on July 25, 1997, receiving 95 percent of the vote. Narayanan became India's first Dalit and Malayali president as a result of this. During his tenure, India celebrated the Golden Jubilee and celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence. When general elections began in 1998, Narayanan became the first sitting president to vote from a Rashtrapati Bhavan polling booth by waiting in line like any other common citizen. He did this in a new way that no Indian president had done before. Social and Economic Crises During his presidency, Narayanan made a lot of speeches about how to improve the lives of Dalits and Adivasis, minorities, the poor, and the underprivileged. Atrocities against women and children, caste discrimination, abuse of the environment and public utilities, corruption and a lack of accountability in the delivery of public services, religious fundamentalism, advertisement-driven consumerism, and disregard for human rights were among his primary areas of focus. He advocated for expanding education for the benefit of human and economic development, citing a number of examples and experiences from Kerala, his home state. After retiring from office, Narayanan and his wife lived the rest of their lives in a bungalow on Prithviraj Road in Delhi. Through the World Social Forum (WSF), which took place in Mumbai on January 21, 2004, he gave the alternative globalization movement his full support. He gave Santhigiri Ashram in Pothencode the use of his ancestral home in Uzhavoor to establish the Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru Research Centre for Siddha and Ayurveda. As a result, Narayanan made his final trip to his hometown. K.R. Narayanan Foundation In loving memory of Narayanan, the K.R. Narayanan Foundation (KRNF) was established in December 2005. The goal of the foundation was to make life better for women, children, people with disabilities, the elderly, and other underprivileged groups in Kerala. The organization's goals are to provide these groups with educational training, safeguard their health and the environment, enhance their living conditions, and build up their families and communities. In his honor, the foundation has been working on a documentary about Narayanan's life called "The Footprints of Survival." The documentary's script, directed by senior journalist Sunny Joseph, is based on the biography of KRNF General Secretary Eby J. Jose. The documentary will be released in English as well as Malayalam. Personal Life Narayanan met Ma Tint Tint, a YWCA activist, while working in Rangoon, Burma. In accordance with Indian law, Narayanan needed a special dispensation from Nehru to marry a foreigner because Ma Tint Tint was a foreigner and Narayanan was an IFS. On June 8, 1951, they tied the knot in Delhi. Ma Tint Tint became an Indian citizen and changed her name to Usha. Usha collaborated with Narayanan on a number of programs for women's and children's social welfare. She is the only foreign woman to serve as India's First Lady. Chitra and Amrita, the couple's daughters, were born.



Death Narayanan suffered from pneumonia in his later years, which led to renal failure. On November 9, 2005, he passed away at the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi. He was 85 at the time. At Ekta Sthal, on the Yamuna River, next to the Shanti Van memorial to his mentor Jawaharlal Nehru, he was given a fitting farewell and cremated. Dr. P.V. Ramachandran, his nephew, performed his final rites. The villagers of Uzhavoor marched to his ancestral home in reverent homage and gave him a silent salute. 1920 Timeline: was born in 1937 in the village of Uzhavoor, Perumthanam, Travancore: graduated from St. Mary's High School in Kuravilangad in 1940: 1943: Graduated from CMS College, Kottayam: From 1944 to 1945, earned a BA (Hons) and an MA in Literature from the University of Travancore: worked as a journalist for the Times of India and The Hindu in 1945: With assistance from JRD Tata, attended the London School of Economics in 1948: returned to India in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in economics: In 1951, I joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and traveled to Burma: On June 8, 1954, Ma Tint Tint got married: From 1967 to 1969, taught at the Delhi School of Economics: From 1973 to 1975, served as Indian ambassador to Thailand: 1976: Was the Indian ambassador to Turkey: From 1976 to 1978, served as secretary to the Minister of External Affairs: 1978: Was the Indian ambassador to China: 1979-80: Retired from IFS: Served as Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor from 1980 to 1984: In 1984, he was appointed Indian ambassador to the United States: On a Congress ticket in 1989, was elected as a Lok Sabha member representing the Ottapalam constituency: 1991: Elected for a second time to the Lok Sabha: 1992: Elected for the third time to the Lok Sabha: On August 21, 1997, he became the ninth Vice President of India: completed his term as Vice President with success and became India's tenth President in 2002: finished his presidency in 2005: aged 85, passed away on November 9 in Delhi; In December, the K.R. Narayanan Foundation was established.






















18 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page