Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed

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Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed 1977 stamp of India (cropped).jpg
Ahmed on a 1977 stamp of India
5th President of India
In office
24 August 1974 – 11 February 1977
Prime MinisterIndira Gandhi
Vice PresidentB. D. Jatti
Gopal Swarup Pathak
Preceded byV. V. Giri
Succeeded byB. D. Jatti
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byRenuka Devi Barkataki
Succeeded byIsmail Hossain Khan
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Personal details
Born(1905-05-13)13 May 1905
Old Delhi, Delhi, British India
(present-day India)
Died11 February 1977(1977-02-11) (aged 71)
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Political partyIndian National Congress
Spouse(s)Begum Abida Ahmed
Alma materSt. Stephen’s College, Delhi, University of Cambridge
Inner Temple

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (13 May 1905 – 11 February 1977) was an Indian lawyer and politician who served as the 5th president of India from 1974 to 1977. He was the second Muslim President of India, and also the second President of India to die in office.[1][2]

Early life and background[edit]

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was born on 13 May 1905 at the Hauz Qazi area of Old Delhi, India.[2] His father, Col. Zalnur Ali Ahmed, was an Assamese Muslim and the first Assamese person to have an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree.[3] His mother, Sahibzadi Ruqaiyya Sultan, was a daughter of the Nawab of Loharu.[4] Ahmed's grandfather, Khaliluddin Ahmed, was from Parsi Poria Family of Assamese Goria ethnic community. Khaliluddin Ahmed's forefather was brought to Assam by the medieval Ahom ruler from Delhi to work as translator to translate the letters received from Mughal emperor written in Persian language and also to write letters and communications to Mughal court in Persian language, therefore his family was called Parsi Poria family in Assam History. His family later on assimilated to Goria ethnic group of Assam and become a part of Goria community. Khaliluddin Ahmed family originally hailed from Gorgaon of present-day Sivsagor district of Assam from where during the Burmese invansion of Assam they fled to Kacharihat village of present-day Golaghat district of Assam to escape from Burmese atrocities. Later on Khaliluddin Ahmed migrated to Guwahati in the year 1840 wherein Col. Zalnur Ali Ahmed, father of Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed was born on 19 July 1848. Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed married a Muslim girl named Begum Abida Ahmed of Sheikhupur, Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. Ahmed attended St. Stephen's College, Delhi, and St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar from the Inner Temple of London and began legal practice in the Lahore High Court in 1928.[2][4][5]

Political years[edit]

He met Jawaharlal Nehru in England in 1925. He joined the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Indian Freedom Movement. In 1942 he was arrested during the Quit India Movement and sentenced to 3+12 years imprisonment.[2] He was a member of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee from 1936 and of AICC from 1947 to 1974, and remained the Minister of Finance, Revenue and labour in 1948 Gopinath Bordoloi Ministry.[6]

After Independence he was elected to the Rajya Sabha (1952–1953) and thereafter became Advocate-General of the Government of Assam. He was elected on the Congress ticket to the Assam Legislative Assembly for two terms (1957–1962) and (1962–1967) representing the Jania constituency.[6]

Subsequently, he was elected to the Lok Sabha, representing the Barpeta constituency, Assam in 1967 and again in 1971. In the Central Cabinet he was given important portfolios relating to Food and Agriculture, Co-operation, Education, Industrial Development and Company Laws.[6]

Presidency (1974-1977)[edit]

Ahmed was chosen for the presidency by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974, and on 20 August 1974, he became the second Muslim to be elected President of India. He is known to have issued the proclamation of emergency by signing the papers at midnight after a meeting with Indira Gandhi the same day.[7] He used his constitutional authority as head of state to allow her to rule by decree once the Emergency in India was proclaimed in 1975.[8]

He is well known among Indian diplomats for his visit to Sudan in 1975.[9]

Death and legacy[edit]

He was the second Indian president to die in office, on 11 February 1977. His death occurred after he collapsed in his office while preparing to attend his daily Namaz prayer. The cause of his death was a heart attack. Today, his grave lies right across the Parliament of India next to the Sunhari Masjid, at Sansad Chowk, in New Delhi.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

Salute To The President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed is a 1977 short documentary film directed by J.S. Bandekar and produced by the Films Division of India, it covers the life and works of the president.[11]


He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Pristina, in Kosovo, in 1975, during his visit to Yugoslavia.[12]

He was elected President of the Assam Football Association and the Assam Cricket Association for several terms; and was also the vice-president of the Assam Sports Council.[13]

In April 1967, he was elected President of the All India Cricket Association. He was a member of the Delhi Golf Club and the Delhi Gymkhana Club from 1961.[14]

A medical college, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College has been named after him at Barpeta Assam.[15]

Grave of former Indian President Fakhrudhin Ali Ahmad

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Former Presidents Archived 10 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine President of India website.
  2. ^ a b c d Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1905–1977): Biography RRTC, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Archived 29 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "[Assam] Lt Col Sivram Bora". 7 July 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b "History of India". Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  5. ^ Ahmed, Kamru Jaman (May 2009). স্মৃতিৰ জিলিঙনিত কেইগৰাকীমান অসমৰ মুছলমান. Guwahati, Assam: Al-Ameen Welfare Society. pp. ঙ, 65–69, 238–241.
  6. ^ a b c Nikhat Ekbal (2009). Great Muslims of undivided India. Kalpaz. pp. 99–101. ISBN 8178357569.
  7. ^ "Who is Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed?". The Indian Express. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Shri Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed". Past Presidents of India. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  9. ^ "India-South Sudan Relations" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  10. ^ "President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed passes away". India Today. 28 February 1977.
  11. ^ "SALUTE TO THE PRESIDENT FAKHRUDDIN ALI AHMED | Films Division". filmsdivision.org. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  12. ^ Rajendra Kumar. President and Prime Minister of India. p. 1963.
  13. ^ Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed - President of India, Glorious India
  14. ^ "Fifth Lok Sabha". Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1974 - 1977)". The Economic Times. 21 July 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, by M. A. Naidu, 1975
  • Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, by Attar Chand. Pub. Homeland, 1975.
  • Janak Raj Jai (2003). "Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed". Presidents of India, 1950–2003. Daya Books. p. 101. ISBN 81-87498-65-X.
  • Speeches of President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1980.
  • My eleven years with Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, by F. A. A. Rehmaney. S. Chand, 1979.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by President of India
Succeeded by