Written By Nischal Srinivasan (Grade 12)
India’s political biography presents numerous examples of public figures and officers who held distinguished ranks for surprisingly short periods. In this essay, we will explore the stories of some of these people, including Gulzarilal Nanda, Kamal Narain Singh, Dr. Zakir Hussain, and Harish Rawat. Their ephemeral civil service left an everlasting imprint on the nation’s history.
Gulzarilal Nanda: The Eminent Caretaker
The celebrated Indian politician Gulzarilal Nanda was twice privileged to serve his country as Prime Minister, although for a mere aggregation of 13 days. His initial stint as head of government occurred in 1964, upon the unexpected death of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Nanda functioned as a placeholder during this period, providing a bridge between Nehru and the upcoming leader nominated by the Indian National Congress. In a remarkable display of patriotism, Nanda decided to step down in favour of Lal Bahadur Shastri, demonstrating his vast commitment to the prosperity of the nation.
Nanda’s second stint as Prime Minister in 1966, just for a meagre thirteen days, came about due to the sudden death of Shastri. Throughout his brief tenure, he put forth considerable efforts to keep things running smoothly and maintain political steadiness. Nanda’s complete dedication to public service earned him great regard from all walks of political life, thus turning him into a legendary figure in India’s political history.
Kamal Narain Singh: The Chief Justice of 17 Days
In 1991, Kamal Narain Singh took on the esteemed job of Chief Justice of India, the peak legal authority in the country. His selection was fervently anticipated, yet his post was unfortunately all too brief, continuing for just 17 days. Singh’s service was distinguished by a series of noteworthy conflicts, including a controversial disagreement over the Ayodhya place of worship. Despite the brief period, he took up his responsibilities with dedication and honesty.
Dr Zakir Hussain: The First Muslim President of India
Dr. Zakir Hussain was a history-maker, assuming the position of the first Muslim President of India, but only for a little less than two years. He was regarded as an intellectual of renown and eulogised as a revered head of state who had great sway over the nation’s education framework. Dr. Hussain was a force to be reckoned with in India’s journey towards independence. Thanks to his ardent patriotism, he was able to instill in the population a sense of justice and concord between contrasting groups. In spite of herculean challenges, he laboured diligently to wipe out illiteracy and modernise India’s class structure. Moreover, Hussain championed the cause of the less fortunate segments of the population by being an impassioned guardian of minorities’ privileges. Through his landmark contributions in education, public health, and the safeguarding of historical places, he wrote an indelible page in India’s annals. Additionally, the doctor strived ceaselessly for international amity and mediation among feuding countries, conveying wellbeing and benevolence in all of his deals. Dr. Zakir Hussain’s patriotism will continue to be a light to successive generations for a long time to come.
Dr. Zakir Hussain represented a pioneering period in Indian history, serving as the country’s initial Muslim president. Sadly, his presidency was characterised by its briefness, as he passed away while in office, succeeding as the Indian President with the least time in office. While in office, Dr. Hussain worked devotedly to support instruction and cultural awareness. His legacy remains alive through the Zakir Husain Delhi College, labelled in his memory.
Harish Rawat: A Day as Chief Minister
Harish Rawat’s peregrination in Uttarakhand is remarkable, with his second term as Chief Minister renowned as the briefest in the state’s annals, lasting merely a day. In 2016, Rawat confronted a maelstrom of unstable politics, characterized by polarization and legislative instability. His short-lived second term was symbolic of the chaotic political environment in Uttarakhand at the time.
The life histories of those few privy to influential postings grant us a valuable insight into the politics of India. Though their terms were swift, they nonetheless achieved considerable feats in the name of their motherland, leaving behind an immovable constitution of loyalty and labor. Gulzarilal Nanda’s unwavering allegiance towards sustaining order, Kamal Narain Singh’s enthusiasm for equity, Dr. Zakir Hussain’s trailblazing role, and the perseverance of Harish Rawat in the face of governmental adversities all serve to demonstrate the merits of leadership and serve as a footing stone for the public. These flashbacks of Indian memory assure us that the impression of individuals is more immense in nature than the amount of time they occupy an office and bequeath impacts that shall resound through the nation’s coming centuries.
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