First Ladies and Gentlemen of India

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First Lady and Gentleman of India
Flag of India.svg
First Lady Savita Kovind.jpg
Incumbent
Savita Kovind

since 25 July 2017
Residence Rashtrapati Bhavan
Inaugural holder Rajvanshi Devi
Formation January 26, 1950

The First Lady or First Gentleman of India is the unofficial title and position traditionally held by the wife or husband of the President of India during that person's term of office. There are no official roles or duties assigned to the spouse but he or she generally attends the official ceremonies and functions held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan along with the President.[1]

The position of First Lady of India is currently held by Savita Kovind, wife of President Ram Nath Kovind. She assumed the position after her husband took the oath of office to the post of president on 25th July 2017.[1]

History

Rajvanshi Devi, wife of India's first president, was the country's first First Lady from 1950 until 1962.[1] Devi kept a very low profile during this era and did not attend public events with President Rajendra Prasad.[1]

Saraswati Bai, wife of the country's fourth president, V. V. Giri, was the first First Lady to take a more public role.[1] Bai's role marked a change from the lower profile of her predecessors.[1] She attended and hosted public events and became a recognizable figure to the Indian public.[1] Her successor, Begum Abida Ahmed, India's first lady from 1974 to 1977, further expanded the public role of the First Lady's position by organizing ceremonies and official functions at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.[1]

Before Pratibha Patil was sworn in as the first female President of India, the role of the wives of the President were to act as the chief hostess of the Bhavan. In 2007, the office room meant for the First Lady went for some minor changes to accommodate the husband of Pratibha Patil, Devisingh Shekhawat, the country's inaugural "First Gentleman".[2]

Former First Lady Suvra Mukherjee, the wife of President Pranab Mukherjee, died in office on 18 August 2015. The position of First Lady remained vacant for the remainder of President Mukherjee's term.[3]

The role should not be confused with the spouse of the Prime Minister of India.

List of First Ladies and Gentlemen of India

# Name President Tenure began Tenure ended Reason of tenure end Notes
01.01 Rajvanshi Devi[4] Rajendra Prasad January 26, 1950 May 12, 1962 President's end of tenure
02.0 vacant Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan May 13, 1962 May 13, 1967 President was a widower Sivakamu Radhakrishnan, wife of Dr. Radhakrishnan died at home in Madras in 1956, before her husband became President. She was the Second Lady of India at the time of her death.[5]
03.02 Shahjehan Begum[6] Zakir Husain May 13, 1967 May 3, 1969 President Husain died in office
03.5 Saraswati Bai V. V. Giri May 3, 1969 July 20, 1969 Acting President Acting First Lady
03.6 Pushpa Shah Mohammad Hidayatullah May 20, 1969 August 24, 1969 Acting President Acting First Lady. Second Lady of India from 1979–1984
04.03 Saraswati Bai[7]
Varahagiri Venkata Giri August 24, 1969 August 24, 1974 President's end of tenure
05.04 Begum Abida Ahmed Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed August 24, 1974 February 11, 1977 President's death
05.5 Shrimati Sangamma B. D. Jatti February 11, 1977 July 25, 1977 Acting President
06.05 Neelam Nagaratnamma[8] Neelam Sanjiva Reddy July 25, 1977 July 25, 1982 President's end of tenure Neelam Nagaratnamma died on 11 January 2010[8]
07.06 Pardhan Kaur[9]
[10]
Giani Zail Singh July 25, 1982 July 25, 1987 President's end of tenure
08.07 Janaki Venkataraman Ramaswamy Venkataraman July 25, 1987 July 25, 1992 President's end of tenure India's first foreign born (Burma) First Lady
09.08 Vimala Sharma[11] Shankar Dayal Sharma July 25, 1992 July 25, 1997 President's end of tenure
10.09 Usha Narayanan Kocheril Raman Narayanan July 25, 1997 July 25, 2002 President's end of tenure India's second foreign born (Myanmar) First Lady and the first one of foreign origin[12]
11.0 unmarried A. P. J. Abdul Kalam July 25, 2002 July 25, 2007 President never married President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was India's first bachelor president[13]
12.010 Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat Pratibha Patil July 25, 2007 July 25, 2012 President's end of tenure Shekhawat was India's first First Gentleman
13.011 Suvra Mukherjee Pranab Mukherjee July 25, 2012 August 18, 2015 Died in office on 18 August 2015[3] Suvra Mukherjee is the first First Lady to die during her husband's presidency.
13.5 vacant Pranab Mukherjee August 18, 2015 July 25, 2017 Position was vacant following the death of former First Lady Suvra Mukherjee
13.512 Savita Kovind Ram Nath Kovind July 25, 2017 Incumbent

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Rathi, Nandini (2017-07-26). "Savita Kovind enters Rashtrapati Bhavan, but India's First Ladies are yet to make a mark". Indian Express. Retrieved 2017-09-12. 
  2. ^ "The first ladies of Rashtrapati Bhavan". Live Mint. HT Media Ltd. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Nandan Jha, Durgesh (23 August 2015). "Suvra Mukherjee, President Pranab Mukherjee's wife, passes away". Times of India. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Rajendra Prasad –> 1st President of India". Rediff.com. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Gandhi, Gopalkrishna (2013-01-26). "Only half our story". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
  6. ^ "ZAKIR HUSAIN, DR". Vice President of India. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Presidents of India - V V Giri". Indiapicks.com. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy's wife passes away". The Hindu. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
  9. ^ "Giani Zail Singh's widow dead". The Tribune. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Hazarika, Sanjoy (1994-12-26). "Zail Singh, 78, First Sikh To Hold India's Presidency". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
  11. ^ "President Pranab Mukherjee pays tributes to Shanker Dayal Sharma". Zee News. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "Ex-First Lady Usha Narayanan dies at 86". The Indian Express. The Indian Express Ltd. 
  13. ^ "APJ Abdul Kalam, from India's missile man to people's President". The Indian Express. 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
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