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6 May 2010

On this day in history: India elected its first Muslim President, 1967

On 6th May 1967, the electoral college of the Republic of India voted for their new President. Votes were cast by the Members of the Indian Parliament and the Members of the State Legislative Assemblies. Each Member of Parliament had 576 votes, but number of votes cast by each Member of the State Legislative Assemblies varied, depending on the state's population.

On 9th May Dr. Zakir Hussain was declared the winner and he became president on 13th May 1967. Born in Hyderabad in 1897, Dr. Hussain attended the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College. While studying for his Masters he helped found a National Muslim University near Delhi called Jamia Millia Islamia. In the 1920s Dr. Hussain studied in Germany receiving his doctorate in Economics from the University of Berlin.

In 1948, he became Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (as the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College had been renamed). He became a member of for the Upper House in the Indian parliament in 1956 and then Governor of the State of Bihar from 1957 to 1962 when he was elected Vice-President of India. Dr. Hussain died in May 1969 while still serving as the third President of India and the first Muslim to hold that post.

For more information on elections past and present in the largest democracy in the World see the Election Commission of India's web site.

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2 comments:

History Today magazine said...

A very interesting post and important reminder of a key date in history, which risks being forgotten in the midst of today's electoral fever.

Stepterix said...

Thank you for your kind words