- President Mukherjee was born on December 11, 1935 in a small village of Mirati in Birbhum District of West Bengal.

- He assumed office as the 13th President of India on July 25, 2012, after a career of over five decades of service to the nation in Government as well as Parliament. He has unparalleled experience in governance with the rare distinction of having served at different times as Foreign, Defence, Commerce and Finance Minister.

- While in government, President Mukherjee was instrumental in spearheading critical decisions of the Government on a range of issues such as Administrative reforms, Right to Information, Right to Employment, Food and Energy Security, Information Technology and telecommunication. He chaired over 95 Groups of Ministers constituted for the purpose. He was also instrumental in setting up the Regional Rural Banks (1975) , the Exim Bank of India as well as National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (1981-82).

- President Mukherjee was elected to the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) five times from 1969 and twice to the Lower House of the Parliament (Lok Sabha) from 2004.

- He plunged into full time public life in 1969, inspired by his father who was a freedom fighter.

- A prolific reader, he has authored several books on the Indian Economy and on Nation Building: Beyond Survival: Emerging Dimensions of India Economy (1984), Off the Track (1987), Saga of Struggle and Sacrifice (1992), Challenges Before the Nation (1992), Thoughts and Reflections (2014), and The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi years (2014).

- The many awards and honours conferred on him include Padma Vibhusan in 2008. Best Parliamentarian Award in 1997. Best Administrator in India Award in 2011, Best Finance Minister of the world in 1984.

- President Mukherjee is a powerful orator and scholar. His intellectual and political prowess as well as remarkable knowledge of international relations, financial affairs and parliamentary process are widely admired.

- President Mukherjee enjoys reading, gardening and music in his spare time. He is simple in his tastes, and a patron of arts and culture.

ACTIVITY: Download photograph of the President Pranab Mukherjee

Have you ever wondered what it was like to grow up in the early years of the twentieth century? President Pranab Mukherjee has written about his childhood years and it makes very interesting reading.

Pranab Mukherjee was born on 11th December, 1935 in a small village called Mirati in today’s West Bengal. In those days, India was a part of the British Empire and Mirati was in the Birbhum district of the province of Bengal. His father Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee was a freedom fighter inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.

   The President writes of his childhood in the First volume of his autobiography ‘The Dramatic Decade – The Indira Gandhi Years”:   “I see clusters of trees, kutcha (unpaved) roads and mud houses. I remember the sting of my schoolmaster’s cane, the aroma of payesh (kheer) made by my mother. My mind sprints towards Mirati , the village I grew up in.”….. “It wasn’t a prosperous village- there was just one pucca dwelling (that of the zamindar) while other families, including mine, lived in mud houses.”

“I was a restless child, forever up to mischief and with a penchant for avoiding studies as much as I could.”….. “In 1946, however, I was enrolled at the Kirnahar Shib Chandra High English School in class V. A well known school in the area, it was about two-and-a-half kilometres away from home, which means travelling five kilometres every day on foot- and that too barefoot, as was commonplace in those days.

Much of the journey entailed walking over a raised path with ditches on either side. During the rains, when the entire area was several feet deep in water, I would take off my shirt and shorts and wade through the water wearing a gamchha (towel), changing back into my presentable, school-worthy attire once I reached higher ground. In 1973, when I was a minister, I got the road paved.”

“It was in high school that I first began taking some interest in studies, routinely ranking first or second in class. Around twenty-two or twenty-three of us from my school took the matriculation examination- the final school exam-at the end of Class X. We were the first batch from my school to take this particular school-leaving exam.”

From a mud and thatch house in a Bengal village to the marble halls of Rashtrapati Bhavan, it has been quite an amazing journey.