Giani Zail Singh (May 5, 1916 – December 25, 1994) was the President of India (1982-1987), and the first Sikh to hold India’s highest public office and honour.
Zail Singh’s public life was long and varied – freedom fighter, state Congress leader, Chief Minister and Union Home Minister. A remarkable fighter against princedom, feudalism and foreign domination in the pre-independence days, he is also remembered for his crusade against communalism, economic disparities and social injustice in the republic.
Giani Zail Singh was elected to the highest office of the President of India on July 15, 1982 and took the oath of office on July 25, 1982. He was critiqued for his subservient attitude to the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
His relations with Rajiv Gandhi, the next Prime Minister, were rocky at best. He was cremated in the vicinity of the Raj Ghat.