@Fourth President of India, Life Achievements and Family
V. V. Giri born at
V.V. Giri was married to Saraswati Bai and had a big family; the couple had 14 children together.
He died of a heart attack in Chennai (then Madras) on 24 June 1980.
To honour his contribution to the labour movement in India, The National Labour Institute was renamed after him in 1995. It is now known as V.V Giri National Labour Institute.
Varahagiri Venkata Giri was born on 10 August 1894 in Berhampur, Odisha, into a Telugu speaking Brahmin family. His father, V. V. Jogayya Pantulu, was a prominent lawyer and political activist while his mother, Subhadramma was active in the national movement as well.
He completed his initial education at the Khallikote College in Berhampur. In 1913, he went to Ireland to study law at University College Dublin.
In Dublin, he was deeply influenced by the Irish fight for independence. He drew his inspiration from De Valera and associated with Collins, Pearee, Desmond Fitzgerald, MacNeil, Connolly, et al.
In 1916, his involvement in the Sinn Féin Movement and his alleged role in the Easter Uprising resulted in his expulsion from Ireland. Thereafter, he returned to India.
After returning to India, he enrolled at the Madras High Court and began his legal career. He also became a member of the Congress party and joined the Home Rule Movement of Annie Beasant.
In 1920, he wholeheartedly participated in Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement and two years later, he was imprisoned for campaigning against the sale of liquor in shops.
He was genuinely concerned about the security and comfort of the working class in India. Thus all through his career, he was associated with the labour and trade union movement. In 1923, along with a few others, he founded the All India Railwaymen’s Federation and served as its General Secretary for more than ten years.
In 1926, he was elected President of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC). He attended several international gatherings such as the International Labour Conference and the Trade Union Congress, both held at Geneva in 1927, and the Second Round Table Conference in London as the Workers' Representative in 1931-1932.
He also created the Bengal Nagpur Railway Association. In 1928, he spearheaded a successful non-violent strike by the workers of the association for their rights; the British Raj and the railway management fulfilled their demands following the peaceful protest.
He was a key figure in the trade union movement of India. It was due to his efforts that the labour force could demand and acquire their rights. He not only organised the labour force of India and improved their condition, but also included them in the national struggle for independence.
He wrote two important books, one on ‘Industrial Relations’ and the other on ‘Labour Problems in Indian Industry’. These books highlighted his practical yet human approach in organising labour forces.