Gulzarilal Nanda Biography

Gulzarilal Nanda, an eminent Indian politician, is widely recognized for his role as interim Prime Minister of India twice. Despite the uneventful nature of both terms, Nanda’s timing was crucial. Stepping up to lead the nation during periods of crisis, he filled the leadership void left by the passing of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 and Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. Nanda’s career extends beyond his time as interim Prime Minister, as he served the nation in various government appointments, specializing in labour issues as the Labour Minister and representing India in national and international conferences. Recognized for his contributions, Nanda was honored with the prestigious Bharat Ratna award.

Quick Facts

  • Indian Celebrities Born In July Died At Age: 99
  • Prime Ministers
  • Political Leaders
  • Died on: January 15, 1998
  • Place of death: Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
  • City: Sialkot, Pakistan
  • Awards: Bharat Ratna 1997

Childhood & Early Life

Gulzarilal Nanda was born on July 4, 1898 in Sialkot in a Punjabi, Hindu family. Sialkot was then a part of the Punjab province of British India. After the partition of India in 1947, it became a part of Pakistan. Young Nanda received his early education in Lahore, Amritsar, Agra, and Allahabad.


Nanda started his career as a research scholar on Labour problems at Allahabad University from 1920 to 1921. He was also actively involved in the freedom struggle movement and was an ardent follower of Gandhi. In 1921, Nanda took up the post of Professor of Economics at the National College in Bombay and joined the Non Cooperation Movement against the British.

From 1922 until 1946, Nanda served as the secretary of the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association. He was jailed twice during this time for his participation in Satyagraha and was freed in 1944. In 1937, Nanda was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly and served as the Parliamentary Secretary for Labor and Excise to the Government of Bombay. He actively worked for the advancement and progress of the city and its governance.

Nanda worked as the Labour Minister of the Bombay Government from 1946 to 1950. During his tenure, he successfully carried out several important tasks and held various positions such as Trustee of the Kasturba Memorial Trust, Secretary of the Hindustan Mazdoor Sevak Sangh, and Chairman of the Bombay Housing Board. He also became a member of the National Planning Committee and organized the Indian National Trade Union Congress.

As Labour Minister of India, Nanda represented the country at the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in 1947. He also worked on The Freedom of Association Committee and studied foreign labor and housing conditions during various conferences across Europe.

In 1950, Nanda became a part of the Planning Commission of India and was appointed its Vice Chairman. The following year, he was appointed as the Planning Minister and also took charge of the Irrigation and Power portfolio. He was elected as a Lok Sabha member from Bombay in 1952 and served as the Minister for Planning, Irrigation, and Power. In 1955, Nanda led the Indian Delegation to the Plan Consultative Committee held in Singapore.

In 1957, Nanda was elected to the Lok Sabha again and was appointed the Union Minister for Labour, Employment, and Planning. He was later given the post of Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. In 1959, he represented India at the International Labor Conference in Geneva and visited several countries. In 1962, Nanda was re-elected to the Lok Sabha and initiated the Congress Forum for Socialist Action. He served as the Union Minister for Labour and Employment from 1962 to 1963 and as the Minister for Home Affairs from 1963 to 1966.

While serving as the Minister of Home Affairs, Nanda became the Interim Prime Minister of India twice. He served in this position for thirteen days each time before the election of the next Prime Minister. Nanda’s major works include his dedication to labor issues and his service as the Labour Minister and Minister of Home Affairs. He also took up the profile of Irrigation and Power. He twice served as the interim Prime Minister in 1962 and 1966.

Awards & Achievements

Nanda was honored with the ‘Proud Past Alumni’ award from Allahabad University Alumni Association, NCR, Ghaziabad. He was also awarded the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, by the Government of India in 1997.

Personal Life & Legacy

Nanda was married to Lakshmi and they had three children, two sons, and a daughter. Despite being a well-known politician and leader of the Indian freedom movement, Nanda lived a life with meager means. He passed away on January 15, 1998 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

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