RASHTRAPATI BHAVAN, NEW DELHI
December 26, 1999
Given below is the text of a message of the President of India:
The passing away of my illustrious predecessor, Dr. Shanker Dayal Sharma, former President of India, is an irreplaceable loss for the nation.
A brilliant academic record and a promising legal practice did not restrain Dr. Sharma from plunging into the national struggle for freedom by actively participating in the historic Quit India Movement, and in the Merger Movement in Bhopal, thus embracing imprisonment. He dedicated his life to public service and held coveted posts in the Indian National Congress, of which he was the President from 1972 to 1974. His rich experience as a legislator in Madhya Pradesh and in the Lok Sabha and his meaningful contributions as Minister in the State and Union Governments, will be long remembered and cherished. His responsibilities as Governor of Andhra Pradesh in the South, Punjab in the North and Maharashtra in the West further enhanced his national profile, before he served the nation with distinction as Vice President of India and finally as the Head of State.
Dr. Sharma's literary and journalistic pursuits in both Hindi and English, and speeches filled with wisdom, give us evidence of his scholarship, wide sympathies and a tolerant catholicity of outlook, while displaying at the same time a commitment to secularism, which was in harmony with his own deep rooted piety. The honours and awards conferred on him were numerous but he retained a simplicity and gentleness in his bearing, that endeared him to all. He had the rare capacity to endure personal tragedy with stoic fortitude.
I join the nation in mourning the sad demise of Dr. Shanker Dayal Sharma, who will remain in our thoughts as a statesman in the Gandhian mould, who combined simple living with high thinking and righteous action. I extend my heartfelt condolences to Smt. Vimala Sharma, other members of the bereaved family and all those who admired and loved him.