Ramaswami Venkataraman, 89, was the President of India from 1987-92 and the country's Vice-President from 1982-87. During his tenure as President, he appointed three Prime Ministers, V.P.Singh,Chandra Shekhar and P.V.Narasimha Rao, as the country was caught in coalition politics. As President he also dealt with Rajiv Gandhi who had been sworn in as Prime Minister in 1984. Mr Venkataraman was Minister in the Cabinet of Indira Gandhi,holding the portfolios of Finance and Defence. As a student, he participated in the country's movement for freedom and took part in the Quit India movement in 1942.
By training, Mr Venkatraman is a lawyer and practised both in the High Court of Madras and in the Supreme Court of India.
updated January 2000