1908 – Great Revolutionary and freedom fighter Shivram Hari Rajguru was born. Rajguru was drawn towards the freedom struggle as a child and had witnessed the atrocities inflicted on Indians which made him join the movement for independence. He was a member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA). A learned scholar in various Indian scriptures, he was also a prolific shooter.
Together with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev, Rajguru had decided to assassinate British officer J P Saunders to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai who had succumbed to injuries sustained during a police lathi-charge when Lalaji was leading a protest against the Simon Commission in October 1928 at Lahore. Thus on 18th December 1928 they assassinated Superintendent of Police J P Saunders in Ferozepur. However, the trio was later arrested, tried and sentenced to death. In 2008, on the Birth Centenary of Rajguru a book on him titled ‘Ajeya Krantikari Rajguru’ penned by Anil Verma was released.
1923 – Nuclear scientist and chemical engineer of international repute Dr. Homi Nusserwanji Sethna was born. He was the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission when India conducted ‘Project: Smiling Buddha’ the first peaceful nuclear explosion in Pokhran Test Range. He is also seen as the key figure in India’s nuclear program and also played a major role in construction of nuclear power plants.
The Government of India honoured Dr.Sethna with the Padma Shri in 1959, the Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1975.
1969 – Varahagiri Venkata Giri was sworn in as the fourth President of the Republic of India. He is the only person to have served as both an acting president (after President Zakir Hussain passed away while in office) and as President of India. V.V. Giri served as the high commissioner to Ceylon after Independence. He also served as the minister of labour (till 1954) and as the third Vice President of India.
In 1975 he received India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
1971 – India registered her first test win and series win in England against England. After the first two tests of the three tests ended in a draw India emerged victorious in the third test by chasing down a target of 173 in the fourth innings.
India conquered the former colonial rulers under Ajit Wadekar’s captaincy.
1974 – Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed became the fifth President of India as V.V. Giri relinquished office upon completion of term. He passed away in office, only the second President to have died in office the first being Zakir Hussain.