Former Prime Minister of India Morarji Ranchhodji Desai is known to be the ‘oldest appointed Prime Minister’ at the time of first appointment, according to the Guinness World Records. Desai, who was 81 years old when he was appointed in March 1977, served as the Prime Minister until July 1979. Notably, Morarji Desai’s 22nd death anniversary was observed on Monday.
The oldest age at first appointment has been 81, in the case of Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (1896-1995) of India, March 1977. Leading an opposition coalition, he prevailed in the 1977 elections, ending Gandhi’s emergency rule. He served as prime minister until 1979, when the coalition broke apart.
Philippe Petain (1856-1951), although not `Prime Minister’, became `Chief of State’ of the French State on July 10, 1940, at the age of 84.
Morarji Desai’s contribution in the freedom struggle and later as a politician is unparalleled. Starting off as civil service employee in the British regime to taking up an active role in the freedom struggle and later assuming different offices under various administrations to finally chairing the responsibility of the Prime Minister of the country, his political pursuits have scaled upwards all throughout. His deep embedded value for hard work, perseverance and truthfulness stayed with him in the different roles that he took up. Desai’s unswerving sincerity towards working for the welfare of the people of the country earned him wide reputation amongst the countrymen. While he worked in various portfolios, his contribution during his premiership is most renowned. Desai is the only Indian till date to be conferred with Pakistan’s highest civilian award, Nishan-E-Pakistan, for his infinite efforts in initiating peace between two rival countries.
Morarji Ranchhodji Desai died at the age of 99 in New Delhi. He was a freedom fighter and the fourth Prime Minister of India. He was the first Prime Minister to head the first non-Congress Government.