Inder Kumar Gujral was born on 4 December 1919. He was the son of Late Shri Avtar Narain Gujral and Late Smt. Pushpa Gujral. He is M.A., B.Com. Ph.D. & D.Litt. (Hons. Causa). He was born at Jhelum (in undivided Punjab) on 4th December 1919. He and Smt. Shiela Gujral were married on May 26, 1945. He sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of India on Monday, the 21st of April, 1997.
I. K. Gujral belongs to a family of freedom fighters: both his parents participated in the freedom struggle in Punjab. At the young age of eleven, he himself actively participated in the freedom struggle in 1931 and was arrested and severely beaten by the police for organising movement of young children in the Jhelum town. In 1942, he was jailed during the Quit India
He was leader of the House, Rajya Sabha from June 1996; Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce & Textiles, 1993 to April 1996; Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee for External Affairs – till April 1996; Member of Parliament 1964 to 1976, 1989 to 1991; re-elected to Rajya Sabha in 1992 from Bihar; Member, Committee on Petitions, Public Accounts Committee, Committee on Rules, Rajya Sabha; Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Rajya Sabha; General Purposes Committee, Rajya Sabha; Standing Committee on External Affairs.
He was the chairman of Indian Council of South Asian Co-operation; Member of the Capital Plan Monitoring Committee; former President of the Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis (IDSA); Chairman of the official Committee for the Promotion of Urdu (Gujral Committee); Vice-President of the New Delhi Municipal council 1959-64; President Lahore Students Union; General Secretary of the Punjab Students Federation; Convenor and Spokesman of United Front of the Opposition Parties Conclave at Calcutta, Srinagar and Delhi.
Sri Gujral was the Minister of External Affairs from June 1, 1996 and held additional charge of the Ministry of Water Resources from June 28, 1996. He was the Minister of External Affairs earlier during 1989-1990.
He was Ambassador of India to U.S.S.R. (Cabinet Rank) from 1976-1980. He was the Minister of Communications & Parliamentary Affairs; Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Communications; Minister of Works & Housing; Minister of Information & Broadcasting; Minister of Planning.
He left the Congress Party in the mid-1980s and joined the Janata Dal . In 1996, it was the largest party of the bloc of regional parties which formed the United Front coalition to lead the Government. H. D. Deve Gowda was the JD chief and became the Prime Minister, and Gujral became the Minister for External Affairs. But when the Congress Party objected and threatened to withdraw its vote of support to the UF, the UF elected I.K. Gujral to lead the Government. His tenure ended just after 10 months when the Congress Party again decided to withdraw support to the UF.
He speaks fluent Urdu and spends part of his leisure time writing Urdu couplets. His wife, Sheila is a poet and author and his brother Satish Gujral is a prominent painter and architect.