Former President K. R. Narayanan passed away on 9 November 2005. The soft spoken Diplomat's career description at the Indian Embassy website is a statement of his achievements, of how active he has been in social life.
The Hindu has paid tribute to the great man in its article, "President who defied stereotype". It was good to read of a President who assumed an active role in what is normally seen as having a limited scope for action in the political arena of the country. The most striking feature of his life was his having risen to such great heights from the humblest of backgrounds - that of a rural kid, born in a class that is socially perceived as backward, and grown up in poverty and subjected to injustices. It is typical of most places of rural India even today, that which is the untapped strength of the nation. It was only natural that such a person has come to be called a President who defied stereotype!