Often referred to as 'Netaji', Veteran politician Mulayam Singh Yadav has turned 82 today. He was born in Saifai Village, Etawah district in Uttar Pradesh to parents Murti Devi and Sughar Singh Yadav.
The stalwart politician has three degrees to his name- B.A., B.T., and M.A. in political science from Karm Kshetra Post Graduate College in Etawah, A. K. College in Shikohabad, and B. R. College, Agra University respectively. It is believed that he initially wanted to become a wrestler and hence got the name 'Pehelwan'.
Netaji's illustrious political career began at the age of 15 when he came across the writing of the Indian socialist, Ram Manohar Lohia. Yadav was influenced by Lohia's conviction of equality of India and other social justice issues so much so that he became a champion when it came to standing up for the rights of lower-caste Hindus and the minority Muslim Population.
Yadav tasted his first electoral victory in the year 1967 when he was elected as a member of the legislative assembly (MLA) from the Jaswantnagar seat. He held on to that seat for 19 years in total but not consecutively. His first term lasted between 1967-69, his second term between 1974-80, and the last term between 1985-96. He also got the opportunity to serve as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for three non-consecutive terms. He also served as the Defence Minister of India from 1 June 1996 to 19 March 1998 under the Prime Ministership of H.D.Deve Gowda and I.K.Gujral. He was arrested in 1975 and held for 19 months during the emergency period imposed by then PM Indira Gandhi.
He was associated with a number of political parties which included the likes of the Lok Dal, Lok Dal-B faction, Janata Dal, etc. He decided to form his own political party, the Samajwadi Party in 1992 where he served as the President from 1992 to 2017. He was succeeded by his son Akhilesh Yadav who also went on to become the CM of UP from 2012-2017.