Bengalis, they say have their few holy cows beginning with Rabindranath Tagore and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and their city Kolkata and Mohun Bagan club to present day icons like Sourav Ganguly.
In modern day politics, while late Jyoti Basu with his patriarchal stature in Indian politics commands great respect despite having a political tenure not free from criticism by the "bourgeois media" and Opposition, he missed the ultimate glory in 1996 when he was held back from taking over as the Prime Minister by his own party CPI-M.
In recent times, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is another leader who has touched almost the pinnacle of success by ousting a 34-year-old Left regime in the state, making her entry in Time magazine and being written about in international media as the mover and shaker of Indian politics.
But while Mamata Banerjee is being tested now and Jyoti Basu failed to become the Prime Minister with that one "historic blunder' of his party, Pranab Mukherjee finally succeeded to great extent.
Mukherjee may always be referred to as the best Prime Minister India never had, but he would go down in history as the first Bengali to ascend the throne of President.
Mukerjee's election as the 13th President of India is a moment of glory for the Bengalis true, but it is also a joy shared by political leaders and communities across the length and breadth of India cutting across party lines. Even those who did not vote for him has a sneaking admiration for the man of the moment, such is his acceptance in Indian politics. A party faithful and a loyalist of the Gandhi family on equal terms except for a period during the initial regime of Rajiv Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee indeed emerged as the holy cow of Indian politics and with his win in the Presidential race, it is a journey that had began in a non-descript West Bengal village many decades back which has come to a full circle.
The chief trouble shooter of the Congress, the close confidant of Indira Gandhi and the man for all seasons in the party with an unparalleled astuteness will be the 14th President of India and the 13th man to hold the titular post.
Pranab Mukerjee, who on July 25 will take over as the new man in Raisina Hills, is a pious god-fearing Hindu with an image so secular that Muslims, Christian and Sikhs have embraced his ascent in Indian politics with equal happiness and grace as people from his own community.
Mukherjee was born in Mirati village near Kirnahar town, Birbhum, West Bengal, on Dec 11, 1935.
Son of Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee and Rajlakshmi Mukherjee, Pranab Mukherjee got his initiation in politics from early days since his father was active in the Congress party from 1920, was a member of AICC, and West Bengal Legislative Council (1952-64), and President, District Congress Committee, Birbhum (WB).
Mukherjee attended the Suri Vidyasagar College in Birbhum, then affiliated with the University of Calcutta. He passed double M.A, one in History, another in political science.
As his sister recalls, he was mischievous as a child and had once wanted to be born as the President's horse because they are so well kept and bred.
An Union Minister since 1973, Mukherjee was the Minister of State for Finance first in 1974-1975. It was between 1982 and 1984 that he was the senior Union Minister of Finance first during the rule of Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister.
While Pranab Mukherjee was the closest colleague of late Indira Gandhi, he was sidelined in the initial days of the Rajiv Gandhi era.
Pranab Mukherjee because of his proximity to Indira was seen as the political successor of Indira Gandhi but dynastic politics in India saw Rajiv Gandhi taking over with a mammoth support and sympathy wave in the wake of the assassination of his mother.
A disgruntled Mukherjee then had formed the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress which later merged with Congress in 1989 and since then he was back in the limelight in Congress politics after a rapprochement with Rajiv Gandhi.
Mukherjee's political career got a new lease of life when Prime Minister Narasimha Rao made him the Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission and subsequently a union cabinet minister in the 1990s. He served as the Minister of External Affairs from 1995 to 1996 in Rao's cabinet.
While for years after the Rao regime, it was the BJP rule at the centre, Pranab Mukherjee had come close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in between and the Italian born widow of Rajiv Gandhi became heavily dependent on Mukherjee for political advice and trouble shooting in the party and later in coalition governments that have become a reality in Indian politics.
Pranab Mukherjee was Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2012. He served as the Minister of Defence from 2004 to 2006 and again served as the Minister of External Affairs from 2006 to 2009. He was the Finance Minister from 2009 till in June 2012 he resigned to contest the Presidential polls.
Interestingly, Pranab Mukherjee despite his over four decades of political career at the helm, first contested the Lok Sabha elections and won from Jangipur in West Bengal only in 2004. He was re-elected from Jangipur in 2009.
When the name of Pranab Mukherjee was announced by Congress, a broad consensus emerged even among the various opposing parties to support him.
It is only Pranab Mukerjee perhaps who can garner the support of parties with as opposing ideologies as the communists and the pro-Hinduvta Shiv Sena.
So from Shiv Sena and Janata Dal (United) to the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), support for Mukherjee kept pouring in.
Even Uttar Pradesh politics rivals like Mayawati (BSP) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) supported him.
While many Bengalis would still feel that Pranab Mukherjee could have been the first Bengali Prime Minister of India, for his family, the position as President would finally bring them closer to the man married to politics.
Pranab Mukherjee is married to Suvra Mukherjee since July 13, 1957 and has two sons and a daughter. According to wife Suvra, the man in the thick and thin of Indian politics does not discuss politics much at home though.
The new President of India prefers to eat Bengali dishes but not with much oil and spice.
Mukherjee finds little time for the family. So when his name was nominated for the post of President, his daughter Sharmishta Mukherjee appeared elated since a break from the regular rough and tumble of coalition politics will bring her father perhaps closer to her.
One of his sons, Abhijit Mukherjee, is an MLA in West Bengal now.
An emotional Mukherjee on the last day of his office as the finance minister in June said he is 'ready to embark on a new journey'.
"Standing on the brink of such an honour, I also feel a tinge of sentiment at the thought of leaving behind my life as a political activist spanning over four decades," he said.
Pranab Mukherjee as president would be the first among the equals in Congress party, while his long political career as an architect of many a decision in governance taken in the backrooms of power, the office of President will surely get a new dimension with his assumption.