Inder Kumar Gujral was born on 4 December 1919 in Jhelum in present day Pakistan. He studied at D.A.V. College, Hailey College of Commerce and Forman Christian College University, Lahore.
Gujral became vice-president of the New Delhi Municipal Committee in 1958. He joined the Congress party (INC) in 1964 and became a member of the Rajya Sabha in April 1964. During the emergency of June 1975, Gujral was Minister of Information and Broadcasting. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha for a second time to serve until 1976. Later, Gujral was appointed Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union by Indira Gandhi and stayed on during the tenures of Morarji Desai and Charan Singh.
Gujral resigned from the Indian National Congress party in the 1980 and the Janata Dal. In the Indian general election, 1989, Gujral was elected from Jalandhar in Punjab. He served as Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister V. P. Singh's cabinet. 1991, Gujral contested from Patna in Bihar. However, the election was countermanded following complaints of 'irregularities'. In 1992, Gujral was selected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar.
Subsequent to the 1996 election, when the United Front government was formed under the premiership of H. D. Deve Gowda, Gujral was again became Minister of External Affairs. During this tenure, he developed the 'Gujral Doctrine' which emphasised better relations with India's neighbours. He also served as Union Minister or Minister of State of several other portfolios—Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Works and Housing and Planning.
The Indian National Congress party withdrew support to Deve Gowda government in April 1997. The INC agreed to support another United Front government under a new leader and the United Front elected Gujral as their new leader and he was sworn in as Prime Minister on 21 April 1997.
On 28 August 1997, the Jain Commission, which investigated the assasination of Rajiv Gandhi submitted tis report to the government. The report was tabled on 20 November 1997 in the parliament. The INC called for the DMK's removal from the cabinet. The INC finally withdrew support from his government on 28 November after Gujral sent Kesri a letter saying he would not dismiss any DMK leaders. Gujral resigned following the withdrawal and sent a letter to President K. R. Narayanan that read: "My government has lost its majority and does not want to continue in office on moral grounds."
Gujral was admitted at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana on 19 November 2012, after being diagnosed with a lung infection. This event occurred after a year of dialysis. His health deteriorated in the hospital and on 27 November, he fell unconscious and his urine output system stopped working. Gujral breathed his last on 30 November 2012.