In 1913, he went to University College Dublin to study law, but was expelled from Ireland in 1916. Upon returning to India, he became heavily involved in the labor movement. He became general secretary and then president of the All-India Railway men’s Federation and twice serving as president of the All-India Trade Union Congress. He became minister of labor and industries in 1937.
After India gained independence, he was first appointed high commissioner to Ceylon and then successfully ran for parliament in 1952, serving as minister of labor until resigning in 1954.
V.V.Giri was elected as Vice-President of India in 1967. Giri became acting president of India in 1969. He received India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1975. He died on June 23, 1980.