Balmiki Prasad Singh

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Balmiki Prasad Singh
Balmiki Prasad Singh, 14th Governor of Sikkim, India
Governor of Sikkim
In office
9 July 2008 – July 2013
Preceded by Sudarshan Agarwal
Succeeded by Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil
Personal details
Born Balmiki Prasad Singh
(1942-01-01) 1 January 1942 (age 72)
Spouse(s) Late Karuna Singh
Residence Raj Bhavan, Gangtok, Sikkim
As of 5 January, 2013

Balmiki Prasad Singh (born 1 January 1942) was the 14th Governor of Sikkim, India. He is a scholar, thinker and public servant and has written several books and articles.[1] He was born on 1 January 1942 in Begusarai, Bihar. Among his prominent books are Bahudha and the post 9/11 World and The problem of change: a study of North East India.[1]

He presided over the four-day Global Buddhist Conference that began on Sunday with the chanting of prayers to mark the 2,600th year of Buddha's enlightenment.[2] Around 1,000 Buddhist scholars, thinkers and followers from over 30 countries assembled at convention hall in Ashoka Hotel on day one of the conference.[2]

B.P. Singh is well known as the author of the Bahudha Approach, which outlines a path towards a harmonious world, as against the clash of civilizations. He writes:

Pluralism could be the closest equivalent to Bahudha in the English language. But Bahudha is more than pluralism. For, the Bahudha approach is both a celebration of diversity and an attitude of mind that respects another person's point of view. Dialogue is central to this approach.[3]

Education and family background[edit]

He comes from a Bhumiar Brahmin Community of Bihar. Singh was educated in a village school and later at the universities of Patna and Oxford. He passed his M.A. in Political Science from University of Patna in 1960, standing First Class First with record marks and also winning several gold medals. At Oxford University, he obtained a Master of Arts Degree. He became a lecturer in the Post- Graduate Department of Political Science at Patna University at the age of nineteen.

Singh hails from a family of freedom-fighters for Indian independence. His father, Harbansh Narayan Singh, had participated in the Quit India Movement (1942-1944) and courted imprisonment during this period. His grandfather, Hridaya Narayan Singh, a well-known freedom-fighter, was also the founder Principal of National School at Bihat village in 1920 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

Singh was married to Karuna on 10 March 1961 at Patna while they were in their teens. While B.P. Singh hails from a family of freedom-fighters (not political leaders), the father of Karuna was Rai Bahadur Ganesh Prasad Rai, who retired as Commissioner in the Government of Bihar. Both these families owned agricultural land, but have since, joined the Government services. The two families, however, still have deep roots in their respective villages.

Singh and Karuna have three children: two daughters, Sumita and Preeti and Rajeev, a son and six grandchildren. While Rajeev is a member of the Indian Revenue Service (IT) and currently a Commissioner, his wife Kirti is a fashion designer. Sumita teaches physics in the Post-graduate Department of the Patna Science College, while her husband, P.N. Rai, IPS, is an Addl. D.G of Police in Bihar. Preeti, a journalist, is married to Rajeev Ranjan, IAS, who is a Principal Secretary in the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Among the six grandchildren, Tanvi Rai has recently joined Wharton Business School in the United States on full fellowship to pursue a Ph.D course on a financial subject for four years; Aditya Ranjan is attending MIT Harvard for a MS-Programme; Karan Rai is pursuing his studies at IIT Delhi; Gauri Singh is a student of BA (Honours) in Business Economics at the University of Delhi; and Akhil and Kaustabh are in higher secondary schools.

Administrative service[edit]

Singh was appointed in 1964 to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). A former IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Singh was posted in North Lakhimpur and Tezpur as a young officer.[1] He also held the posts of DC, Kamrup, and Home Commissioner, Assam from 1980-82.[1] He had another stint in Assam from 1990-92 before being posted to Union Home Ministry.[1] A former IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Singh was posted in North Lakhimpur and Tezpur as a young district officer.He also held the posts of DC, Kamrup from 1973–75 and Home Commissioner, Assam from 1980-82. He had another stint in Assam from 1990-92 before being posted to Union Home Ministry.

Over the past four decades, Shri B.P. Singh has held a variety of important positions within Assam as well as in the Government of India. He was Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forest (1993–95), Culture Secretary (1995–97) and Home Secretary (1997–99) in Government of India.

As an international civil servant, Shri B.P. Singh served as Executive Director and Ambassador at the World Bank during 1999-2002 representing India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and was one of the founder members of the Development Gateway Foundation (DGF) and member, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Washington D.C.

B.P. Singh has been the pioneer of several administrative models and many ideas. As Union Home Secretary, B.P. Singh authored the formula for reorganization of States based on resolution of the Legislative Assembly of the concerned State for action under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of India.

B.P. Singh was at the centre of establishment of the National Culture Fund in India, Co-ordination Centre for tackling Naxalite Movement in India, and Development Model for tribal societies in North-East India.

Career[edit]

  • 1964 Joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1964. Postings held in the Indian State of Assam during 64-75, Was S.D.O., North-Lakhimpur (1966–68), Joint Secretary appointment (1968–70), Deputy Commissioner, Darrang, Tezpur (1971–72) and Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup, Guwahati (1973–75). Became life Member of the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) New Delhi;
  • 1975-79 Deputy Secretary/Director, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, New Delhi;
  • 1980-82 Secretary for all Departments under the Chief Secretary and also Home Secretary, Government of Assam;
  • 1982-84 Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow. Was also member, Assam Planning Board during this period;
  • 1984-89 Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Steel and Mines, New Delhi. Was also Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Copper Limited for one year;
  • 1989-90 Queen Elizabeth Fellow, Oxford University, U.K;
  • 1990-92 Agricultural Production Commissioner and Special Commissioner and Special Secretary, Government of Assam, Agriculture. Panchayat and Rural Development, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Department, Dispur, Guwahati. Was awarded Governor of Assam Gold Medal in 1991 for outstanding service in Assam;
  • 1992-93 Joint Secretary and later Additional Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi. Devised regional planning and Development models in tribal areas;
  • 1993-95 Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi, Chairman of the National Committee on Bio-diversity Conservation. Asia Representative on Ramar Convention on Wetlands, Gland, Switzerland. Director, Indian School of Forest Management, Bhopal for one year. Life Member of the Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development (SPWD), New Delhi;
  • 1995-97 Union Culture Secretary. Became Life Member of the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) organized global level Golden Jubilee celebrations of India’s Independence. Set up National Culture Fund;
  • 1997-99 Union Home Secretary, Secretary, Justice, Government of India and Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir Affairs, Government of India. Recipient of Gulzarilal Nanda Award for the year 1998 for outstanding public service in India from the President of India;
  • 1999-02 Executive Director, The World Bank and its Affiliates representing India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Founder Member of the Board of Governors of Development Gateway Foundation (DGF) and member, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Washington D.C.;
  • 2003-07 A variety of honorary academic and governmental assignments including (i) Chancellor of the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath (ii) Chief Editor of the South Asia Series on "Perspectives on Economics, Technology and Governnance" Oxford University Press,New York. (iii) Chairman, National Commission for Economically Backward Classes set up by Govt. of India: and (iv) Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow; Was honoured the first Man of Letters Award by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 11 June 2003 at New Delhi;
  • 2008 onwards Governor of Sikkim; Also President, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok and Chancellor, Sikkim Manipal University.

Awards and fellowships[edit]

He has since been the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (1982–84), Queen Elizabeth Fellowship (1989–90) and Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow (2007–08). He is also a recipient of Gulzari lal Nanda Award for Outstanding public service from the President of India in 1998 and Man of Letters Award from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2003.

Profile: A Synoptic View

B.P. Singh is an eminent representative of the post-independence generation of scholar-civil servants. He is indeed a role model and example for others to emulate. In formulating an administrative goal, B.P. Singh always follows the traditional approach of a Deputy Commissioner. He sees the grounds, talks to the people, and consults the available records. The visible and at times not so visible social, cultural, economic and political factors have a bearing on his formulation of plans of action. Once settled, he puts all his energies in implementing the set of goals with determination, in a cool and calculated fashion, keeping small details in view. His understanding of the people,geography and environment and his extensive reading about matter in hand have always been of considerable help particularly in initiating mid-course correction measures.As a scholar, his mind is always in search of a novel idea and once he has vision of that, he goes for extensive research. He not only reads printed literature but also consults scholars as well as colleagues. He finally tests his broad conclusions with common people. It is only thereafter, that writing commences. His writings have enduring value. Several of B.P. Singh’s observations are ageless in character as these have been formulated at a time of deep contemplation and illuminated consciousness.

B.P.Singh grew up amidst green maize and wheat fields, mango grooves and festivals of the rural folk. As an adolescent he saw his village and its surroundings getting industrialized, which among other things broke the rigid caste structures. Later as a district officer, the green paddy fields and heavy monsoon of Brahmaputra Valley in Assam captivated him. Agriculture related music and dance, the lamps glowing in the dark in rural India all celebrating life continue to enthrall him. The romanticism of rural India with its intimacy and intensity and wisdom of common people are integral to his personality justifying the dictum: you can take one out of the village but not the village out from him.

Some Quotations of eternal nature

"In the last decade of the twentieth century one could clearly see that culture is emerging as a third factor in determining the status of a nation in the world after market and military strength; the market having replaced military strength from its position of supremacy in the post-Cold War world."- (India’s Culture; The State, the Arts, and Beyond);

"The partition of India was not merely apolitical failure. It was also our civilizational failure."- (Our India );

"Good Governance does not occur by chance. It must be demanded by citizens and nourished explicitly and consciously by the nation-state."- (Our India);

"It is my belief that as long as Indian society and polity encourage creative minds in the literatures and arts, science and technology, and give primacy to democratic institutions, to inclusivity and justice, India’s age- old cultural strength would continue to be renewed."- (Our India) ;

"Democracy needs no astrologers. The time has thus come for political leaders, jurists, enlightened citizens and others who are concerned about the future of democracy to look closely at the challenges facing democracy in their country, and devise ways and means to remedy the short-comings in the working and structure of democratic governments."- (First Ramdhari Singh Dinkar Memorial Lecture- 2012, on The Future of Democracy);

"A question is often posed about the role and relevance of the military in the construction of an environment for creative dialogue among civilizations. In the post 9/11 world, it is quite obvious that the ugly face of terrorism has given full justification for a strong military posture. In fact, the rise of terrorist activities in different parts of the world demands it. It, however,does not mean that military intervention can be taken in an arbitrary fashion.It has to conform to international norms and has to have the sanction of the UN system". (Bahudha and the Post 9/11World)

As academician and writer[edit]

B.P. Singh has authored six books including The Problem of Change-A Study of North-East India (1987); India’s Culture: The State, the Arts and Beyond (1998) and Bahudha and the post-9/11 World (2008), all published by Oxford University Press, New Delhi. He has also published articles and monographs on politics, culture, ecology and public administration. He is Chief Editor of The Millennium Book on New Delhi, OUP (2001).

B.P. Singh has also been Chancellor of the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath for six years and Chief Editor of the South Asia Series on "Perspectives on Economics, Technology and Governance" of Oxford University Press, New York (2000–06).

List of books authored[edit]

  • The Problem of Change: A Study of North-East India, Oxford University Press;
  • India's Culture: The State, the Arts and Beyond, Oxford University Press;
  • Bahudha and the Post 9/11 World with a forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Oxford University Press;
  • The Indian National Congress and Cultural Renaissance, Allied Publishers, New Delhi;
  • Threads Woven: Ideals, Principles and Administration, Allied Publishers, New Delhi;
  • Our India, NCERT, New Delhi.

Edited books[edit]

Monographs[edit]

  • The Challenge of Good Governance in India: Need for Innovative Approaches: Paper presented at the International Conference of Global Network of Innovators, organized by Ash Institute and JFK School of Govt, Harvard University, March- April, 2008.
  • Would Terrorism become a thing of the past: When and How? Journal of Peace Studies, 2009.
  • Repositioning A Heritage: Raj Bhavan Gangtok, Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Sikkim, 2011.
  • Democracy, Ecology, and Culture-the Indian Experience, Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

Speeches[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Bedabrata Lahkar (2012-03-21). "Sikkim Governor reminisces on Assam". The Assam Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Amid China row, president, PM skip global Buddhist meet". The Times of India. 2011-11-27. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  3. ^ Bahudha and the Post 9/11 World

Further reading[edit]

  • Abracadabra Kalahari(2012-03-21). "Sikkim Governor reminisces on Assam".
  • "Amid China row, president, PM skip global Buddhist meet". The Times of India. 2011-11-27. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  • Bedabrata Lahkar (2012-03-21). "Sikkim Governor reminisces on Assam". The Assam Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  • The Problem of Change: A Study of North-East India, Oxford University Press (Authored by B.P. Singh);
  • India's Culture: The State, the Arts and Beyond, Oxford University Press (Authored by B.P. Singh);
  • Bahudha and the Post 9/11 World with a forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Oxford University Press (Authored by B.P. Singh);
  • The Indian National Congress and Cultural Renaissance, Allied Publishers, New Delhi (Authored by B.P. Singh);
  • Threads Woven: Ideals, Principles and Administration, Allied Publishers, New Delhi (Authored by B.P. Singh);
  • Our India, NCERT, New Delhi (Authored by B.P. Singh).

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sudarshan Agarwal
Governor of Sikkim
9 July 2008 to July 2013
Succeeded by
Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil