Krishna Singh (politician)

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Sri Krishna Singh
Premier of Bihar Province
In office
20 July 1937 – 31 October 1939
Preceded by Muhammad Yunus
Succeeded by Governor's rule
Member Of Constituent Assembly
In office
9 December 1946 – 26 January 1950
Preceded by Post Created
Succeeded by Post Abolished
1st Chief Minister of Bihar
In office
Deputy CM Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by Deep Narayan Singh
2nd Finance Minister of Bihar
In office
5 July 1957 – 31 January 1961
Preceded by Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha
Succeeded by Deep Narayan Singh
Personal details
Born 24 October 1886
Khanwa, Nawada, Bihar
Died 31 January 1961
Political party Indian National Congress
Children Two sons
Nickname(s) Sri Babu, Sri Krishna Singh, Bihar Kesari

Sri Krishna Singh (21 October 1887 – 31 January 1961) known as Dr. S.K.Singh, Sri Babu and Bihar Kesari was the first Chief Minister of the Indian state of Bihar (1946–61). Along with the nationalists Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Singh is regarded among the "Architects of Modern Bihar".[1] "Barring the war years(Second World War 1939–1945), Sinha was chief minister of Bihar from the time of the first Congress Ministry in 1937 until his death in 1961."[2] He led Dalit’s entry into the Baidyanath Dham temple (Vaidyanath Temple, Deoghar), reflecting his commitment to the upliftment and social empowerment of dalits.[3] He was the first Chief Minister in the country to abolish the zamindari system.[4] He underwent different terms of imprisonment for a total of about eight years in British India. S.K.Sinha's mass meetings brought hordes of people to hear him.[5] He was known as "Bihar Kesari" for his lionlike roars when he rose to address the masses.[5] His close friend and colleague Anugrah Narayan Sinha in his essay mere Shri Babu wrote that, "Since 1921, the History of Bihar has been the history of the life of Shri Babu".[6]

The former President of India, Pratibha Patil, released a book on the letters of exchange between Singh and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru titled Freedom and Beyond.[7][8] The Nehru-Sinha correspondence touches on subjects such as Indian democracy in the making in early years of Independence, Centre-State relations, role of governor, turbulence in Nepal, Zamindari abolition and education scenario.[7][8] Sinha was known for his scholarship and erudition and he had given his personal collection of 17,000 books to the public library in Munger in 1959 which is now named after him as Sri Krishna Seva Sadan.[9]

Family and early life[edit]

Singh was born on 21 October 1887 in Khanwa in Nawada district of Bihar.[10] His paternal village is Maur, near Barbigha in the then Munger District that is now part of Sheikhpura District.[10] His father was a religious, middle-class member of a Bhumihar Brahmin family.[10] His mother, who was also an unassuming and religious-minded person, died of plague when he was five years old.[10] He was educated in the village school and at Zila School in Munger. In 1906 he joined Patna College, which was then an affiliate of the University of Calcutta.[10] He studied law and started practicing in Munger from 1916.[10] In the meantime, he married and had two sons, Shivshankar Singh and Bandishankar Singh (more commonly known as Swaraj Babu) who later held various posts in the state government.[10]

Having graduated from Patna College, Sri Babu went to Calcutta to complete his M.A. & B.L. from University of Calcutta.[11] After obtaining both the degrees with flying colours, he joined the Munger District Bar as a lawyer on 1st April, 1916.[11] A graphic description has been given by Hemchandra basu, then son of the Headmaster of Zila School, Munger and an advocate of the Munger court, about Singh's initiation into the legal profession under him.[11] "I distinctly remember", says Hemchandra Basu, "the occasion one day in 1916 when Deoki babu brought Shri to my place and entrusting him to my charge said, "Now that Shri has joined the bar, it is upto you to train him in this line."[11] "I was highly pleased to see the charming young man whom I had known as a mere stripling, now grown up to the stature of manhood, full of energy and promise, with a face radiant with intelligence and spirit."[11]

Singh (Sinha) remained in the legal profession from April 1916 to August 1921.[11] During this period he established himself as a rising, industrious and forceful lawyer.[11] The inflow of money and growing popularity among the litigants appear to have emboldened him to take up ML degree and join the High Court at Patna.[11] But while he was contemplating to do so he suddenly had to walk out of bar in August 1921, never again to cross its threshold, and plunged headlong into the Non Cooperation Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi.[11] His name, however, continued on the bar association for a few weeks more and was eventually removed at his request on 21st September, 1921.[11]

Freedom struggle[edit]

Singh first met Mahatma Gandhi in 1916 at Central Hindu College, Benares and later at Shah Muhammad Jubair's house in December, 1920.[10] At Munger, he vowed to work relentlessly to free India from the British rule.[10] He gave up practising law in 1921 to take part in Gandhi's non-cooperation movement.[10]

He was arrested for the first time in 1922 at Jubair's house and Congress Seva Dal was declared illegal.[10] For this he was known as Bihar Kesari by the people. He was released from jail in 1923 and on the day of Tulsi Jayanti performed in the play Bharat Darshan at Central School, Kharagpur.[10] In the same year he became member of All India Congress Committee.[10]

Krishna Singh (right) with Anugrah Narayan Sinha during the swearing-in ceremony of independent Bihar's first government on 15 August 1947

In 1927, he became member of the Legislative Council and in 1929 became General Secretary of Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee. In 1930, Sinha played an important role in the Namak Satyagrah at Garhpura. He suffered severe scalding injuries to his hands and chest while being arrested, was imprisoned for six months and then was again arrested and imprisoned for two years during Civil Disobedience movement. He was released after Gandhi–Irwin Pact and again started with his nationalist work and work with the Kisan Sabha. On 9 January 1932 he was sentenced to two years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000. He was released from Hazaribagh Jail in October, 1933. He was involved in relief and rehabilitation after the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. He was the President of Munger Zila Parishad from 1934 to 1937. In 1935, he became member of the Central Assembly.[10]

Sribabu was also the President of the B.P.C.C. in 1936, a member of its working committee and in fact, the life and soul of the Provincial Working Committee and of the Congress organization in the state for over thirty years.[12] This long period of service at the help of the state is a proof not only of the great popularity and confidence which he enjoyed in the party but it symbolises also his great qualities as a co-ordinator between party and government.[12]

On 20 July 1937, he became the Premier of Bihar province when Congress came to power. Under the Government of India Act of 1935, Sinha formed his Cabinet at Patna on 20 July 1937. He and[13] his colleague Anugrah Narayan Sinha disagreed with the governor on the issue of the release of political prisoners and resigned. The then governor had to accede to the demands for release of prisoners from Cellular Jail (Kalapani) and Bihar Tenancy Act was reformed in favour of peasants. They then resumed office. But they again resigned in 1939, as did all Congress chief ministers, over the question of involving India in the Second World War without the consent of the Indian people. Along with Anugrah Narayan Sinha, a prominent Gandhian and the first Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister of Bihar,[13] he is considered one of the makers of modern Bihar.[10]

Sinha was always interested in self-study and his ideas and speeches were noted for their wisdom. He was a staunch opponent of casteism and defended the oppressed and the oppressed. Impressed by his courage, in 1940 Gandhi awarded him the distinction of being called the first Satyagrahi of Bihar.[14] He was jailed for nine months (22 November 1940 – 26 August 1941). When the Quit India movement started in 1942, he was arrested on 10 August. He was released in 1944 from Hazaribagh jail after he became seriously ill. In the same year his wife died at Prince of Wales Medical College.[10]

As the former Prime Minister of Bihar he attended the Simla Conference and also became the member of Constituent Assembly of India which framed the Constitution of India.[14]

Singh served Bihar continuously from 1946 until his death on 31 January 1961 at the age of 73.[10] In 1978, the Ministry of Culture established a science museum called Srikrishna Science Centre. The biggest conference hall in Patna, Shri Krishna Memorial Hall is also named after him.[10]


Almost all the development projects needed for the state of Bihar were done by the leadership pair of Shree Babu and A N Sinha.[15] It includes several river valley projects right from Koshi, Aghaur and Sakri to other such river projects.[15] The first five-year plan period was given to the development in rural development works mainly in the agricultural sector. In fact, Bihar became the top state in the country's first five-year plan and it was announced by the then Finance Minister Dr. A N Sinha in the assembly.[15] Since the second five-year plan period, Shri Babu brought several heavy industries like Barauni Oil Refinery, HEC plant at Hatia, Bokaro Steel Plant, Barauni Fertiliser Plant, Barauni Thermal Power Plant, Maithon Hydel Power Station, Sulphur mines at Amjhaur, Sindri Fertiliser Plant, Kargali Coal Washery, Barauni Dairy Project, etc. for the all round development of the state.[15]

He had immense contribution in the cultural and social development of the state.[15] It was he who had established the Rajendra Chatra Niwas at Calcutta for the Bihari students, the Anugraha Narayan Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANSISS) at Patna, Lok Rangshala of the Bihar Sangit Nritya Natya Parishad, Sanskrit College at Patna, Ravindra Bhavan at Patna, Bhagvan Buddha's statue at Rajgir Venu Van Vihar as well as orphanage at Muzaffarpur.[15] Lok Rangshala of the Bihar Sangit Nritya Natya Parishad, Sanksrit College at Patna, Ravindra Bhavan at Patna, Lord Buddha's statue at Rajgir Venu Van Vihar, as well as an orphanage at Muzaffarpur were opened by him.[16]

In a formal legal sense, the Chief Minister can be persuaded or forced in the interim to resign or retire by the legislature to which the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible.[17] Sri Babu faced no-confidence motion five times, though all the motions were defeated in the house.[17]

Sri Babu maintained good working relations with the secretariat officials and protected police from demoralization because police, having done away with pre-independence legacy no longer symbolized tyranny, domination, intimidation and oppression.[18] Sri babu emphasized that in democratic India, policemen symbolized efficiency, service, protection, and help to the people.[18] Caste played no role in promotion, transfer, posting and in working relationship of police officials with ministers or the Chief Minister in the fifties.[18] S.Q.Rizvi, an upright and retired senior Indian Police Service official spoke thus, "About the qualities of head and heart of this great man, it could be summed up in three words 'Humanism, Integrity and Secularism'. Dr. S.K.Sinha was a great leader and idealist endowed with great intellectual attainments. But what to me appeared the most prominent feature was that as a politician he had absolute integrity. A rare quality in a political leader of an area besieged with problems of caste and of low level mental make-up."[10]

Sri Babu was a "progressive" leader who introduced substantive land reform legislations at the early period of Bihar's history.[19] However, Sri Babu favoured the growth of agricultural capitalism and he wanted to do away with the constraints and hindrances in the way of the growth of productive forces in agriculture.[19] Sinha was, not so much enthusiastic about post-zamindari agrarian reforms, a section of leftists argue.[19] Yet, leftists grant credit to Sinhafor getting the Bihar Tenancy Act passed in the early years.[19]

Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer has written, "Sri Krishna Singh, Govind Ballabh Pant, Bidhan Chandra Roy, Rajaji, K. Kamaraj, E. M. S. Namboodiripad and others of that stature were heavyweights in their own right and brought into political administration a texture of nationalism, federalism, realism, and even some touch of pragmatic socialism."[6] Justice Iyer further wrote, "Sri Krishna lived poor, died poor and identified himself with the poor."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dipak Mishra (29 September 2004). "Parties 'use' Legendary names as caste icons". The Times of India (India). Retrieved 5 April 2008. 
  2. ^ Walter Hauser (February 1997). "Changing images of caste and politics". Retrieved 8 April 2008. 
  3. ^ Arun Kumar (25 January 2005). "Bhumihars rooted to the ground in caste politics". The Times of India (India). Retrieved 5 April 2008. 
  4. ^ Abhay Singh (6 July 2004). "BJP, Cong eye Bhumihars as Rabri drops ministers". The Times of India (India). Retrieved 21 March 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. pp. 310 (at p. 277). ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2. 
  6. ^ a b c Kumar (principal editor), Dr. Vijay (2013). Srkrishna Singh Smriti Granth: Vichar aur Darshan. Patna: Bihar State Archives. pp. 692 (at p. 164). ISBN 978-93-81456-18-7. 
  7. ^ a b Pranava K Chaudhary (1 June 2009). "Prez releases book on Nehru, Sri Babu letters". The Times of India (India). Retrieved 1 June 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "Sri Babu promoted L N Mishra, reveals recently released letters to Nehru". Bihar Times. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Prasad, R.C. (1987). Shri Krishna Sinha: A Biography. N.K.Enterprises, New Delhi. p. 186. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jha, Punil Kumar (2009). Activities of Dr. Shri Krishna Singh in Provincial Politics (1919-1947). Janaki Prakashan, Patna. p. 238. ISBN 978-81-907634-0-0. 
  12. ^ a b Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. pp. 310 (at p. 212). ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2. 
  13. ^ a b "First Bihar Deputy CM cum Finance Minister; A N Sinha". Indian Post. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  14. ^ a b Prasad, R.C. (1987). Shri Krishna Sinha: A Biography. N.K.Enterprises, New Delhi. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Arun Kumar (1 January 1998 (Fifty year special issue)). "Shri Babu: A Visionary Par Excellence". Tribute to a legend: a Times Special Report, The Times of India.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  16. ^ Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. p. 310. ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2. 
  17. ^ a b Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. pp. 310 (at p. 195). ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2. 
  18. ^ a b c Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. pp. 310 (at p. 184). ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2. 
  19. ^ a b c d Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. pp. 310 (at p. 11). ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2. 


  • Sri Krishna Singh Smriti Granth (Bilingual in Hindi and English) published by Bihar State Archives, 2013, ISBN NO. 978-93-81456-18-7, Principal editor: Dr. Vijay Kumar, Co-editors: Shri Sanjay Kumar Khan, Dr. Bharati Sharma, Shri Chintan Chandra and Dr. Madan Mishra with contributions from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Purushottam Das Tandon, Govind Ballabh Pant, Ravishankar Shukla, Bal Gangadhar Kher, Sampurnanand, Sarojini Naidu, Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Maithili Sharan Gupt, Rajendra Prasad, Pandit Nalin Vilochan Sharma, Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Balmiki Prasad Singh, Acharya Shivpujan Sahay, Dr. Ganga Sharan Singh (Sinha), Dr. I.C.Kumar, Prof. Nihar Nandan Prasad Singh, Prof. Lal Narayan Sharma, Prof. Ratneshwar Mishra, Prof. Siddheshwardhari Sinha, Dr. Vijay Kumar, Dr. Akhilesh Kumar, Prof. P.N.Tiwari, Prof. Hetukar Jha, Shri Chandra Prakash Narayan Singh, Umesh Kumar Singh, Dr. Chandra Mohan Singh, Dr. Bharati Sharma, Arvind Kumar Singh, Virendra Ram, Madan Paswan, Laxminarayan Singh 'Sidhanshu', Shyam Nandan Sahay, Kameshwar Sharma 'Kamal', Krishnamohan Pyare Singh, Baldev Prasad Singh, Srikrishna Mishra, Ramgulam Sharma, C.B.H.Rao, Janardan Mishra, Kedarnath Goenka, Bipin Bihari Verma, Kapildev Narayan Singh 'Suhriday', Banarsi Prasad Singh, Maulvi Mohammad Yusuf, Prof. Kapil, Prof. Parmanand, Dr. Anand Narayan Sharma, Hiraji, Dr. Ramvilas Singh, Hira Prasad Chaturvedi, Surendra Prasad Jamuar, and others.
  • Dr. Vijay Kumar (principal editor), Co-editors: Shri Sanjay Kumar Khan, Dr. Bharati Sharma, Shri Chintan Chandra and Dr. Madan Mishra, "Lok Manch par Shrikrishna Singh" (compilation of speeches of Dr. Sri Krishna Singh), Bihar State Archives, 2013, ISBN NO. 978-93-81456-20-0.
  • Dr. Vijay Kumar (general editor), Co-editors: Shri Sanjay Kumar Khan, Dr. Bharati Sharma, Shri Chintan Chandra and Dr. Madan Mishra, "Select speeches of Dr. Srikrishna Sinha in the Legislature",Bihar State Archives, 2013, ISBN NO. 978-93-81456-17-0.
  • Ramchandra Prasad, Ashok Kumar Sinha, Sri Krishna Singh in Adhunik Bharat ke Nirmata Series, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
  • R.C.Prasad, A.K.Sinha, Shri Krishna Singh: a Biography, N.K.Enterprises, New Delhi, 1987.
  • L.N.Sharma, Politics and Good Governance, A Study of the Chief Ministers of Bihar: From S.K.Sinha to Nitish Kumar, Regal Publications, New Delhi, 2013.
  • Prof. (Dr.) Nihar Nandan Prasad Singh, "Adhunik Bihar ke Nirmata: Dr. Shrikrishna Singh", Bihar State Archives, 2013, ISBN NO. 978-93-81456-14-9.
  • The Times of India had published a booklet in English in all its editions titled Legend and the Man: a tribute to Sri Krishna singh in 1992.
  • The Times of India had published a booklet in English in all its editions titled Tribute to a Legend in 1998 on the completion of 50 years of India's independence.
  • Dr. Sameer Kumar Singh, Bihar ke rajnitik evam samajik sandarbh main Dr. Shri Krishna Singh ka yogdaan, Bihar Hindi Granth Akademi, Patna, 2001.
  • Datta, K.K. Freedom Movement in Bihar, Vol I, 1957, Government of Bihar, Sanjivan Press, Patna.
  • Datta, K.K. Freedom Movement in Bihar, Vol II, 1957, Government of Bihar, Sanjivan Press, Patna.
  • Datta, K.K. Freedom Movement in Bihar, Vol III, 1957, Government of Bihar, Sanjivan Press, Patna.
  • Dinkar, Kapil and Kamal (ed.) Shri Krishna Abhinandan Granth, 1948.
  • Majumdar, Raychaudhari and Datta An Advanced History of India, 1958, Macmillan, London.
  • Prasad, Janakdhari, Kuch Apni Kuch Desh Ki, 1970, Vaishali Press, Patna.
  • Singh, Mukutdhari, Bhuli Bisri Kadiyan, 1977, I Chandrodaya Press, Patna.
  • Singh, Mukutdhari, Bhuli Bisri Kadiyan, 1977, II Chandrodaya Press, Patna.

Pictorial survey[edit]

  • Nath, Nagendra (ed.) Shri Krishna Singh, 1960 Central Art Press, Calcutta.

External links[edit]