Satyendra Prasanno Sinha, 1st Baron Sinha

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Sinha
Satyendra Prasanno Sinha.jpg
A whole-plate glass negative portrait of Satyendra Prasanno Sinha taken by Bassano Ltd, 20 May 1920, and now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Personal details
Born 24 March 1863
Raipur, Birbhum, Bengal
Died 4 March 1928 (1928-03-05) (aged 64)
Berhampore, Bengal
Spouse(s) Gobinda Mohini Sinha (nee Mitter)
Occupation Politician, lawyer

Satyendra Prasanno Sinha, 1st Baron Sinha, KCSI, PC, KC, (24 March 1863 – 4 March 1928) was a prominent lawyer and statesman in British India.

Background and education[edit]

Satyendra Prasanno Sinha was born on 24 March 1863 in Raipur, Birbhum in Bengal, British India. His father was the zamindar of Raipur and belonged to the Kayastha caste. He was educated first in Bibhum Zilla School at Suri and then obtained a scholarship to Presidency College, Calcutta, then affiliated to the University of Calcutta, in 1878. He married Gobinda Mohini Mitter on 15 May 1880 at Mahata, Burdwan, Bengal, and in 1881 he abandoned his studies in India to study law in England. Scholarships and prizes enabled him to attend Lincoln's Inn and in 1886 he returned to Calcutta as a barrister.[1]


After returning to India in 1886, Sinha established a successful legal practice in Calcutta. He was a member of the Indian National Congress from 1896 to 1919, when, along with other moderates, he left the organisation. He was elected to preside over the Bombay session of the Congress in 1915.

Sinha became Standing Counsel to the Government of India in 1903. He was the first Indian to be appointed as Advocate-General of Bengal in 1908, and the first Indian member of the Viceroy's Executive Council in 1909. When Morley's reforms were introduced two Indian members were to be appointed to the secretary of state's Whitehall Council for India and one has to hold the post of law member of the government of India, Sinha was the first Indian to hold the position. His legal practice in 1908 was so lucrative that accepting government's invitation meant a cut in his annual income of £10,000. Sinha's first inclination was to turn down the viceroy's invitation, but Jinnah and Gokhale convinced him to accept the job.[2] He went to England in 1914 as a member of the War Conference following the outbreak of the First World War, and represented India in Europe's Peace Conference in 1919.

He was knighted in the New Year Honours on 1 January 1915. He was the first Indian to be appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for India in 1919. In the same year he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Sinha of Raipur in the Presidency of Bengal, becoming the first Indian member of the British House of Lords, taking his seat in February 1919. After his ennoblement, he navigated a bill through the House of Lords, which became the Government of India Act 1919; the Act transferred legislative power from the Viceroy of India to an Indian Legislature as a step towards self-government. Lord Sinha also became a member of the Imperial Privy Council.

He became Governor of the Province of Bihar and Orissa in 1920, the first Indian to be appointed to such a high rank in the administration of British India. However, in 1921 he retired on the grounds of ill health. In 1926 he became a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Sinha died on 4 March 1928 at Berhampore. He and his wife had seven children.[1]


  • 1863–1886: Satyendra Prasad Sinha
  • 1886–1915: Satyendra Prasad Sinha, KC
  • 1915-10 February 1919: Sir Satyendra Prasad Sinha, KC
  • 10–19 February 1919: The Right Honourable Sir Satyendra Prasad Sinha, PC, KC
  • 19 February 1919 – 1920: The Right Honourable The Lord Sinha, PC, KC
  • 1920-1921: His Excellency The Right Honourable The Lord Sinha, PC, KC
  • 1921–1928: The Right Honourable The Lord Sinha, KCSI, PC, KC


  1. ^ a b FitzGerald, S. V. (2004). "Sinha, Satyendra Prasanno, first Baron Sinha (1863–1928)". revised Raychaudhuri, Tapan. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 August 2013.  (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ Wolpert, Stanley (2013). Jinnah of Pakistan. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-577389-7. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
B.N. Bose
President of the Indian National Congress
Succeeded by
Ambica Charan Mazumdar
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Islington
Under-Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
The Earl of Lytton
Political offices
Preceded by
New office
(Sir Edward Gait
as Lieutenant Governor)
Governor of Bihar and Odisha
Succeeded by
Havilland Le Mesurier
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
Baron Sinha
Succeeded by
Aroon Kumar Sinha