Shri Krishna Singh (politician)
Dr. Shri Krishna Sinha
|Premier of Bihar Province|
20 July 1937 – 31 October 1939
|Preceded by||Muhammad Yunus|
|Succeeded by||Governor's rule|
|Member Of Constituent Assembly|
9 December 1946 – 26 January 1950
|Preceded by||Post Created|
|Succeeded by||Post Abolished|
|1st Chief Minister of Bihar|
2 April 1946 – 31 January 1961
|Deputy CM||Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha|
|Preceded by||Position Created|
|Succeeded by||Deep Narayan Singh|
|2nd Finance Minister of Bihar|
5 July 1957 – 31 January 1961
|Preceded by||Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha|
|Succeeded by||Deep Narayan Singh|
|Born||21 October 1887|
Khanwa, Bengal Presidency, British India
|Died||31 January 1961 (aged 74)|
Patna, Bihar, India
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Nickname(s)||Sri Babu, Bihar Kesari|
Shri Krishna Singh (21 October 1887 – 31 January 1961), was the first Chief Minister of the Indian state of Bihar (1946–61). Except for the period of World War II, Sinha was chief minister of Bihar from the time of the first Congress Ministry in 1937 until his death in 1961. Along with the nationalists Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Singh is regarded among the Architects of Modern Bihar. He led the Dalit entry into the Baidyanath Dham temple (Vaidyanath Temple, Deoghar), reflecting his commitment to the upliftment and social empowerment of dalits. He was the first Chief Minister in the country to abolish the zamindari system. 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. He was known as "Bihar Kesari" for his lionlike roars when he rose to address the masses. His close friend and eminent Gandhian Bihar Vibhuti Dr. 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".
The former President of India, Pratibha Patil, released a book on the letters of exchange between Sinha and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru titled Freedom and Beyond. 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. 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.
Early life and family
Singh was born on 21 October 1887 in Khanwa in Nawada district of Bihar. Although some biographers have wrongly mentioned his birthplace as Maur, a village in Munger district, it was his father who came from Maur. His paternal village is Maur, near Barbigha in the then Munger District that is now part of Sheikhpura District. His mother, who was also an unassuming and religious-minded person, died of plague when he was five years old. 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. He studied law and started practicing in Munger from 1915. In the meantime, he married and had two sons, Shivshankar Sinha and Bandishankar Singh (more commonly known as Swaraj Babu) who later held various posts in the state government.
Singh first met Mahatma Gandhi in 1916 at Central Hindu College, Benares and later at Shah Muhammad Jubair's house in December 1920. At Munger, he vowed to work relentlessly to free India from the British rule. He gave up practising law in 1921 to take part in Gandhi's non-cooperation movement.
He was arrested for the first time in 1922 at Jubair's house and Congress Seva Dal was declared illegal. 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. In the same year he became member of the All India Congress Committee.
In 1927, Singh became member of the Legislative Council and in 1929 became General Secretary of Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC). In 1930, he 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 Bihar Legislative Assembly.
Singh was also the President of the BPCC in 1936 with Anugrah babu as his deputy, a member of its working committee and in fact, Shri Krishna Sinha & Anugrah Narayan Sinha were the life and soul of the Provincial Working Committee and of the Congress organisation in the state for over thirty years. 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.
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 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, he is considered one of the makers of modern Bihar.
Singh 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 described him as "the first Satyagrahi" of Bihar while his fellow colleague Anugrah Babu was the second Satyagrahi. 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.
Singh served Bihar continuously from 1946 until his death on 31 January 1961 at the age of 73. 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.
Almost all the development projects in Bihar during this period involved the leadership pair of S.K.Singh and A. N. Singh. It includes several river valley projects right from Koshi, Aghaur and Sakri to other such river projects. The first five-year plan period was given to the development in rural development works mainly in the agricultural sector. Bihar became the top state in the country's first five-year plan. From the second five-year plan period, Sinha brought several heavy industries like Barauni Oil Refinery, HEC plant at Hatia, Bokaro Steel Plant, Barauni Fertiliser Plant, Barauni Thermal Power Station, Maithon Hydel Power Station, Sulphur mines at Amjhaur, Sindri Fertiliser Plant, Kargali Coal Washery etc. for the all round development of the state.
Arun Kumar says Singh made an immense contribution in the cultural and social development of the state. He established the Rajendra Chatra Niwas at Calcutta for 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. 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.
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. Sinha successfully defied a motion of no-confidence on five occasions.
Sinha maintained good working relations with the secretariat officials and protected police from demoralization because police, having done away with pre-independence legacy no longer symbolised tyranny, domination, intimidation and oppression. He emphasised that in democratic India, policemen symbolised efficiency, service, protection, and help to the people. Caste played no role in promotion, transfer, posting and in working relationship of police officials with ministers or the Chief Minister in the fifties. S. Q.Rizvi, a retired senior Indian Police Service official, said, "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."
Sinha was a progressive leader who introduced substantive land reform legislations at the early period of Bihar's history. He 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, but some critics thought he was less enthusiastic about post-zamindari agrarian reforms. Yet, leftists grant credit to Sinha for getting the Bihar Tenancy Act passed in the early years.
Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer said that Sinha was among those who were "heavyweights in their own right and brought into political administration a texture of nationalism, federalism, realism, and even some touch of pragmatic socialism", and that he "lived poor, died poor and identified himself with the poor."
The present Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, while observing Sri Babu's 124th Birth Anniversary in 2011, also attended by Sushil Modi, Jagannath Mishra, Ramashray Prasad Singh, Mahachandra Prasad Singh and others said, "Mr. Sinha's contributions, as the first Chief Minister of Bihar, cannot be over-stated. He was the first one to sow the seeds of progress in the state and his administrative skills are yet to be matched."
Indian National Congress Resolution on conferring Bharat Ratna to Sri Babu
A unanimous resolution was also adopted to confer Bharat Ratna to Bihar Kesari Sri Babu at Sadaqat Ashram, the Congress headquarters in Patna attended by veteran party leaders like former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, former Kerala & Nagaland Governor Nikhil Kumar, former union minister of state Shakeel Ahmad, former union minister of state K.K.Tiwary, Congress legislature party leader in the state assembly & former Speaker Sadanand Singh, and national media panelist Prem Chand Mishra, and the AICC general secretary and in charge of Bihar, C. P. Joshi, among others who spoke on Shri Krishna Sinha's profile and his contributions to social and economic development of the state of Bihar. They, in their turn, recalled several state and national leaders of the party cutting across religion and castes established and promoted by Sinha based on their merit.
Bharatiya Janata Party on Sri Babu
The Bharatiya Janata Party also organised a function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sri Babu. The BJP functionaries who addressed the function included Rajya Sabha member and senior BJP leader Dr. C. P. Thakur, leader of opposition in the state assembly Prem Kumar and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan. The party's senior functionaries on Sunday hailed the state's first CM, Sri Krishna Sinha, a Congress man, as the tallest leader who achieved all-round development of the state under his rule.
On the 127th Birth Anniversary of Sri Babu in 2014, the present minister of communication (independent charge) and minister of state for railways in the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi Cabinet, Shri Manoj Sinha praised Bihar's first CM Sri Krishna Sinha for being a practitioner of good governance from the day he took over the reins of the state. He said, "Today everybody in the country and the world over has been talking about good governance. Sri Babu was its 'pratimoorti (embodiment)'". The minister, who is a Member of Parliament from Ghazipur in UP, surprised the audience by saying that his elder uncle had been private secretary of Sri Babu for five years. He said, "Sri Babu, earlier, was influenced by Sri Aurobindo and Surendranath Banerjee, and pledged in the Ganga at Munger to dedicate his life to the service of the country, holding a copy of the Gita in one hand and a 'kripan' in another. Later, he came under the spell of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and was considered a 'garam dal neta' like him. However, in 1916, he heard the speech of Mahatma Gandhi at Kamakhya. There he realized that this man alone could lead the struggle for country's independence. After that, he became his lifelong follower."
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