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Choudhary Charan Singh

 

Choudhary Charan Singh

This article is about the Indian Prime Minister. For the fourth satguru of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas, see Charan Singh (guru).

Charan Singh Tewatia
Charan Singh in 1978
5th Prime Minister of India
In office
28 July 1979 – 14 January 1980
President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Deputy Yashwantrao Chavan
Preceded by Morarji Desai
Succeeded by Indira Gandhi
Minister of Finance
In office
24 January 1979 – 28 July 1979
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Preceded by Haribhai Patel
Succeeded by Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna
Deputy Prime Minister of India
In office
24 March 1977 – 28 July 1979
Serving with Jagjivan Ram
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Preceded by Morarji Desai
Succeeded by Yashwantrao Chavan
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
24 March 1977 – 1 July 1978
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Preceded by Kasu Brahmananda Reddy
Succeeded by Morarji Desai
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
In office
18 February 1970 – 1 October 1970
Governor Bezawada Gopala Reddy
Preceded by Chandra Bhanu Gupta
Succeeded by Tribhuvan Narain Singh
In office
3 April 1967 – 25 February 1968
Governor Biswanath Das
Bezawada Gopala Reddy
Preceded by Chandra Bhanu Gupta
Succeeded by Chandra Bhanu Gupta
Personal details
Born (1902-12-23)23 December 1902
Noorpur, United Provinces, British India
Died 29 May 1987(1987-05-29) (aged 84)
Political party Janata Party-Secular (1979–1987)
Other political
affiliations
Indian National Congress (Before 1967)
Bharatiya Lok Dal (1967–1977)
Janata Party (1977–1979)
Spouse(s) Gayatri Devi
Alma mater Agra University
Religion Hinduism

Chaudhary Charan Singh (Caudharī Caraṇ Siṅh; 23 December 1902 – 29 May 1987) was the fifth Prime Minister of the Republic of India, serving from 28 July 1979 until 14 January 1980.

Charan singh was born into a Jat family in 1902 in village Noorpur of meerut district,[1][2] Charan Singh entered politics as part of the Independence Movement. After independence he became particularly notable in the 1950s for opposing and winning a battle against Jawaharlal Nehru's socialistic and collectivist land use policies, for the sake of the Indian Farmer, which endeared him to the agrarian communities throughout the nation, particularly in his native Uttar Pradesh.

The leader of the Bharatiya Lok Dal, a major constituent of the Janata coalition, he was disappointed in his ambition to become Prime Minister in 1977 by Jayaprakash Narayan's choice of Morarji Desai. He settled at the time for the largely honorary post of Deputy Prime Minister of India.During 1977 Lok Sabha Elections, there was not a single party, hence it was problem, which symbol has to be adopted (many parties joined the front to contest the elections after emergency was over). Hence, a request was made to Chaudhary Charan Singh (Lok Dal) and he agreed to release his party-Lok Dal's symbol "HALDHAR'. It was because of efforts of Raj Narain he later became Prime Minister in the year 1979 though Raj Narain was Chairman of Janata Party-Secular and assured Charan Singh of elevating him as Prime Minnister, the way he helped him to become Chief Minister in the year 1967 in Uttar Pradesh. However, the internal stresses of the coalition's government caused him to leave the government with the former Lok Dal, after being promised by Indira Gandhi the support of the Congress Party on the floor of the House in any efforts to form a government. He was sworn in as Prime Minister with the support of just 64 MPs.

Charan Singh holds the record of the sole Prime Minister of India who did not face the Loksabha even for a single day during his short tenure of just a month. The day before the Lok Sabha was due to meet for the first time the Indian National Congress withdrew their support from his Bharatiya Lok Dal Government. Choudhary Charan Singh resigned and fresh elections were held six months later.

He continued to lead the Lok Dal in opposition till his death in 1987, when he was succeeded as party president by his son Ajit Singh. His association with the causes dear to farming communities in the North caused his memorial in New Delhi to be named Kisan Ghat. (In Hindi, Kisan is the word for farmer.)

The Amausi Airport in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh is also called as Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport after him. The university of Meerut city in Uttar Pradesh, India, is also named after him (Chaudhary Charan Singh University).

Early years – pre-independence India

Charan Singh's ancestor was the prominent leader of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Raja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh (in present day Haryana). Maharaja Nahar Singh was sent to the gallows in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. In order to escape the oppression from the British Government following their defeat, the Maharaja's followers, including Charan Singh's grandfather moved eastward to district Bulandshaher in Uttar Pradesh.

Charan Singh was born on 23 December 1902 in the village of Noorpur, Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. He was a good student, and received a Masters of Arts degree in 1925 and Law degree in 1926 from Agra University. He started practice as a Civil Lawyer at Ghaziabad in 1928.

In February 1937 he was elected Chhaprouli (Baghpat) to the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces) at the age of 34. In 1938 he introduced an Agricultural Produce Market Bill in the Assembly which was published in the issues of The Hindustan Times of Delhi dated 31 March 1938. The Bill was intended to safeguard the interests of the farmers against the rapacity of the traders. The Bill was adopted by most of the States in India, Punjab being the first state to do so in 1940.

Charan Singh followed Mahatma Gandhi in non-violent struggle for independence from the British Government, and was imprisoned several times. In 1930 he was sent to jail for 6 months by the British for contravention of the salt laws. He was jailed again for one year in November 1940 for individual Satyagraha Movement. In August 1942 he was jailed again by the British under DIR and released in November 1943.

Independent India

Charan Singh opposed Jawaharlal Nehru on his Soviet-style economic reform. Charan Singh was of the opinion that cooperative farms would not succeed in India. Being a son of a farmer, Charan Singh opined that the right of ownership was important to the farmer in remaining a cultivator. Charan Singh's political career suffered due to his open criticism of Nehru's economic policy.

Charan Singh left the Congress party in 1967, and formed his own political party. With the help and support of Raj Narain and Ram Manohar Lohia, he became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1967, and later in 1970. In 1975, he was jailed again, but this time by then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, daughter of his former rival Nehru. She had declared the state of emergency and jailed all her political opponents. The Indian populace voted her out, and the opposition party, of which Chaudhary Charan Singh was a senior leader came into power. He served as Deputy prime minister and home minister in Janata government headed by Morarji Desai.

Charan Singh died on 29 May 1987. He was survived by his wife, Gayatri Devi and five children. His son Ajit Singh is currently the president of his political party Bharatiya Lok Dal. Ajit Singh has three children. His grandson Jayant Chaudhary is was elected to 15th Lok Sabha from Mathura.

References

Political offices
Preceded by
Chandra Bhanu Gupta
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
1967–1968
Succeeded by
Chandra Bhanu Gupta
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
1970
Succeeded by
Tribhuvan Narain Singh
Preceded by
Morarji Desai
Deputy Prime Minister of India
1977–1979
Served alongside: Jagjivan Ram
Succeeded by
Yashwantrao Chavan
Preceded by
Kasu Brahmananda Reddy
Minister of Home Affairs
1977–1978
Succeeded by
Morarji Desai
Preceded by
Haribhai Patel
Minister of Finance
1979
Succeeded by
Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna
Preceded by
Morarji Desai
Prime Minister of India
1979–1980
Succeeded by
Indira Gandhi
Chairperson of the Planning Commission
1979–1980

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