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Dr. Sri Krishna Singh

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Dr. Sri Krishna Singh

Shri Krishna Singh (affectionately called Sri Babu)
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 21 October 1887
khanwa ( nawada bihar )
Died 31 January 1961
Political party Indian National Congress
Children Two sons

Krishna Singh(21 October 1887 – 31 January 1961), known as 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.

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.[5][6] 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.[5][6] 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.[7]

Family and early life

Singh was born on 21 October 1887 in Khanwa in Nawada district of Bihar.[8] His paternal village is Maur, near Barbigha in the then Munger District that is now part of Sheikhpura District.[9] 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.[11] 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.[12] He studied law and started practicing in Munger from 1915.[13] 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.[14]

Freedom struggle

Singh first met Mahatma Gandhi in 1916 at Central Hindu College, Benares and later at Shah Muhammad Jubair's house in December, 1920.[15] At Munger, he vowed to work relentlessly to free India from the British rule.[16] He gave up practising law in 1921 to take part in Gandhi's non-cooperation movement.[17]

He was arrested for the first time in 1922 at Jubair's house and Congress Seva Dal was declared illegal.[18] 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.[19] In the same year he became member of All India Congress Committee.[20]

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 Bihar earthquake. He was the President of Munger Zila Parishad from 1934 to 1937. In 1935, he became member of the Central Assembly.[21]

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[22] 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,[22] he is considered one of the makers of modern Bihar.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

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.[24]

Singh served Bihar continuously from 1946 until his death on 31 January 1961 at the age of 73.[26] 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.[27]


Almost all the development projects needed for the state of Bihar were done by the leadership pair of Shree Babu and A N Sinha.[28] It includes several river valley projects right from Koshi, Aghaur and Sakri to other such river projects.[28] 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.[28] 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.[28]

He had immense contribution in the cultural and social development of the state.[28] 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.[28]

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."[29]

See also



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

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

External links

  • Sri Babu & Anugrah Babu
  • Bihar's first exemplary government:The Sri Babu-Anugrah Babu regime
  • Rajendra Prasad :Letters to Sri Babu & Anugrah Babu
  • Freedom Fighters of India

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