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Karan Singh

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Karan Singh

Dr Karan Singh کرن سنگھ
Member of Parliament
Personal details
Born (1931-03-09) 9 March 1931
Cannes, France
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s) Yasho Rajya Lakshmi
Residence New Delhi, India
Religion Hinduism

Dr Karan Singh (Urdu; کرن سِنگھ) (born 9 March 1931, age 83) is a member of India's Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha. He is a senior member of the Indian National Congress Party who served successively as Sadr-i-Riyasat and Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Singh is the son of the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir and Jammu, Maharaja Hari Singh. In the 26th amendment[1] to the Constitution of India promulgated in 1971, the Government of India abolished all official symbols of princely India, including titles, privileges, and remuneration (privy purses).[2] Singh received the Padma Vibhushan in 2005.


  • Ancestry 1
  • Early life and education 2
  • Family and Ancestors 3
  • Political career 4
    • on population 4.1
  • Bibliography 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


The first Maharaja was his great great grandfather Gulab Singh.[3] "On March 15, 1846 Gulab Singh was formally invested with the title of Maharaja at Amritsar. On this occasion 'Maharaja' Gulab Singh stood up, and, with joined hands, expressed his gratitude to the British viceroy^—adding, without however any ironical meaning, that he was indeed his 'Zurkharid', or gold-boughten slave." [4] Gulab Singh's treasonous information regarding the Sikh army assured victory for the East India Company in the Anglo Sikh war. But, "after the war he felt his inability to support himself without the countenance of the English; but they had offered no assurance of support as minister, and he suddenly perplexed the Governor-General by asking what he was to get for all he had done to bring about a speedy peace, and to render the (Sikh) army an easy prey".

Early life and education

Singh was born on 9 March 1931, in Cannes, France, to Hari Singh, the last ruler of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu, and his wife Tara Devi. He was educated at the Doon School, Dehra Dun, and received a B.A. from Sri Pratap College Srinagar, and both an M.A. in Political Science and a PhD from Delhi University.

Family and Ancestors

  • Ajatshatru Singh
  • Wife: Yasho Rajya Lakshmi
  • Son: Vikramaditya Singh; Vikramaditya Singh married Chitrangada Scindia, Madhavrao Scindia's daughter, in 1987. [5]
  • Daughter: Jyotsna Singh

Political career

In 1949, at age of eighteen, Singh was appointed as the regent of Jammu and Kashmir state after his father stepped down as the ruler, following the state's accession to India.[6] He served successively as regent, the first and last Sadr-i-Riyasat, and governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1965 to 1967.

In 1967, he resigned as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, and became the youngest-ever member of the Union Cabinet, holding the portfolios of Tourism and Civil Aviation. Two years later, he voluntarily surrendered his privy purse, which he had been entitled to since the death of his father in 1961. He placed the entire sum into a charitable trust named after his parents. In 1971, he was sent as an envoy to the Eastern Bloc nations to explain India's position with regard to East Pakistan, then engaged in civil war with West Pakistan.[7] He attempted to resign following an aircraft crash in 1973, but the resignation was not accepted. The same year, he became the Minister for Health and Family planning, serving in this post until 1977.

Sadar-i-Riyasat Karan Singh administers the oath of office to Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, after the 1957 elections in Jammu and Kashmir

Following the Emergency, Karan Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha from Udhampur in 1977 on a Congress ticket [the party had not split into Congress(I) and Congress(U) factions till then], and became Minister of Education and Culture in 1979 as part of Charan Singh's cabinet, representing Congress(U), which had split from Indira's Congress. He contested the 1980 Lok Sabha election on a Congress(U) ticket and won. In 1989–1990, he served as Indian Ambassador to the US, and this experience became the subject of a book he wrote, "Brief Sojourn."[8]

From 1967 to 1984 Karan Singh was a member of the Lok Sabha. In 1984, he contested the Lok Sabha polls as an independent candidate from Jammu but lost the election. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha first representing J&K National Conference – a Muslim dominated state party active in northern Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir – from 30 November 1996 to 12 August 1999 and currently is a Rajya Sabha member from 28 January 2000 representing INC. He has served as Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Jammu and Kashmir University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and NIIT University[9]

on population

“In 1974, I led the Indian delegation to the World Population Conference in Bucharest, where my statement that ‘development is the best contraceptive’ became widely known and oft quoted. I must admit that 20 years later I am inclined to reverse this, and my position now is that ‘contraception is the best development’.”[10]


  • Towards A New India (1974)
  • Population, Poverty and the Future of India (1975)
  • One Man's World"\ (1986)
  • Essays on Hinduism. Ratna Sagar. 1987. ISBN 81-7070-173-2.
  • Humanity at the Crossroads, with Daisaku Ikeda. Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • Autobiography (2 vols.)(1989)
  • Brief Sojourn (1991)
  • Hymn to Shiva and Other Poems (1991)
  • The Transition to a Global Society (1991)
  • Mountain of Shiva (1994)
  • Autobiography. Oxford University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-19-563636-8.
  • Prophet of Indian Nationalism
  • Hinduism. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2005. ISBN 1-84557-425-7
  • Mundaka Upanishad: The Bridge to Immortality.
  • Ten Gurus of the Sikhs Their Life Story, Tr. into English Pramila Naniwadekar & Moreshwar Naniwadekar.
  • Nehru's Kashmir. Wisdom Tree. ISBN 978-81-8328-160-7.
  • A Treasury of Indian Wisdom. Penguin Ananda, 2010. ISBN 978-0-670-08450-0.

See also


  1. ^ "The Constitution (26 Amendment) Act, 1971", (Government of India), 1971, retrieved 9 November 2011 
  2. ^ 1.   Quote: "A monarchy is only as good as the reigning monarch: thus it is with the princely states. Once they seemed immutable, invincible. In 1971 they were "derecognized," their privileges, privy purses and titles all abolished at a stroke" (page 91)
  3. ^ History of the Sikhs, JD Cunningham pg. 289
  4. ^ History of the Sikhs, JD Cunningham pg. 287
  5. ^ The Gwalior Royal Wedding Event covered in India Today
  6. ^ Dr. Karan Singh Raj Bhawan, Jammu and Kashmir official website.
  7. ^ Official website-chronology
  8. ^ Karan echoes Omar, but ‘J&K part of India’, Arun Sharma, Jammu, Sat 23 October 2010, The Indian Express Limited
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Quotations". .orgpopulationmatters. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 

Further reading

  • Jammu and Kashmir: 1949–1964: Selected Correspondence between Jawaharlal Nehru and Karan Singh. Edited by Jamaid Alam. Penguin 2006. [2]

External links

  • Dr. Karan Singh's Official Website
  • Dr. Karan Singh's Official Facebook Page
  • Film: I Believe: Universal Values for a Global Society with Dr. Singh and by Raja Choudhury.
  • Genealogy of the ruling chiefs of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Proclamation of May 1, 1951 on Jammu & Kashmir Constituent Assembly by Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh from the Official website of Government of Jammu and Kashmir, India
Political offices
Preceded by
Post created following abdication of Hari Singh
Regent of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
President of Jammu and Kashmir (Sadr-i-Riyasat)
Preceded by
Regent of Jammu and Kashmir
President of Jammu and Kashmir (Sadr-i-Riyasat)
Succeeded by
Succeeded by that of Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
Preceded by
President of Jammu and Kashmir (Sadr-i-Riyasat)
Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
Bhagwan Sahay
Preceded by
Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minister of Health and Family Planning
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minister of Education and Culture
Succeeded by
Preceded by
P.K. Kaul
Indian Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Abid Hussain
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