Karan Singh PMSP (born 9 March 1931) is an Indian politician and philosopher.[1] He is the Titular Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. From 1952 to 1965 he was the Sadr-i-Riyasat (President) of the state of Jammu and Kashmir .[2] He is the chairperson trustee of the Dharmarth Trust of Jammu and Kashmir which maintains 175 temples in north India and works in other areas such as historical preservation.[3][4]

Karan Singh
Singh in 2013
1st Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
30 March 1965 – 15 May 1967
Preceded byPosition established
Himself as Sadr-i-Riyasat
Succeeded byBhagwan Sahay
Sadr-i-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
17 November 1952 – 30 March 1965
Prime MinisterSheikh Abdullah
Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad
Khwaja Shamsuddin
Ghulam Mohammed Sadiq
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Himself as Governor
Prince Regent of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
20 June 1949 – 17 November 1952
MonarchSir Hari Singh
Ambassador of India to the United States of America
In office
Preceded byP. K. Kaul
Succeeded byAbid Hussain
Minister of Education and Culture
In office
30 July 1979 – 14 January 1980
Prime MinisterCharan Singh
Preceded byPratap Chandra Chunder
Succeeded byB. Shankaranand
Minister for Health and Family Planning
In office
9 November 1973 – 24 March 1977
Prime MinisterIndira Gandhi
Preceded byUma Shankar Dikshit
Succeeded byRaj Narain
Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
In office
13 March 1967 – 9 November 1973
Prime MinisterIndira Gandhi
Preceded byMinistry established
Succeeded byR. Bahadur
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
28 January 2000 – 27 January 2018
Succeeded bySanjay Singh
ConstituencyNational Capital Territory of Delhi
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byG. S. Brigadier
Succeeded byGirdhari Lal Dogra
In office
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byG. S. Brigadier
Personal details
Born (1931-03-09) 9 March 1931 (age 92)
Cannes, France
Political partyIndian National Congress (1947 - 1979, 2000 - Present)
Other political
Indian National Congress (U) (1979 - 1984)

Independent (1984)

National Conference (1996 - 1999)
SpouseYasho Rajya Lakshmi
RelationsDogra dynasty
Chitrangada Singh (daughter-in-law)
Bhim Singh (kinsman)
Dhian Singh (ancestral Kinsman)
ChildrenAjatshatru Singh, Vikramaditya Singh, Jyotsna Singh
Parent(s)Maharaja Sir Hari Singh
Maharani Tara Devi
Residence(s)Mansarovar 3, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi,
Alma materUniversity of Kashmir (B.A.)
University of Delhi (M.A., PhD)
AwardsPadma Vibhushan
Memorial Medal of Tree of Peace

Singh was a member of India's Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, representing the national capital territory of Delhi. He is a senior member of the Indian National Congress party who served successively as President (Sadr-i-Riyasat)[2][5] and Governor of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. He was a life trustee and president of India International Center. He was elected chancellor of Banaras Hindu University for three terms[6] until 2018 when he was succeeded by Giridhar Malaviya.[7] He has been a prospective presidential candidate over the years.[8][9][10][11]

Early and personal life edit

Yuvraj Karan Singh was born at the Martinez Hotel,[12] Cannes, France, into the Dogra dynasty. He was the only son of Sir Hari Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.[13] His mother, Maharani Tara Devi, who was the fourth wife of his father, was the daughter of a landowning Katoch Rajput family and came from (Vijaypur near Bilaspur) in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.[dubious ][citation needed]

Singh was educated at Doon School, Dehradun, a boarding school, which represented a departure from the usual practise of princes being educated by tutors at home. The school was very elite, but it nevertheless meant that Karan Singh shared the classroom (though not the hostel) with boys from non-royal backgrounds, and received a standard education. Unusually for the scion of an Indian royal family, he then enrolled in a college for a graduate degree, receiving first a B.A. degree from Jammu and Kashmir University, Srinagar, and subsequently an M.A. degree in Political Science and a PhD degree from University of Delhi.[14]

In 1950, the 19-year-old Karan Singh was married to 13-year-old Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, granddaughter of Mohan Shumsher Rana, Maharajah of Nepal, belonging to the Rana dynasty of Nepal. Her father, General Maharajkumar Sharada Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, was a son of Mohan Shumsher.[15] The match, arranged by their families in the usual Indian way, was entirely harmonious and lasted all their lives. The couple had three children:

Political career edit

In 1949, at age of eighteen, Singh was appointed as the Prince Regent of Jammu and Kashmir state after his father stepped down as the ruler, following the state's accession to India.[18] From that point, he served successively as regent, the Sadr-i-Riyasat, and the first governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1965 to 1967.

On August 8, 1953 as the President (Sadr-i-Riyasat) of Jammu and Kashmir, Karan Singh backed a coup d'etat against the elected Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah,[citation needed] allegedly for harboring independent ambitions for Kashmir, which led to the imprisonment of Abdullah for eleven years following the Kashmir Conspiracy Case.

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 between 1967 and 1973.[19][20] 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 the 26th amendment[21] to the Constitution of India promulgated in 1971, the Government of India, of which Karan Singh was a Union cabinet minister, abolished all official symbols of princely India, including titles, privileges, and remuneration (privy purses).[22] During the conclusion of the Cold War, he was India's ambassador to the USA. Singh received the Padma Vibhushan in 2005.

Dr. Karan Singh and President of India Pratibha Patil present the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India in 2009.

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.[23] 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.

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 in Charan Singh's cabinet, representing Congress(U), which had split from Indira's Congress. Notably, Charan Singh became Prime Minister after the fall of Janata Party government headed by Morarji Desai. And Charan Singh himself resigned without facing Parliament even for a day as he was not sure of having a confidence motion passed in his favour. Karan Singh 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".[24]

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 from 30 November 1996 to 12 August 1999, representing National Conference, a Muslim dominated party active in Jammu and Kashmir. Later, he was a Rajya Sabha member from 28 January 2000 to 27 January 2018 representing INC. He is known for switching his loyalties from one political party to another quite frequently. He has served as Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Jammu and Kashmir University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and NIIT University.[25]

Later life edit

He has been engaged by Sansad TV (a merged Global TV Channel of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV) as a Guest Anchor along with some other senior celebrated experts from diverse fields such as Bibek Debroy, Amitabh Kant, Shashi Tharoor, Hemant Batra, Maroof Raza and Sanjeev Sanyal to present some flagship programmes.[26][27][28]

Academic career edit

Karan Singh served as the chancellor of Banaras Hindu University for three terms up until 2018. In 2008, he awarded an honorary doctorate to the then prime minister Manmohan Singh,[29] and in 2016, he was asked by university administration to award an honorary doctorate to prime minister Narendra Modi, that the prime minister declined.[30]

Honours and awards edit

The Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, Dr. Karan Singh presenting Honorary Doctorate Degree to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, at the '90th Convocation Ceremony' in Varanasi on 15 March 2008
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by Dr. Karan Singh, on his arrival at the Banaras Hindu University, in Varanasi on February 22, 2016.


  Servare et Manere:

Views edit

On population edit

"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'.”[32]

Bibliography edit

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An Examined Life ed. Raghav Verma. Harper Collins, 2019. ISBN 9353570239[33][34]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Dr. Karan Singh". karansingh.com. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Karan Singh on Accession of Kashmir to India". Outlook India magazine. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  3. ^ "PM releases Manuscript with commentaries by 21 scholars on shlokas of Srimad Bhagavadgita". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 9 March 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Working Group Report on Improving Heritage Management in India" (PDF). NITI Aayog. 2020. p. 43.
  5. ^ Saraf, Nandini (2012). The Life and Times of Lokmanya Tilak. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 341. ISBN 9788184301526. Before leaving Srinagar he also had long talks with Yuvraj Karan Singh, who was then being pressed to become the Sadr-i-Riyasat - Head of State of the State.
  6. ^ "Karan Singh elected BHU chancellor for 3rd time". The Times of India. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Madan Mohan Malaviya's grandson next BHU chancellor". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  8. ^ "I'm available for the top job: Karan Singh". Hindustan Times. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Ankit Love wants nomination of Dr Karan Singh & Bhim Singh for President and Vice President of India". Cross Town News. 23 June 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Bhim Singh pitches Dr Karan Singh as next President", Daily Excelsior, 5 June 2017, archived from the original on 19 December 2021, retrieved 18 June 2017
  11. ^ "Propose Dr. Karan Singh as next President: Prof. Bhim". JK Monitor. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Karan Singh recalls his French Connection". NetIndian. 20 March 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Rajya Sabha MP Karan Singh slams attempts to brand Hari Singh as communal". 28 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Dr. Karan Singh Profile". Doon School. Archived from the original on 18 September 2009.
  15. ^ "Jammu & Kashmir Dharmarth Trust - Maharani Yasho Rajya Lakshmi". Archived from the original on 24 September 2010.
  16. ^ The Gwalior Royal Wedding Event covered in India Today
  17. ^ "Unlike Father, son". The Week.
  18. ^ Dr. Karan Singh Raj Bhawan, Jammu and Kashmir official website.
  19. ^ "COUNCIL OF MINISTERS: GANDHI 2". kolumbus.fi. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  20. ^ "COUNCIL OF MINISTERS: GANDHI 3". kolumbus.fi. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  21. ^ "The Constitution (26 Amendment) Act, 1971", indiacode.nic.in, Government of India, 1971, retrieved 9 November 2011
  22. ^ 1. Ramusack, Barbara N. (2004). The Indian princes and their states. Cambridge University Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-521-26727-4., "Through a constitutional amendment passed in 1971, Indira Gandhi stripped the princes of the titles, privy purses and regal privileges which her father's government had granted." (p 278). 2. Naipaul, V. S. (2003), India: A Wounded Civilization, Random House Digital, Inc., p. 37, ISBN 978-1-4000-3075-0 Quote: "The princes of India – their number and variety reflecting to a large extent the chaos that had come to the country with the break up of the Mughal empire – had lost real power in the British time. Through generations of idle servitude they had grown to specialize only in style. A bogus, extinguishable glamour: in 1947, with Independence, they had lost their state, and Mrs. Gandhi in 1971 had, without much public outcry, abolished their privy purses and titles." (pp 37–38). 3. Schmidt, Karl J. (1995), An atlas and survey of South Asian history, M.E. Sharpe, p. 78, ISBN 978-1-56324-334-9 Quote: "Although the Indian states were alternately requested or forced into union with either India or Pakistan, the real death of princely India came when the Twenty-sixth Amendment Act (1971) abolished the princes' titles, privileges, and privy purses." (page 78). 4. Breckenridge, Carol Appadurai (1995), Consuming modernity: public culture in a South Asian world, U of Minnesota Press, p. 84, ISBN 978-0-8166-2306-8 Quote: "The third stage in the political evolution of the princes from rulers to citizens occurred in 1971, when the constitution ceased to recognize them as princes and their privy purses, titles, and special privileges were abolished." (page 84). 5. Guha, Ramachandra (2008), India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy, HarperCollins, p. 441, ISBN 978-0-06-095858-9 Quote: "Her success at the polls emboldened Mrs. Gandhi to act decisively against the princes. Through 1971, the two sides tried and failed to find a settlement. The princes were willing to forgo their privy purses, but hoped at least to save their titles. But with her overwhelming majority in Parliament, the prime minister had no need to compromise. On 2 December, she introduced a bill to amend the constitution and abolish all princely privileges. It was passed in the Lok Sabha by 381 votes to six, and in the Rajya Sabha by 167 votes to seven. In her own speech, the prime minister invited 'the princes to join the elite of the modern age, the elite which earns respect by its talent, energy and contribution to human progress, all of which can only be done when we work together as equals without regarding anybody as of special status.' " (page 441). 6. Cheesman, David (1997). Landlord power and rural indebtedness in colonial Sind, 1865–1901. London: Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7007-0470-5. Quote: "The Indian princes survived the British Raj by only a few years. The Indian republic stripped them of their powers and then their titles." (page 10). 7. Merriam-Webster, Inc (1997), Merriam-Webster's geographical dictionary, Merriam-Webster, p. 520, ISBN 978-0-87779-546-9 Quote: "Indian States: "Various (formerly) semi-independent areas in India ruled by native princes .... Under British rule ... administered by residents assisted by political agents. Titles and remaining privileges of princes abolished by Indian government 1971." (page 520). 8. Ward, Philip (September 1989), Northern India, Rajasthan, Agra, Delhi: a travel guide, Pelican Publishing, p. 91, ISBN 978-0-88289-753-0 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)
  23. ^ "Dr. Karan Singh".
  24. ^ Karan echoes Omar, but ‘J&K part of India’, Arun Sharma, Jammu, Sat 23 October 2010, The Indian Express Limited
  25. ^ "NIIT University: Best University in India for B Tech, Integrated MBA, Ph. D Courses". niituniversity.in.
  26. ^ "All set for Sansad TV launch; Karan Singh, Tharoor, Kant, Sanyal to host special shows". Tribune India.
  27. ^ "PM Narendra Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15: Report". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 10 September 2021 – via Press Trust of India.
  28. ^ "PM Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15, say sources". The Times of India. 10 September 2021.
  29. ^ "Manmohan Singh awarded honorary doctorate degree by BHU | India News - Times of India". The Times of India. 15 March 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  30. ^ "Take pride in India's heritage, culture: PM Modi at BHU convocation ceremony". Business Standard India. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  31. ^ Servare et Manere (22 April 2022). "Dr. Karan Singh was awarded by Servare et Manere medal". Tree of peace / Strom pokoja. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  32. ^ "Quotations". populationmatters.org. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  33. ^ Karan Singh (2019). Raghav Verma (ed.). EXAMINED LIFE : essays and reflections by karan singh. [S.l.]: HARPERCOLLINS INDIA. ISBN 978-93-5357-023-1. OCLC 1100771553.
  34. ^ "An Examined Life". HarperCollins Publishers India. Retrieved 14 June 2020.

External links edit

Political offices
Preceded by
Post created following abdication of Hari Singh
Prince Regent of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
Head of State of Jammu and Kashmir (Sadr-i-Riyasat)
Preceded by
Prince Regent of Jammu and Kashmir
Head of State of Jammu and Kashmir (Sadr-i-Riyasat)
Succeeded by
Succeeded by that of Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
Preceded by
Head of State of Jammu and Kashmir (Sadr-i-Riyasat)
Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ministry established
Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
13 March 1967 – 9 November 1973
Succeeded by
R. Bahadur
Preceded by Minister of Health and Family Planning
9 November 1973 – 24 March 1977
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minister of Education and Culture
Succeeded by
Preceded by Indian Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by