Shri Krishna Singh
Shri Babu
1st Chief Minister of Bihar
In office
15 August 1947 – 31 January 1961
Preceded byOffice Established
Succeeded byDeep Narayan Singh
2nd Finance Minister of Bihar
In office
5 July 1957 – 31 January 1961
Preceded byAnugrah Narayan Sinha
Succeeded byDeep Narayan Singh
2nd Premier of Bihar Province
In office
20 July 1937 – 31 October 1939
Preceded byMohammad Yunus
Succeeded byGovernor's rule
In office
2 April 1946 - 15 August 1947
Member Of the Constituent Assembly
In office
9 December 1946 – 26 January 1950
Preceded byPost Created
Succeeded byPost Abolished
Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly
In office
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byShiv Shankar Singh
Personal details
Born(1887-10-21)21 October 1887
Sheikhpura, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died31 January 1961(1961-01-31) (aged 74)
Patna, Bihar, India
Political partyIndian National Congress
Alma materUniversity of Calcutta, Patna University
Nickname(s)Bihar Kesari, Shri Babu

Shri Krishna Singh (Sinha) (21 October 1887 – 31 January 1961), also known as Shri Babu, was the first chief minister of the Indian state of Bihar (1946–61). Except for the period of World War II, Sinha was the chief minister of Bihar from the time of the first Congress Ministry in 1937 until his death in 1961.[1] Along with the Desh Ratna Rajendra Prasad[2] and Bihar Vibhuti Anugrah Narayan Sinha (A.N. Sinha), Sinha is regarded among the architects of modern Bihar.[by whom?] He also led the Dalit entry into the Baidyanath Dham temple (Vaidyanath Temple, Deoghar).[3] He was the first chief minister in the country to abolish the zamindari system.[4] He underwent terms of imprisonment for a total of about eight years in British India. Sinha's mass meetings brought many people to hear him.[5] He was known as Bihar Kesari for his "lionlike roars" in public speaking.[5] His close friend and Gandhian Bihar Vibhuti A.N. 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".[6] The 'Bihar Kesari' never visited his constituency to ask for votes as he believed that his work will speak for him.[7]

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.[8][9] The correspondence between Nehru and Sinha touches on subjects such as Indian democracy in the making in the early years of Independence, Centre-State relations, role of governor, turbulence in Nepal, zamindari abolition, and education.[8][9] Sinha was known for his scholarship and for being a polymath. He gave 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 Shadan[10] which is now in a very bad condition due to apathy by the government and administration.[11]

Early life and family

Shri Krishna Sinha was born in a Bhumihar Brahmin family on 21 October 1887 in the village of Maur, Barbigha in the Munger district of Bengal Presidency (now part of Sheikhpura district).[12] His mother 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 obtained a master's degree from the University of Calcutta and then doctorate of law from Patna University and started practicing in Munger from 1915. In the meantime, he married and had two sons, Shivshankar and Bandishankar (more commonly known as Swaraj Babu) who later held various posts in the state government.[13][citation needed]

Independence movement

Shri Krishna Sinha 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.[13]

He was arrested for the first time in 1922 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.[13]

In 1927, Sinha became a member of the Legislative Council and in 1929 became General Secretary of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC). In 1930, he participated 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 the civil disobedience movement. He was released after the 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 was elected President of the Bihar Provincial Congress Committee in 1935 and 1953 He was elected to the Central Legislature in 1935–36. Shri Sinha was elected to the Bihar Legislature Assembly in 1935,[14] 1946, 1952 and 1957 and re-elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party in all the three successive term[15][additional citation(s) needed]

Sinha was also the President of the BPCC in 1936 with A.N. Sinha as his deputy,[6] a member of its working committee and the two held the positions for over thirty years.[16]

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 A.N. 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 the 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 A.N. Sinha, the first deputy chief minister cum finance minister of Bihar,[17][additional citation(s) needed] he is considered by some to be one of the makers of modern Bihar.[13]

Sinha was always interested in self-study and his ideas and speeches were noted for their wisdom. He was a staunch opponent of castes and defended the oppressed. Impressed by his courage, in 1940 Gandhi described him as "the first Satyagrahi" of Bihar while A.N. Sinha was the second.[18] He was jailed for nine months (22 November 1940 – 26 August 1941). During the Quit India movement, which 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.[13]

As the former chief minister of Bihar he attended the Simla Conference and also became a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, which framed the Constitution of India.[18]

Sinha 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 the Srikrishna Science Centre. The largest conference hall in Patna, Shri Krishna Memorial Hall is also named after him.[13]

Political legacy

Rajendra Setu, the first railroad bridge in independent India on the Ganges river in Bihar
Shri Krishna Singh meeting Jawaharlal Nehru

Many development projects in Bihar during this period involved the leadership of Sinha and A.N. Sinha. This includes several river valley projects 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 Refinery, Heavy Engineering Corporation at Ranchi, Bokaro Steel Plant, Barauni Fertiliser Plant, Barauni Thermal Power Station, Damodar Valley Corporation, Patratu Thermal Power Station, Scooter Factory in Fatuha, Pyrite Phosphate Chemical Limited and Sulphur mines at Amjhaur, Sindri Fertiliser Plant, Kargali Coal Washery, Garhara locomotive shed.[citation needed]

He wanted to build an industrial corridor through Begusarai-Bakhtiyarpur-Fatuha, so he constructed the first railroad bridge on the Ganges river in independent India, the Rajendra Setu in Mokama in 1959.[19]

Arun Kumar says Sinha made an "immense contribution in the cultural and social development of the state".[20] He established the Rajendra Chatra Niwas at Calcutta for Bihari students, Anugraha Narayan Sinha Institute of Social Studies at Patna, Netarhat school at Ranchi, Engineering college at Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Jamshedpur, Sindri, Gaya, Motihari, Lok Rangshala of the Bihar Bhartiya Nritya Kala Mandir, Sanskrit College at Patna, Rabindra Parishad at Patna, the statue of Buddha at Rajgir Venu Van Vihar, as well as an orphanage at Muzaffarpur.[21] The then prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru sent Paul H. Appleby to assess the administration in states and in his famous report, he described Bihar as "the best governed state in India" due to the leadership of Shri Krishna Sinha and A.N. Sinha.[22]

Legally, 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.[23]

Sinha maintained good working relations with the secretariat officials and protected police from demoralization which could have been caused by having done away with their pre-independence legacy of 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.[24] 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. Shri Krishna Sinha was a great leader and a great 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."[13]

Sinha introduced land reform legislations in 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 to the growth of agriculture, but some critics thought he was less enthusiastic about post-zamindari agrarian reforms. Yet, some leftists grant credit to Sinha for the passing of the Bihar Tenancy Act in the early years.[25]

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."[6]

The present Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, observed Sri Babu's 124th Birth Anniversary in 2011, which was also attended by Sushil Modi, Jagannath Mishra, Ramashray Prasad Singh, Mahachandra Prasad Singh and others. At the event, Kumar 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."[26]

Indian National Congress Resolution on conferring Bharat Ratna to Sri Babu

Shri Krishna Singh 1988 stamp of India

A unanimous resolution was also adopted to confer Bharat Ratna to Bihar Kesari Sri Babu at Sadaqat Ashram, the Congress headquarters in Patna. The event was attended by veteran party leaders including 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, National Media Panelist Prem Chandra Mishra , and the AICC general secretary and in charge of Bihar, C. P. Joshi, among others who spoke on Shri Babu's profile and his contributions to social and economic development of the state of Bihar.[27] 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.[27]

Bharatiya Janata Party on Sri Babu

The Bharatiya Janata Party also organised a function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sri Babu.[28] The BJP functionaries who addressed the function included Rajya Sabha member and senior BJP leader C. P. Thakur, leader of opposition in the state assembly Prem Kumar and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan.[28] The party's senior functionaries on Sunday hailed the state's first CM, Sinha, a Congress man, as the tallest leader who achieved all-round development of the state under his rule.[28][29]

See also


  1. ^ Walter Hauser (February 1997). "Changing images of caste and politics". Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  2. ^ Late Sri Krishna Singh.
  3. ^ Arun Kumar (25 January 2005). "Bhumihars rooted to the ground in caste politics". The Times of India. India. Retrieved 5 April 2008.
  4. ^ Abhay Singh (6 July 2004). "BJP, Cong eye Bhumihars as Rabri drops ministers". The Times of India. India. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
  5. ^ a b Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. pp. 310 (at p. 277). ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2.
  6. ^ a b c Kumar, Dr. Vijay (2013). Srkrishna Sinha Smriti Granth: Vichar aur Darshan. Patna: Bihar State Archives. pp. 692 (at p. 164). ISBN 978-93-81456-18-7.
  7. ^ "Bihar's First CM Shri Krishna Singh Never Asked For Votes". The Telegraph. India. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  8. ^ a b Pranava K Chaudhary (1 June 2009). "Prez releases book on Nehru, Sri Babu letters". The Times of India. India. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Sri Babu promoted L N Mishra, reveals recently released letters to Nehru". Bihar Times. 2 June 2009. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  10. ^ "NATIONAL INFORMATICS CENTRE, MUNGER". Archived from the original on 23 April 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  11. ^ Shri Krishna Prasad (1 June 2016). "Hope for Library". The Telegraph. India. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  12. ^ Ramachandra Prasad; Ashok Kumar Sinha (1987). Shri Krishna Sinha: a biography. N.K. Enterprises.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Prasad, R.C. (1987). Shri Krishna Sinha: A Biography. N.K.Enterprises, New Delhi. p. 186.
  14. ^ "The Bihar Legislative Assembly Debates" (PDF). 23 December 1937.
  15. ^ Page-18. "Press Information Bureau Government of India" (PDF).((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. p. 212. ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2.
  17. ^ "First Bihar Deputy CM cum Finance Minister; A N Sinha". Indian Post. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
  18. ^ a b Prasad, R.C. (1987). Shri Krishna Sinha: A Biography. N.K.Enterprises, New Delhi.
  19. ^ Kumar, Rajiv (25 April 2014). "Making of Begusarai was by choice not accident". The Times of India.
  20. ^ Kumar, Arun (1 January 1998). "Shri Babu: A Visionary Par Excellence". The Times of India.
  21. ^ Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. p. 310. ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2.
  22. ^ "Bihar Vibhuti's Legacy Drifting into Oblivion? - PatnaDaily".
  23. ^ Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. p. 195. ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2.
  24. ^ Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. p. 184. ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2.
  25. ^ Sharma, L.N. (2013). Politics and Good Governance. Regal Publications, New Delhi. p. 11. ISBN 978-81-8484-269-2.
  26. ^ "Government Observes S. K. Sinha's Birth Anniversary". Patna Daily. India. 22 October 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  27. ^ a b "C P Joshi hints at organizational restructuring in Bihar Congress". The Times of India. 22 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  28. ^ a b c "BJP netas hail vision of state's first CM". The Times of India. 24 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  29. ^ Abhay Singh (20 October 2014). "Bihar's first CM Shri Krishna Sinha practised good governance: BJP". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 April 2017.