(Last Updated on : 15/01/2009)
Choudhary Charan Singh was born on 23 December 1902 and died on 29 May 1987. He was the 7th Prime Minister of the Republic of India, serving from 28 July 1979 until 14 January 1980.
Charan Singh was born on 23 December 1902 in the village Noorpur district of Uttar Pradesh in a peasant's home in poverty. He was a good student, and got degree of Masters in Arts in 1925, and the degree of Law in 1926. Charan Singh's ancestors were the kinsmen of well-known freedom-fighter of the revolt of 1857, Raja Nahar Singh of Ballbhgarh (in present day Haryana). Raja Nahar Singh was sent to the gallows in Chandni Chowk of Delhi.
Charan Singh entered politics as part of the Independence Movement. After independence he came to be associated with the rural socialism of Ram Manohar Lohia. He was very Popular among his Jat community from which he himself originated and was born into. His political base was Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where the Jat community was dominant. He was the leader of theBharatiya Lok Dal, a major part of the Janata coalition, he was disappointed in his ambition to become Prime Minister in 1977 as Jayaprakash Narayan's choice was Morarji Desai. He settled at that time because of the large honorary post of Deputy Prime Minister of India.
However, with the internal problems 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. During his term as Prime Minister the Lok Sabha never met. 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. The university of Meerut city in Uttar Pradesh India, is named after him Chaudhary Charan Singh University.
In February 1937 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh at the age of 34. In 1938 he introduced an Agricultural Produce Market Bill in the Assembly. The Bill was intended to safeguard the interests of the farmers against the greediness of the traders. The Bill was adopted by most of the States in India, Punjab being the first state to do so in 1940. In 1952, he became the Revenue Minister of state of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in independent India. He was dedicated to introducing and implementing the provisions of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reform Act of which he was the major architect. It has been argued by leading political scientists that success of Indian Democracy lies in successful implementation of this reform.
He also mentioned that that Indian labour laws had to be renewed if India were to become competitive in world economy. He also welcomed high level diplomatic relations with Israel, something that succeeding Indira Gandhi's government restricted. Charan Singh passed away on May 29, 1987.