Early Life of Surjit Singh Barnala
Surjit Singh Barnala was born on 21st October, in the year 1925 in Ateli village, now a part of Nabha in Punjab, to father Nar Singh. Surjit was born to a well-to-do family, as his father was a magistrate. After doing matriculation, he went to Lucknow for higher studies. In the year 1946, Surjit Singh received his degree in Law from Lucknow University. During his stay at Lucknow, in 1942, he plunged into the Quit India Movement. He started his career with practicing Law in District Court at Barnala. He practised law for some years, and became politically active in the late '60s. Although in 1952 he had stood for election, he lost it by a meagre 4 votes.
Political Career of Surjit Singh Barnala
Surjit Singh Barnala started his political career vigorously in the late 1960's. He was elected as MLA from Barnala Assembly Constituency in the year 1967, and thus delineated the Constituency till 1999. In the year 1969, Barnala was made the Education Minister of Punjab and during his tenure; he played a subservient role in establishing Guru NanakDev University in Amritsar. In 1977, when Barnala was elected as MP, for the first time, he was inducted as Cabinet Minister in Janata Party's Government, headed by Morarji Desai. Surjit Singh was given the portfolios of rrigation Water Resources,Food,Environment and Forests,Consumer Affairs,Power and Chemical And Fertilizers and Rural Development.
In 1978 Barnala signed the historic Ganga Waters Agreement (Farakka Agreement) with Bangladesh. From 29th September 1985, Barnala has served as the Chief Minister of Punjab until 11th May 1987. He served as chief minister of the state at the most difficult time. It was the period of terrorism in Punjab.
The state at that time, from 1983 to 1985, had been under President's rule. Barnala was crowded out after nearly 2 years in office, and the state was put under President's rule for another three years.
Surjit Singh Barnala has served as the Governor of several states since then. From 1990 to 1991, Surjit Singh Barnala was first appointed as the Governor of Tamil Nadu. He served as the Governor of Uttarakhand from its formation in 2000 until 2003. After that, from 2003 to 2004, Barnala has served as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. During that period he was also the acting Governor of Orissa. On November 2004, Barnala took up again as the Governor of Tamil Nadu and remained in this position till 31st August 2011. Barnala also contested for the post of the Vice-President of India in the year 1997, but was defeated by Krishna Kant.
Surjit Singh Barnala as an Author
Barnala, a passive and honest personality, has also authored a book, Story of an Escape, which has been translated into several languages. Natraj Publishers, Dehradun, published its second edition as Quest for freedom-Story of an escape. His 2nd book, titled My Other Two Daughters, was released in December 2007. Painting is another hobby and four exhibitions of his works have also been held.
Personal Life of Surjit Singh Barnala
Surjit Singh Barnala is married to Surjit Kaur Barnala and the couple has one daughter and three sons. The youngest son was killed in an accident in 1996. They have seven grandchildren.