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A leader of rare kind

December 6, 2008

          When I heard that V.P.Singh was died last week, it doesn’t generated any sympathies or a feeling of losing a great leader in me. In addition to that there was a terror was happened in Mumbai. And this news didn’t get much importance in Media also. But I came to read about tids and bits about our former PM in the dalies and magazines for the past 1 week and I am very much impressed with what they have said about him. In a tamil weekly magazine, they defined his character as ‘As simple as air and as clean as water’ and he is also one the clean politician in recent times. ‘Clean politician’ this is a very rare word which was heard by me in my life time. Only very few communist leaders have got this name in recent times. And also when I searched for the details about him in google I am very much suprised as the Newyork times given the headline for his death as ‘V. P. Singh, a Leader of India Who Defended Poor, Dies at 77’. A leader who defended poor – I couldn’t remember any names associated with defending the poor. As we are seeing only the leaders who are all spending their time in pleasing the billonaires.

        When I read about him in Wikipedia it also stated what are all the achievements he has done as politician. I am quite impressed by the way he behaved as a politician. During his tenture as PM, his government was running with the support of BJP but then again he didn’t hesitated to stop the Rath yatra. Due to that he lost his PM post. It’s very rare to see somebody who sticks by his principles. And I thought that it’s worth for everybody to read about him. The following article was taken from Newyork times:

V. P. Singh, a former prime minister of India who was considered the father of coalition politics there and who stirred controversy by championing the rights of the country’s poorest citizens, died on Thursday in New Delhi. He was 77.

The cause was blood cancer and renal failure, said his close associate, Wasim Ahmad.

Mr. Singh changed Indian politics significantly despite leading the country only briefly, from 1989 to 1990.

Having broken with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the wake of a scandal, he united the entire spectrum of parties against the Congress Party of Mr. Gandhi under one umbrella and forged the National Front, with additional support from the Bharatiya Janata Party and left-wing parties. The National Front came to power after defeating the Congress Party in the 1989 general elections.

On Dec. 2, 1989, Mr. Singh became the 10th prime minister of India. He gained wide notoriety by moving to carry out the long-forgotten Bindheshwari Prasad Mandal Commission recommendations to reserve a fixed number of all the jobs in the public sector for the historically disadvantaged members of the lower and backward classes.

This led to widespread protests by higher-caste youth in urban areas across India, including a series of self-immolations.

His government lasted less than a year, falling after the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew its support and the plan went into abeyance.

Vishwanath Pratap Singh was born into a landed family in Allahabad in the northern state Uttar Pradesh on June 25, 1931. When he was 5, his parents gave him up for adoption by the childless Maharaja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh of Manda, one of the small principalities in Uttar Pradesh. After a sheltered and lonely early childhood under armed guard, he passed into the care of a guardian at the age of 11 when his adoptive father died.

He studied law at Udai Pratap College, Varanasi, and later physics at Fergusson College, Pune. He studied physics with an eye toward becoming a nuclear scientist and joining India’s atomic energy research center in Mumbai, but he gave up his studies for politics.

One of his first political acts was giving large tracts of fertile land to the landless poor as part of the land donation movement initiated by Vinoba Bhave, a disciple and spiritual successor of Mohandas Gandhi. He built an college in Koraon and taught there when it opened.

He entered politics in Allahabad during the Jawaharlal Nehru era and soon made a name for himself in the state Congress Party. He was elected to the state assembly in 1969 and to the Parliament in 1971. He was appointed deputy minister of commerce by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974. She named him chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when she returned to power in 1980.

As chief minister, he pressed a ruthless campaign against bandits in Uttar Pradesh. However, he quit his position after bandits killed his brother and amid feelings that he had failed to capture or tame the bandits.

In 1984 he became finance minister under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, ordering high-profile raids on those suspected of being tax evaders. At the height of this campaign, he was moved to the post of defense minister. Shortly after that, he resigned. He then quit the Congress Party over a scandal in which he suspected the prime minister was involved.

He was the guiding force behind the formation of United Front, another political coalition, and he was the first choice to become prime minister after the Congress Party’s defeat in May 1996. However, he declined. After the government of H. D. Deve Gowda fell in April 1997, he again played an important role in maintaining the unity of the United Front and making Inder Kumar Gujral the prime minister.

In 1955, Mr. Singh married Sita Kumari. He is survived by his wife and two sons, Ajeya and Abhay.

Mr. Singh also dabbled in Hindi and English poetry, as well as painting and photography. Exhibitions of his artwork have been held in prominent galleries.

       And I am saluting this great politician in his death. Jai Hind.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2008 7:33 pm

    Oh yeah… Not just that; thanks to the events in Mumbai – the fact that Chennai was almost submerged by Nisha was [almost] never in the news. 😀


    kanagu: No issues came up.. I think they have sent all the reporters to Mumbai and they didn’t have any one update on other things.. 😀

  2. December 7, 2008 2:39 am

    @ Kanagu : I agree with you. I have always sort of liked him even though his tenure was marked with quite a lot of ups and downs. I guess he was a bit ahead of his times. He always fought for the most deprived and the most backward in India even though whether he picked the right policies is a matter of debate. I am sad that his remembrance was overwhelmed by other news. In my opinion he was a good man.

    kanagu: Our news channels has always given importance to the news which may fetch them vast no. of readers and viewers. Not even they have time to remember a former PM.

  3. December 7, 2008 11:28 pm

    He was an honest politician and a defender of the poor . . . two qualities that are not generally associated with politicians . . . speaks a lot about his character . . . unfortunately, his death was overshadowed by other events.

    kanagu: 😦 very sad that he didn’t get the recognization he deserved

  4. Smita permalink
    December 8, 2008 7:26 pm

    Say VP Singh & I remember the Mandal Comission and the turmoil country faced during his tenure.

    He was the person who brought in our minds the difference of caste. I never liked him, niether in his existence nor after his death.

    kanagu: I started to watch politics after he was retired from active politics. So I don’t know what kind of effect his acts brought into our country. But when I started to read about him in various sources they said he was good enough and I thought he was different from politicians present now..

  5. December 9, 2008 8:15 pm

    That was a good post. Was able to know a lot of things about him. But strangely, the New York times seems to know more about us than our media did. Never knew about this till I read it here!

    Destination Infinity

    kanagu: At times, our media forgets to respect a leader. They will remember him, if, by publishing that news they are going to get a higher TRP ratings or more circulation of their papers..

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