Shri Rajiv Gandhi
Shri Rajiv Gandhi was born on August 20, 1944, in Bombay. He
was just three when India became independent and his grandfather
became Prime Minister. His parents moved to New Delhi from
Lucknow. His father, Feroze Gandhi, became an M.P., and earned a
reputation as a fearless and hardworking
Rajiv Gandhi spent his early childhood with his grandfather in the
Teen Murti House, where Indira Gandhi served as the Prime
Minister's hostess. He briefly went to school at Welham Prep in
Dehra Dun but soon moved to the residential Doon School in the
Himalayan foothills. There he made many lifelong friendships and
was also joined by his younger brother, Sanjay.
After leaving school, Shri Gandhi went to Trinity College,
Cambridge, but soon shifted to the Imperial College (London). He
did a course in mechanical engineering. He was not interested in 'mugging up for his exams',
as went on to admit later.
It was clear that politics did not interest him as a career. According to his classmates, his
bookshelves were lined with volumes on science and engineering, not works on philosophy,
politics or history. Music, however, had a pride of place in his interests. He liked Western and
Hindustani classical, as well as modern music. Other interests included photography and
His greatest passion, however, was flying. No wonder then, that on returning home from
England, he passed the entrance examination to the Delhi Flying Club, and went to obtain a
commercial pilot's licence. Soon, he became a pilot with Indian Airlines, the domestic
While at Cambridge, he met Sonia Maino, an Italian who was studying English. They were
married in New Delhi in 1968. They stayed in Smt. Indira Gandhi's residence in New Delhi
with their two children, Rahul and Priyanka. They had a very private life despite the
surrounding din and bustle of political activity.
But his brother Sanjay's death in an air crash in 1980 changed that. Pressures on Shri Gandhi
to enter politics and help his mother, then besieged by many internal and external challenges,
grew. He resisted these pressures at first, but later bowed to their logic. He won the byelection
to the Parliament, caused by his brother's death, from Amethi in U.P.
In November 1982, when India hosted the Asian Games, the commitment made years earlier
to build the stadium and other infrastructure was fulfilled. Shri Gandhi was entrusted with the
task of getting all the work completed on time and ensuring that the games themselves were
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conducted without any hitches or flaws. In fulfilling this challenging task, he first displayed
his flair for quiet efficiency and smooth coordination. At the same time, as General Secretary
of the Congress, he started streamlining and energising the party organisation with equal
diligence. All these qualities came to the fore later in far more testing and trying times.
For no one could have ascended to power becoming
both Prime Minister and Congress
more tragic and tormenting circumstances than Shri Gandhi did in the wake of
his mother's brutal assassination on 31 October, 1984. But he bore the awesome burden of
personal grief and national responsibility with remarkable poise, dignity and restraint.
During the month long election campaign, Shri Gandhi travelled tirelessly from one part of
the country to the other, covering a distance equal to one and a half times the earth's
circumference, speaking at 250 meetings in as many places and meeting millions face to face.
decisive but undemonstrative man, Shri Gandhi was at home in the world
of high technology. And, as he repeatedly said, one of his main objectives, besides preserving
India's unity, was to propel it into the twentyfirst
At the age of 40, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest Prime Minister of India, perhaps even
one of the youngest elected heads of Government in the world. His mother, Smt. Indira
Gandhi, was eight years older when she first became Prime Minister in 1966. His illustrious
grandfather, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, was 58 when he started the long innings of 17 years as free
India's first Prime Minister.
Shri V.P. Singh
Born on June 25, 1931 at Allahabad, Shri V.P. Singh is the son of
Raja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh. He was educated at Allahabad and
Poona Universities. He was married to Smt. Sita Kumari on June
25, 1955 and has two sons.
A scholarly man, he was the proud founder of Gopal Vidyalaya,
Intermediate College, Koraon, Allahabad. He was the President of
the Students Union at Udai Pratap College, Varanasi in 194748
was the VicePresident,
Allahabad University Students Union. He
actively participated in Bhoodan movement in 1957 and donated a
farm in village Pasna, District Allahabad.
He was the member of All India Congress Committee; Executive
Body, Allahabad University, 196971
and Legislative Assembly,
Uttar Pradesh 196971.
He was the Whip, Congress Legislative
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), 197174;
Union Deputy Minister of
Commerce, October 1974November
1976; Union State Minister of Commerce, November
1977; Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), January 3July
26, 1980. He was the
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, June 9, 1980June
28, 1982; Member, Legislative Council,
Uttar Pradesh, November 21, 1980June
14, 1981; Member Legislative Assembly, Uttar
Pradesh, June 15, 1981July
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As a Union Minister of Commerce in January 29, 1983, he also held additional charge of the
Department of Supply in February 15, 1983. He was the Member of Parliament (Rajya
Sabha) in July 16, 1983; on September 1, 1984 he was elected President, Uttar Pradesh
Congress Committee and on December 31, 1984 he became the Union Finance Minister.
In a dramatic meeting in the Central Hall of Parliament on 1 December, V. P. Singh proposed
the name of Devi Lal as Prime Minister, in spite of the fact that he himself had been clearly
projected by the antiCongress
forces as the 'clean' alternative to Rajiv and their Prime
Ministerial candidate. Devi Lal, a Jat leader from Haryana stood up and refused the
nomination, and said that he would prefer to be an 'elder uncle' to the Government, and that
Singh should be PM. This last part came as a clear surprise to Chandra Shekhar, the former
head of the erstwhile Janata Party, and Singh's greatest rival within the Janata Dal. Shekhar,
who had clearly expected that an agreement had been forged with Lal as the consensus
candidate, stormed out of the meeting and refused to serve in the Cabinet. Singh held office
for slightly less than a year, from 2 December 1989 to 10 November 1990.
Shri Chandra Shekhar
Shri Chandra Shekhar was born on July 1, 1927, in a farmer's
family in village Ibrahimpatti in District Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. He
was President of the Janata Party from 1977 to 1988.
Shri Chandra Shekhar was attracted to politics from his student
days and was known as a firebrand
idealist with revolutionary
fervor. After his Master's Degree in Political Science from
Allahabad University (195051),
he joined the Socialist
Movement. He had the privilege of having been associated very
closely with Acharya Narendra Dev. He was elected Secretary of
the District Praja Socialist Party, Ballia. Within a year, he was
elected Joint Secretary of the U.P. State Praja Socialist Party. In
he took over as General Secretary of the U.P., State Praja
In 1962, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. He joined the Indian National
Congress in January 1965. In 1967 he was elected General Secretary of the Congress
Parliamentary Party. As a Member of Parliament he made a mark by taking keen interest in
espousing the cause of the downtrodden and pleading for policies for rapid social change. In
this context, when he attacked the disproportionate growth of monopoly houses with State
patronage, he came in conflict with the centres of power.
He came to be as 'Young Turk' leader for his conviction, courage and integrity in the fight
against vested interested. He founded and edited YOUNG INDIAN, a weekly published from
Delhi in 1969. Its editorial had the distinction of being among the most quoted ones of the
time. During the Emergency (June 1975 to March 1977) YOUNG INDIAN had to be closed
down. It resumed regular publication in February 1989. He is the Chairman of its Editorial
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Shri Chandra Sekhar has always stood against politics of personalities and has favoured
politics of ideology and social change. This propelled him more towards Shri Jayaprakash
Narayan and his idealist view of life during the turbulent days of 197375.
He soon became a
focal point of dissent within the Congress Party.
When Emergency was declared on June 25, 1975, he was arrested under Maintenance of
Internal Security Act inspite of the fact that he was a member of the Central Election
Committee and Working Committee, top bodies of the Indian National Congress. Shri
Chandra Sekhar was among the few individuals in the then ruling party who was imprisoned
during the Emergency. He has always rejected as the politics of power and opted for the
politics of commitment to democratic values and social change.
His diary, written in Hindi while undergoing imprisonment during the Emergency period,
was later published under the title 'Meri Jail Diary'. A wellknown
compilation of his writings
is 'Dynamics of Social Change'.
Shri Chandra Shekhar undertook a marathon walk (Padayatra) through the country from
Kanyakumari in the deep South to Rajghat (Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi) in New Delhi
covering a distance of nearly 4260 kms from January 6, 1983 to June 25, 1983. The
Padayatra was undertaken to renew rapport with the masses and to understand their pressing
He has established about fifteen Bharat Yatra Centres in various parts of the country
including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar
Pradesh and Haryana to train social and political workers for mass education and grassroot
work in backward pockets of the country.
He has been a Member of Parliament since 1962 except for a brief period from 1984 to 1989.
In 1989 he successfully contested both from his home constituency, Ballia, and the adjoining
Maharajganj constituency in Bihar. He vacated the latter.
Shri P. V. Narasimha Rao
Son of Shri P. Ranga Rao, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao was born on June 28, 1921 at
Karimnagar. He studied in Osmania University, Hyderabad, Bombay University and the
Nagpur University. A widower, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao was the father of three sons and
Being an agriculturist and an advocate, he joined politics and held some important portfolios.
He was the Minister of Law and Information (196264)
; Law and Endowments (196467)
Health and Medicine (1967) and Education, (196871),
Government of Andhra Pradesh. He
was the Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh (197173)
; General Secretary, All India Congress
; Chairman, Telugu Academy, Andhra Pradesh (196874)
Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras, from 1972. He was also Member,
Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly (195777)
; Member, Lok Sabha (197784)
elected to Eighth Lok Sabha from Ramtek in December, 1984. As Chairman, Public
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Accounts Committee, 197879
participated in a Conference on South
Asia convened by the School of Asian and African Studies, London
University. Shri Rao also Chaired Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan's Andhra
Centre; he was Minister for External Affairs from January 14, 1980 to
July 18, 1984; Minister of Home Affairs from July 19, 1984 to December
31, 1984 and the Minister of Defence from December 31, 1984 to
September 25, 1985. He then assumed charge as Minister of Human
Resource Development on September 25, 1985
A man of many interests, he likes music, cinema and theatre. His special interest lies in
Indian philosophy and culture, writing fiction and political commentary, learning languages,
writing poems in Telugu and Hindi and keeping abreast of literature in general. He has
successfully published 'SahasraPhan', a Hindi translation of late Shri Viswanatha
Satyanarayana's famous Telegu Novel 'Veyi Padagalu' published by Jnanpith; 'Abala
Jeevitam', Telugu translation of late Shri Hari Narayan Apte's famous Marathi Novel, "Pan
Lakshat Kon gheto", published by Central Sahitya Academy. He translated other famous
works from Marathi to Telugu and from Telugu to Hindi, and published many articles in
different magazines mostly under a pen name. He lectured at Universities in the U.S.A. and
West Germany on political matters and allied subjects. As Minister of External Affairs he
travelled extensively to U.K., West Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Egypt in 1974.
During the period when he was Minister of External Affairs, Shri Rao successfully brought to
bear his scholarly background and rich political and administrative experience on the field of
international diplomacy. He chaired III Conference of UNIDO at New Delhi in January 1980,
within a few days of assuming charge. He also chaired a meeting of the Group of 77 at New
York in March 1980. More recently, his role at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Nonaligned
Countries in February 1981 earned him wide appreciation. Shri Rao has shown keen
personal interest in international economic issues and personally led the Indian delegation to
the Conference of the Group of 77 on ECDC at Caracas, in May 1981.
1982 and 1983 were eventful years for India and its foreign policy. In the shadow of the Gulf
war the Nonaligned
Movement asked India to host the Seventh Summit. This also meant
India assuming the Chair of the Movement and Smt. Indira Gandhi becoming its Chairperson.
Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao presided over meetings of Foreign Ministers of Nonaligned
Nations on the evening of the New Delhi Summit and also at the United Nations both in
1982, when India was asked to host the Summit and the following year when, at the initiative
of the Movement, informal consultations amongst Heads of State and Government from
diverse nations across the world were held at New York.
Shri Rao was also the Leader of the Special Nonaligned
Mission that visited countries in
West Asia in November 1983, in an effort to resolve the Palestian Liberation Organisation.
Shri Rao was associated actively with the Commonwealth Heads of Government in New
Delhi and with the Action Group set up by the meeting on the question of Cyprus.
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In his capacity as Minister of External Affairs, Shri Narasimha Rao has chaired on behalf of
India a number of Joint Commissions including those with the U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Iran, Vietnam, Tanzania and Guyana.
Shri Narasimha Rao took over as Home Minister on July 19, 1984. He was reappointed
this post, with the additional charge of the Ministry of Planning, on November 5, 1984.
Appointed Minister of Defence from December 31, 1984 to September 25, 1985. On
September 25, 1985 he took over as Minister of Human Resource Development.
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
A man of the masses, firm in his political convictions. On October 13,
1999, he took charge as Prime Minister of India for the second
consecutive term as the head of a new coalition government, the
National Democratic Alliance. He was Prime Minister for a short
period in 1996. He is the only Prime Minister since Pandit Jawaharlal
Nehru to have become Prime Minister of India with two successive
A veteran Parliamentarian whose career stretches over four decades,
Shri Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (House of the
People) nine times and to the Rajya Sabha (House of the States) twice,
a record by itself.
As India's Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Chairperson of various important Standing
Committees of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition, he has been an active participant in
shaping India's postIndependence
domestic and foreign policy.
Shri Vajpayee's first brush with nationalist politics was in his student days, when he joined
the Quit India Movement of 1942 which hastened the end of British colonial rule. A student
of political science and law, it was in college that he developed a keen interest in foreign
interest he has nourished over the years and put to skilful use while representing
India at various multilateral and bilateral fora.
Shri Vajpayee had embarked upon a journalist's career, which was cut short in 1951 when he
joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner
of today's Bharatiya Janata Party, the
leading component of the National Democratic Alliance. A critically acclaimed poet, he still
takes time off from affairs of state of indulge in music and in a bit of gourmet cooking.
Born in the family of a humble school teacher on December 25 1924, in the erstwhile
princely state of Gwalior (now a part of the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh), Shri Vajpayee's
rise in public life is a tribute to both his political acumen and Indian democracy. Over the
decades, he has emerged as a leader who commands respect for his liberal worldview and
commitment to democratic ideals.
An ardent champion of women's empowerment and social equality, Shri Vajpayee believes in
forward moving India, a strong and prosperous nation confident of its
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rightful place in the comity of nations. He stands for an India anchored in 5000 years of
civilisational history, ever modernising, ever renewing, ever reenergising
itself to meet the
challenges of the next 1000 years.
India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, was conferred upon him in
recognition of his selfless dedication to his first and only love, India, and his more than halfacentury
of service to society and the nation. In 1994, he was named India's 'Best
Parliamentarian.' The citation read: "True to his name, Atalji is an eminent national leader, an
erudite politician, a selfless social worker, forceful orator, poet and litterateur, journalist and
indeed a multifaceted
personality…Atalji articulates the aspirations of the masses… his
works ever echo total commitment to nationalism.
Shri H. D. Deve Gowda
Shri H. D. Deve Gowda, a staunch crusader of socioeconomic
development and an ardent
admirer of the rich cultural heritage of India, was born on May 18,
1933 in Haradanahalli village of Holenarasipura taluk, Hassan
District in Karnataka.
A Civil Engineering Diploma holder, Shri Deve Gowda plunged
into active politics at the early age of 20 after completing his
education, he joined the Congress Party in 1953 and remained a
member till 1962. Coming from a middle class agrarian background
and exposed to the hardships of farmer's life, young Gowda vowed
to become a fighter who would take up the cause of poor farmers,
under privileged and oppressed sections of society.
Starting from lower strata of the democratic setup,
ascended the political rungs gradually. He earned himself a niche in
the minds of people while serving as the President of Anjaneya Cooperative
later as a member of Taluk Development Board, Holenarasipura.
Hoping to set right the inequalities prevailing in society, he always dreamt of an ideal utopian
State. When just 28 years old, the youthful Gowda contested as an Independent and was a
runaway success from day one when he first became a member of the Karnataka Legislative
Assembly in 1962. An effective Speaker on the floor of the Assembly, he was acclaimed by
one and all, including his seniors. Holenarasipur constituency sent him to the Assembly for
three more consecutive terms i.e., the Fourth (196771)
; the Fifth (197277)
and the Sixth
His service as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, from March 1972 to March 1976
and November 1976 to December 1977, won him laurels.
Shri Deve Gowda resigned his membership of the Sixth Assembly on November 22, 1982.
As a member of the Seventh and the Eighth Assembly, he served as the Minister of Public
Works and Irrigation. His tenure as Irrigation Minister saw the switching on of many
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irrigation projects. He resigned from the Cabinet in 1987 protesting against insufficient
allocation of funds for Irrigation.
A crusader for freedom and equality, he earned the wrath of the powers that be at the Centre
and was imprisoned during the days of emergency. Shri Deve Gowda utilised this
period of forced rest to enrich his knowledge through exhaustive reading. This, and the
interaction between him and other stalwarts of Indian politics who were also jailed during
that period, helped him mould his personality and perspective. He was a much more seasoned
and determined person when he emerged out of his confinement.
Elected to Parliament from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency in 1991, he was instrumental in
bringing the problems of the State especially
of farmers to
the forefront. He earned respect
for his forthright espousal of the plight of farmers, in Parliament. He also earned a name for
practising and upholding the prestige and dignity and Parliament and its institutions.
Shri Deve Gowda became the President of Janta party twice at State level and President of
State Janata Dal in 1994. He was the driving force behind the Janata Dal's rise to power in the
State in 1994. He was elected as the leader of the Janata Dal Legislative Party and on
December 11, 1994 he assumed office as the 14th Chief Minister of Karnataka. He then
contested as a candidate from Ramanagar Assembly constituency and won by a thumping
His prolonged experience in active politics and his strong base at the grassroots level enabled
him to plunge straightway into the task of tackling many problems faced by the State. His
political acumen was tested again when he brought the Idgah Maidan issue at Hubli to the
forefront. It was a ground that belonged to the minority community and was the butt of
political controversy. Shri Gowda successfully brought about a peaceful solution to the issue.
In January 1995, Shri Gowda toured Switzerland and attended the Forum of International
Economists. His tours to European and Middle Eastern countries were a testimony to his
achievements as a dedicated politician. His tour to Singapore, which brought in the much
needed foreign investment to the State, proved his business acumen.
In 1989, his group of the Janata Party fared poorly in Karnataka winning just 2 of the 222
Assembly seats it contested; Shri Gowda himself tasting defeat for the first time in his career
losing in both constituencies he contested. He is therefore, no stranger to the fickleness of
The defeat lent a sharper edge to his pursuit to regain lost honour and power, and spurred him
his own style of politics. He made friends in Karnataka and Delhi, and put
aside his bitter feuds with political rivals. Shri Gowda is a person with a life style that is
simple, a profile that is low, but assertive and effective.
The leadership of the Third Front (a group of regional parties and NonCongress
combine) leading to Prime Ministership – came to Shri Gowda without him seriously
aspiring for it.
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Shri Deve Gowda resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on May 30, 1996 to be sworn
in as the 11 th Prime Minister of India.
Shri Inder Kumar Gujral
Shri Inder Kumar Gujral was sworn in as the 12 th Prime Minister
of India on Monday, the 21st of April, 1997.
Son of Late Shri Avtar Narain Gujral and Late Smt. Pushpa Gujral,
Shri Gujral is M.A., B.Com., Ph.D. & D.Litt. He was born in
Jhelum (in undivided Punjab) on 4 th December 1919. He and Smt.
Shiela Gujral were married on May 26, 1945.
Shri Gujral belongs to a family of freedom fighters: both his
parents participated in the freedom struggle in Punjab. At the
young age of eleven, he himself actively participated in the
freedom struggle in 1931 and was arrested and severely beaten by
the police for organising movement of young children in the
Jhelum town. In 1942, he was jailed during the Quit India
Before assuming the office of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Gujral was the Minister of
External Affairs from June 1, 1996 and held additional charge of the Ministry of Water
Resources from June 28, 1996. He was the Minister of External Affairs earlier during 19891990.
He was Ambassador of India to U.S.S.R. (Cabinet Rank) from 19761980
and held the
following Ministerial positions from 19671976:
Minister of Communications & Parliamentary Affairs
Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Communications
Minister of Works & Housing
Minister of Information & Broadcasting
Minister of Planning
Other important offices held:
Chairman, Indian Council of South Asian Cooperation;
Member of the Capital Plan
Monitoring Committee; former President of the Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis
(IDSA); Chairman of the official Committee for the Promotion of Urdu (Gujral Committee);
of the New Delhi Municipal council 195964;
President Lahore Students
Union; General Secretary of the Punjab Students Federation; Convener and Spokesman of
United Front of the Opposition Parties Conclave at Calcutta, Srinagar and Delhi.
Leader of the Indian Delegation to United Nations General Assembly – 1996; Leader of the
Indian Delegation to UN Session of Human Rights, Geneva 1995; Leader of the Indian
Delegation to the UN General Assembly 1990; Leader of the Indian Delegation to the UN
Special Session of Economic Development 1990; Member, Indian Delegation to UNO 1995
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and 1994; Leader of the Indian Delegation to UNESCO Conference on Education and
Environment, 1977; Alternate Leader of the Indian Delegation to the UNESCO Session in
1970, 1972 and 1974; Chairman, UNESCO Seminar on Man and New Communication
Systems, Paris 1973; Delegate –
Delegate – Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, Canada 19194; Delegate
Union Meeting Canberra (Australia) 1967; Alternate Leader of Indian
Delegation to the UN Session on Environment, Stockholm 1974; Special Envoy of India to
Gabon, Cameroon, Congo, Chad and Republic of Central Africa 1975; Special Envoy of
India to the inaugural of the Republic of Malawi 1966; Special Envoy to Bulgaria 1961;
Union Minister in attendance to President of India during State Visits to Sri Lanka, Bhutan,
Egypt and Sudan; Chairman – Indian Council of South Asian Cooperation;
Asian Rotary Conference 1961.
Social organisations with which he was associated:
President, Nari Niketan Trust & A.N. Gujral Memorial School, Jalandhar (Punjab); President,
Friendship Society; Founder President of Delhi Art Theatre; VicePresident
Kalyan Samiti; President of Rotary Club of Delhi 1960; CoChairman
of the Asian Rotary
Conference in 1961.
Dr. Manmohan Singh
India's 14 th Prime Minister and current Prime Minister of the
Republic of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh is rightly acclaimed as a
thinker and a scholar. He is well regarded for his diligence and his
academic approach to work, as well as his accessibility and his
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was born on September 26, 1932,
in a village in the Punjab province of undivided India. Dr. Singh
completed his Matriculation examinations from the Punjab
University in 1948. His academic career took him from Punjab to
the University of Cambridge (UK) where he earned a First Class
Honours degree in Economics in 1957. Dr. Singh followed this
with a D.Phil in Economics from Nuffield College at Oxford
University in 1962. His book, "India's Export Trends and Prospects for SelfSustained
Growth" [Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1964] was an early critique of India's inwardoriented
Dr. Singh's academic credentials were burnished by the years he spent on the faculty of
Punjab University and the prestigious Delhi School of Economics. He had a brief stint at the
UNCTAD Secretariat as well, during these years. This presaged a subsequent appointment as
Secretary General of the South Commission in Geneva between 1987 and 1990.
In 1971, Dr. Singh joined the Government of India as Economic Advisor in the Commerce
Ministry. This was soon followed by his appointment as Chief Economic Advisor in the
Ministry of Finance in 1972. Among the many Governmental positions that Dr. Singh has
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Occupied are as follows: Secretary in the Ministry of Finance; Deputy Chairman of the
Planning Commission; Governor of the Reserve Bank of India; Advisor of the Prime
Minister; and Chairman of the University Grants Commission.
In what was to become the turning point in the economic history of independent India, Dr.
Singh spent five years between 1991 and 1996 as India's Finance Minister. His role in
ushering in a comprehensive policy of economic reforms is now recognized worldwide. In
the popular view of those years in India, that period is inextricably associated with the
persona of Dr. Singh.
Among the many awards and honours conferred upon Dr. Singh in his public career, the most
prominent are India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan (1987); the
Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress (1995); the Asia
Money Award for Finance Minister of the Year (1993 and 1994); the Euro Money Award for
Finance Minister of the Year (1993), the Adam Smith Prize of the University of Cambridge
(1956); and the Wright's Prize for Distinguished Performance at St. John's College in
Cambridge (1955). Dr. Singh has also been honoured by a number of other associations
including by the Japanese Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
Dr. Singh has represented India at many international conferences and in several international
organizations. He has led Indian Delegations to the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting in Cyprus (1993) and to the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993.
In his political career, Dr. Singh has been a Member of India's Upper House of Parliament
(the Rajya Sabha) since 1991, where he was Leader of the Opposition between 1998 and