The Life Story of India’s Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
A man who will be remembered as one of the most successful Prime Ministers in the history of India, Manmohan Singh was born on 26 September 1932 in Gah, Punjab, British India. His father was Mohan Singh, an affluent landlord and his mother was Amrit Kaur.
Early Life and Education
Born in 1932 in the Punjab province of British India, Manmohan Singh is the only child of Gurmukh and Amrit Kaur. His father was a schoolteacher and his mother was a homemaker. After the Partition of India in 1947, his family moved to Amritsar in Punjab, India. He attended Hindu College in Amritsar and graduated with a B.A. (Hons.) in Economics from Punjab University in 1952. He then went on to study at Cambridge University, where he earned an M.A. in Economics with First Class Honors in 1955. Upon his return to India, he became Professor of Economics at the Indian Statistical Institute in Delhi and also obtained a PhD from Delhi School of Economics. He married fellow economist Gursharan Kaur.
Dr. Manmohan Singh is an Indian economist and politician who served as the Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014. The first Sikh in office, Singh was also the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. Born in Gah, West Punjab (now in Pakistan), he attended Punjab University and Oxford University on scholarships, obtaining his doctorate with a thesis on India’s export patterns. He worked for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) before joining the Indian Planning Commission in 1971. In 1980, he became secretary general of the South Commission, serving until 1985 when he was appointed Reserve Bank governor by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In 1991, as chairman of the Interim Committee on Reforms under the Janata Party government led by P. V. Narasimha Rao, Singh played a major role in dismantling much of India’s infamous Licence Raj system that had come to symbolize governmental interference at every level. Despite stiff opposition, he succeeded in opening up the country’s economy, while continuing socialist policies such as widespread public sector employment. His reforms were credited with bringing an end to hyperinflation, reducing unemployment and spurring economic growth; according to some analysts, this period represented the height of Mr. Singh’s popularity. When the Congress-led coalition faced a heavy electoral defeat in 1996, Mr. Singh refused to take responsibility and resigned. After being ousted as PM in 2004, he was instrumental in forming two back-to-back coalitions between 2005 and 2008, but without success. When not holding political office, he has served in various diplomatic positions including ambassador to France and Russia.
Controversies in Politics
In his five years as Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh was embroiled in a number of controversies. From the 2G spectrum scandal to the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal, there was no shortage of allegations leveled against him and his government. However, Dr. Singh always maintained his innocence, saying that he was not aware of any wrongdoing. In the end, history will judge him based on his accomplishments as Prime Minister, which include leading India through some of its most difficult times. A pioneer for the country’s economic reforms, he left behind an economy that is poised for greater heights. He managed to boost growth during his time in office from 7% per year to over 9%.
He also served as the Chairman of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) Coordination Committee and led the Indian delegation at G8 Summits during 2006-2008. And it is because of these achievements that Dr. Manmohan Singh is fondly remembered by many Indians today.
Dr. Manmohan Singh was born on September 26, 1932, in the village of Gah in what is now Punjab, Pakistan. His family was Sikh and belonged to the merchant caste. In 1947, at the age of 15, he moved to Amritsar in India after the partition of British India into India and Pakistan. He finished high school and then attended Punjab University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. After graduation, he worked for the United Nations in Geneva for a short time before returning to India to teach economics at Punjabi University and Delhi University. In 1971, he earned a Ph.D. from Gandhi Institute of Technology under supervision of Dr Raja J Chelliah.
Honors and Awards
Dr. Manmohan Singh was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor, in 1987. In 1993, he was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award. He has also been conferred with honorary degrees by several universities including Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge. In 2006, he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine. In 2009, he was ranked 13th on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful people. And in 2012, he was named one of Newsweek magazine’s 125 Most Respected World Leaders. Dr. Singh served as the 24th Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014. His efforts helped to provide a more inclusive society for all Indians and improved the country’s global standing.