Satyendra Narayan Sinha


Satyendra Narayan Sinha (12 July 1917 – 4 September 2006) was an Indian politician and statesman, participant in the Indian independence movement, a leading[5] light of Jaya Prakash Narayan's ‘complete revolution’ movement during the Emergency and a former Chief Minister of Bihar.[6] Affectionately called Chhote Saheb, he was also a seven-time Member of Parliament from the Aurangabad constituency, a three-term Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly, and a Member of the Bihar Legislative Council once. Regarded to be one of India's most influential regional people of the time, his reputation was synonymous with being a strict disciplinarian and tough taskmaster.[7]

Satyendra Narayan Sinha
19th Chief Minister of Bihar
In office
11 March 1989 - 6 December 1989
Preceded byBhagwat Jha Azad
Succeeded byDr. Jagannath Mishra
Education Minister of Bihar[1]
In office
18 February 1961 – 1 October 1963
In office
1 October 1963 – 5 March 1967
Chief MinisterBinodanand Jha,
Preceded byAcharya Badrinath Verma
Succeeded byKarpoori Thakur
President of International Committee on Violations of Human Rights in Parliamentarians[2]
In office
Member of Provisional Parliament[3]
In office
26 January 1950 – 17 April 1952
Prime MinisterJawahar Lal Nehru
Preceded bypostion established
Succeeded by1st Lok Sabha
Member of Parliament
for Aurangabad
In office
Preceded bypostion established
Succeeded byRamesh Prasad Singh
In office
Preceded byMudrika Singh
Succeeded byRam Naresh Singh
Agriculture Minister of Bihar[4]
In office
18 February 1961 – 1 October 1963
In office
1 October 1963 – 5 March 1967
Chief MinisterBinodanand Jha,
President, Bihar Janata Party
In office
National PresidentChandra Shekhar
Preceded byPost Created
Succeeded bypostion abolished
Member of Bihar Legislative Assembly
for Nabinagar (Aurangabad)
In office
In office
Preceded byDr. Anugraha Narain Singh
Succeeded byMahavir Pd. Akela
Member of Bihar Legislative Assembly
for Gopalganj
In office
Preceded byKamala Rai. Sinha won the seat in by-election.
Succeeded byAbdul Ghafoor
Personal details
Born(1917-07-12)12 July 1917
Poiwan, Bihar and Orissa Province, British India
(now in Bihar, India)
Died4 September 2006(2006-09-04) (aged 89)
Patna, Bihar, India
Political partyIndian National Congress (1940–1969,1984–2006)
Indian National Congress-Organisation (1969–1977)
Janata Party (1977–1984)
Spouse(s)Smt. Kishori Sinha
ChildrenNikhil Kumar
Residence(s)Sopan, Patna, Bihar
Alma materAllahabad University
Nickname(s)Chhote Saheb, Satyendra Babu, SN Sinha


Sinha was born in an aristocratic political family in Poiwan, Aurangabad district, Bihar. He belonged to the rajput caste.[8] His father was a nationalist leader, Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha, who closely assisted Mahatma Gandhi[9] along with Dr.Rajendra Prasad in the Champaran Satyagraha movement,[10] the first satyagraha movement in the country and also served as the[11] first Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister of the Indian state of Bihar.[12]

He spent his student years under the[13] tutelage of Lal Bahadur Shastri at Allahabad. Brought up in a political environment, S. N. Sinha completed his bachelor's degree from Allahabad University and earned a degree in law from Lucknow University. He practised law at the Patna High Court, but left his job to join the Indian Independence movement and participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942. He organised Legal Aid Programmes for political prisoners during pre-Independence days.

Political careerEdit

Provisional ParliamentEdit

After Independence he was elected to the provisional Parliament from Bihar in 1950. He was part of the young Turk brigade of the Indian National Congress party during the time of the first Prime Minister of India[13] Jawaharlal Nehru.

Bihar state politicsEdit

Satyendra Narayan Sinha was a prominent educationist, and served as the Education Minister of unified Bihar in the government headed by Chief Minister Pandit Binodanand Jha from 1961 to 1963, and again for two consecutive terms in the Cabinet of K. B. Sahay from 1963 to 1967.[1] He also a held a range of portfolios including Local Self Government and Agriculture. He is credited with streamlining the entire education system of the Bihar state. As the state education minister, he played an instrumental role in the establishment of Magadh University in Bodh Gaya, in the year 1962. He occupied the second position[13] (second-in-command) in the Cabinet and played the role of a de facto Chief Minister during the period 1961–1967 under the Governments headed by K. B. Sahay and Pandit Binodanand Jha. He had[13] a unique political acumen to determine the electoral prospects of candidates in assembly election by just sitting at home in Patna.

The KingmakerEdit

S. N. Sinha also played a key role in the installations of Governments headed by chief ministers Krishana Ballabh Sahay, Satish Prasad Singh, B.P. Mandal, Sardar Harihar Singh, Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram Sundar Das. He never[13] hankered after power even when it was well within his reach. When Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister of India in 1966, she[14] wanted him to become the next Chief Minister of Bihar and sent then External Affairs Minister Dinesh Singh to convey the proposal but he refused, since he did[15] not wished to unseat incumbent CM K B Sahay but wanted to be elected by the people of state.

Emergency eraEdit

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inaugurates S. N. Sinha's statue at Satyendra Narayan Sinha Park, Patna

He decided to side with the syndicate after the expulsion of Indira Gandhi from the Congress.The Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, declared a state of emergency on 25 June 1975 due to internal political disturbances. Accordingly, all fundamental rights enjoyed in the Indian Constitution were suspended. Political dissidents, newspaper reporters, opposition leaders who opposed emergency were jailed. Chhote Saheb, along with other prominent leaders, opposed this blatant misuse of state machinery. In 1977, during the emergency in India, he was made president of Bihar Janata Party and Chairman of State Election Committee.

"Chhote Saheb, as he was popularly called, was an important political leader of Bihar, a distinguished Parliamentarian, and someone who had the interests of his state and people uppermost in his mind. During his long public life of over six decades, Sinha Ji made significant contributions in streamlining the education system of Bihar."

Vice President of India Hamid Ansari[16]

He[17] worked together with premier colleagues of Janata Party like Morarji Desai, Chandra Shekhar Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Charan Singh, Jagjivan Ram, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Madhu Limaye, H. D. Deve Gowda, Inder Kumar Gujral, Raj Narain, George Fernandes and Karpuri Thakur and the movement was a grand success in Bihar. He motivated the[18] youth and students to take an active role in politics, and ensured their representation in political affairs. During, the Bihar legislative assembly election 1977, a massive[19] crowd of youth leaders and activists used to converge at his residence.

Satyendra Narayan Sinha's political[17] encouragement to the youths led to the emergence of then youth leaders of Janata Party like Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Subodh Kant Sahay, Kripanath Pathak, Ram Jatan Sinha, Jagdish Sharma, Thakur Muneshwar Nath Singh, Raghupati Singh and Narendra Singh. After the emergency was lifted on 21 March 1977, fresh general elections were held in India.

The Congress Party, led by Indira Gandhi suffered a defeat at the hands of the Janata Party coalition of several small parties created in 1977[20][21] and the alliance came to power, headed by Morarji Desai, who became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India.[22] In Bihar, the Janata Party won all[17] the fifty-four Lok Sabha seats in 1977 general elections under the mentorship of Jayaprakash Narayan and rose to power in Bihar assembly too. He[13] struck by the Janata Party and preferred to be in opposition although he would have been considered a prize catch by the Congress party.

Return to CongressEdit

He quit the party following differences with the then party president[23] Chandra Shekhar Singh and returned to the Congress fold in 1984. The[24] then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi came down to Patna to formally admit him back to the Congress party.

Chief MinistershipEdit

As the Chief Minister of Bihar, Chhote Saheb also held the portfolio of Education for the fourth term in his later years 1989–1990. In the same year, he conceived,[25] the proposal to set up a NTPC's super thermal power project at Nabinagar in Bihar's Aurangabad district to then Prime Minister of India and Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi; but the project went into limbo as the following state governments failed to follow it. In 2007, Manmohan Singh's[26] government finally put a stamp of approval on it.

"I believe in participative democracy and not dictatorial attitudes"

— Satyendra Narayan Sinha[27]

" He was a great humanitarian and an educationist who changed the face of education in Bihar by his radical and innovative ideas that were far ahead of their time. The state owes a lot to him.."

Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar[28]

He is also credited for the[29] establishment of the Indira Gandhi Planetarium cum Science Centre in Patna. Under his regime, Panchayati Raj system of governance was introduced in Bihar.

In his autobiography Meri Yaadein, Meri Bhoolein, released by the then Bihar Governor Buta Singh in the presence of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee (also former President of India), He accused his state colleagues of "fanning" the 1989 Bhagalpur violence to malign him, specifically mentioning his predecessor and former chief minister Bhagwat Jha Azad and the former speaker Shivchandra Jha. He didn't agree with the over-ruling of his order to transfer the then superintendent of police K S Dwivedi who had failed miserably to discharge his duties. The decision was not only an encroachment of the Constitutional right of the state government but also a step detrimental to ongoing efforts to ease tensions.[30] When he stepped down from the post of Chief Minister of Bihar, Jagannath Mishra succeeded him. He recalled when he met Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi later on, he informed him about the "role of some Congress leaders" in the riots. The Prime Minister expressed surprise and said "so, the riots were motivated!"[30]

Parliament of IndiaEdit

S. N. Sinha was elected as a Member of the First, Second and Fifth to Eighth Lok Sabhas from 1950 to 1961 and 1971—1989 representing Aurangabad parliamentary constituency of Bihar.[2] He retains the[31] record of maximum parliamentary election victories in Bihar, next only to the late Jagjivan Ram.

He served as the Chairman of Committee on Estimates from 1977 to 1979. He was also a Member of the Committee on Finance from 1950 to 1952; Committee on Estimates from 1956 to 1958 and thereafter during 1985–1986 and the Committee on Public Undertakings during 1982–83. He was a well-known social activist, and served as the Assistant Secretary to the Bihar Provincial Committee of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Fund and Secretary to the Bihar Provincial Committee of the Gandhi National Memorial Fund. He was also associated with a number of educational and social institutions in different capacities. He was member, Senate and Syndicate of Patna University from 1946 to 1960 and Bihar University from 1958 to 1960.[2]

International activitiesEdit

A widely travelled person, S. N. Sinha attended Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference, Helsinki, Finland in 1955. He was the leader of the cultural delegation to Kabul on the occasion of Jasan in 1963.[2] He also led the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to the Spring Meetings of Inter-Parliamentary Council, Canberra in 1977 and also to its meeting at Lisbon in 1978. He was a member of the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to erstwhile USSR in 1976 and was elected a member of the Special Committee on Violations of Human Rights of Parliamentarians at Canberra in 1977 representing Asia.[2] He was also elected President of that committee (conferred upon the status of a Union Cabinet Minister) and served as its Chief from 1977 to 1988.[2]

Posts heldEdit

S.N. Sinha held the following posts in his political career:[2]

  • 1946–1960: Member, Senate and Syndicate, Patna University
  • 1948: Secretary, Bihar Provincial Committee of the Gandhi National Memorial Fund
  • 1950 : Member, Provisional Parliament
  • 1950–1952: Member, Committee on Finance
  • 1952 : Elected to 1st Lok Sabha
  • 1956–1958: Member, Committee on Estimates
  • 1957: Re-elected to 2nd Lok Sabha (2nd term)
  • 1958–1960: Member, Senate and Syndicate, Bihar University
  • 1961–1963: Member, Bihar legislative assembly
  • 1961–1962: State Cabinet Minister, Education, Bihar
  • 1961–1962: State Cabinet Minister, Local Self Government (additional charge), Bihar
  • 1963: Leader of the cultural delegation to Kabul
  • 1962–1963: State Cabinet Minister, Education, Bihar
  • 1962–1963: State Cabinet Minister, Local Self Government (additional charge), Bihar
  • 1963–1967: Member, Bihar legislative assembly
  • 1963–1967: State Cabinet Minister, Education, Bihar
  • 1963–1967: State Cabinet Minister, Local Self Government (additional charge), Bihar
  • 1963–1967: State Cabinet Minister, Agriculture (additional charge), Bihar
  • 1967–1969: Member, Bihar legislative assembly
  • 1969–1977: President, Congress(O), Bihar
  • 1971: Re-elected to 5th Lok Sabha (3rd term)
  • 1976: Member, Indian Parliamentary Delegation to erstwhile USSR
  • 1977–1980: President, Janata Party, Bihar
  • 1977: Re-elected to 6th Lok Sabha (4th term)
  • 1977: Member, Special Committee on Violations of Human Rights for Parliamentarians
  • 1977–1988: President (Status of Union Cabinet Minister), Special Committee on Violations of Human Rights for Parliamentarians
  • 1977: Leader, Indian Parliamentary Delegation to the Spring Meetings of Inter-Parliamentary Council, Canberra
  • 1978: Leader, Indian Parliamentary Delegation to the Spring Meetings of Inter-Parliamentary Council, Lisbon
  • 1977–1979: Chairman, Committee on Estimates
  • 1980: Re-elected to 7th Lok Sabha (5th term)
  • 1982–1983: Member, Committee on Public Undertakings
  • 1984: Re-elected to 8th Lok Sabha (6th term)
  • 1985–1986: Member, Committee on Estimates
  • 1989–1990: Member, Bihar legislative council
  • 1989–1990: Chief Minister, Bihar

Personal lifeEdit

S. N. Sinha's wife Kishori Sinha is a former Member of Parliament from Vaishali, and his daughter-in-law Shyama Singh is a former Member of Parliament from Aurangabad. His son, Nikhil Kumar, a former IPS official, has served as the[32] Governor of the Indian state of Nagaland and also as the Governor of Kerala.[33]

S. N. Sinha wrote his autobiography Meri Yadein: Meri Bhoolein, which incorporates the experiences and perceptions of a leader of his eminence and stature.[34]

His official residence in Delhi,[35] 28 Akbar Road, had consistently won awards for being one of the best kept bungalows in the national capital. Its grand[35] garden continually won awards at all Delhi's flower shows and was one of capital's landmark gardens.


The Congress government led by Sinha is criticized for the lackadaisical approach towards the handling of [36] the 1989 Bhagalpur violence. The N.N Singh Committee report tabled in the Bihar legislative assembly held the government responsible for taking no action and the police showing complete inactivity during one of the biggest instances of human rights violations in Bihar, which led to the displacement of over 50,000 Muslims. The riots are said to have claimed the lives of thousands of Muslims, mostly poor weavers, while the police and Congress administration under Sinha took no action.[37]


The inaugural[38] lecture of the annual Satyendra Narayan Sinha Memorial Lecture Series was[39] delivered by Vice-President of India Shri Hamid Ansari in Patna. In 2014, the then Bihar CM announced to rename Magadh University of which[40] Late Sinha was the founder as[41] Satyendra Narayan Sinha Magadh University. The[42] Children's Park in the capital Patna has now been rechristened as Satyendra Narayan Sinha Park and the foundation for installing a life-size statue of former Bihar CM was laid by Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar at a state function in 2015.


  1. ^ a b "Ministers of Education". Central Advisory Board of Education. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Lok Sabha Debates". Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  3. ^ "Some Facts of Constituent Assembly". Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Dec 8, Lakshmi IyerLakshmi Iyer | Updated; 2007; Ist, 02:53. "A couple of mps". Mumbai Mirror.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ A.J. Philip. "A gentleman among politicians". The Tribune. India. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  7. ^ Prabhu Chawla (31 March 1989). "I believe in participative democracy and not dictatorial attitudes: Satyendra Narain Sinha". India Today.
  8. ^ Ashwani Kumar (2008). Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar. Anthem Press. p. 32. ISBN 9781843317098. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 April 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Remembering the first Satyagraha: 100 years of Champaran". Hindustan Times. 14 April 2017.
  11. ^ "First Bihar Deputy CM cum Finance Minister;Dr. A N Sinha". Indian Post. official Website. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
  12. ^ Kamat. "Biography: Anugrah Narayan Sinha". Kamat's archive. Retrieved 25 June 2006.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "SN Sinha -spent his student years under Lal Bahadur Shastri's (future PM) tutelage". PATNA DAILY OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  14. ^ Sir, is it true that when Mrs Indira Gandhi became PM in 1966, she wanted to make the then influential Bihar Education Minister Satyendra Narain Singh the chief minister of Bihar & sent Dinesh Singh to convey her desire but Late S N Singh denied because he wanted to be elected and not 'selected'. Will we ever see such principled stand from today's Bihar leaders like Nitish, Ramvilas & Lalu? : ASK PRABHU, News - India Today. India (19 October 2010). Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  15. ^ "S. N. Sinha - a Tribute - PatnaDaily".
  16. ^ PIB (12 July 2011). "Vice President Delivers Satyendra Narayan Sinha Memorial Lecture". Vice President's Secretariat. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  17. ^ a b c "Chhote Saheb: Emergency era". Patna Daily. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2006.
  18. ^ "Chhote Saheb". Press Information Bureau. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  19. ^ Singh, Santosh (9 October 2015). Ruled or Misruled: Story and Destiny of Bihar. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9789385436420 – via Google Books.
  20. ^ Gort, Jerald D.; Jansen, Henry; Vroom, H. M. (2002). Religion, conflict and reconciliation: multifaith ideals and realities. Rodopi. p. 246. ISBN 978-90-420-1460-2.
  21. ^ Kesselman, Mark; Krieger, Joel; William A., Joseph (2009). Introduction to Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas (5 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 298. ISBN 978-0-547-21629-4.
  22. ^ Namboodiripad, E.M.S. (9–22 August 1997). "The Opposition and the Left". Frontline. India. 14 (16). Archived from the original on 21 November 2002. Retrieved 9 August 2010.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  23. ^ "Chhote Saheb dies (He quit Janata party following differences with ex PM Chandrashekhar)". The Times of India. 5 September 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
  24. ^ "A gentleman among politicians:The Tribune (Return of SN SINHA in Congress fold)". The Tribune. India. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
  25. ^ "S N Sinha's brainchild NTPC project gets approval". Hindustan Times. India. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2007.
  26. ^ "PM DR MANMOHAN SINGH APPROVES NTPC PROJECT IN BIHAR PROMISED BY THEN CM SN SINHA". Hindustan Times. India. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2007.
  27. ^ "India Today Official Website Archives". India Today Archives. 31 March 1989. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  28. ^ Patnadaily (12 July 2016). "Bihar Governor, Chief Minister Unveils SN Sinha Statue". Official Website Online News. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  29. ^ "Patna Planetarium Bihar, Indira Gandhi Planetarium, Patna, Bihar, India". Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  30. ^ a b "Cong fanned fire, frenzy: Ex-CM". The Indian Express. 25 July 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  31. ^ Chittorgarh tag sticks to Aurangabad LS constituency. The Times of India. (16 March 2014). Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  32. ^ Official Website. "Nagaland Governor". Raj Bhavan. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  33. ^ "Nikhil Kumar sworn in as Governor of Kerala". The Hindu. 23 March 2013.
  34. ^ "Meri Yaadein, Meri bhoolein (My Memories, My Mistakes) released by Bihar Governor Buta Singh in the presence of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee". The Indian Express. Express India. Retrieved 10 December 2005.
  35. ^ a b "Diary". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 8 August 2004.
  36. ^ "1989 Bhagalpur riots: Inquiry report blames Congress, police".
  37. ^ "bhagalpur-riots-inquiry-report-blames-congress-police". India Today. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  38. ^ Jul 11, TNN | Updated; 2011; Ist, 2:41. "VP to chair Sinha Memorial Lecture tomorrow - Patna News - Times of India". The Times of India.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  39. ^ "VP delivers inaugural SN Sinha memorial lecture". Press Information Bureau, Govt. of India. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  40. ^ "Magadh University Bodh Gaya - Courses, Admissions, Exams & Results".
  41. ^ "Fresh in memory card, lost in report - Govt silent on ambitious Ganga driveway, private university progress". The Telegraph. Kolkota.
  42. ^ Aug 7, Madhuri Kumar | TNN | Updated; 2015; Ist, 2:43. "Unlike BJP leaders, my DNA carries values, says Nitish - Patna News - Times of India". The Times of India.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)


  • Mere Sansmaran, an autobiography by Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha
  • Anugrah Abhinandan Granth samiti. 1947 Anugrah Abhinandan Granth. Bihar.
  • Anugrah Narayan centenary year celebration Committee. 1987. Bihar Bibhuti : Vayakti Aur Kriti , Bihar.
  • Bimal Prasad (editor). 1980. A Revolutionary's Quest: Selected Writings of Jayaprakash Narayan. Oxford University Press, Delhi.
Preceded by Chief Minister of Bihar
Succeeded by