Pratap Singh Kairon

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Pratap Singh Kairon

Pratap Singh Kairon (प्रताप सिंह कैरों) (Dhillon Jat Gotra) ([[1901–1965) was the Chief Minister of the Punjab (then comprising of modern Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh), and is widely acknowledged as the architect of post-Independence Punjab. Moreover, he was an Indian independence movement leader. He was jailed twice by the British, once for five years for organising protests against British rule. His political influence and views are still considered to dominate Punjabi politics; sometimes he is called the "father of modern Punjab politics".


He was born in Kairon village which now lies in Patti tahsil of Amritsar district. As per local practice (using village's name as surname), he used to write Kairon as his surname.

Early life

Pratap Singh was born on October 1, 1901, into a Dhillon Jat family of the village of Kairon in Amritsar district. His father, Nihal Singh was a pioneer in initiating women's education in the province. Pratap studied at the Khalsa College, Amritsar and then went to the United States for higher studies; there he supported himself by working on farms and factories. He did his Masters in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He was influenced by farming methods practised in the U.S.A and wished to replicate the same in India later.

Political career

Entry into politics and contribution to Indian independence movement

Kairon returned to India in 1929. On April 13, 1932 he started an English weekly paper The New Era in Amritsar. He joined politics and the newspaper eventually shut down. He was at first, a member of the Shiromani Akali Dal and later of the Indian National Congress. He was jailed in 1932 for five years for participating in the Civil disobedience. He entered the Punjab Legislative Assembly as an Akali nominee in 1937, defeating the Congress candidate, Baba Gurdit Singh of Sarhali.

From 1941 to 1946, he was the General Secretary of the Punjab Provincial Congress Committee. He was jailed again in the 1942 during Quit India Movement and was elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1946.

In power

After Independence in 1947, Pratap Singh Kairon held various ministerial offices in the Punjab Government including Rehabilitation Minister, Development Minister(1947–1949) and Chief Minister(1952–1964).

Minister for Rehabilition

As Minister for Rehabilitation in the days immediately after the Partition of India, Kairon ended the chaos and confusion and handled the tough task of resettlement of millions of refugees who had migrated from West Punjab (now Pakistan). Over three million people were re-established in East Punjab in new homes and often in new professions, in a very short period of time.

Chief Minister

Pratap Singh Kairon was a man of vision. He laid the base on which Punjab prospered. In his role in implementing land reforms, the late leader established the Punjab Agricultural University,Ludhiana which played a key role in ushering in the Green Revolution. He also placed Punjab on the industrial map of the country. He was behind the creation of the city of Chandigarh and the industrial township of Faridabad(in present-day Haryana). Kairon made primary and middle school education free and compulsory. He opened three Engineering Colleges and a Polytechnic in each district. He was responsible for establishing much of the state's basic infrastructure in terms of irrigation, electrification and roads. Punjab was the first state in the Indian Union to have all its villages electrified.

He ushered in an era of huge prosperity for Punjab. His successors have largely frittered away the development he brought about.


In 1964, following the publication of the report of the Commission of Enquiry which had exonerated him of the bulk of the allegations made against him by his political adversaries, Partap Singh Kairon resigned from his position as Chief Minister of the Punjab. On February 6, 1965, he was assassinated by Sucha Singh, near Rasoi village in Sonipat district, near Delhi-Haryana border, when he was travelling by car from Delhi to Chandigarh. Sucha Singh was later hanged.

Postal Stamp

Postal Stamp Pratap Singh Kairon

On 1st October 2005 Indian Postal Department issued a commemorative postage stamp on 'Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon' : Denomination INR 05.00 [1]

See also

External links


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