Partap Singh Kairon

Partap Singh Kairon (1901–1965) was the Chief Minister of the Punjab province (then comprising Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh), and is widely acknowledged as the architect of post-Independence Punjab Province (or Punjab, Haryana and Himachal as of today). Moreover, he was an Indian independence movement leader. He was jailed twice by the British Empire, once for five years for organizing protests against British rule. His political influence and views are still considered[according to whom?] to dominate Punjabi politics.

Early life

Partap Singh Kairon was born in 1901, into a Sikh family. His last name was taken from the village of Kairon in the Amritsar district, province of Punjab during the British Raj era.[1] His father, Nihal Singh Kairon, was a pioneer in initiating women's education in the province. Partap studied at Col. Brown Cambridge School in Dehra Dun and Khalsa College, Amritsar and then went to the U.S., where he supported himself with work on farms and factories. He did his Masters in political science from the University of Michigan.He also did his Masters in Economics from University of California at Berkeley before going to Michigan. He was influenced by farming methods practised in the U.S.A and hoped to replicate the same in India later.


Partap Singh Kairon had two sons and one daughter Surinder Singh Kairon, Sarbrinder Kairon Grewal, Gurinder Singh Kairon. While the younger Gurinder remained Congressman like his father, Surinder later joined Shiromani Akali Dal. Surinder's son Adesh Partap Singh Kairon is married to the daughter of Prakash Singh Badal, Preneeet Kaur and is a minister in the Punjab government. [2][3]

Political career

Entry into politics

Kairon returned to India in 1929. On 13 April 1932 he started an English language weekly paper called The New Era in Amritsar. He joined politics and the newspaper was eventually shut down. He was 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 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 Quit India Movement and was elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1946.

In power

After Independence in 1947, Partap Singh Kairon held various offices in the elected state government including Rehabilitation Minister, Development Minister (1947–1949) and Chief Minister (21st January,1956 to 23 June,1964).

Minister for Rehabilitation

As Minister for Rehabilitation in the days immediately after the Partition of India, Kairon handled the task of resettlement of millions of refugees who had migrated from West Punjab. 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

Partap 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, which played a key role 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. He was alleged of being corrupt.[4]


In 1964, following the publication of the report of the commission of inquiry 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 6 February 1965, he was assassinated by Sucha Singh Bassi, in his car on the main highway (the G.T. Road in front of village RASOI) from Delhi to Amritsar. Sucha Singh Bassi was later hanged.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Arora, Subhash Chander (1990). Turmoil in Punjab Politics. Mittal Publications. p. 54. ISBN 9788170992516. 
  2. ^ "Former Chief Minister Punjab Partap Singh Kairon's killer set free". India Today. 31 August 1994. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Kairons' sibling rivalry drags on". Financial Express. 8 February 1999. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Biography of the legendary Sikh leader". 

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