On Charan Singh
There are books written on Charan Singh’s life - his role in the rise of anti-Congressism since 1967,, the rise of the backwards castes in North India and their movement away en mass in North India from the Indian National Congress. There are also some books by politicians, few of whom write books of any import, which refer to his role (Madhu Limaye, for example). There are also biographies in Hindi written by well-meaning vernacular scholars. And then the many ‘court’ hagiographic writings, in line with the sycophantic tradition in India. He himself disliked the last intensely, and looked for an objective study of his contributions. Paul R Brass committed to write one such in 1981, and he kept his commitment by bringing out a 3 Volume biography on Charan Singh between 2011 and 2014 (http://www.sagepub.in/books/Book236851)
To my mind, Charan Singh’s time in the Indian National Congress (from 1929 till 1967) and in the Bhartiya Kranti Dal (from 1967 to 1974) included the period when he was at the apogee of his most ground-breaking intellectual and administrative achievements and where he had the space - however limited it was by his opponents, of which there were many - to show results. His post-1974 avatar as a politician on the national stage enabled him increasing national renown, but there was more strife and bitterness and less visible results. There is a wall between these two periods, as people (the press, the educated elite, urban middle classes, the Delhi political system) did not know and did not care to know of his ground breaking achievements in Uttar Pradesh where he remained till 1974. He too realised he came too late to the national stage - in 1974, when the Bhartiya Lok Dal was formed, he was already 72 years old and had lived a full political life.
His magnum opus Indian Poverty and It’s Solution was written in his first phase, when he sat out of the Uttar Pradesh cabinet in 1959. The books written on him, laudatory or otherwise, mostly speak to his post 1974 period; specially between 1977 and 1980 when he held the highest political positions in India as the Union Home Minister, Finance Minister and then Prime Minister.
We bring to you, for the first time, all his writings - freely downloadable.
Harsh Singh Lohit