Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to pay tribute to the great leader on the birth anniversary of fifth Prime Minister of India Chaudhary Charan Singh on December 23. He wrote, “Remembering Chaudhary Charan Singh Ji on his Jayanti. Unwavering when it came to safeguarding the rights of hardworking farmers, Charan Singh Ji also worked tirelessly for the empowerment of the marginalised. He was at the forefront of strengthening India’s democratic fabric.”

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Chaudhary Charan Singh Biography

Chaudhary Charan Singh was born on December 23, 1902. He served as the fifth Prime Minister of India between 28 July 1979 and 14 January 1980. He is popularly known as the ‘champion of India’s peasants’.

The farmers’ leader was born in a rural peasant Jat family at village Noorpur in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh. Charan Singh’s entry in politics started with his participation in the Independence Movement which was motivated by Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

Charan Singh was active from 1931 in the Ghaziabad District Arya Samaj as well as the Meerut District Indian National Congress for which he was arrested twice by the British.

As a member of Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces in 1937, Singh took interest in the laws that were dangerous to the economy of the villages. Gradually, he took a stand against the exploitation of tillers of the land by landlords.

In 1939, Singh introduced the Debt Redemption Bill to give relief to the peasantry from moneylenders. Born in a village in a farmer’s family, Charan Singh had seen the plights of farmers and how money lenders exploited them. Introducing the bill was one of the significant steps in making the farmers’ lives better.

Further, in April 1939, he drafted a Land Utilisation Bill, whose aim was to ‘transfer … the proprietary interest in agricultural holdings of UP to such of the tenants or actual tillers of the soil who chose to deposit an amount equivalent to ten times the annual rent in the government treasury to the account of the landlord’.

Charan Singh began his fight against the landlords. Following that in June, he published a newspaper article which discussed the blueprint of the land reform he would pursue after Independence.

Charan Singh was one of three main leaders in the Congress state politics between 1952 and 1967.  He became popular in Uttar Pradesh from the 1950s for drafting one of the most revolutionary land reform laws under the guidance of the then Chief Minister Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant.

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The peasants’ leader became more popular from 1959 when he publicly opposed the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru’s land policies in the Nagpur Congress Session. Even though his position in the UP Congress was enfeebled, the middle farmer communities in North India started looking up to him as their spokesperson and leader.

In April 1967, Charan Singh was deserted from the Congress. Then he joined the opposition party and became the first non-Congress chief minister of UP. This was the time when non-Congress governments were a strong force in India from 1967–1971.

After the 1974 elections, Charan Singh moved to politics at the Centre. Soon the Emergency was imposed and he was imprisoned. Later, he played a significant role in the formation of the Janata Party.

Though Charan Singh failed to become the Prime Minister of India in 1977, later, because of the efforts of Raj Narain, he got the opportunity to serve the country as the Prime Minister in 1979. However, he resigned just after six months in office when Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party withdrew support to the government. Afterwards, Charan Singh continued to lead the Lok Dal in opposition till his death in 1987.

Charan Singh married Gayatri Devi, with whom he had six children. His son Ajit Singh is currently the president of a political party Rashtriya Lok Dal, a former Union Minister and a many times Member of Parliament. Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary was elected to 15th Lok Sabha from Mathura, which he lost to Hema Malini in the election of 2014.

Charan Singh died of Cardio vascular collapse in May 29, 1987.

Chaudhary Charan Singh Achievements

The National Farmers’ Day or Kisan Divas is a good day to remember Chaudhary Charan Singh. It is observed in India to commemorate the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh—a very simple-minded man who led an extremely simple life.

As the Prime Minister of the country, he introduced many policies to improve the lives of the peasants. He brought farmer issues into the electoral politics at the state level and then at the national level during the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1939, Charan Singh proposed the idea of a 50% quota for sons of the farmers in government jobs before the executive committee of the Congress parliamentary group in the Uttar Pradesh assembly.

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During his tenure as an agriculture minister, Singh led the Uttar Pradesh government in drafting, articulating and implementing the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari and Land Reforms Bill in 1952 which he considered as one of the main achievements of his life. The implementation of the bill gave ownership of land to the tenants belonging to the middle and lower castes. This became one of the reasons for his rising popularity among people of middle castes, both in western and eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Soon, Charan Singh became the representative of farmers’ politics, first in Uttar Pradesh and then at the national level in the 1960s and 1970s. The emergence of Charan Singh both at the state level and at the Centre led to the politicisation of the peasantry and its assertion in electoral politics. As a result, no government was in a position to ignore the interests and issues of the farmers from 1960 to the late 1980s. A politicised peasantry was able to exert pressure on the governments to reduce taxes and increase subsidies, water, free electricity, among several other things.

Today, Charan Singh’s legacy may seem to have disappeared from the minds of people, but his imprint on India’s national politics continues.

Chaudhary Charan Singh Images on India Content

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