Remembering the Bihar Vibhuti A. N. Sinha

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The great W. Shakespeare has once famously said "There are some people in society and nation whose life becomes an integral part of the contemporary history". Bihar has been the birth place of some of the most legendary statesmen whose dauntless determination and utmost integrity made them the architects of modern India and Bihar respectively. Among those eminent statesmen was the first Finance Minister, Bihar Vibhuti Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha, one of the makers of modern Bihar.

The legendary son of the soil was born on 18th June,1887 in the then Aurangabad subdivision of Gaya to a family with a rich history of patriotic spirit. The qualities that gave Dr. Sinha a place among the personal forces of his time were moral as well as intellectual. His genuineness, intensity, abhorrence of sham trickery and imposture and his dauntless determination to arrive at facts had helped him change the destiny of the state and nation. The promise of a bright talent was revealed in his extraordinary college career.

In fact "Coming events cast their shadows before" is fully exemplified by the life of Anugrah Babu. From early childhood, he had harmonious blend of intelligence leadership. After securing first class in middle school examination, he got scholarship in the high school for his excellent performance and was admitted to Gaya Zila School. He was elected student representative of Gaya District. He was admitted to Patna College in 1908. He passed the entrance examination in the first division and graduated with honors in English. He was the Secretary of the prestigious Chanakya Society of the Patna College and Bihar Students Conference, an organization founded by Rajendra Prasad and he worked under his inspiring guidance. He served as a volunteer in the Patna Congress and his brilliant administrative skills and the simplicity and integrity by which he was able to connect and inspire the masses easily was exemplary; on seeing his work; reverend leader Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh; then the lone Indian Minister in the Cabinet remarked "He is exceptional by all values; if the history of Modern Bihar will be written; one name that is sure to be indispensable will be A N Sinha".

In 1915 he took M.A degree. Then he was appointed Professor of History in the T.N.B. College Bhagalpur. As a professor, he won high esteem of the students. He organised relief work when Bhagalpur was ravaged by flood.

In 1916 he joined the Patna Bar. When Gandhiji embarked the Champaran Satyagraha Mr. Sinha abandoned his practice and became a Satyagrahi along with other prominent lawyers handpicked by Gandhi. He became a very close associate of Mahatma Gandhi during movement and worked with Deshratna Dr. Rajendra Prasad to lead the Gandhian movement in Bihar. In 1922 he successfully organized the Gaya Congress. In the following year he became one of the General Secretaries of the A.I.C.C. Then he was elected as the General Secretary of the Bihar Congress Committee.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad founded the "Bihar Vidyapeeth" for motivating young meritorious youths and as a co-founder Anugrah Sinha gave his services as a professor; among his first students was young Jay Prakash Narayan. His old friend Bihar Kesari Sri Krishna Singh (who later became the chief minister of independent Bihar) joined Rajendra Prasad and Anugrah Narayan Sinha in the massive Civil Disobedience movement after they resigned from the membership of the Council of estates.

In 1933 he was sentenced to fifteen months rigorous imprisonment for hoisting the national flag.

He was chosen the general Secretary of the Bihar Earthquake Relief Committee. When Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru came to visit the affected areas; he was so impressed by Anugrah Babu's extraordinary administrative skills that he remarked "I do not have to think about Bihar since it is in the most careful observation of none other than Anugrah Babu on whom even Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) has expressed greatest of confidence". He played pivotal role in organizing Congress “seva dal”.

He was elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1936 and resigned from the "Council of estates" (Rajya Sabha) to became the first Finance Minister of Bihar, besides holding a range of portfolios including Labour, Health, Local Self-government and Agriculture. In fact, the first Bihar Government both in 1936 and 1946 was also characterised by the values of the Mahatma and Rajendra Babu. Its two eminent leaders Sri Babu and Anugrah Babu were men of unimpeachable integrity and great public spirit. They ran an exemplary government. An imperious Sri Babu and an humble but very capable Anugrah Babu complemented each other and made an excellent pair of popular rulers, enriching Bihar with wealth and wisdom. Bihar was recognized as the best administered state during the first few years since the Independence and also had the distinction of securing the first position in the achievement of the First Five Year plan targets. Dr. Sinha’s role in all this was
simply exemplary.

He was also elected a Member of the Constituent Assembly of India, which was elected to write the Constitution of India and served as its first Parliament as an independent nation. He always encouraged and groomed the then young generation of leadership that included likes of Jay Prakash Narayan Jagjivan Ram, Bir Chand Patel, K B Sahay and Pd. Binodanand Jha. Interestingly Loknayak Jay Prakash Narayan was associated with Anugrah Babu as a student at the Bihar Vidyapeeth; although both had different party lines, yet he maintained close relations with him.

He was elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1936 and resigned from the "Council of estates" (Rajya Sabha) to became the first Finance Minister of Bihar. He played pivotal role in organizing Congress “seva dal”.In fact, the first Bihar Government both in 1936 and 1946 was also characterised by the values of the Mahatma and Rajendra Babu. Its two eminent leaders Sri Babu and Anugrah Babu were men of unimpeachable integrity and great public spirit. They ran an exemplary government. An imperious Sri Babu and an humble but very capable Anugrah Babu complemented each other and made an excellent pair of popular rulers, enriching Bihar with wealth and wisdom. Bihar was recognized as the best administered state during the first few years since the Independence and also had the distinction of securing the first position in the achievement of the First Five Year plan targets. Dr. Sinha’s role in all this was
simply exemplary.

The legendary Bihar Vibhuti made his transition on 5th July 1957.

Bihar continue to reap the fruits that are a cumulative result of the vision and effort of the great sagacious administrator who changed the destiny of our nation and our state and touched the lives of millions.
 

Comments:

Wait and watch. If Nitish Kumar remains there in Bihar for 10 years, he would be another Bihar Vibhuti for our children. - Anup Kumar, Bangalore - June 20, 2008
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Mr. Nitish Kumar is indeed leading the way but his comparison with a legendary architect of modern Bihar who assisted Mahatma Gandhi and Rajendra Prasad looks unusual. Such legends like Rajendra Babu, Sri Babu, and Anugrah Babu are essential parts of the state's glorious history. They belong to all of us and remain inspirations for coming generations. In fact, Nitish Kumar's father was himself a staunch supporter of the late Bihar Vibhuti. - Somesh Verma - June 23, 2008

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