Baldev Singh birth anniversary: Interesting facts about first Defence Minister of independent India

The first Defence Minister of independent India, Baldev Singh, was born on 11 July 1902. The first Sikh Defence Minister in any country, he ...

The first Defence Minister of independent India, Baldev Singh, was born on 11 July 1902. The first Sikh Defence Minister in any country, he served the government from 1947 to 1952.

Baldev Singh played an important role in the country’s struggle for freedom. He represented the Punjabi Sikh community in the negotiations which resulted in India’s independence as well as the Partition of the country.

On his birth anniversary, here are some facts about India's first Defence Minister:

    • Baldev Singh was born in the village of Dhummna in erstwhile Punjab district. His father Sir Inder Singh, was a contractor who rose to be a steel magnate in Jamshedpur
    • Baldev Singh graduated from Amritsar’s Khalsa College. He soon started working in his father’s steel factory
    • In the 1930s, he returned to Punjab and joined politics. He became a part of the Akali party, with Sikh leader Tara Singh as his mentor
    • Baldev Singh made a big contribution to the foundation of Lahore’s Sikh National College. Despite opposition from the Congress party, he advocated the idea of maximum Sikh recruitment in the army during the Second World War
    • He successfully contested the Punjab Provincial Assembly elections in 1937. Later, he played a big role in the formation of coalition government in Punjab. From 1942-46, he held the post of the state’s Development Minister
    • He was part of the delegation to represent the Sikh community in the negotiations with the 1942 Cripps Mission. Singh also part of the delegation talking to the 1946 Cabinet Mission. During the negotiations, he opposed the Partition of the country and asked for safeguards for minorities. However, he also stated that if the Partition was inevitable, he wanted the Muslim-dominated divisions of Rawalpindi and Multan to be cut-off from Punjab ensure balance of power for the Sikh community
    • Baldev, Singh, along with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was responsible for managing security and relief operations during the Partition
    • After independence, he became the first Indian to hold the post of Defence Minister. He ably weathered his department through crises like the India-Pakistan war in 1947 and the accession of Hyderabad and Junagadh
    • In 1952, he successfully contested the first Lok Sabha elections as a member of the Akali party. He contested in 1957 on a Congress ticket from Hoshiarpur, winning the seat
    • He influenced Jawaharlal Nehru to build the new capital for Punjab in Chandigarh, which was then part of Ambala district
    • Baldev Singh breathed his last on 29 June 1961.

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India World News: Baldev Singh birth anniversary: Interesting facts about first Defence Minister of independent India
Baldev Singh birth anniversary: Interesting facts about first Defence Minister of independent India
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