Shri Balmiki Prasad Singh is a distinguished scholar, thinker and public servant. H.E. the Governor was born on 1.1.1942 in Bihar. He was educated in a village school and subsequently at the universities of Patna and Oxford. He passed his M.A. in Political Science from Patna University, Patna, standing first in first class with record marks and several gold medals. He became a lecturer in Political Science in Patna University at the age of nineteen.
Shri B.P. Singh is well-known as the author of the Bahudha Approach
, which outlines a path towards a harmonious world, as against the clash of civilizations. “Pluralism could be the closest equivalent to Bahudha in the English language. But Bahudha is more than pluralism. For, the Bahudha approach is both a celebration of diversity and an attitude of mind that respects another person’s point of view. Dialogue is central to this approach.” ( Bahudha and the Post 9/11 World )
Shri B.P. Singh was appointed to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1964. He has since been the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (1982-84) and Queen Elizabeth Fellowship (1989-90). He was Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow at New Delhi.
Shri B.P. Singh is recipient of Gulzari lal Nanda Award for Outstanding public service from the President of India in 1998 and Man of Letters Award from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2003.
Over the past four decades Shri B.P. Singh has held a variety of important positions within Assam as well as in the Government of India. He was Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forest (1993-95), Culture Secretary (1995-97) and Home Secretary (1997-99) in Government of India.
Shri B.P. Singh has been the pioneer of several administrative models and many ideas. As Union Home Secretary, he authored the formula for reorganization of States
based on resolution of the Legislative Assembly of the concerned State for action under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of India.
As an international civil servant, Shri B.P. Singh served as Executive Director and Ambassador at the World Bank during 1999-2002 representing India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and was one of the founder members of the Development Gateway Foundation (DGF)
and member, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Washington D.C
Shri B. P. Singh was at the centre of establishment of:
- National Culture Fund in India;
- Co- ordination Centre for tackling Naxalite Movement in India;
- Development Model for tribal societies in North- East India.
Shri B.P. Singh was Chancellor of the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath for six years and Chief Editor of the South Asia Series on “Perspectives on Economics, Technology and Governance” of Oxford University Press, New York.
Shri B.P. Singh is currently Governor of Sikkim.
Shri B.P. Singh has authored six books (i) Threads Woven: Ideals, Principles & Administration, LBS Guwahati, 1975, the second editionpublished by Allied Publishers, New-Delhi in 2010 (ii) The Indian National Congress and Cultural Renaissance, Allied Publishers, New Delhi 1987 and the second edition in 2010; (iii) The Problem of Change: A Study of North-East India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1987 and latest reprint in 2010; (iv) India's Culture: the State, the Arts and Beyond-Oxford University Press, New Delhi 1998 and the second edition in 2010; (v) Bahudha and the post-9/11 World; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2008; and (vi) Our India, NCERT, New Delhi, 2011.
He is also Chief Editor of the The Millennium Book on New Delhi, OUP (2001).
In addition, Shri B. P. Singh has published several monographs and articles on politics, culture, ecology and governance in reputed Indian and foreign newspapers and journals.
Shri B.P Singh was married to Late Smt. Karuna Singh who resided at Raj Bhavan, Gangtok, Sikkim till her passing away on 01.04.2010.
Profile: A Synoptic View
Shri B.P. Singh is an eminent representative of the post-independence generation of scholar-civil servants. He is indeed a role model and example for others to emulate.
In formulating an administrative goal, Shri B.P. Singh always follows the traditional approach of a Deputy Commissioner. He sees the grounds, talks to the people, and consults the available records. The visible and at times not so visible social, cultural, economic and political factors have a bearing on his formulation of plans of action. Once settled, he puts all his energies in implementing the set of goals with determination, in a cool and calculated fashion, keeping small details in view. His understanding of the people, geography and environment and his extensive reading about matter in hand have always been of considerable help particularly in initiating mid-course correction measures.
As a scholar, his mind is always in search of a novel idea and once he has vision of that, he goes for extensive research. He not only reads printed literature but also consults scholars as well as colleagues. He finally tests his broad conclusions with common people. It is only thereafter, that writing commences. His writings have enduring value. Several of Shri B.P. Singh’s observations are ageless in character as these have been formulated at a time of deep contemplation and illuminated consciousness.
Shri B.P. Singh grew up amidst green maize and wheat fields, mango grooves and festivals of the rural folk. As an adolescent he saw his village and its surroundings getting industrialized, which among other things broke the rigid caste structures. Later as a district officer, the green paddy fields and heavy monsoon of Brahmaputra Valley in Assam captivated him. Agriculture related music and dance, the lamps glowing in the dark in rural India all celebrating life continue to enthrall him. The romanticism of rural India with its intimacy and intensity and wisdom of common people are integral to his personality justifying the dictum: you can take one out of the village but not the village out from him.
Some Quotations of eternal nature:
- “In the last decade of the twentieth century one could clearly see that culture is emerging as a third factor in determining the status of a nation in the world after market and military strength; the market having replaced military strength from its position of supremacy in the post- Cold War world.” - (India’s Culture; The State, the Arts, and Beyond);
- “The partition of India was not merely a political failure. It was also our civilizational failure.” - (Our India );
- “Good Governance does not occur by chance. It must be demanded by citizens and nourished explicitly and consciously by the nation- state.” - (Our India);
- “It is my belief that as long as Indian society and polity encourage creative minds in the literatures and arts, science and technology, and give primacy to democratic institutions, to inclusivity and justice, India’s age- old cultural strength would continue to be renewed.” - (Our India) ;
- “Democracy needs no astrologers. The time has thus come for political leaders, jurists, enlightened citizens and others who are concerned about the future of democracy to look closely at the challenges facing democracy in their country, and devise ways and means to remedy the short- comings in the working and structure of democratic governments.”- (First Ramdhari Singh Dinkar Memorial Lecture- 2012, on The Future of Democracy)
- “A question is often posed about the role and relevance of the military in the construction of an environment for creative dialogue among civilizations. In the post 9/11 world, it is quite obvious that the ugly face of terrorism has given full justification for a strong military posture. In fact, the rise of terrorist activities in different parts of the world demands it. It, however, does not mean that military intervention can be taken in an arbitrary fashion. It has to conform to international norms and has to have the sanction of the UN system”. (Bahudha and the Post 9/11 World)