Jaipal Singh elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1946 from Bihar province was born on 3rd January 1903.

Jaipal Singh was a gifted hockey player and while he was studying in London he became actively engaged in the Indian students’ Oxford University, Jaipal Singh was selected to the University’s Hockey team and won the University Blue. He was named the Captain of Indian hockey team that participated in the Amsterdam Olympics, 1928, the first Adivasi ever to lead an Indian team at the Olympics. Ashok Malik, columnist and Press Secretary to the President of India wrote that at a time when captains of Indian cricket teams were Rajas or Princes, the sport of hockey was egalitarian and representative and had appointed an Adivasi to lead its team. 

Although Jaipal Singh was officially the captain of the team that won gold at the 1928 Olympics, not many know that he dropped out of the team right before the semi-finals. The British manager of the team had a fight with Jaipal Singh and he did not lead the Indian team in the finals. Jaipal’s legacy lives on in the form of the first ever hockey tournamentin his home village of Takra with the finals scheduled to be played on his birthday.

On returning to India after his education, Jaipal Singh turned towards tribal rights advocacy and is popularly referred to as MarangGomke (great leader). In the Constituent Assembly, Jaipal Singh made an important intervention while debating Objectives Resolution (which was later adopted as Preamble of the Constitution). Calling adivasis, unrecognised warriors of freedom and the original people of India Jaipal Singh proclaimed‘You cannot teach democracy to the tribal people; you have to learn democratic ways from them’. Invoking Nehru’s Discovery of India, Jaipal Singh pointed out that tribal republics are vestiges of democracy which are being destroyed by the advent of Indo-Aryan hordes.

Arguing against alcohol prohibition, Jaipal Singh stated that this would interfere with the religious privileges of tribals. He noted that tribals are accustomed to drinking rice beer which had become a part of their culture.

Jaipal Singh established Adivasi Mahasabha in 1938 and demanded that a separate state ‘Jharkhand’ to be carved out of Bihar. After independence, in 1950, the Adivasi Mahasabha became a full-fledged political party – Jharkhand Party – and Jaipal Singh was its first President. In the 1952 Bihar elections, it won 32 of the 325 seats to become the largest opposition party. When the States Reorganization Committee visited the area, the Jharkhand Party strongly urged for the creation of a separate state – Jharkhand, but the Committee did not recommend it as it thought it was not a viable linguistic unit. Jaipal’s vision of a separate state was fulfilled on 15th November 2000 when Jharkhand became the 28th state of Indian Republic.

Read Jaipal Singh’s biographical details here.