Sinha completed his schooling in his hometown and went on to graduate with an M.A. in history from the University of Calcutta in 1914. After his M.A., Sinha was appointed as a history professor in T.N J College, Bhagalpur. During his tenure, he organised flood relief work in Bhagalpur. In 1916 he enrolled with the Patna Bar.
Role in India’s Independence Movement
Sinha was an ardent follower of Gandhi who inspired him to join the Indian independence movement. He led satyagraha movements in Bihar.
He was an active member of the Congress Party. In 1922 he helped organise the Gaya Congress. A year later, he became one of the General Secretaries of the All India Congress Committee. Soon after, he was elected as the General Secretary of the Bihar Congress Committee.
Apart from his administrative roles with the Congress party, Sinha also played an important political role – he was elected as a member of the Central Council in 1935 from Sahabad-cum-Patna constituency. A year later he became a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly and was appointed as the Deputy Premier and Finance Minister of Bihar province. After his resignation from the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1939 protesting India’s involvement in the Second World War, he worked on earthquake relief programs in Bihar.
Sinha was involved in many political movements such as the civil disobedience movement in 1930 and Satyagraha (1940–41) which got him arrested.
Contribution to Constitution making
Sinha was elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1946 from Bihar on a Congress party ticket. He did not actively engage in the Assembly debates and discussions.
A political stalwart in Bihar, Sinha was elected to the first Bihar Legislative Assembly post-independence in 1952.
He led many development projects in Bihar along with the then Chief Minister Krishna Sinha including several river valley projects. During the first five-year plan period his development activities were focused on the agricultural sector and he was praised by the Union government for his leadership.
Sinha’s work extended to India’s international affairs – he led the Indian Food and Agriculture delegation to Nepal and the Indian delegation to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Canada and Switzerland.
Sinha passed away on 5 July 1957. He is still fondly remembered as one of the most important political leaders in Bihar. Jayaprakash Narayan who served as the Chairman of Anugraha Smarak Nidhi (Anugrah Memorial Fund) stated that Sinha was a rare soul whose contributions are eternal. The Department of Posts issued a stamp in his memory.
- Select Speeches of Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha in the Legislature (1937-1957), Directorate of Bihar State Archive (2013)