Baldev Singh was born on 11 July 1902, to a Sikh Family in the village of Dhummna in Ropar District in the erstwhile Punjab province. He was educated in Ambala and at Khalsa College, Amritsar. After graduation, he started working in his father’s steel factory in Jamshedpur.
Singh returned to Punjab in the mid-1930s and joined the Akali Party, where he worked alongside the prominent Sikh leader Tara Singh. He then successfully contested the Punjab Provincial Assembly elections in 1937 from the Ambala Northwest constituency. Singh played a crucial role in the formation of the coalition government between the Akali Party and the Unionist Muslim League in the 1942 Provincial elections. He was the Development Minister for Punjab from 1942 to 1946.
Contribution to Constitution Making
In 1942, Singh was selected to represent the Sikh community in the negotiations with the Cripps Mission. He held a similar position during the 1946 Cabinet Mission, where he opposed partition and asked for safeguards for religious minorities.
Singh was elected to the Constituent Assembly from East Punjab on an Akali Party ticket. He did not actively participate in the debates.
Singh was appointed as the first Defence Minister in the interim government of India under Jawaharlal Nehru. Along with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, he was responsible for managing security and relief efforts during partition.
Singh successfully contested the first general elections in independent India, and became a member of the First Lok Sabha on an Akali Party ticket. In 1957, he ran and won a second term as an MP from Hoshiarpur, this time on a Congress party ticket.
Singh died on 29th June 1961.
- Baldev Singh (Google Arts & Culture)
- Sardar Baldev Singh, 58, Dies; First Defense Minister of India (New York Times, 1961)
- Sardar Baldev Singh : First Defense Minister of India by Sukhjit Kaur (Madaan publishing house, 2018)
- Baldev Singh’s birth anniversary: Remembering the first Defence Minister and the role he played in India’s Independence (CNBCTV, 2022)
- Baldev Singh birth anniversary: Interesting facts about first Defence Minister of independent India (Firstpost, 2022)