On In People & Politics

12 Secrets About Manmohan Singh That We All Should Know

"Life is never free of contradictions." - Manmohan Singh Manmohan Singh, an Oxford and Cambridge-educated economist who is honored for shaping India's economic and social welfare reforms served as a Prime Minister of the India from 2004-2014. Did you know that the highly educated and qualified Dr. Manmohan Singh’s speeches are written in Urdu because he can’t read Hindi? Well, neither did I, before I looked up for some lesser-known secrets about this so-called 'silent' former PM's life.He had been appointed as Finance Minister during the 1991 economic crisis, in which he presented a historic budget that guided the nation into the era of liberalization. It was his guidance, that the country grew 9% for the very first time. So, this September 26 on his 84th birthday, let's learn about some of his major facts and secrets that many of us are unaware of.

1. Manmohan Singh, born in undivided India

Manmohan Singh was born on 26 September 1932 to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur in a Sikh family in Gah in Punjab of the undivided India. He was raised by his paternal grandmother after his mother’s death when he was quite young. Later, during the partition, his family migrated to Amritsar in India.Singh married Gursharan Kaur in 1958. They have three daughters, Upinder Singh, Daman Singh and Amrit Singh. 

2. The first Sikh to become the Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh served as the Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014. He was the first Sikh Prime Minister in the country.Did you know he cannot read Hindi?

3. All his speeches are in Urdu

You will be shocked to know that all of Dr. Manmohan Singh's speeches are written in Urdu. This is because he cannot read Hindi. Yes! You heard me right. This is the reason that his first TV speech required three days of practice.

4. He was elected without any political background

The then Prime Minister of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao, surprisingly commissioned him as the Finance Minister of India in 1991, when India was in severe economic crisis. According to Wikipedia, the amazing thing about this incident was that at that moment, Manmohan Singh didn't have any political background. Only a few people know that he is the most qualified PM in the world.

5. He has numerous honorary degrees of D. Litt

According to Hindustan Times, this long list includes honorary degrees of D. Litt from Panjab University, Guru Nanak University, Delhi University, Sri Venkateshwara University, Panjabi University, University of Mysore, Osmania University and the Italy's University of Bologna.He has received numerous honorary degrees, a Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Social Sciences, Doctor of Civil Law and an honorary doctorate of letters (D Litt) in 2007... and the list still goes on.

6. He is the most qualified PM in the world

According to the sources, Dr. Manmohan Singh is one of the most honored Ministers in the globe. He is the highest qualified Prime Minister in the world. He has proven his quality as a student, as a teacher, as an author, as a civil servant and also as parliamentarian before adorning the prime post. He is the first non-political individual to qualify as the prime ministerial candidate in India.He has a long slate of awards...

7. His awards list will shock you

According to the sources, among the many awards and honors conferred upon Dr. Singh in his public career, the most prominent are India’s second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan (1987); the Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress (1995); the Asia Money Award for Finance Minister of the Year (1993 and 1994); the Euro Money Award for Finance Minister of the Year (1993), the Adam Smith Prize of the University of Cambridge (1956); and the Wright’s Prize for Distinguished Performance at St. John’s College in Cambridge (1955). Dr. Singh has also been honored by a number of other associations including the Japanese Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

8. He quit his US job to work in Delhi

As per the reports by Wikipedia, after completing his D. Phil, Singh returned to India until 1966 when he went to work for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1966–1969. Later, he was appointed as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Trade by Lalit Narayan Mishra, in recognition of Singh's talent as an economist. From 1969 to 1971, Singh was a Professor of International Trade at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.The proudest thing about Manmohan Singh is...

9. The only PM to be re-elected

According to the sources, Manmohan Singh was also the first Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term.

10. He listens to BBC every morning 

According to India Today, it is believed that Dr. Singh listens to BBC every morning. It helped him respond instantly to the 2004 tsunami even before the PMO was alerted by disaster management officials.His wife takes good care of his health. And she ...

11. Simple and plain food is must

It is also believed that Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur replaced the PMO's snacking menu of samosa and kachori with dhokla, his energizer, ie, tea and Marie biscuits.

12. Some important positions held by him...

According to the sources, in 1976 he served as Honorary Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Later during 1976-1980, he was Director of Reserve Bank of India. Through 1976-1980 he was Director of Industrial Development Bank of India, during 1980-1982 he was Member of the Planning Commission. He has also served as Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, Secretary General of the South Commission, an independent economic think-tank based in Geneva, Switzerland, Advisor on Economic Affairs to the Prime Minister and Chairman of the University Grants Commission.Kudos to such a knowledgeable and intelligent, member of the country. I hope you liked the story.If you got one, reach out to me at guneet@wittyfeed.com