Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Dr Karan Singh


Dr Karan Singh
(President ICCR), and website-

Born heir apparent (Yuvaraj) to Maharaja Hari Singh and Maharani Tara Devi of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Karan Singh was catapulted into political life at the early age of eighteen when, in 1949, he was appointed Regent by his father on the intervention of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Thereafter he was head of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir for the next eighteen years as Regent, as elected Sadar-i-Riyasat and lastly as Governor. 

In 1967, Dr Karan Singh was inducted as a member of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. At 36, he was the youngest person ever to become a Central Cabinet Minister in India. He was elected soon thereafter to the Lok Sabha from the Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency in Jammu and Kashmir on behalf of the Indian National Congress by an overwhelming majority, and was re-elected from there in 1971, 1977 and 1980. He is now a member of the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House of Parliament).

Dr Karan Singh was first assigned the portfolio of Tourism and Civil Aviation. In 1973 he moved to the Ministry of Health and Family Planning. In 1979 he assumed the portfolio of Education and Culture.

Dr Karan Singh was the only former ruler of a princely state to voluntarily surrender his privy purse. He converted his Amar Mahal Palace in Jammu into a Museum and Library containing a priceless collection of Pahari miniatures and modern Indian art, as well as his personal library of over twenty thousand volumes. Dr Karan Singh also looks after several other trusts in Jammu and Kashmir including the Dharmarth Trust which administers over a hundred Hindu shrines and temples.
Dr Karan Singh studied at the Doon School, Dehra Dun, and later graduated from the J&K University, of which he was himself the Chancellor. In 1957 his masters from Delhi University in Political Science, created a yet unbroken university record. His brilliant thesis on the Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo earned him his doctorate from the Delhi University.
Dr Karan Singh was Chancellor of Jammu and Kashmir University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Benaras Hindu University for many years, Chairman of the Central Sanskrit Board, President of the Authors Guild of India, the Commonwealth Society of India and the Delhi Music Society. He was President of the India International Centre, is Chairman of the Auroville Foundation and member of the Unesco International Commission on Education for the twenty-first Century. He is Vice Chairman of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, Chairman of the Temple of Understanding, a major global Inter-faith association, and Chancellor of the prestigious Benaras Hindu University. He also has a brilliant, though short tenure as Indian Ambassador to the United States
Dr Karan Singh has received honorary doctorates from the Benaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University and Soka University, Tokyo. He is member of the prestigious Club of Rome and the Club of Budapest and is a lifelong conservationist, having been Chairman of the Indian Board of Wildlife and head of “Project Tiger” and many other environmental institutions. He is Co-Chairman of the World Commission on Global Consciousness & Spirituality.
Dr Karan Singh is recognised as an outstanding thinker and leader as well as an acclaimed author on political science, philosophy, travel and poetry. His fascinating Autobiography, his book on Sri Aurobindo entitled Prophet of Indian Nationalism, important collections of his writings entitled One Man’s World and India and the World and his Essays on Hinduism have been widely acclaimed. He has composed and recited devotional songs in his mother tongue, Dogri, and is a connoisseur of Indian classical music. He has represented India at many international conferences. Dr Karan Singh was married to the late Princess Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, grand-daughter of the last Rana Prime Minister of Nepal, Maharaja Mohun Shumsher.