The biography of Anugrah Narayan Sinha is a historical account of Bihar. The history of Modern Bihar is so intimately intertwined with the life, works and times of this great man. Such was his holistic influence, that he earned himself the sobriquet of Bihar Vibhooti i.e. Adornment, embellishment or ornament of Bihar.
1. He is recognised as the architect, plinthlayer and mason of Bihar, who structured it from its origin to its independence, and beyond in the nascent country. He played an integral and syncretic role in the mutual reconciliation of various components of Bihar. For this reason, he is often given the moniker of ‘Sardar Patel of Bihar’. Both of them strived to tie provinces and communities in harmony and had successfully spearheaded early Satyagrahs supervised and helmed by Gandhiji in Gujarat and Champaran respectively.
2. Anugrah Narayan Sinha was a statesman, a Gandhian Nationalist who had been a forefront participant in the Champaran Satyagraha, and later the first Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister of the undivided Bihar from 1946–1957. He was also a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, tasked with writing the Constitution of India. He also assumed the responsibility for some other departmental portfolios as Labour, Local Self-Government, Public Works, Supply & Price Control, Health and Agriculture.
3. He is fondly recalled as “Babu Saheb”. He was an intimate associate of Bapu during the Indian struggle for Freedom. He worked with Bihar Kesari Dr Sri Krishna Sinha to usher in and perpetuate the Gandhian movement in Bihar. The nationalist mass-leader was elected as the Congress Party deputy leader in the state assembly being designated as the first Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister of independent Bihar and was re-elected when the Congress Party won Bihar’s inaugural general election by a landslide mandate in 1952. The overwhelming margin was the result of the influence of Rajendra Prasad and AN Sinha, a veritable double-engine hauling the state.
4. He led a very simple, rustic yet magnanimous life and was always insistent upon austerity relinquishing ministerial provisions and posh amenities, by default rejoiced by politicians. He earned the sobriquet of being the architect of Bihar by laying out the very elementary and formative economic, social reformist and rural planning policies of Bihar.
5. Together with SK Sinha, AN Sinha singlehandedly erected the infrastructure of Bihar under the First Five Year Plan, most notably the River Projects – ambitious and pressing undertakings in the agrarian, rudimentarily-equipped state. Remarkably, in a holistic analytical assessment performed by dispatch of PM Nehru’s, Bihar has adjudged the best-governed state. It is thus a fitting tribute that the biography of this eminent freedom fighter and esteemed, selfless statesman was officially included in the school syllabus of Bihar.
6. The first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad was introduced to AN Sinha in the Bihar Student Convention. He claims to have been fascinated by the latter’s organisational ability and his enthusiasm towards the assigned work or task at hand, and that this fascination only further deepened with time. He stated that there hardly was any development in Bihar that transpired without him receiving the cooperation, involvement and company of the latter.
7.AN Sinha repeatedly turned down numerous invitations and overtures by the Prime Minister to assume Ministerial portfolios and roles at the Centre, owing to his love for his land – The same state he had once struggled to secede from unified Bengal. Former Bihar CM Satyendra Narayan Singh mentions in his autobiography that he rebuffed a request from Govind Vallabh Pant to assume the Governorship of Madhya Pradesh.
8. It is perhaps his former disciple Chairman of Anugraha Smarak Nidhi (Anugrah Memorial Fund), the folk-leader Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan, who best summarises the larger-than-life yet down-to-earth, towering yet ground-anchored persona of this exemplary statesman, describing him as a rare great soul – a jewel who graced the land, and towards whom the state shall forever persist indebted. He exalts his contribution as eternal and indelible.
Quote of the day-“Follow your heart, listen to your inner voice, stop caring about what others think.” ―