ABOUT
ME

My special interests – Hinduism, the Environment, Education, Interfaith harmony, Travelogues, Essays, Literature and Music and Trusts

INTRODUCTION

You will find that I have been privileged to enjoy a rather unique spectrum of experiences. Indeed my life seems to fall into 18-year modules. I was born into the ruling family of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, one of the largest of the hundreds of Indian States within the British empire. My father was Maharaja, and as the only son, I would have succeeded him in due course. The first phase of my life therefore was as a Crown Prince, although in public school I got no privileged treatment. Then began a prolonged medical problem which had me on my back for 18 months..





Born on : 9 March 1931

Returns to India by ship Kaiser-I-Hind 6 weeks later
23 April 1931

Historical Events : Sheikh Abdullah starts Anti-Dogra Movement on July 13, 2nd Round Table Conference in London

Joined Doon School
September 1942

Historical Events : Cripps Mission’s proposals; Congress launches Quit India Movement; First Japanese aerial bombing of India; Bengal Famine in 1943

Passed Senior Cambridge from Doon School
September 1945

Historical Events : Allied Victory in World War II; Atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Immobilised due to hip problem – confined to wheel-chair
August 1946

Historical Events : Cabinet Mission Proposals for India’s Independence; Council of the Muslim League repudiates the Cabinet Mission Plan

Moved from Srinagar to Jammu on 25th October
25 October 1947

Reached New York City & was taken to Hospital for Special Surgery, 321E, 42nd Street, Room 504
31 December 1947

Historical Events : India and Pakistan become two separate nations; Kashmir invaded by tribals from Pakistan on October 24; Maharaja Hari Singh appeals for help from India and signs the Instrument of Accession to India on October 27; Kashmir issue raised in UN Security Council

Leaves Hospital and moves into Barclays Hotel, 111E, 48th Street, New York
15 November 1948

Celebrated New Years day in Times Square, New York
31 December 1948

Historical Events : India complains about Kashmir invasion by Pakistan; Gandhiji assassinated on January 30; India annexes Hyderabad on September 17

Returns to India (Bombay)
February 1949

18th birthday; subdued celebrations in Jammu
9 March 1949

Appointed Regent for Jammu & Kashmir by Maharaja Hari Singh
20 June 1949

Car accident in Srinagar. Hospitalized and bed-ridden
29th October 1949

Historical Events : Cease-fire declared in Kashmir on January 1; Lt. Gen. K.M. Cariappa becomes the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army: Hindi declared the National Language of India by the Constituent Assembly; Constituent Assembly adopts the Constitution of India on November 26


Married to Yasho Rajya Lakshmi
March 5 1950

Historical Events : The Constitution of India comes into force on January 26; Dr. Rajendra Prasad becomes 1st President of India; Sri Aurobindo dies on December 5

Elected Sadar-I-Riyasat by Jammu & Kashmir Constituent Assembly
15 November 1952

Historical Events : World’s first family planning programme launched in India

Dismisses Sheikh Abdullah’s Government in Kashmir; Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed installed as Prime Minister
8 August 1953

Historical Events : Prime Ministers Mohammed Ali and Nehru issue a joint communiqué on August 20, 1953 regarding plebiscite in Kashmir; Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary conquer Mt. Everest

Re-elected Sadar-I-Riyasat
1956

Historical Events : Nov 1955, Khruschev and Bulganin visit Kashmir; first re-organisation of states along linguistic lines in 1956

Visits Soviet Union
23rd April 1959

Historical Events : China invades Tibet

Re-elected Sadar-i-Riyasat
1961

Historical Events : Liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule;

Submits Ph.D. thesis on Sri Aurobindo, "Prophet of Indian Nationalism
1961

Historical Events : Indo-China war on October 20,1962 ; Dr. Radhakrishnan elected as the 2nd president on May 13 1962

Becomes Governor of Kashmir
1964

Historical Events : Jawaharlal Nehru passes away on May 27, 1964; Lal Bahadur Shastri becomes Prime Minister; 2nd Indo-Pak war starts on April 9 1965

Resigns as Governor and is 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 and is given the portfolio of Tourism & Civil Aviation
13th March 1967

Historical Events : Shastri passes away in Tashkent in 1966; In the 4th general elections of the Lok Sabha, Congress retains majority by 40 seats at the centre but loses 8 out of 16 States; Indira Gandhi becomes Prime Minister for the 2nd time; Zakir Hussain elected as the 3rd President on May 13

Is the only former ruler of a princely state to voluntarily surrender his privy purse. He put the entire sum into the Hari-Tara Charitable Trust, named after his parents
1969

Historical Events : The abolition of the Privy Purses is defeated by one vote in Parliament. Thereafter, Mrs. Gandhi amends constitution to abolish them; Congress splits into Pro-Indira Congress (R) and Anti-Indira Congress (O); V.V. Giri becomes 4th president on August 20


Is sent to Eastern Europe (GDR, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia) to explain India’s predicament with respect to the crisis in East Pakistan
1971

Historical Events : Crisis in East Pakistan leads to the 3rd War between India and Pakistan; East Pakistan attains independence and Bangladesh into being; Indira Gandhi calls elections one year in advance and

Elected to Lok Sabha from Udhampur constituency and enter Cabinet as Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation
1971

Historical Events : Congress (R) wins a landslide victory; Congress (O) is routed


Taking personal responsibility for the crash of an Avro resigns, however, Mrs. Gandhi does not accept it
1973

Historical Events : Mother dies on November 18; Project Tiger initiated; 1st World Population conference in Bucharest (1974) where Dr. Karan Singh coins "Development is the best contraceptive"

Becomes Minister for Health and Family planning
1973

Historical Events : Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed becomes the 5th President on August 24, 1974

Presents National Population Policy to Parliament
April 1976

Historical Events : Emergency declared on June 25 1975; Sanjay Gandhi becomes ascendant and derails India’s family planning programme

Re-elected to Lok Sabha from Udhampur constituency
1977

Historical Events : Emergency is withdrawn and general elections held in which the Congress is routed; All North Indian Ministers lose election except for Dr. Karan Singh; Morarji Desai of the Janata Party becomes the 4th Prime Minister; N.S. Reddy becomes the 6th President

Becomes Minister for Education & Culture when Congress (S) joins the coalition with Lok Dal (Charan Singh)
1979

Historical Events : Janata Party splits; Charan Singh becomes 5th Prime Minister on July 28; President Reddy dissolves the Lok Sabha for the first time on his own as no party capable of forming a stable government

Joins Congress (U) and is re-elected to Lok Sabha from Udhampur constituency despite stiff opposition from Sheikh Abdullah and Indira Gandhi
1980

Historical Events : In the 7th general elections Indira Gandhi forms Congress (I) and returns to power; Sanjay Gandhi dies in a plane crash on June 23

Resigns from Congress (U) and sits as independent in the Lok Sabha
Middle 1980

Founded Virat Hindu Samaj which seeks social reform on the basis of universal, Vedantic values (Not to be confused with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad)
1981

Historical Events : APPLE, India’s first geostationary experimental satellite launched successfully on July 16 aboard European Space Agency’s Ariane rocket

Instead of standing for elections from Udhampur is persuaded to stand from Jammu and loses his first election to the Congress candidate
1984


Historical Events : Operation Bluestar; Mrs. Indira Gandhi assassinated; Indira wave sweeps the elections – Congress elected with over 2/3rd majority in the Lok Sabha; Rajiv Gandhi becomes the 6th Prime Minister; Union Carbide plant leaks toxic gas in Bhopal December 3

Attends Interfaith Ceremony at WWF’s 25th anniversary in Assisi, Italy where writes the Hindu Declaration on Nature
September 1986

Historical Events : Nuclear accident at Chernobyl, Soviet Union; President Gorbachev launches Glasnost and Perestroika

Is appointed Ambassador to the USA and presents his credentials to President Bus
August 1989

Historical Events : Congress loses election; A coalition government is formed; Cold War ends with the fall of the Berlin Wall

Attends the Global Forum for Parliamentarians & Religious leaders in Moscow and becomes member of its Steering Committee
January 1990

Resigns as Ambassador and returns to India
March 1990

Becomes President of the Auroville Foundation (with Cabinet Rank)
January 1991

India’s foreign exchange reserves dip to an all-time low and India avails of an IMF loan to tide over the crisis; and structural reforms are launched by the Indian government

Becomes President of the India International Centre (IIC) in New Delhi
March 1990

Becomes trustee of Green Cross International
1993

Resigned from Rajya Sabha
1996

Elected to the Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir
1997

Becomes Co-Chairman of the Indo-French Forum
January 1998

Founded India Forum
May 1998

Founded Peoples Commission on Environment & Development (India) which holds Public Hearings around the country

Visits Hazrat Bal shrine in Kashmir when it was taken over by militants

Visits Chrar-i-Sharief shrine in Kashmir after it was burnt down by militants

Contested from Lucknow as Congress candidate against sitting Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee
1999

Re-elected to Rajya Sabha
2000

Appointed Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University
2002

appointed Chairman of Auroville Foundation given Cabinet Status
Sep 2004

Appointed Chairman, Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha
2004

Nominated to National Integration Council
Nov 2004

Nominated as a member of the Executive Committee of Indian Parliamentary Group for 2004-05
Dec 2004

Awarded Padma-Vibhushan
Deputy Leader of the Congress Party in Rajya Sabha
Member Standing Committee on External Affairs
Member Consultative Committee of Home Affairs Nov
Jan 2005

President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)
August 2005