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Chandra Shekhar (1 Jul 1927 - 8 Jul 2007)

Chandra Shekhar Singh was born on July 1, 1927 in village Ibrahimpatti in District Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. Shri Chandra Sekhar is married to Smt. Duja Devi.

He had his Masterís Degree in Political Science from Allahabad University (1950-51). He joined the Socialist Movement. He was closely associated with Acharya Narendra Dev. He was elected Secretary of the District Praja Socialist Party, Ballia. Within a year, he was elected Joint Secretary of the U.P. State Praja Socialist Party. In 1955-56 he took over as General Secretary of the U.P., State Praja Socialist Party.

In 1962, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. He joined the Indian National Congress in January 1965. In 1967 he was elected General Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party. He founded and edited YOUNG INDIAN, a weekly published from Delhi in 1969. During the Emergency (June 1975 to March 1977) YOUNG INDIAN had to be closed down. It resumed regular publication in February 1989. He is the Chairman of its Editorial Advisory Board.

He has always stood against politics of personalities and has favoured politics of ideology and social change. This propelled him more towards Shri Jayaprakash Narayan and his idealist view of life during the turbulant days of 1973-75. When Emergency was declared on June 25, 1975, he was arrested under Maintenance of Internal Security Act inspite of the fact that he was a member of the Central Election Committee and Working Committee, top bodies of the Indian National Congress. Shri Chandra Sekhar was among the few individuals in the then ruling party who was imprisoned during the Emergency.

His diary, written in Hindi while undergoing imprisonment during the Emergency period, was later published under the title 'Meri Jail Diary'. A well-known compilation of his writings is 'Dynamics of Social Change'.

Shri Chandra Shekhar undertook a marathon walk (Padayatra) through the country from Kanyakumari to Rajghat (Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi) in New Delhi covering a distance of nearly 4260 kms from January 6, 1983 to June 25, 1983. He has established about fifteen Bharat Yatra Centres in various parts of the country including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to train social and political workers for mass education and grassroot work in backward pockets of the country.

He has been a Member of Parliament since 1962 except for a brief period from 1984 to 1989. In 1989 he successfully contested both from his home constituency, Ballia, and the adjoining Maharajganj constituency in Bihar. He vacated the latter. He was President of the Janata Party from 1977 to 1988.

He was Prime Minister for only seven months from 10 November 1990 to 21 June 1991. He resigned after the Congress Party withdrew support to him. He remained in office until national elections could be held later that year.

He was honoured with the inaugural Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1995. Chandra Shekhar was a member of the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of Parliament. He led Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya), (Socialist People's Party (National)). Starting in 1977, he won election to the Lok Sabha 8 times from Ballia in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The only election that he lost was in 1984 against Mr. Jagganath Chaudhary of Congress(I).

Shekhar suffered from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of the plasma cell. On May 3, 2007, he was hospitalised in critical condition after his condition had deteriorated.

Shekhar died at the age of 80 in New Delhi on July 8, 2007. He was survived by two sons. One of them, Neeraj Shekhar contested and won the Ballia Lok Sabha which was vacated through his father's death.

Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.