Karan Singh (born 9 March 1931) is an Indian politician, philanthropist and poet. He was a member of India’s Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha representing the National Capital Territory of Delhi. He is a senior member of the Indian National Congress Party who served successively as President (Sadr-i-Riyasat) and Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Singh is the son of the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh. In the 26th amendment to the Constitution of India promulgated in 1971, the Government of India, of which Karan Singh was a Union cabinet minister, abolished all official symbols of princely India, including titles, privileges, and remuneration (privy purses). During the conclusion of the Cold War, he was India’s ambassador to the USA. Singh received the Padma Vibhushan in 2005. He was proposed for candidacy in the July 2017 Indian presidential election by Bhim Singh.
He is a poet and authored poetry book too and his poems featured in the poetry anthology, The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India, featuring 151 Indian English poets, edited by Vivekanand Jha and published by Hidden Brook Press, Canada.
In 1949, at age of eighteen, Singh was appointed as the regent of Jammu and Kashmir state after his father stepped down as the ruler, following the state’s accession to India. He served successively as regent, the first and last Sadr-i-Riyasat, and governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1965 to 1967.
In 1967, he resigned as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, and became the youngest-ever member of the Union Cabinet, holding the portfolios of Tourism and Civil Aviation between 1967 and 1973. Two years later, he voluntarily surrendered his privy purse, which he had been entitled to since the death of his father in 1961. He placed the entire sum into a charitable trust named after his parents. In 1971, he was sent as an envoy to the Eastern Bloc nations to explain India’s position with regard to East Pakistan, then engaged in civil war with West Pakistan. He attempted to resign following an aircraft crash in 1973, but the resignation was not accepted. The same year, he became the Minister for Health and Family planning, serving in this post until 1977.
He was a member of the Rajya Sabha first representing J&K National Conference – a Muslim dominated state party active in northern Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir – from 30 November 1996 to 12 August 1999 and currently is a Rajya Sabha member from 28 January 2000 representing INC. He has served as Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Jammu and Kashmir University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and NIIT University.