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An era ends with Ranbir Hooda
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, February 1
A glorious chapter of the Indian democracy came to an end with the demise of Chaudhary Ranbir Singh, a noted freedom fighter and father of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

He was the lone surviving member of the Constituent Assembly of India. He breathed his last at 5 pm here today after a prolonged illness. He was 94.

He will be cremated tomorrow at 3 pm near IMT campus here on the Delhi road with full state honours.

Born on November 26, 1914, in Sanghi village of Rohtak district in the family of noted Arya Samajist Ch Matu Ram, Ranbir Singh got his initial education at his village school where he was admitted in 1920 and Gurukul Bhainswal Kalan near Gohana, Sonepat, run by the great Arya Samajist activist and social reformer, Bhagat Phool Singh.

After passing his primary examination, Ranbir Singh joined Vaish High School, Rohtak. He passed his matriculation examination from there in 1933. He joined Government College, Rohtak, for higher studies and passed his FA examination from there in 1935. Later, he moved to Delhi and graduated from Ramjas College in 1937. With a dream to do something for the country, he joined the Gandhian army.

He actively took part in the Indian freedom struggle and was arrested eight times and jailed for three years and six months.

He was detained twice for two years and was imprisoned for his participation in the freedom struggle.

Ranbir Singh had a rare distinction of being a member of seven different constitutional bodies. He was the member of the Constituent Assembly from 1947and 1950. He had been a member of the Constituent Assembly (legislative) from 1948-50.

He also remained the member of Provisional Parliament from 1950-52 and a member of the first Lok Sabha from 1952-57. He represented the second Lok Sabha from 1957-62 and became a member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly from 1962-66.

He also became an elected member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly from 1966-72 and was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1972-88.

He served as Irrigation and Power Minister of Punjab from 1962-66 and as minister (PWD and Health) of Haryana between 1966 and 1967.

He remained the deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha from 1976-77. Ranbir Singh was the founder general secretary of the Bharat Krishak Samaj and the All-India Backward Classes Federation. He remained the working president of the All-India Freedom Fighter’s Organisation till his demise.

A graduate from Ramjas College (University of Delhi), Ranbir Singh was conferred with an honorary degree of DLitt by Kurukshetra University in 2007.

He is survived by his wife Har Devi and sons - Bhupinder Singh, Inder Singh and Dharmender Singh. Two of his sons - Pratap Singh and Joginder Singh - had expired earlier.

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