Upinder Singh (Manmohan Singh’s Daughter) Age, Family, Biography & More

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Age: 63 Years
Hometown: New Dehli
Husband: Vijay Tankha

Manmohan Singh daughter Upinder Singh

Nickname(s)U Singh [1]Business Standard, Kiki [2]The Print
ProfessionHistorian, Professor of History and Dean of Faculty at Ashoka University
Physical Stats & More
Height (approx.)in centimeters- 163 cm
in meters- 1.63 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 4”
Eye ColourBlack
Hair ColourSalt & pepper
Major PublicationsBooks
• Kings, Brahmanas, and Temples in Orissa: An Epigraphic Study AD 300-1147 (1994)
• Ancient Delhi (1999)
• Mysteries Of The Past Archaeological Sites In India (2002)
• The Discovery of Ancient India: Early Archaeologists and the Beginnings of Archaeology (2004)
• A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century (2008)
• Rethinking Early Medieval India: A Reader (2012)
• Asian Encounters: Exploring Connected Histories (2014), alongwith Parul Pandya Dhar
• Political Violence in Ancient India (2017)
• Buddhism in Asia: Revival and Reinvention (2018), alongwith Nayanjot Lahiri
• Ancient India: Culture Of Contradictions (2021)

• Amaravati: the dismembering of the Mahācaitya (1797–1886) (2001)
• Cults and Shrines in Early Historical Mathura (c. 200 BC-AD 200) (2004)
Personal Life
Date of Birth 22 June 1959 (Monday)
Age (as of 2022) 63 Years
BirthplaceAmritsar, Punjab, India
Zodiac signCancer
HometownNew Delhi
College/University• St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India
• University of Delhi. Delhi, Delhi
• McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Educational Qualification [3]Infosys Prize• BA (Honours) in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India
• MA in History from the University of Delhi, Delhi, India (1981)
• MPhil from the University of Delhi. Delhi, Delhi (1984)
• PhD at McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1991)

Note: The topic of her PhD thesis was “Kings, Brahmanas, and Temples in Orissa: an epigraphic study (300-1147 CE).”
CasteKhatri; Kohli (sub-caste; Kukrain) [4]Hindustan Times
ControversiesThe Ramayana Controversy
In 2008, The Ramayana controversy in Delhi University took a violent turn when right-wing student group ABVP indulged in acts on vandalism in the history department at University of Delhi. They were protestesting against the inclusion of an essay by AK Ramanujan on different folk traditions related to the Ramayana tale in the recommended reading for second year BA Honours students. They alleged that the controversial book (a collection of essays) was compiled by Upinder Singh. However, when ABVP attacked the department, Singh was whisked away to safety by the SPG. Later, the University denied the allegation saying that Singh was “… neither the editor nor compiler of the book on Cultural History of Ancient India.” [5]Hindustan Times
Relationships & More
Marital StatusMarried
Husband/SpouseVijay Tankha (head of the philosophy department at Delhi University's St. Stephen's college)
From left to right, Gursharan Kaur, Manmohan Singh, Vijay Tankha and Upinder Singh
ChildrenSon(s)- Madhav Tankha, Raghav Tankha
Upinder with husband Vijay and son Madhav
Upinder Singh with his son Madhav Tankha
ParentsFather- Manmohan Singh (politician)
Mother- Gursharan Kaur (homemaker)
Manmohan Singh with his wife
SiblingsBrother- None
Amrit Singh (Human Rights Lawyer)
Manmohan Singh's Daughter Amrit Singh
Daman Singh (Writer)
Manmohan Singh's Daughter Daman Singh

Some Lesser Known Facts About Upinder Singh

  • Upinder Singh is an Indian historian, who works as a Professor of History and Dean of Faculty at Ashoka University in Sonipat, Haryana. She has served as the Head of the History Department at the University of Delhi. She is the daughter of the Former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. She is also the recipient of the inaugural Infosys Prize in the category of Social Sciences (History).
  • After spending her early childhood in Amritsar, she moved to New York with her parents and sister Daman Singh in 1966, where Manmohan Singh worked for UNCTAD. Upinder’s youngest sister, Amrit Singh, was born in New York in 1969.

    A picture of Manmohan Singh with daughters Upinder Singh and Daman Singh and friends Liaqat Ali and Sehba Ali at New York's Central Park in 1968

    A picture of Manmohan Singh with daughters Upinder Singh and Daman Singh and friends Liaqat Ali and Sehba Ali at New York’s Central Park in 1968

  • Manmohan and Gursharan desired their daughters to grow up in India with Indian values. Therefore, they returned to India to live in Dehli in 1969.
  • Growing up, Upinder Singh and her sisters, Daman and Amrit, were voracious readers. The habit of reading was instilled in them by their father. Daman recalled their childhood memories in an interview and said,

    Our most exciting outing was when our father took us to a bookshop. Our birthday presents were always books. There was a time when we lived walking distance away from the Delhi Gymkhana Club, which has an excellent library. I recall fighting with my sisters over the library cards, borrowing two books, hurrying home and racing to finish them just so that I could borrow the next two.”

    A childhood picture of Upinder Singh, Daman Singh, and Amrit Singh

    A childhood picture of Upinder Singh, Daman Singh, and Amrit Singh

  • Upinder applied for economics, out of deference to her father, but soon she shifted her subject to History because she was terrible at Maths. In the book Strictly Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan (2014), Daman revealed that Manmohan Singh was not particularly delighted by Upinder’s decision as he had a low opinion of social science disciplines other than economics. Occasional careless remarks from her father regarding the study of history would hurt Upinder. Therefore, when it was Daman’s turn, she took mathematics to please her father. However, when Daman switched to the IRMA, her father was displeased again.
  • In 1985, Singh was awarded the Netherlands Government Reciprocal Fellowship to pursue research at the Instituut Kern, Leiden.
  • In 1999, she was awarded the Ancient India and Iran Trust/Wallace India Visiting Fellowship to pursue research in Cambridge and London. During this period, she was also a Visiting Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.
  • Singh is a recipient of the prestigious Daniel Ingalls Fellowship at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard University (2005).
  • In 2009, she became the recipient of the Infosys Prize in Social Sciences – History for her contributions as an outstanding historian of ancient and early medieval Indian history.
  •  From 2004 to 2018, she taught at the University of Delhi in the History Department. She was the National Coordinator for History at the Institute of Life Long Learning at the University of Delhi.

    Upinder Singh, Head of the Department of History at University of Dehli, delivering the Paduru Gururaj Bhat Memorial Lecture in Udupi

    Upinder Singh, Head of the Department of History at the University of Dehli, delivering the Paduru Gururaj Bhat Memorial Lecture in Udupi

  •  In 2018, she was appointed as Professor of History and Dean of Faculty at Ashoka University in Sonipat, Haryana.
  • Other positions held by her were Member of the Board of Management at Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management, a Member of the editorial board of South Asian Studies, an Adjunct Professor at Mangalore University, and an External Member of the Departmental Research Committee, Department of History, Presidency College.
  • All three of the daughters of Manmohan Singh are married outside the Sikh faith. An excerpt from Daman Singh’s book Strictly Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan (2014) stated that Manmohan and Gursharan did not approve of Upinder’s marriage to Vijay Tankha at first because he wasn’t a Sikh. It took them quite a while to accept Vijay as their son-in-law. Eventually, they grew to like him and accepted him. There was way less family drama when Daman married IPS officer Ashok Patnaik. By the time it was Amrit’s turn to marry, Manmohan and Gursharan happily came on board.
  • Another excerpt from the book said that Manmohan Singh’s family home in Delhi’s Ashok Vihar was attacked by a mob during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. Manmohan Singh was serving as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India at that time. He was visiting Delhi to pay tribute to prime minister Indira Gandhi who was assassinated on 31 October 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards as a counterattack for Operation Blue Star. Upinder Singh and her husband, Vijay Tankha, were residing in the family home at that time. So when the mob approached to burn down the house, Vijay Tankha tricked them into believing that the house belonged to him, a Hindu. Consequently, the mob spared the house. The family sold the house in 1986 as several houses in that area still bore the signs of the riots, a disturbing environment for the Singh family.