Dr. Karni Singh — Maharaja of the erstwhile princely state of Bikaner, Karni Singh was a legendary shooter in the Indian shooting circuit. A shooter par excellence, Singh was world renowned for his outclassed talent and brilliant performance. However, he did not restrict himself to shooting and had varied interests as well. This is well reflected from the fact that Singh indulged in playing tennis, golf and cricket as well. He also loved flying, mechanics, photography and oil painting. Singh was an active member of the Asiatic Society of India and the Bombay Natural History Society. A true-blue royal, Singh was the front runner of Indian shooting sport. To honor this exemplary ace shooter, India’s only international standard shooting range in Delhi has been named as Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range. To know more about the early life and career of Maharaja Singh, browse through the following lines.
Karni Singh was born on April 21, 1924 at Bikaner in Rajasthan. He was eldest son of Late Sri Sadul Singhji Bahadur and grandson of Late Sri Ganga Singhji Bahadur. The 23rd Maharaja of Bikaner, Singh completed his preliminary schooling from his hometown. He did his B.A (Hons.) in history from St. Stephens College, Delhi. Thereafter, Singh enrolled himself in St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and was awarded an honorary Ph.D from Bombay University, for his thesis ‘Relationship of Bikaner Royal Family with Central Authority (1465-1949)’. Along with his grandfather, Dr. Karmi Singh saw action at the front line of World War II, serving in the Middle East. He was also elected as the Member of Parliament from 1952 to 1977 in the Lok Sabha.
The shooting skill of Dr. Karmi Singh was world renowned. He was an outstanding player and had participated in many Olympic and Asian Games in clay pigeon shooting and brought name and fame to India by winning gold and silver medals. His chained victory in the National Championship in Clay Pigeon Trap and Skeet for 17 years (1960 to 1977) is a proof of his exemplary talent as an ace shooter. Maharaja Singh was also deemed as a flag bearer of the Indian contingent, at the open and the closing ceremony, at the IX Asiad in New Delhi in 1982.
Dr. Singh spearheaded the Indian challenge in various international competitions. He also participated in five Olympic Games that were held in Rome, Tokyo, Mexico, Munich and Moscow. A prodigy in shooting, Maharaja Karmi Singh was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1961 for his impeccable performance and skills. With this, he became the first ever shooter to be rewarded with such a national honor. In the subsequent year, Singh achieved yet another milestone in his illustrious career and was conferred a silver medal at the 38th World Shooting Championships at Cairo in 1962.
Maharaja Karmi Singh tied the nuptial knot in 1944. His wife, Princess Sushila Kumari was the daughter of the Maharawal Laxman Singhji of Dungarpur. Six years after his marriage i.e. in 1950, Maharaja Karmi Singh succeeded to his father’s throne. The couple was blessed with a son – Maharaj Kumar Narendra Singhji, and two daughters – Princess Rajyashree Kumari and Princess Madhulika Kumari.
International Medals Won
- Silver Medal at the 38th World Shooting Championships at Cairo (1962)
- Won Gold Medal for India in Clay Pigeon Trap individual event, at Second Asian Shooting Championships, Seoul (Korea), (1971)
- Won Clay Pigeon Bronze Medal, along with Princess Rajyashree Kumari, Princess Bhuvaneswari Kumari and Maan Singh in Second Asian Shooting Championships, Seoul (Korea): 1971
- Won a Silver Medal in Clay Pigeon and also won Bronze Medal in Skeet Shooting at Seventh Asian Games, Teheran (1974)
- Won the Silver Medal in Clay Pigeon Trap at the Third Asian Shooting Championship Kuala Lampur, (1975)
- Won three Championships together, viz, North Wales Cup, North Western Cup and Welsh Grand Prix at the British Clay Pigeon Championships in North Wales (1981)
- Won Silver Team Medal for India at the Ninth Asian Games, Delhi (1982)
- Won the North western cup and the Welsh Grand Prix, England (1984)
- Won the Veterans’ Gold Medal at The British grand prix in England (1985)
- Won the National Championship in Clay Pigeon Trap and Skeet for 17 years in a row.
- Silver medal at the 38th World Shooting Championships at Cairo in 1962
- First shooter to be awarded the Arjuna Award (1961)