Jaipal Singh was born on 3 January 1903 in Takra Pahantoli village in present-day Jharkhand. His family like most in his village belonged to the Munda tribe, but they eventually converted to Christianity. He was sent to study in Oxford by missionaries and graduated from St. John's College with Honours in Economics. While at college he made a name for himself as an excellent hockey player and went on to captain the Indian hockey team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.Jaipal was selected in the Indian Civil Servicein 1927, but he subsequently resigned and took up an executive position at Burnham-Shell Oil Storage and Distributing Company of India.Jaipal formed the Adivasi Mahasabha in 1938 which demanded a separate state of ‘Jharkhand’ for the tribals.
Contribution to Constitution-making:
Jaipal Singh stood for elections as an independent candidate from Bihar province and was elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1946. He was a member inthree committees ofthe Constituent Assembly: Finance and Staff Committee; Advisory Committee;Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (other than Assam) Sub- Committee.He advocated for securing the rights of the tribalsand demanded sympathy for the cause of tribals as they were, in his words “the real owners of India.” He made multiple interventions and stressed the need to be sensitive to the culture of the tribals.
Jaipal won five consecutive elections to the Parliament from Ranchi. After retirement from active hockey, he served as Secretary of the Bengal Hockey Association and as a member of the Indian Sports Council.
Jaipal Singh died on 20 March 1970 in Delhi. The Government of Jharkhand named the grand games (is there a sporting event called “Grand Games”?) complex and games village built at Ranchi as Jaipal Singh Munda Games Complex.
His major works include his autobiography ‘Lo BirSendra,’ and ‘Adivasidom’ which is a collection of the articles and speeches written by him in the 1940-50s.