Kanwar Mahindar Singh

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Kanwar Mahindar Singh (21 January 1921 - 15 August 2004) was an Indian athlete and businessman [1]. He was the second son of Raja Maharaj Singh of the Royal Ahluwalia (misl) dynasty of Kapurthala in the direct line founded by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.[2]He was the first Indian to reach the Quarter Finals of Wimbledon in the Veterans' Category where he partnered with Jimmy Mehta.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

File:Kanwar Mahindar Singh.jpg
Mahindar Singh at Balliol College, Oxford, 1940

Born on 21 January 1921, Mahindar Singh and his brother Raja Ranbir Singh were educated at Bishop Cotton School (Shimla) where he developed his life long love for sports.[1] .During a brief stint at University of Oxford he concentrated on tennis and chess and was soon representing the University as well as Oxfordshire county in these games.[1] He also became President of the Oxford University Majlis, an association of students from the subcontinent and President of the Hermits Club, an association of sportsmen of Indian origin of which the then Nawab of Pataudi was another known figure.[1]

World War II brought an end his sporting antics in England has he was forced to return to India with his mother and sister during the Battle of Britain. His aunt Amrit Kaur, herself a sportsperson of repute had already made a name for herself in the country's independence movement and became the first Health Minister of India. She began the first coaching programme in the country which became the pre-cursor to the Sports Council of India and the NIS network.[1]

Mahindar Singh continued his education at University of Lucknow. He was the best athlete at Colvin Taluqdars' College, setting a half mile record. He then earned top honours in tennis, cricket and athletics while at University. He even topped his brilliant university career with a First Class MA in English.[1]

Cricket and tennis career[edit]

File:Mahindar Singh in action.jpg
Mahindar Singh along with Whit-nell delighting spectators with Vigorous tennis.

He earned a place in the United Provinces (1937–50) team for the Ranji Trophy Cricket Championship in 1942 where he opened the bowling and made his mark as an all rounder. A love affair with Squash Followed.[1] By 1954 he had won the Eastern India Squash Championships.[1] In 1956 he upset the reigning champion Feroz Contractor to reach the Semi-finals of the Western India Squash Championships.[1] In 1954 he had also beaten in the latter tournament, K.C. Anand and the services Champion who also made a name for himself on the national tennis circuit.[1]

After a brief stint with Tata Iron & Steel company in 1945 he later shifted to Mahindra & Mahindra where he rose to the position of Company Secretary.[3]

After retiring from corporate life in 1966, Mahindar Set up 3 businesses in Chandigarh and was appointed the agent for Burmah Shell where his love for sports continued with him founding the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association. He began entering competitions as a veteran in 1966 paired up with Jimmy Mehta, became the veterans' doubles runner-up at the Queen's Club and then went on to reach the Wimbledon Championship semi-finals. ITF World Champions ranked him 17th in the world for veterans, the highest ever for any Indian in any category ever.[4][1]

He continued to play tennis on the national circuit and won the North, South, East and West titles and was national champion as well being the reigning national singles and doubles title holder in the above-65 category.[1]

He won his last tournament in the 80-plus category despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer in both singles and doubles in straight sets at the senior tennis players' tournament in Bangalore.[4]

He died at his home in Chandigarh on 15 August 2004, being survived by his only daughter Nihar Mahindar Singh and her two sons.[3]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Daniel, Erza. "Winning Tennis Laurels at 66".
  2. Buyers, Christopher. "Kapurthala Royal Ark". Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories". www.tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Journalist, Ateet Sharma, Sports (2020-09-26), English: Mahindar Singh Winning His last tournament at 80 after being diagnosed with Terminal Cancer, retrieved 2020-09-27

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