Buta Singh was born on 21 March 1934 in Mazhabi Sikh family at Mustafapur, Jalandhar district, Punjab, British India. He was educated at Lyallpur Khalsa College in Jalandhar, from where he was awarded a B.A. (Hons), and at Guru Nanak Khalsa College in Bombay, where he earned a M.A. Singh then gained a Ph.D. from Bundelkhand University. He married Manjit Kaur in 1964; the couple had three children.
He worked as journalist before entering politics. He fought his first elections as an Akali Dal member and joined the Indian National Congress in the late 1960s at the time when that party was split.
Buta Singh was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962, for the Moga constituency. He was subsequently elected to the 4th (from Ropar in 1967), 5th, 7th, 8th (from Jalore), 10th (1991), 12th and 13th Lok Sabhas. He was involved with the Congress party since Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister and he was close to former Indian prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He became General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary (1978–1980), Home Minister of India and later Governor of Bihar (2004–2006). Other portfolios that he has held include those for railways, commerce, parliamentary affairs, sports, shipping, agriculture, communications and housing. He was chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (ranked as Cabinet Minister) from 2007 to 2010.
He wrote a book Punjabi Speaking State – A Critical Analysis and a collection of articles on Punjabi literature and Sikh history. Indira Gandhi chose him to select a new party symbol when Congress was split. He was very closely involved with her in Operation Blue Star and as a minister he oversaw reconstruction of the Golden Temple following that exercise. His name was also in the finalists for the post of President of India along with Giani Zail Singh in the Indira era. He was also the chairperson of Asian Games organizing committee when the competition was held in India in 1982.
He contested 2014 Lok Sabha election from Jalore (Lok Sabha constituency) as an independent, backed by Samajwadi Party, but he came third.
He was the Union Home Minister of India, Governor of Bihar and was chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes from 2007 to 2010.————————————————————