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NINETY THREE EVENTFUL YEARS

Originally posted on 6 May 2011 :

Tomorrow, on the Seventh of May, 2011,  it will be seven years since Pitaji chose to proceed on his eternal journey. He lived for just a little under 93 years; but what is more significant is that he filled each year of his life with a desire to serve and to be of use to people around him. To pay homage to him we recount the milestones on the path on which he travelled:

  • 1911 Born in a sleepy, and unknown village in District Sargodha called Faruka
  • 1926 : His illustious father, Bhai Hira Singh ji passed away. He was 15 years old, and the only support for the family.
  • 1932 : Married to Jhai ji. Got an admission into the BT course in a prestigious college in Lahore.
  • 1933-1942 Served as a teacher in Peshawar. His students say, he was a charismatic teacher.
  • 1942 Earned a commission in the British Indian Army. Sent to Bengal, with the War in full swing.
  • 1943 Injured. He broke his femur and was evacuated to Dehradun, where two surgeries were performed on him. Returned to the battle front after treatment. When the War ended, he was in charge of a Prisoner of War camp.
  • 1947 Shifted to Dehradun, but went back to the strife torn Pakistan to rescue relatives.
  • 1949 Posted to the IMA, Dehradun. He was called back for a second tenure in 1959-62
  • 1955 Posted as a Psychologist to the Services Selection Board, Meerut. He did three tenures in the SSBs in all, spanning over seven years.
  • 1966 Retired from the army. And chose to till land, and he did that for four decades.
  • 1976-81 Began research on the life of his father. The biography was published in 1980. It has run into three editions
  • 1981-2004 Supported several charities and social causes.
  • 1997 Jhaiji passed away, leaving him lonely and forlorn.
  • 2001. He had the gumption to have his driving licenced renewed. He proved to the licensing officer that he was fit enough to drive. At ninety, he was the oldest person in the town authorised to drive a car!

Three portraits of Pitaji taken in 1938, 1944 and 1959 are attached. The last picture was taken by Bhavneet, and the child you see is Mannat Singh. Please notice the glow on Pitaji’s face. This is a winner’s look and it is granted to only those who give more to life than what they take from it

For people like him, Allama Iqbal wrote a verse in Persian, which is given below, along with its English translation.

We shall all say a prayer for Pitaji’s in the morning. May his soul rest in peace

 

 

Nishan-e-mard-e-momin ba too goyam?

 Choon marg aayad tabassum bar lab-e-ost.

( You ask me the sign of a man of faith? When death comes to him, he faces it with a smile)

The following picture was taken a couple of months before his demise. Notice the glow on his face. This comes to those few people who give more to life than what they take from it.

 

  1. Ladi says:

    truly till now I have his given books as my little library that he gave me as his love and obviously his father’s (Bhai Hira Singh Ji) biography as well as some books. Today at 33, I read those books for my kids, given by Pita ji when I was a little kid. Truly very close to my heart and some of them even of 1960s and 70s sakhi books. memories lit up again after two decades, took me back to my 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years. Also when we bought TV in October 1989, Pita ji really missing me because I did not stay with him long because I had to watch TV. His reading books for me and also Mata ji, a more than motherly figure, used to save me from my mother scolding me. hundreds of pages of memories that I cannot write here. But all-in-all his love and his teachings are in my veins.

  2. The tribute is too small to do justice to a man of his stature! Larger than life, he

    left a deep imprint on all those he met.

    My co-brother Mr M. S Nagpal was once looking for a match for his nephew. I

    suggested the name of the daughter of my cousins. Without looking at the girl

    or even her photograph, he said ” Accepted”. I said how have you taken this

    decision. “Anyone from Major Balwant Singhs Khandan , has to be good” he

    replied. Such was his “rutba”!

  3. Nirmal Maunder says:

    Thank you for posting this very educative bio.Now I know where you got all your fine qualities from.Nirmal

  4. Amarjit Kaur says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such beautiful memories with us. Our heartfelt prayers to such a ‘Sparkling Soul’. May his bountless blessings always be showered his family and friends. Thanks again for sharing such beautiful, priceless photographs…always to be treasured.

  5. Manjit Singh says:

    Thank you Surjit.Excellent summary!But you have the ability to write a book .Please write at least a pamphlet.

  6. Surinder Singh says:

    What a lovely tribute to our father. Realistic,yet touching!
    We also had a little prayer for him.

    All of us and many many others owe him a lot. The most precious thing
    he gave us was a set of values which have stood us in good stead.

    Peace to his soul and peace of mind to his family, is what we seek.

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