There are billions of people on the earth. In the Chandigarh tricity itself, we have more than 11.69 lacs of citizens. The demise of just one person has caused many of us to feel forsaken. Reminds me of a couplet written by Nida Fazli and sung by Jagjit Singh and Lata Mangeshkar, which says,

हर तरफ़, हर जग़ह, बेशुमार आदमी

फिर भी तन्हायों का, शिकार आदमी!

(‘beshumar’ means countless and ‘tanhayi’ is lonesomeness)


Surinder left the world of mortals on 16 Feb 2021, and it is a year since I felt that I had someone with whom I could share my joys and sorrows. We were four brothers, but the elder two went away to hostels in 1953, and so for the next four and a half years we were by ourselves. Then after completing his degree in IIT Delhi in 1966, he chose to join EME and during service we were often posted together. Consequently, we had a lot in common. In the evening of our lives, we lived close to each other and often travelled together for holidays. He was more than three years younger than me, and so I always thought I would precede him on the long road to nowhere. But he overtook me, leaving no shoulder to cry on

I asked his daughter, a highly talented Architect, Savneet and my course-mate Maj Gen RK Batra, to pen their recollections. They have sent in their tributes along with some pictures. I take this opportunity to share these inputs with you. Last year, we had written an obituary which was posted on this blog, which may be accessed by clicking on the following link:


Now, over to Savneet and ‘Bravo’ Batra.



A True Saint, Soldier and Engineer

By Ar Savneet Kaur


Sukhamni Sukh Amrit Prabh Naam Bhagat janai Ke maan Bisram ; it’s a quote from Gurbani that Papa, Brigadier Surinder Singh, would often say.

Meaning that the minds of Bhagats are at peace.

He was the biggest influence in my life & despite being an extremely successful army officer who also had an MTech Electrical engineering from IIT Delhi, one of India’s leading institutes, he was an innately peaceful person and a devoted family man.

Our childhood evenings are memories of singing songs, often after dinner or playing chess or scrabble with him.

An innate music lover he sang beautifully but only for the joy of singing and within the family; never to perform in social gatherings. Most of what I have learnt in life, the actual lessons came from him, work ethics, integrity, gratitude and most importantly positive thinking. He imbibed these qualities and lived them.

When I had just started my architectural practice I named it after my name (as most architects do), he suggested that I change it to a neutral name, who knows, he said, “You may have kids and one of them may become an architect! And remember, you must  never fan your ego.“

We changed the name to “Imarat Architects “, which was suggested by him. Today I have two grown-up children and both are budding architects!

Throughout my career, I always turned to him for advice and benefited greatly.

In all my 50 years, I have yet to meet a person who combined intelligence, hard work, integrity & compassion as Papa. He was intrinsically kind to all even those whom the lesser mortals like us judged unkindly. Papa always said, “be sympathetic. They are already suffering through their negative attributes”.

Never once in so many years did my father ever get angry at me, such was his demeanour and yet he ensured a silent discipline. At every significant decision in my life, I turned to him for advice.

He was wise, and we all knew that.

Once his elder brother my Tayaji, AVM Manjit Singh, another great person serene and intelligent and awesome, introduced Papa, who was 10 years younger to him as “Meet Surinder ; he is my younger elder brother”

I think Papa was very close to all his three brothers and very attached to them.

Surjit chacha ( Major General Surjit Singh ), nearest in age and elder to him by three years was not only his brother but also his closest friend, being in the army and in EME. They were very close and talked almost every day for an hour or so. We lost Tayaji at the beginning of the winter before Covid and so after that Papa‘s health started deteriorating.

Before that, he was always in good health and maintained an active lifestyle. An enterprising person, after retirement from the army, he went on to teach Management in premier institutions & also wrote many papers on Total Quality Management. He was not suited to sit idle till his seventies.

It is difficult to accept him as not being there. To me, it seems, he is still always with us, in spirit. I just wish each day that he was there in person.

Just before his last breath, he gave me a final and the ultimate certificate which I value more than any award. Three hours before his fatal heart attack, I got a text message from Papa saying “Savneet, for the quality of your thoughts and creativity, I am extremely proud of you “

Thank you, Papa, for being such an amazing Father. It is our sincere hope that we will be able to live up to your expectations.


 Papa with me when I received the Times of India award for the Most Sustainable Architect : 2018



As a young officer receiving an award for excellence in the army



Papa & Mumma ( Brig Surinder Singh & Satinder Kaur)



Papa with his eldest brother, AVM Manjit Singh



Papa with Maj Gen Surjit Singh ,his elder brother & friend



 Papa ,Mumma at Hemkund Sahib




Addressing an audience on EME Corps Day



  Leading academicians, as Director of Institute of Quality Management


  Address at Convocation of A course for CEO’s of Companies in Total Quality Management, PTU



 Addressing an audience at the inauguration of my new office,Imarat ,in 2006



 With his parents ,Pitaji & Jhaiji



With Papa ,International Bridge Tournament,Delhi 2018



At the path for his parents at his residence,May 2018



The entire family



 With his favourite folks,Mumma ( Satinder) ,Papa ,Nikki Chachiji ( Surinder) Tayaji ( AVM Manjit Singh ) Surjit Chachaji. & me


As a young army officer on a bike


At my new Chd office of Imarat Centre for Earth Architecture,Chandigarh



His Natural smile ,Imarat off ,Jan 2019


With Papa ,Shimla,his favourite holiday destination



Papa ,Mumma in my office ,their blessings



Papa playing with me in Delhi ,1972



In Russia



Flag off after his successful completion of Missile project, Kvadrat , in Meerut




By Maj Gen RK Batra,VSM (Veteran)

It has been almost a year since we lost Surindar from amongst our midst but his memories are ever fresh in our mind. I have had long associations with him all through his career right from his young officer days till he lay down his uniform on retirement.

Of course I had heard of him as the younger brother of my course mate, Surjit, even before I met him or he had joined the service.

When I was posted to 509 Army Base Workshop in 1969 we had two young captains fresh after commissioning which was a rarity as normally only officers with an advanced course tag got posted to Base Workshops. It was a pleasant surprise that Surindar was one of them. So there it was the beginning of a long association. We got married at around the same time and had the privilege of being in the city of the Taj Mahal to start our married life. Initially we had adjacent accommodation so we got to know each other closely. Surindar and Satinder formed a lovely couple and we all had a wonderful time together.

Ten years later I was to lead a team which was formed to go to the erstwhile USSR and to raise a workshop on return.

It was nice to have Surindar as a member of my team amongst the other specially selected officers who had excelled in the service thus far. As it turned out the team produced two DGEMEs and Maj Gens and Brigs a plenty.

The trip to Mari was very exciting more so as we were living together without the families and this brought us closer. Surindar was very active and displayed keen sense of responsibility. Later we were in Mathura raising a new unit. Besides the tech work we had many an outing socially with families in and around Mathura It was a rewarding experience and Surindar and Satinder played a pivotal role.

Another ten years later I was posted as Commandant 510 Army Base Workshop at Meerut and Surindar got posted as OIC Project Kvadrat. It was a pleasure to have him with me again. As part of the project we took a team to USSR again to various facilities there.

Surindar was again with the team and we were at a place 40 kms from Moscow known for the astronauts and space research. This was another excellent opportunity to work together and live together. I still remember the trip to the Sunday market in the open at -40 degrees with Surindar. One had to keep moving to avoid getting frozen. Then we took Ski lessons in the slippery slopes and had many great falls. But it was all great fun.

This time the families joined us at the end of the training and we had a lovely trip to Moscow and the East European countries Poland and East Germany The wall had just been broken and we sneaked into West Berlin too collecting the pieces of the wall as mementos.

On return to India we had to set up the overhaul facilities for which a team from Russia too had come. The inauguration was done in grand style by the Chief of Army Staff and well covered by the press.

Later he retired and settled in Mohali and we visited them several times there and enjoyed their hospitality

That was our journey together full of memories.

It was sad to hear that he left us around this time last year. May his soul rest in peace. May God give strength to Satinder Savneet and Pawandeep to bear his loss and carry on his legacy.

Given below are some pictures of Batra and Surinder, when they were in Europe.















  1. Manmohan Singh says:

    To a loving daughter , ” loss of father is like a never healing wound “. Such is the pain of Savneet. Her write up is not only eulogistic but most touching.
    I too had the pleasure of a bit of Surinder & Stinder’s company while serving at Mathura & later in Southern Comd 1984-85. Of this brief stint together l carry very sweet memories of an unassuming intellectual, out & out dedicated professional engineer soldier having rare affable pesona – that was dear Brig Surinder. Together with Stinder, they made a very accomplished warm & hospitable couple; much popular at that. May his soul rest in heavenly peace!

  2. Maj Gen Subhash Goel says:

    Dear General
    I sincerely hope you all are doing fine. Please send me the phone number of Mrs Surinder.
    I’m at present with my Doctor Son in USA.
    Best wishes and regards
    Subhash Goel

  3. Dhiraj Mullick says:

    Both the write ups are excellent and bring out the very fine nature and qualities bestowed upon Brig Surinder by God Almighty.

    I particularly like the emotive and eulogistic tribute so nicely penned by his daughter Ar Savneet Kaur. Thence no wonder that her dear father had sent her the text “Savneet, for the quality of your thoughts and creativity, I am extremely proud of you”

    Losing a loved one is always one of the most painful experiences we all have to go through. Death Anniversaries do rekindle emotions – of sadness and grief which makes it very difficult for the near and dear ones to channelize their emotions into positivity. It’s so nice that the family has taken time think about the fond moments and thank the treasured person for the good times and life learnings he brought to their lives. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  4. Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

    To my surprise, the piece has elicited very few comments.
    This is perhaps due to the fact that most of Surinder’s well-wishers had sent in detailed accounts of their memories last year when we posted a piece on his lif and achievements.
    However, it is interesting to notice that the total number of readers who have ‘liked’ the post is at an all-time high!
    RIP Surinder…I will join you soon…please make sure that I join you in your bridge four-some!

    • Dhiraj Mullick says:

      Dear Sir,

      Over the years I have heard so many good things about Brig Surinder from you… it is almost as though I knew him intimately, even though we met just once. And today after reading (and re-reading) your comment above there is no doubt how close you both were. I salute this strong bond between brothers and pray that all brothers be similarly blessed by God.

      Warm Regards

  5. Gulzar says:

    Thanks for posting this piece.
    It has refreshed our memories.
    We pray for the peace of the soul of our dear chacha

  6. Nuri (USA) says:

    The whole day we have been thinking about Surinder Chacha.
    A great loss for the whole family.

  7. Pawan Deep Singh says:

    Best and most wonderful Father in the world
    My father the late Brig Surinder Singh had a persona that reflected all the Sterling qualities a human being could possess.
    He had an extremely high IQ that was measured when he was very young as he would get a double promotion in most of his schooling. He used to play a very high level of chess and was extremely difficult to win. But very humble
    He played and won many tournaments in contract Bridge. Surinder Singh: Being a B Tech from IIT Delhi first batch He had an offer from a German company but the patriot in him and love adventure made him choose a glorious career in the Armed Forces.
    He was selected twice to go to Russia for missile kwadrad and he picked up the Russian language at the age of early 40
    He was sanguine and was my friend philosopher and guide and I discovered that his advice was highly sought after by everyone in the family
    All my cousins including Divjot, Jasdev, Ripu, Gunni and Gulzar for all he was the favourite chacha He had a simple philosophy of life and often tell me that life is like a recipe, you need all the ingredients to make it happy and He always spoke less and listened more a quality I wish I had and spoke only when it was necessary with the result he was always respected for his selfless A sense of humour and joy de Vivre was his Hallmark.⁰ My coaching academy Hallmark Institute was his blessing to me and it was his vision that we could run it successfully for half a decade. The philanthropist in him permitted me to give free coaching to the meritorious. His superb motivational skills have led me to comply with my PhD in management something that we dreamed of. He was a gifted teacher a qualified instructor who was hero-worshipped by his students from the field of RADAR electronics and TQM his field of interest after retirement
    He was the Dean FEL in Secundrabad and remained a dean in PTU where he served in many colleges. He was extremely fond of travelling and my eyes light up with the innumerable memorable trips to where he like a quite efficient Virgo planned the trips to a tee.

    Music runs in the Bhai Heera Singh Ji’s family and our family anthem kisi Nargisi Nazar ko dil den ge hum that all the four brothers sang together brings back tears of nostalgia
    - Pawandeep singh

  8. Dave Sood says:

    Surjit… a befitting trbute to your brother and family.

    You have a progressive family and all this i because of your Father. He was an educationist and you all our products of his hard work

    Surinder left early. I am sure he is amongst he best.

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