Bhagat Puran Singh Ji is undoubtedly the
single Sikh Hero of this century who worked totally selflessly all
his life to provide the last hope to the mentally and terminally ill
patients. Whenever he use to see a deserted dead body (human or animal)
immediately he would prepare (by his own hand) a grave and give the
human or animal a deserving respect of death. He was to Sikhism, what
Mother Teresa is to Catholicism.
Against the backdrop of violence and poverty in 1947 he established
a premier institute which takes care of sick, disabled and forlorn
persons. Whatever money and financial resources he could gathered
he used it to establish this institute. It is also believed that he
was almost nominated to receive Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 but by not
giving him prize it was the loss of sick and disabled persons as well
as Nobel Prize committee. His life story is a saga of grit, determination,
faith in the almighty and unending love for the suffering humanity.
A very brief sketch of Bhagat Ji's life is given below.
Bhagat Puran Singh, born at Rajewal, Distt.
Ludhiana on June 4 1904., at the house of Chaudhari Chibu Mal and
Mehtab Kaur. In an interview to Patwant Singh Bhagat Puran Singh
discloses how he became a Sikh ,in his early life he use to travel
a lot from village to village and would stay at a Hindu Temple.
One day when he was staying at a Temple Brahmins told him to clean
the temple and then when he was done they sat in front of him and
ate the food without offering him., Incidentally next time he had
to stay at a Gurdwara and Bhai ji of Gurdwara not only gave him
good food but also a cot and a glass of milk afterwards., without
asking for any sewa for Gurdwara. After this Bhagat Puran Singh
didn't even thought twice and became a Khalsa.
He set out in life for the service of the suffering
humanity- the greatest religion. He founded Pingalwara in 1947 with
a few discarded patients. He was also a writer as well as publisher
and an environmentalist. Pingalwara is a very big home of human
service. Bhagat Ji's contribution in spreading awareness about the
global dangers of environment pollution, increasing soil erosion
etc are also commendable. His dedication was awarded with heaps
of honours by many quarters. Prestigious among these was the Padamshri
award in 1979, which he surrendered in the wake of the army attack
on the Golden Temple in 1984. He left for his heavenly abode on
August 5, 1992.
As a sturdy youth of moderate means about 70
years ago, Bhagat Puran Singh saw a little boy who couldnt
walk. He decided to be the boys carrier "Until the latter
could use his own legs".
The boy never did and Bhagat Puran Singh carried
him on his shoulders until the time he himself became too frail
to walk. And he decided to collect humans who did not have the abilit
to help themselves. His Pingalwara became a home for orphans, mentally
retarded persons and, the totaly deprived sections of society. It
was a primitive place and neither society nor the State helped.
The media winked a lot, took occasional notice and lapsed back to
winking. But Bhagat Puran Singh carried on.
He remained an avid collector ever since. He
collected "human pebbles" from the streets and housed
them in Pingalwara. He collected funds, in driblets rather than
droves, to run it. And he collected all the purposeful articles
in the newspapers and magazines writings on the economy, environment,
public health, population, etc. -- published booklets of these and
distributed them free to interested people. The front page of newspapers
never interested him. It was amazing to see how his eyes went straight
to reports and write-ups dealing with human problems and welfare.
He lived all his life for others and packed 72 hours of activity
in a normal day.
At this time Pingalwara is run by Dr Inder
Jit Kaur, she is also President of All India Pingalwara Charitable
Society(Regd). She has embarked upon a mission to produce a movie
on the life of Bhai Puran Singh Ji. Please spread this information.