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Bhagat Puran Singh

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Neutral Singh, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
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    About Bhagat Puran Singh?

    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.

    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 couldn’t walk. He decided to be the boy’s 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.

    Source: www.pingalwaraonline.org
     

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    #1 Neutral Singh, Sep 2, 2004
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  3. Admin Singh

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    Bhagat Puran Singh is the only person to get the title of 'Bhagat' in modern times. And he did not bestow this title on himself, as so many have done in the past 20 years, it was the Panth that gave him this great honour.

    The world talks of Mother Teresa and how she cared for the underprivileged living in the slums of Calcutta. Everyone around the globe knows her. Recently there was talk about speeding up the process to make her a saint. You ask a Punjabi kid about her and they’ll tell you all about her. But when you mention Bhagat Puran Singh’s name, 9 times out of 10 you’ll get a blank stare.

    While the Gurdwara managements around the world were tangled up in a never ending struggle for power and money one man was serving humankind. He started pinglewara, an orphanage that gave shelter to the helpless and so much more. Everyone watched, amazed, gave him awards and honours yet kept watching not lending a hand to his mission to rid humanity of suffering. Till his dying days he went out and with his own hands cared for those that even Mother Teresa would have had trouble looking at.

    The real tragedy lies in Sikhs not telling the world about him. Why does every Sikh know who Indra Gandhi was and what she did and not Bhagat Puran Singh? When Jatehdars fought 30,000miles away it got front page coverage in the Vancouver papers by Salim Jiwa and Kim Bolan. Why didn’t we ever get to see even an 1/8th of a page story about him in our so called panthic newspapers?

    Mother Teresa won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize because of the notoriety and media coverage that the west gave her. Bhagat Puran Singh Ji was a candidate who could have easily won not only this but a 100 other international honors. But WE were busy doing other things...

    It’s about time people knew about Sikhs that have made a positive contribution.
     
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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Aman Ji,
    That is the real tragedy of our Kaum..we hide the Best Scripture that ever came..the Beacon of Gods Truth..SGGS...we hide our glorious history..our Guurus, our Banda Singhs and Maharaja Ranjit Singhs...and we go on doing that disservice even today when we hide our very own Bhagat Puran Singh from world view...simply because we are busy elsewhere on trivial pursuits...goluck fights, gurdwara elections, nagar kirtans and etc etc.
    ONE Bhagat Puran Singh can singlehandedly wipe off all the mud slung at Sikhs ref: terrorists, trouble makers etc..proper publicity about Bahagt ji can show the TRUE FACE of SIKHS to the world..but we never even bothered to tell the world about him...and about his Pingalwarra that is still up and running today despite and in spite of... all our neglect.
    I am glad that SPN has carried this post...at the very least a few more will come to know how great a Saint-Soldier Bhagat Puran Singh Ji was...such a multi-faceted person.....writer par excellence, environmentalist extraordinary, torchbearer of Hindu-Sikh Unity, advocate of Women's RIGHTS, Gurbani parcharak, Human Rights advocate, SELF SUPPORTING Daswandh Giver, humanitarian of the highest order...one of Gods finest Gifts to Humanity.....I Salute HIM.
     
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  5. kiram

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    More about Bhagat Puran Singh Ji :

    Bhagat Puran Singh was a self-regulated person who made service to humanity his routine task: a man who lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner. He cared for the despairing, disabled and destitute with his own hands having no resources required for the purpose. He even sought alms on the streets and outside places of worship, not for himself, but to ask people to help the needy. He had no grants, no aids, no institutions to back him. His faith in God as well as in his fellow beings was unshakable. On the basis of this faith, he went ahead with his mission of building 'Pingalwara' which remains a living memorial of his life's work.

    He was born on 4th June 1904to Chibu Mal and Mehtab Kaur of village Rajewal in Ludhiana district of Punjab and named Ramji Das. He was renamed Puran Singh when he converted to Sikhism during the year 1923. His mother taught him to pick up all harmful objects like thorns, pieces of broken glass, nails, other sharp objects, stones, bricks and such from the lanes and village tracks as they would injure pedestrians, beasts and passersby and laid the foundation of kindness and concern for others in the young Ramji Das.


    He started his education from Khanna in Punjab and joined Lahore's Khalsa High School He performed "sewa" in Gurdwara Dera Sahib and Gurdwara Shahid Ganj of Lahore where, besides cleaning, cooking and serving food, he also tended to the aged, infirm and sick who came to the Gurdwaras for help. During this period he indulged his other great love-libraries. These store- houses of knowledge, with their immense scope for improving his mind, fascinated him as he was constantly searching for answers to the many philosophical, humanitarian and environmental questions that many intrigued him. His favourites were the Dayal Singh Library and Lala Lajpat Rai's Dwarka Dass Library, although he visited others too in Lahore. The works he read ranged form John Ruskin, Emerson, Tyson and Thoreau to Mahatma Gandhi. Equally eclectic was the variety of journals he read, finding Gandhi's weekly, 'Young India', of particular interest.


    In November 1934, he came upon a four year old boy abandoned near the main gate of Gurudwara Dera Sahib. This boy was dumb, mentally impaired and physically deformed and was suffering from dysentery. Puran Singh looked after him and named him Piara, or the loved one. From that day on they were inseparable for the next 14years.Puran Singh carried Piara on his back and this became symbolic of his carrying all the aged, the infirm, the disabled, the crippled and the sick on his shoulders. It was not easy since the helpless boy's hands and feet were lifeless, and he would constantly drool on Puran Singh.


    In the countdown to
    India's partition in 1947, twenty men, women and children lived in Gurdwara Dera Sahib. Puran Singh laboured from early dawn to late night to keep them fed, bathed, clothed and medically treated. When not tending them, he was out on the streets of Lahore, trying to raise money for his mission. ****** events would shatter the calm of this peaceable existence. Lahore was no exception, nor was the Gurdwara Shahid Ganj which was attacked on 13 August 1947.Puran Singh and Piara escaped because they were in Gurdwara Dera Sahib that day.

    On August 18, 1947, forty three year old Puran Singh, with Piara on his back, climbed on to a refugee-laden truck headed for safety to Amritsar. He was just one among several million refugees who would cross the border to reach India during those traumatic days. Puran Singh had no family in India since his parents had already expired; nor did he have friends, acquaintances or kinfolk to whom he could turn for help. He carried Piara on his back wherever he went because there was no one to look after Piara. Puran Singh described him as a "Garland Around My Neck". Born in a region, which prides itself on the military prowess of its men, Puran Singh's steadfastness and unflinching courage in adversities-though of a different order -were no less remarkable.


    Bhagat Puran Singh established a home for destitute, called Pingalwara in Amritsar. On 6 March 1957, the All India Pingalwara Society was duly registered with the government. Pingalwara is interpreted in several ways. To some it means a home for the crippled', to others a 'home for handicapped'. Indifferent to appearances and trappings, salvaging lives-which were almost lost-was what mattered to Puran Singh. Bhagatji served God through his service to God's creatures and His creation.


    Bhagat Puran Singh
    breathed his last on 5th August 1992. In 1986, he prepared a will according to which Dr. Bibi Inderjit Kaur was to be the Life-President of the PingalwaraCharitable Society after his death. Dr Inderjit Kaur, a doctor by profession, has sacrificed her family life as well as active professional practice at Sangrur to make her life and home among the inhabitants of Pingalwara, just as he had done. He made the right choice in handing over Pingalwara to her.

    Today Pingalwara stands stronger than ever on a foundation of love, tender care for humanity, and dressing the physical as well as mental wounds of its inhabitants. Dr Inderjit Kaur, zealously follows the guidelines laid down by her mentor and father-figure Bhagat Puran Singh. More information about Pingalwara is available at www.pingalwaraonline.org


    Punjabi Heritage Organization of Chicago pays rich tribute to his greatness by establishing “BHAGAT SINGH MEMORIAL AWARD” to promote Bhagat Puran Singh’s vision, humility, endeavors, and his love for the needy and poor. The purpose of this award is to encourage the community service and to serve more disabled people at Pingalwara Charitable Society,
    Amritsar
    Let’s all join hands this year and years to come to spread the message of Bhagat Puran Singh across the world and raise funds to help Pingalwara so that they can be used to help the needy and poor and keep Bhagat Puran Singh’s spirit alive.

    Source : Bhagat Puran Singh
     
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  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Just GREAT Kiram Ji. Many Thanks.
     
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  7. kiram

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    Am awestruck as i imagine Bhagat Ji carrying Piara Singh Ji with so much love, humility and sewa bhawna...such selflessness !!
     
  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    we always hear the saying..He aint heavy..cause hes my brother....
    well Bhagat Puran Singh Ji proved that saying RIGHT..by carrying around Piara Singh for decades..never tiring..never fed up...amazing perseverence...only a true Bhagt can show such...
     
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