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Dr. Amrik Singh, The Man Of Letters


Jun 1, 2004
Dr. Amrik Singh (1921-2010): Man of Letters

Eminent academician, literateur, educationist, and former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University (Patiala, Punjab), Dr Amrik Singh passed away at The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, following a brief illness.He was 89.

A Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, U.S.A., and among the founders of the Delhi University South Campus, Dr Amrik Singh is survived by his wife, Harsharan Kaur; daughter, Rachna Kaur, an artist; and son, Pardeep Singh, an IAS officer.

He brought out the Journal of University Education in 1962, which ran for five years. Soon after, he was named Secretary of The Association of Indian Universities, a post he held for 17 years. In between, he also did a visiting assignment at the University of Wisconsin, founded the South Campus. A teacher for more than 25 years, he became Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala.

He also served as President of the International Congress of University Adult Education for 10 years. He was the President of the National Institute of Punjab Studies, Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan, New Delhi.

Dr Amrik Singh put down his experiences at Patiala in a book, "Asking for Trouble: What it Means to be a Vice-Chancellor Today". Another book, "Fifty Years of Higher Education in India: The Role of The University Grants Commission", caught the attention of academicians nation wide.

"Anita da Faisla", written just five years ago, established Dr Amrik Singh as a Punjabi playwright too. "He was in the process of writing another a play," said Dr Jaswinder Singh of Punjabi University, who remembered Dr Amrik Singh as a "man committed to education".

He was the author of several other books and essays, both in English and Punjabi, on Education, Literature, Language, the post-1984 Punjab Tragedy, and the Sub-continental political scene. In addition to those listed above, some of the others are:

- Remaking Higher Education: Essays in Dissent

- The Challenge of Education

- The Hindu-Muslim Divide: A Fresh Look

- Sikh Shrines in Delhi
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday condoled the death of the noted academician , saying that he was 'one of our most distinguished educationists'.

In his condolence message to the professor's wife, Sardarni Harsharan Kaur, the Prime Minister said: 'I am deeply grieved to learn of the passing away of your husband.'

'Your husband's sad demise is a great personal loss for me. He was one of my most dear friends, and one for whom I had the highest regard and affection,' he added.

Dr Amrik Singh was also the eldest brother of Sardar Manjit Singh of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who, in retirement from an executive positive with Air Canada, joined McGill University as its first Sikh chaplain, and seven years later, became the McGill University Chaplaincy Services' first non-Christian Director.

March 24, 2010