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Sikh News Oldest Sikh Leader Hits A Ton


Sep 16, 2004
Oldest Sikh leader hits a ton
Varinder Walia/ Tribune News Service
Amritsar, August 31
Giani Mohinder Singh (99) is the oldest surviving Sikh leader. This former SGPC secretary will be celebrating his 100th birthday today. Full of vigour, he reads at least three newspapers and exercises for half an hour every morning. Asked about secrets of longevity, he quips, “Honesty and simplicity.”

Singh was witness to the most significant historical events, including Jallianwala Bagh tragedy, pre-partition Akali morchas and has worked with the legendary Shiromani Akali Dal president like Master Tara Singh. This pure vegetarian leader credits his long and healthy life to clean living, good genes and regular cold showers. He was born on September 1, 1908, at Tarn Taran, in the Gursikh family of Giani Mangal Singh. Before serving as the SGPC secretary from January 1959 to June 16, 1979, Giani Mohinder Singh also had a stint as the secretary of the Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Lahore, from 1933 to 1947, during the most turbulent period.
Earlier, he was appointed secretary, Gurdwara Board, PEPSU, on December 22, 1949. He has been serving as the general secretary of the Guru Singh Sabha since 1967. He has been associated with a number of Sikh organisations, including Nankana Sahib Education Trust, Khalsa College Governing Council and as Chief Khalsa Diwan. He held his fort when gurdwaras were being attacked by frenzied Muslim populace in and around Lahore. “Sardar Patel once suggested to retaliate in a big way, but I refused to accept his suggestion since the situation was virtually out of control in Lahore at that time,” he recounts. He still remembers the “black day”, as he calls it, when the historical gurdwara in Mujang, belonging to Guru Hargobind Sahib, was set ablaze by a frenzied mob. Being secretary of the Lahore Gurdwara Committee, he had urged the then Army’s Major-Gen Rahis to deploy forces to protect the Sikh shrines. However, on August 13, 1947, on the eve of Pakistan’s independence, the Baloch Army bundled Giani Mohinder Singh into a vehicle and took him to Kotwali in Mujang. When he was about to be shot dead, his life was spared on the intervention of a senior Muslim Army officer who was known to him. He has seven daughters (one of whom is no more) and three sons. His daughter Gurbax Kaur, lives in Malaysia, while another is in the USA. Relatives from the USA, Malaysia and far-flung areas of the country have come here to celebrate his 100th birthday tomorrow.
Leading a contended life at his “Shanti Kunj” house in Ranjit Avenue, Giani Mohinder Singh is the most revered religious leader. His residence is frequently visited by Akali stalwarts, including Shiromani Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal.

Caption of the pic below:

Giani Mohinder Singh shows the picture of Akal Takht being demolished in 1985 by Sikh radicals. It was on his intervention that the demolition of the original podium of the Takht was saved. Photo by Rajiv Sharma


Sep 16, 2004
Devotion through hands

Gurmeet Singh (70) works on a handwritten version of Guru Granth Sahib at his home in Amritsar on the eve of the celebration of the 403rd anniversaryof the installation of Guru Granth Sahib on Friday. Gurmeet, who began his work in May, 2004, has almost completed 705 pages. He says at the present pace of writing, 1430 pages should be completed in around three years. — AFP

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