Sonchirri Multimedia Magazine: Featuring Men of Punjabi Origin Series
Bhagat Puran Singh (June 4, 1904 – August 5, 1992)
Puran Singh was born in a Hindu family in Rajewal village near Ludhiana, Punjab, in 1904. His father Shibu Mall named his son Ramji Das. While still a child, Ramji helped his mother in bathing the idols of the local Shiva temple. He grew up under the influence of his mother who encouraged him to hear kirtans (devotional songs) in a gurdwara (Sikh temple) also. His visits to the gurdwara became more frequent and he sensed a certain degree of warmth which he found lacking in a temple. He learnt more about Sikh gurus and their sacrifice and preaching. What impressed him most was the humility and sewa (service) to society which the gurus preached. Later, while still a child, he chose to become a Sikh.
Ramji was put in the village school but he was not interested in attending classes and had gone only half-way to primary level when his formal education ended. Though he never finished his basic schooling, he became a writer, a (self) publisher, an environmentalist, and a philanthropist.
As a young man he decided to dedicate his life to the 'selfless service of humanity'. He founded Pingalwara in 1947 with only a few patients, the neglected and rejected of the streets of Amritsar. An early advocate of what we today refer to as the 'Green Revolution', Bhagat Puran Singh was spreading awareness about environmental pollution, and increasing soil erosion long before such ideas became popular. Pamphlets with his writings on various subjects, such as environmental awareness, were printed on re-used paper and freely distributed.
Bhagat Puran Singh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, for his selfless work, feeding, clothing, and tending sick and dying people. He was honoured in 1979 by the Government of India with the Padma Shri award, given for exceptional and distinguished service in any field. He was among the citizens of India who returned their awards and medals after the Indian army's attack on the Golden Temple in 1984. He died on August 5, 1992 in Amritsar.
Bhagat Puran Singh Chair for Studies in Selfless Service to Humanity was established at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar in year 2005. Bhagat Puran Singh was portrayed in a movie named “Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe” with Pavan Malhotra in leading role. The Movie was released on 30 January 2015.
Information Source: Internet
To seek more information about Bhagat Puran Singh, we highly recommend the book “Garland Around my Neck” by Patwant Singh and Harinder Kaur Sekhon available at Amazon
(Please note: We intend to add profiles of the noted men of Punjabi origin into this series. We obtain information from various internet sites, books, magazines and people. If anyone claims for any information to be untrue based on proofs, we shall take it down upon notification)