Giani Harinder Singh – A Tall Sikh Leader
An Obituary by Lt Gen Kartar Singh
Ginai Harinder Singh, President, Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sector 28-A, Chandigarh, who succumbed to his injuries suffered in a road accident recently, was one of the towering personalities of the Sikh Jagat. Giani ji was extremely well versed in the scriptures as he was born and brought up in rural Punjab near Doraha in Ludhiana District. When he settled on his farm in U P after partition, he took active interest in farming as well as politics. He remained a member of both the Vidhan Sabha and The Vidhan Council of Uttar Pradesh, in the early seventies.
Giani ji represented not only the Sikh farmers settled in the Terrai area of UP and later Uttarkhand, but also spearheaded several campaigns, including the tracking down of persons behind the 1991 Pilibhit massacre, and agitated peacefully to keep Rampur and Swar Tehsils of Rampur District out of Uttaranchal when UP was reorganized.
Giani ji suffered imprisonment under the Natural Security Act in 1992. In 1980, he was also in the forefront of the Meerut Gurdwara agitation. During this period Chaudhary Charan Singh tried to get him to the Rajya Sabha, but he had to be content with membership of the Upper House of the UP legislature. He also started a Newspaper named Sikh Darpan and ran it successfully for good five years in the later 70s. He remained the President of the “Sikh Pratinidi Board” in the 80s. He later contested the Assembly Elections in 1994 and won by a handsome margin.
In July 2003, the then SGPC Chief, Sardar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, persuaded him to accept the Presidentship of the Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Sector 28-A, Chandigarh, which post he held continuously till he passed away in Oct 2009. His tenure was marked by the efficient running of the courses for unemployed Sikh boys from villages to enable them to get suitable jobs in Sikh Gurudwaras and Educational Institutions on the religious front. He also took the lead in organizing regular meetings of Panthic leaders to tackle various knotty problems facing us in Punjab. His knowledge of Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh history and maryada was praiseworthy. I cannot forget the deep impression he made on learned men when he joined us in a delegation that the ISC organized recently to various holy shrines in Punjab. He was indeed a powerful speaker and debater par excellence in matters of our faith and political matters.
In 2005, Giani ji was invited by Dr. Kharak Singh to join us in promoting the International Sikh Confederation. In fact one can count him as one of the founding fathers of the ISC. Giani ji chaired many a meeting during discussions of our draft Constitution and rendered valuable inputs. In fact his close support enabled us to launch the ISC in December 2005 with a working Headquarters within the precincts of the Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha. This was a very charitable and historic decision on his part. He then headed our Advisory Council on Religious Affairs with rare élan and was a member of our Executive Committee until we lost him in the mishap.
Giani ji’s antim ardas was held in his native place in Rampur, UP. He leaves behind a very devoted family consisting of his wife Bibi Tarlochan Kaur and daughter Bibi Navjot Kaur Mangat. Shardhanjali to the departed soul was held at Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha on Sunday, 7th Nov, 2009, and generous tributes were paid to the departed soul by eminent personalities of the Sikh Panth. We in the ISC have lost a friend, philosopher, erudite scholar and a powerful leader.
May Wahe Guru Ji give his family and all members of the ISC and Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha the strength to bear this deep loss and forge ahead in our mission as he so desired.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2010, All