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Dr Kharak Singh – My Gurmukh Friend Philosopher Guide –

Col Parminder Singh*

My association with the global Sikhism visionary Dr Kharak Singh Mann was as an on-call helper, whenever he needed an odd-job volunteer for any humble seva. As a courier/flag-bearer, he felt free to call up this simple retired mechanical engineer-cum-soldier-sevadar. This set apace the course of my post-retirement seva in many other different roller-coaster assignments both in and around Chandigarh/ Mohali/Punjab/India and abroad in an vast variety of international forums and thus this global Sikhism visionary Dr Kharak Singh Mann unwittingly became my silent gurmukh friend philosopher guide!

It was my last assignment before retirement from the Army on transfer from Hyderabad/posting to Chandigarh in 1987, that I had the pleasure of renewing old memories/privilege of calling on my respected uncle Sardar Daljeet Singh IAS at his residence Kothi No 127 in Sector 9-A, Chandigarh. I expected to espy him as usual in his old age, basking away in a quiet corner of the lawn, but this time was surprised to find him so busy dictating some notes which were being equally energetically typed on an equally antique manual typewriter, by an equally retired elderly typist! I requested my respected Aunt Mrs Daljeet Singh, not to disturb Uncle, apparently engrossed in writing his after-retirement memoirs, to convey him my regards, and after having the ever ready hospitable cup of tea with her, said I would come by again. A few days later, I again found the same scene – Sardar Daljeet Singh and the typist, both busy as bees, hunched over their beehive – the ancient typewriter. However, this time Sardar Daljeet Singh, became aware of my presence, and called out to me saying that they had finished for the day. I requested Sardar Daljeet Singh to kindly give me the seva for typing – as I could easily get it done from my regiment typist – and that too on the computer – and save the elderly typist struggling on the antique manual typewriter. Both the wise old men laughed at my suggestion – and it was then that I was introduced by Sardar Daljeet Singh to the – elderly typist – as none other than – Dr Kharak Singh Mann – and informed that they were both busy composing and preparing a Research Paper for the Abstracts of Sikh Studies (Journal of the Institute of Sikh Studies) for educating some scholars in the West, who are trying to misrepresent the very basics of Sikhism. Dr Kharak Singh Mann said that it was more a pleasurable seva for him to do the typing himself, but before he drove off in his antique Mercedes, both Sardar Daljeet Singh and Dr Kharak Singh Mann said they looked forward to my offer of seva in many other ways, thereby setting apace the course of my post-retirement amid many other different roller-coaster seva.

Thus started my association with the elderly typist, Dr Kharak Singh Mann, who, in due course, became my silent gurmukh friend philosopher guide!

The news of the end of the glorious seva-yatra-marg on this mother earth of my irreplaceable Gurmukh Friend Philosopher Guide was indeed sad!

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