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Dr Kharak Singh – A Sikh Savant and Trailblazer –

Prof Kulwant Singh*

A spontaneous wringing of one’s head and hands is what a sensitive person does in a moment of extreme agony when someone with whom one has been sharing views from the most trivial to most profound and sublime of thoughts passes away. In such a moment of agony, one is reminded of the agonized cry of one of Shakespeare’s most tragic character, King Lear. Carrying the dead body of his most virtuous and beloved Cordelia, Lear cries to the heavens:

“Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,
And Thou no breath at all? Thou’ it come no more
Never, never, never, never, never!”

Soon after, the mentally unhinged Lear rushes out into the wilderness and is no more. Sometimes the death of such a rare individual leaves behind a vacuum no less than that of an abyss into which, despite all the resolutions and platitudes of those around, one keeps staring. There is a sudden cessation of all mental, intellectual activity despite the pledges and protestations of one’s own heart for carrying on his legacy. An indescribable sense of stupor and chill settles over one’s cerebral well-springs. Such has been passing away of Dr Kharak Singh. Like a colossus and an intellectual gaint among his colleagues, he walked, talked, wrote and planned projects of far-reaching consequences in his chosen fields of Sikh religion and Sikh society. His has been a single-minded round-the-clock occupation and commitment to conceptualise the institutional framework for the reconstruction of Sikh society for the coming millenniums. As if running against time and ticking of the chock, he succeeded in his task of sowing the seeds of societal regeneration in the Sikh soil. May the progeny of his camp followers in whose minds and soul he has planted this seed, be charged with the same intensity of missionary zeal to fulfil his manifesto. As far his other human qualities in addition to his enlightened mind are concerned, we may equate him with Shakespeare’s portrayal of Brutus in Julius Caesar:

“His life was gentle and the elements
So mixed in him that nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “This was the man!”

¤


    ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2009, All rights reserved.