Bhagat Puran Singh Ji
He is a tall, shabbily dressed man, who may be found tramping with his wooden sandals or riding a rickshaw, along with an invalid. He always carries a brass bell hanging by his side and announcing his rrival. This man, you may call him a superman, even an angel, goes by the name of Bhagat Puran Singh. He was born and brought up in a Hindu family of village Rajewal (Rahnon) in Ludhiana district but he found greater solace and inspiration in the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, when, in spite of his intense passion for learning, poverty forced him to discontinue his studies in the tenth class of a high school. So he adapted his erstwhile worldly dreams, for their fulfillment, to a nobler atmosphere of spirit that the Gurdwara Dehra Sahib of Guru Arjan Dev and Shahid Ganj of Bhai Mani Singh, the princes among the martyrs, provided him at Lahore. He, therefore, lost no time in taking a vow of celibacy dedicating his life to the service of suffering humanity. He started at Lahore his career of social and humanitarian activities.
In 1934, a 4- year spastic child was left early in the morning, under cover of darkness, at the main entrance of Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore. The mother of this child had died about three months back and his father, having looked-after him for about four months’ time, had suddenly disappeared, leaving the child at the premises of the farmer with whom he had been working as a farm labourer. After waiting for a few days for his father’s return, the farmer alongwith another companion took the child to various orphanages in Amritsar and Lahore, but, since the child was not able to care for himself on his own, no one accepted him. At long last, they took the child to Gurdwara Dehra Sahib. But, here also, the gurdwara management expressed its inability to keep the child. The two farmers spent the night in the gurdwara and disappeared early in the morning, under cover of darkness, leaving the child at the main entrance of the Gurdwara. Everybody was ready to feed the child but none came forward to take him under his care. As a result, the child fell ill with indigestion and got smeared all over with his own excretion. At last, the head granthi (priest) of the Gurdwara, Jathedar Achhar Singh, performed Ardaas (the sikh prayer) and handed over the child to Bhagat Puran Singh and said, “Puran Singh, only you please look after the child.” And thus, that very day the foundation of the Pingalwara was laid.
Tasks for Pingalwara are the result of the social, economic, ethical and moral issues of the society.To solve these immediate problems Bhagat Puran Singh Ji advocated that Pingalwara must give refuge to every destitute person and must provide the following…
Bhagatji was extremely worried about the deteriorating environment. He had warned the nation almost 50 years back about the problems arising from deforestation, excessive use of petroleum products, exploding population and the need to conserve our water resources.
Education standard of government run schools is very low and the poor people cannot afford to send their children to private schools. Bhagatji was of the view that state of poor and deprived sections of the society cannot be improved unless they are educated.
On an average 7-8 patients join the Pingalwara family every month. Any destitute person found on the roadside is immediately picked up by the Pingalwara staff. Patients are also received from Sri Darbar Sahib where they are at times abandoned. School and college students, made aware of their social obligations by Pingalwara also pick up sick destitute persons and bring them to Pingalwara.