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Bhagat Puran Singh, Founder of Pingalwara Amritsar

The aim of Pingalwara is the care of the physically helpless people, whether in grip of infirmity or old age or afflicted with sickness. Bhagat Puran Singh ( June 4, 1904–August 5, 1992 ) was born into a Hindu family in Rajewal village ( Rahon ) District Ludhiana, Punjab. He was given the name Ramji Das as a child, but later he chose to become a Sikh. He started Pingalwara in 1934 when a few years old spastic child was abandoned in front of Gurudwara Dera Sahib, Lahore. The child not only became his responsibility, but also his constant companion and inspiration.

Since childhood, Bhagat Puran Singh was a keen listener and good practitioner of the Hindu religion and visited the local temple regularly. He was equally exposed to Sikhism and attended various religious congregations. One day on his way to the village he stopped at Neelkanth temple. As a routine he cleaned and washed idols and prayed. He was late and hungry. The temple priest rang the bell for food and all the inmates sat down to eat. Priest did not serve the food to Bhagat and said you don’t belong to the temple. Bhagat did not say anything and went away. Bhagat Puran Singh was worried about where he would live after Matriculation examination as his parents had already left for Montgomery. After finishing his exams he was going home, and he met two farmers on his way. He asked them any place to spend the night and something to eat. A farmer took him to his house and gave him a bed to sleep and food as well. Next morning, he went to Dara Sahib Gurudwara. Sweet melodies of Guru’s Shahad awakened the inner recesses of Bhagat’s soul. He sat down in the langar hall where everyone was served with food. Bhagat attended the Mela of Fatehgarh Sahib where Shotte Sahibzdey were bricked alive by the Muslim ruler. At the Mela Bhagat, he was very much impressed with the personality of A.D.C. of Maharaja Patiala. When the whole congregation left barefooted for Gurudwara Jyoti Sarup, the Maharaja too became the part of that procession. Bhagat, thought, here is a religion which does not believe in class or caste distinction. Bhagat felt a strong emotional bond with Sahibzadey and Sikhism and made up his mind to adopt Sikhism.

Bhagat Puran Singh was born in 1904 into a Hindu family in Rajewal village ( Rahon ) District Ludhiana, Punjab. He was given the name Ramji Das as a child. Later he choose to become a Sikh and changed his name from Ramji Das to Puran Singh. His mother worked as a domestic worker in the house of a doctor at Montgomery to pay for her son’s education. Later she moved to Lahore, where she cleaned utensils in a household, sending 10 rupees per month to Puran Singh who was living in the hostel. He failed in the tenth class and was called back to Lahore, where he spent much of his time in reading in the Dyal Singh Library. While in Lahore, he began visiting the Gurudwara Dera Sahib. In 1934, Bhagat took into his care a four year old child with leprosy who had been left at the door of Gurudwara Dera Sahib, where he named Piara Singh. After the partition of India in 1947 he came to Amritsar. From 1947-1958 he had no permanent home, but walked the streets collecting donations for the poor. In 1958, Pingalwara was established at Tehsilpura Grand Trunk Road Amritsar, with the help of Des Raj Bindra and they founded a charitable organization. The Pingalwara Organization takes care of mental patients, paralyzed and polio patients, deaf individuals, the aged or injured, leprosy patients, abandoned children, and more.

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