Surjit Singh Barnala’s message
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The following message by the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, has been published in the book on Giani Gurdit Singh ji.
Village Mithewal is about 12 miles from Barnala and falls in the Constituency which I represented since 1967 for a long time. It is not a large village but every vote counts in elections. So I used to go from house to house and in that context I visited the house of Giani Gurdit Singh. He did not live in the village and I was told that he was a literary person, residing at Patiala. Later, I came to know through ‘Parkash’ which he published and to which I contributed being the only daily of PEPSU in those days.
Much later while passing through Barnala for going to his village which by then had been connected by road with Barnala, Giani ji very kindly presented me his book “Mera Pind” and blessed me that I should carry on my work honestly and with Akal Purkh’s Grace I would rise high in life.
After I became Education Minister in Punjab in 1969 we had many occasions to meet and I found that every time when I met Giani ji, he had something new to tell me about Gurbani or for the development of Punjabi language and I used to benefit from the suggestions he made.
I was involved in the formation of Singh Sabha Shatabdi Committee also though not in any official capacity. Sardar Gurcharan Singh Tohra used to discuss with me the matters pertaining to the formation of the Committee. In that context, I had contacts with Giani Gurdit Singh who was the General Secretary of the Committee and published “Singh Sabha Patrika”.
He was instrumental in setting up Guru Granth Sahib Vidya Kendra at Mehrauli. Sardar Hukam Singh’s daughter and Justice Narula looked after the institution and I had the occasion of visiting this Kendra twice, once as the Union Cabinet Minister and second time as Governor of Uttaranchal. It is a good institution doing very good work for spreading the message of Guru Granth Sahib.
Giani Gurdit Singh was a treasure house of knowledge on Gurbani and when ever I had some difficulty in understanding the meaning of complex Shabads in Gurbani, I used to consult him even on telephone and his explanations were always precise and satisfying.
Even in old age when he was crossing eighties his hunger for further research on manuscripts and hand written Guru Granth Sahib was not satiated. Last time when we met at Chandigarh he asked me about a Bir of Guru Granth Sahib (hand written) at Dehra Dun. I told him that when I was at Dehra Dun as Governor, I had visited the house where the Bir was kept in a very respectful manner and I had the privilege of reading from the volume. He was desirous of going to Dehra Dun for seeing the Granth and asked me to make arrangements. I made arrangements through the President of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Dehra Dun for Gianiji’s visit to that house and informed Gianiji telephonically and also sent a letter to him that all arrangements had been made. But fate snatched Giani ji from us before his visit to Dehra Dun could materialise.
Giani Gurdit Singh was one of the great scholars of Gurbani and Punjabi and his death is a great loss to Punjab.
(SURJIT SINGH BARNALA)