Praful Chander Nagpal
Fazilka, January 31
Fazilka is perhaps the only sub-divisional headquarters whose citizens have got five Padma Awards. The residents proudly quote the name of Kanwar Surinder Singh Bedi — perhaps the only Indian Civil Services (now Indian Administrative Services) bureaucrat in the country who has been conferred with both Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his meritorious contribution in civil services during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.
Belonging to a small village of Chack Bedi in Sahiwal town of Mintgomery district (now in Pakistan) Kanwar Surinder Singh Bedi was a tehsildar then. At the time of Partition, his family migrated to India and settled in Lalowali village of Fazilka subdivision.
Bedi then qualified for Indian Civil Services and was posted as DC of Amritsar in 1965. He showed rare administrative skills and helped the Army during the 1965 war. He was conferred with Padma Shri in 1966 for providing outstanding administration and health services towards the Army.
Later, he was promoted as commissioner and was posted in Jalandhar division in 1971. Again following his meritorious services during the 1971 war, Bedi was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1972.
Veteran Punjabi singer Pushpa Hans, who hails from the area, was given Padma Shri in 2007 for her outstanding performance in the fields of art and culture. A heartthrob of millions in the 40s and the 50s, Hans acted and sang in movies.
Her acting added dimensions to movies like V Shanta Ram's "Apna Desh" (1949), Sohrab Modi's "Sheesh Mahal" (1950). The melodious compositions like "Channa kithan guzari raat wey", "Gallan dilan diyaan dila vich reh gayiyaan" and "Tarean to puchh Chann wey" are still hold the public in awe. She has also been awarded Punjabi Bhushan Award by Punjabi Academy, Delhi, and Kalpana Chawla Excellence Awards - 2007.
World famous neurologist and former principal of Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, Dr Jagjit Singh Chopra is also a resident of Fazilka. He is a member of American Academy of Neurology and editor of World Neurology - an International journal of World Federation of Neurology. He was awarded Padma Shri (correction : Bhushan) in 2008 for his contribution in the medical field.
It was the proud moment for Sikhs when Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa became the first Sikh kirtania to get Padma Shri in 2009. Bhai Nirmal Singh is the Hazoori Raagi of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar.
Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa is doing kirtan for the past 25 years and is one of the finest raagis having knowledge of all 31 raags in the Gurbani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. From 1979 he has been serving as a Hazoori Raagi, Sach Khand Harmandir Sahib. He has also performed kirtan at the five Takhts, historical gurdwaras in India and abroad.
Chandigarh, February 1.2010
Dr JS Chopra, a top neurologist and founder Director-Principal of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2008 and not Padma Shri as erroneously mentioned in the report “Fazilka’s pride: 5 Padma awardees” today. — TNS