This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ishmeet Kaur Mac. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Pingalwara: 2 Generations Of Sewa And Charity

More from Ishmeet Kaur Mac

Synopsis

In 1934, Pingalwara was started by Bharat Puran Singh in India, Amritsar. Today it has seven branches in India, in Chandigarh, Sangrur, Jalandhar, Goindwal, Mananwala, Panodri, and Waraich. There are branches in the US, Canada and the UK too.

It is a charitable organisation. Pingalwara is a home for the differently-abled, handicapped, mentally ill, orphans, aged persons, and those suffering from incurable diseases.

Bhagat Puran Singh

Bhagat Puran Singh was born in 1904, in a Hindu family with the name Ramji Das. He was born in a poor family. His mother used to clean utensils and was able to send him to a hostel. In 10th class he failed, then he started doing Sewa in gurudwara Dera Sahib. His mother passed away in 1930, he continued to do sewa in the gurudwara by cleaning floors, making prashade, serving langar etc and thought to serve the suffering of humanity.

Image Credit: SikhNet. Bhagat Puran Singh was a philantrophist in the truest sense.

He took sick people to the hospitals and washed the clothes of the homeless. He became a Sikh because when he stayed at Mandar he was told to do all the cleaning and afterwards he wasn’t offered food as the Brahmins ate food in front of him.

In comparison to when he went to the gurdwara, he was served with warm langar without any conjecture of sewa in return. In 1923, he took Amrit( a ceremony to become a Khalsa Sikh).

In 1924, he started Pingalwara at the age of 19. He wanted to care for those who were made homeless by society.

He also understood that many of them were not that well to afford treatments in the hospital and these hospitals were full.

People with incurable diseases were left on the streets to die. Eventually, he went on and established the All India Pingalwara Charitable society.

In 1934, someone left a four-year-old child suffering from leprosy (a contagious disease that affects the skin, mucous membrane and leads to decay of limbs) outside the gurdwara as the child’s mother died three months ago and father left him.

Puran Singh became the parent of the four-year-old child and named him Piara and cared for him his whole life and it is because of Piara that Pingalwara was established.

Wherever he went, he used to take him on his shoulders and that became a place for him. In 1947, during partition, he took a 17-year-old piara on his back and explored around 2500 refugee camps and started treating the injured. For one and a half years he used to take sick, handicapped and people suffering from various diseases to the hospital and he used to clean off their excretion, wash their dirty clothes, sweep clean the place, scrub and clean the utensils, etc.

All these duties, Bhagat Ji performed all alone. When the number of patients grew to 22, he employed a part-time sweeper. He obtained one old rickshaw, removed its four-wheel along with the part-frame and tied two bamboos to the back wheels and converted it into a hand-pulled rickshaw to carry the sick to the hospital.

This was the first ‘ambulance’ of Bhagat Ji’s pingalwara. Therefore, he became a person for penniless old men, helpless women and guardians of orphan children.

He was a simple person and spent a hard life on footpaths then occupied a house. Kunda Singh and Narian Singh helped a lot and without their support, Pingalwara might not be there as it is today. In the beginning, Bhagat Puran Singh had to face many difficulties. He was not only shelterless but also had no provision for food, clothing, medicines etc. He was keeping his patients in huts built on-road routes, footpaths etc.

Ultimately, he was able to purchase the land under the present Head office from the District Rent and Managing Officer of the Rehabilitation Department in 1958 in Amritsar and this way it came properly. He was also passionate about the environment and the printed educational articles on reused paper. He planted saplings and went by foot or bicycle wherever possible. He wrote books such as

In 1981, he was honoured with Padma Shri. He felt very satisfied returning the Padma Shri Award after the ‘Blue Star’ operation on the Golden Temple and the Akal Takht early in June 1984.

In 1991, he was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian service.

After a prolonged illness, he died on 5 August 1992 and now his wife Dr Inderjeet Kaur is serving the suffering of humanity and continuing Pingalwara.

Dr Inderjeet Kaur

Dr Inderjeet Kaur was born on 25 January 1942. Dr Kaur acquired an M.B.B.S. degree from Govt. Medical College, Patiala in 1967. She was influenced by Bhagat Puran Singh’s aim. After the death of her father, Bhagat Puran Singh in 1975 took her in as his daughter. She followed Bhagat Ji in all ways and served humanity.

In 1986, he nominated Dr Inderjit Kaur as his successor. Dr Inderjit Kaur has been Member of Improvement Trust Sangrur from 1976 to 1981, Vice President of Indo-Soviet Cultural Society from 1977–81 and Member, Child Welfare Society, Punjab, from 1987–88. She was the vice president of All India Pingalwara Charitable Society from 1988 to 1992.

She worked hard to continue Pingalwara and has expanded through the establishment of many new centres like Sangrur and Palsora. Her concern for handicapped, mentally challenged, deaf etc motivated her for establishing schools, physiotherapy centres etc.

She is concerned for the environment too and that’s why workshops and seminars are conducted for spreading awareness.

Pingalwara has darted relief measures to different parts of the country which are affected by natural calamities. She was awarded many awards, some are Padma Bhusan, Sri Rama Award by Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, Life Time Achievement Award by Sikh Directory London-2012, Vibrant Indian Award by Developer India Foundation, Chennai etc.

Pingalwara

Currently, Pingalwara has seven branches, one each at Chandigarh, Sangrur, Jalandhar, Goindwal, Mananwala and Pandori Waraich, in addition to the head office and main branch at Amritsar. In all these branches, there are 1700 patients.

Also, Pingalwara is running five schools and 2 dental clinics, an eye clinic, sewing centre, physiotherapy centre, stitching centre and artificial limbs centre. All the provisions and treatments are free of cost.

Also, they have their printing press where a lot of pamphlets are printed and distributed free of cost for raising awareness about religion, conservation of natural resources, health, environmental issues and many more.

Also, Pingalwara is running two agriculture farms, one at Bangwali and one at Dhirkot and in these farms, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides etc are not used whereas organic farming is performed.

In addition, they have started a nursery where saplings are distributed for free among the public and also has one dairy farm in which around 150 cattles are head.

The daily expenditure required to take proper care of patients and to carry out other projects is around rupees three and a half lacs. Pingalwara depends on donations throughout the world.

The organization is presently being managed by a seven-member society with Dr Inderjit Kaur at its head as Patron President.

COVID Ward

The 20-bed ward has an oxygen facility for critical patients. Dr Inderjit Kaur, director, Pingalwara, stated that the ward has been set up to facilitate the treatment of Covid patients.

The ward offered free medical treatments. The Khalsa Aid has donated two oxygen concentrators for the ward and the Pingalwara also offered free ambulance service.

Feature image credits: Pingalwara

You must be to comment.

More from Ishmeet Kaur Mac

Similar Posts

By Aman Kumar Verma

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By Namita Bhura

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below