Dr Randhawa’s native village was
Bodlan in Hoshiarpur district, though he was born at Zira (now
in district Muktsar), on February 2, 1909. He had his early
education at Khalsa High School, Mukatsar while he earned a M.Sc.
in Botany from the famous Government College, Lahore. He was
selected for Indian Civil Service (ICS) in 1934 and was allotted
to U.P. cadre. He was posted as Deputy Commissioner, Delhi, by
Sardar Patel during the Partition. As Deputy Commissioner, he
made all arrangements for the historic event of August 15, 1947,
when at the destined hour, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the
Tricolour from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi and
delivered his famous "Tryst with Destiny" speech.
One can well
imagine the kind of responsibility of being the Deputy
Commissioner of Delhi during those turbulent days when
historical events of global significance were unfolding in the
the nation’s Capital and hundreds of thousand badly mauled
refugees had descended up on the city from across the Radcliffe
Dr Randhawa was appointed Director General Rehabilitation at
Jalandhar where he performed the most daunting task of
rehabilitating lakhs of migrants from Pakistan allotting them
lands and residences left behind by the evacuees in Punjab. As
the Vice-President of Indian Council for Agricultural Research,
he guided all the research that later on was too bloom into the
Green Revolution in Punjab.
contribution as the founder Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh
Union Territory and as Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural
University, Ludhiana has indeed been great.
interesting part in this book in the one comprising three
interviews given by Mrs Iqbal Kaur Randhawa 86, wife of Dr
Randhawa, Bhapa Pritam Singh, proprietor of Navyug Publishers,
New Delhi and Mr K. L. Malhotra Dr Randhawa’s secretary. This
is a very intimate autobiographical writing that throws a lot of
light on the varied spectrum of Dr Randhawa’s personality.
Other beautiful pieces as mentioned above are by some of the
most popular contemporary writers. As an administrator Dr
Randhawa’s acumen was universally recognised though no less
important was his contribution as a agricultural scientist or as
a connoisseur of art and painting or as a culture scientist and
folklorist and as a builder and promoter of institutions.
As a writer
some of his books like Beautifying India, Beautiful Trees and
Gardens, History of Indian Agriculture (4 vols), Developing
Village India, Farmers of India (4 vols, in collaboration)
nine collections of Kangra, Basoli and Chamba paintings, four
collections of folksongs of Punjab, Kangra, Kullu and Haryana
are of lasting value. Many young administrators and
intellectuals have not even heard of the legend called M. S.
Randhawa who has rightly earned the sobriquet of being the
"Sixth river of Punjab". This is a title that once was
used for Prof Puran Singh, a great Punjabi poet and thinker. In
the history of administration and intellection in this region,
Dr Randhawa was a unique.
Only because of
his untiring efforts, Chandigarh Museum, Punjab Arts Council and
Museum of Cultural Heritage of Punjab at Ludhiana could be
Even Nek Chand, the creator of
Rock Gardens Chandigarh had Dr Randhawa’s unstinted support
and patronage in the early years of this great creation. Many
beautiful trees and plants now adorning roads and open spaces in
Chandigarh were brought by Dr Randhawa. The city owes a lot to
this great son of Punjab. Gulzar Singh Sandhu has done a sincere
job as a votary of Dr Randhawa by collecting all these
interesting write-ups and getting them published in an