Diaspora tales

Giving it back to his roots!

Moved to Dubai in 1975 in his teens, he is now changing the face of his village

Giving it back to his roots!

A park developed by Amolakh Singh Gakhal in his village.

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6

He was still a teenager when he moved out of his village to earn a living for himself and his family in Dubai. Even in the 1970s, Punjabis craved for greener pastures for a well-settled career, says Amolakh Singh Gakhal (62), a native of Gakhal village here.

Transformed into a ‘Smart village’

Gakhal is no more a village where residents would face problems of overflowing sewerage emanating foul smell all day long. A large pond filled with foul water was treated and drained out of the village. With his donations, a beautiful park and a parking space were constructed, replacing the pond. A slew of upgrades and choicest facilities are credited to him in his village. In the past two decades, he has developed a stadium in the village, constructed a computer lab for senior secondary students at Government high school Gakhal, sponsored education of children from underprivileged families and funded marriage of girls from poor families.

Though he had migrated overseas, he never forgot his roots and consistently worked for the development of his village and the ones left behind here. Gakhal is no more a village, where the residents would face problems of overflowing sewerage emanating foul smell all day long. A large pond filled with foul water was treated and drained out of the village. With his donations, a beautiful park and a parking space were also constructed, replacing the pond. A slew of upgrades and choicest facilities are credited to him in his village. In the past two decades, he has developed a stadium in the village, constructed a computer lab for senior secondary students at Government high school Gakhal, sponsored education of children from underprivileged families and funded marriage of girls from poor families.

Besides this, walking on the footprints of his father, Nasser Singh, who was also a wrestler, he also sponsors sports tournaments in his village and at the Surjit Hockey stadium. To motivate youngsters to opt sports, he keeps award prizes in lakhs.

“In 1975, I was just 17 when I moved to Dubai to eke out a living. Few years later, I managed to get an American visa and shifted to America. Initially after doing some odd jobs, I opened my own transport company in 1994. Since then, there is no looking back. With sheer hard work, we also gave employment to Punjabis there. While I was working there, my hear always longed for the betterment of my motherland. It feels satisfying when I manage to do something good for my own people. After moving abroad, the one thing that I realised the most is the importance of education. While I could not complete my education, I made sure that the youth in my village doesn’t remain uneducated. I also urge NRI’s to come forward to adopt 2-4 kids for providing them education,” added Gakhal.

Donning multiple hats, he has also opened his entertainment company and produced two Pollywood movies. He also visits his village twice a year.

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