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Posted at: Dec 28, 2017, 2:00 AM; last updated: Dec 28, 2017, 2:02 AM (IST)OBITUARY: DR DALJIT SINGH (1934-2017)

A visionary eye surgeon

A visionary eye surgeon
Dr Singh introduced intraocular lens in India in 1976. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1987 and Dr BC Roy Award, the country’s highest medical award, in 1994

Manjit Singh

Dr Daljit Singh, a renowned ophthalmologist from Amritsar, passed away at the age of 83 today. Besides being an eye surgeon of repute — who introduced intraocular lens in India way back in 1976 — he was also a scholar and a social activist.

Dr Singh not only gave eyesight to thousands of people in western India, but also provided them with an insight into the social and political challenges around them.

His latest Punjabi translations of two books authored by MS King — “Planet Rothschild: The Forbidden History of the New World Order” (1763-1939) and “Bancarotta!” — are published under Punjabi titles “Dharti dee hikk wich khooni panja” and “Nitt maya dangge nagni”, reflecting his deep social and political commitment to the well-being of humanity.

I was deeply moved by his optimism and conviction when I learnt that he translated these books when he was seriously ill and was aware of its fatal consequences. This was perhaps due to the deep impact his father Sardar Sahib Singh, a renowned Sikh scholar with exceptional command of Persian and Sanskrit besides Gurmukhi, had on him.

Humble to the core, soft-spoken 

Dr Singh never lost patience and was committed to his secular approach in politics. This too was the result of secular legacy he inherited from his father, who was a Hindu by birth but Sikh by deed.

In recognition of his medical and social work, he was awarded Padma Shri in 1987 and Dr BC Roy Award, the highest medical award given by the Medical Council of India, in 1994. Dr Singh was on the faculty of medical colleges of Amritsar and Patiala for 23 years and honoured with Emeritus Professor.

I personally came to know him during the 2014 parliamentary elections when we offered him the Aam Aadmi Party ticket. In fact, he was the first one to have been approached by us to contest the elections, the offer he declined. It was only after much persuasion that he accepted the offer. He took on stalwarts like Congress’ Capt Amarinder Singh and BJP’s Arun Jaitley and later worked as chairman of the disciplinary committee of the party’s Punjab unit.

As chairman, he never bowed to the dictates of the party’s Delhi leadership for which he had to pay the price later. Today Dr Daljit Singh is no more but his services and scholarly pursuits will keep inspiring the generations to come.

— The writer is a professor in Panjab University

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