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Posted at: Dec 30, 2014, 12:59 AM; last updated: Dec 29, 2014, 10:26 PM (IST)

Scholar ‘Lali Baba’ passes away at 82

Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 29

Renowned academician Hardiljit Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Lali Baba, breathed his last at the age of 82 in Patiala on Sunday. He was a professor of linguistics at Punjabi University here and was known for his unmatchable intellect and unusual ways of spreading knowledge.

Though he did not author a single article or book throughout his career, he has been an inspiration for many writers. He was one of the founders of “Bhootwada” (den of ghosts) group that consisted of young Punjab writers in the 1950-60s.

Many of these group members, including Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Dr Gurbhagat Singh, Surjit Patar and Satinder Singh Noor and Harinder Singh Mehboob, turned out to be world renowned scholars. He was known for his hours’ long ‘on-campus’ conversations on a wide range of topics.

His conversations equally attracted students and professors who would spend hours listening to his views and interacting with him. Once a senior professor complained against Lali to Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Dr Bhagat Singh that he didn’t take classes and spent hours talking under the tree. The VC, in turn, asked the professor to be part of Lali’s gatherings claiming that “Lali was not for university, but the university was for Lali”.

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