Dr. Man Singh Nirankari: A Tribute

Accomplished surgeon and scholar

A tribute by Roopinder Singh

Soft spoken and gentle in his manner, Dr Man Singh Nirankari, however, was firm in his convictions and opinions. He was equally at ease with the prefix and suffix to his name and the different spheres of life they both signified his eminent professional life and his heritage. He passed away in Chandigarh the early hours of May 11.

From Website

Dr Man Singh Nirankari, MBBS, FRCS (Edin) DO (London), was born on December 8, 1911, in a small village called Meki Dhok, Campbellpur, district of joint Punjab, now in Pakistan, renamed Attock. His father, Hara Singh (1877-1971) was the leader of the Nirankari movement, active in northwest Punjab then. It was in Rawalpindi that the young Man Singh studied at Khalsa High School and Garden Mission College, (for FSc), King Edward Medical College, Lahore (for MBBS). He became FRCS in 1937.

In 1942, he married Phool, the daughter of Sant Singh Lyallpuri, who served as Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia from 1950-1953. She had studied English Honours at Government College for Women, Lahore. It was an Anand Karaj marriage; something the Nirankaris had played a significant role in popularising.

From Website

After Partition, the couple settled down in Amritsar. They had three children, a son Dr Verinder Singh Nirankari, an ophthalmologist who lives in Maryland, USA, and daughters, Aruna Singh who lives in Delhi and the prominent theatre personality, Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry.

Recognised as one of the most prominent ophthalmologists in the region, Dr Man Singh became the Principal and Head of the Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Amritsar, a position from which he retired in 1971. Among his students are many famous surgeons.

A prominent citizen of Amritsar, he was active in the educational, cultural and religious fields, and friend to many prominent political and religious leaders. He served as a Syndic and Senator of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; he was an adviser to the SGPC’s Dharmam Prachar Committee, and member of the committee to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Amritsar.

After he and Phool moved from Amritsar to Chandigarh in 1998 to be with their daughter Neelam and son-in-law, Pushi Chowdhry, he often attended various literary and cultural events, and spoke on a variety of issues at various functions. A prolific writer, he published articles and wrote books in Punjabi in a variety of genres, including poetry, history, divinity and Sikh issues. He also wrote Katha Kahani, his autobiography. Phool Man Singh passed away on May 7, 2006.

Many of those who came to the Electric Crematorium in Chandigarh on Tuesday afternoon remembered that this was the man who had constructed a similar facility in Amritsar, the first in Punjab. Many also remember the strong voice and emotional Ardas of Dr Man Singh when he prayed, at this very spot, four years ago, for the peace of his wife’s soul. Now, he was joining her.

This obituary was published in The Tribune on May 12, 2010

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