Puran Singh Bajwa

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Air Marshal Puran Singh Bajwa, PVSM

Dr. Puran Singh Bajwa was born at his maternal grandparents' (Nana’s) home at Chak 94, Toba Tek Singh, Tehsil, District Lyallpur, India, on October 20, 1925, to his parents, Captain Kartar Singh and Narinder Kaur (née Cheema).

Following his school education, in pursuit of his lifelong dream to become a physician, Dr. Bajwa joined King Edward Medical College, Lahore, in 1942. Three years later he married Harvant Kaur (née Dhindsa) on September 28, 1945. Due to troubles during the of India in 1947, Dr. Bajwa was unable to finish his medical studies in Lahore. However he gained entry to the Medical College at Amritsar from which he graduated with his M.B.B.S. in 1948.

Early life

At an early age of about 23 years, as with many members of his family before him and after and in the best traditions of the Sikh religion, Dr. Bajwa joined the Indian Army in September 1948 as a Lieutenant. Following a career of much hard work and commitment spanning 36 years, Dr. Bajwa's final promotion was to the rank of Air Marshal (a three-star general rank) in October 1984 as Director, Medical Services of the Indian Air Force, the highest military rank available to physician officers.

During his final postings in Delhi, Dr. Bajwa was an honorary physician to the President of India. He retired as Air Marshal in 1985 at the age of 60. In recognition of his service and dedication to his country and his profession, Air Marshal Bajwa received India's Param Vashist Seva Medal (P.V.S.M.) in January 1985.

The P.V.S.M. award is India's highest military decoration for distinguished peacetime service. He has also been a past President and Fellow of The Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine.

A man of dignity and faith

Air Marshal Bajwa was known throughout his career for his dignity and his proud practice of and adherence to the Sikh faith - a model and an inspiration to generations of military personnel who followed him. In his retirement, he took an active role in the advanced study and practice of Sikhism.

At the same time, he undertook the teaching of the Sikh faith to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; this was Dr. Bajwa’s chief pursuit in life. A dedicated physician, a much decorated officer and community leader, Dr. Bajwa's life literally touched tens of thousands of lives, making a lasting impact on a whole host of people.

The final departure

Air Marshal Puran Singh Bajwa, PVSM (Ret.), passed away on Monday, November 30, 2009. He was the senior member of his extended family and will be deeply missed by all of them.

His funeral service was held on December 1, 2009 at Pugh Funeral home in Asheboro, NC, USA. His final religious service was held on December 19, 2009 at The Sikh Gurdwara of North Carolina, 3214 Banner Street, in Durham, North Carolina.

A dedicated family man

Since his retirement Dr. Bajwa and his wife, Harvant Kaur, had spent more time with their two daughters, Parminder Kaur and her husband, Dr. Tejpal Singh Dhillon, of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Satinder Kaur and her husband, Dr. Daljit Singh Caberwal, of Asheboro, North Carolina.

In addition to his daughters, sons-in-law, and extended relations including dozens of nieces and nephews, Dr. Bajwa is survived by five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Parminder and Tejpal Dhillon's daughter, Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, who resides in San Francisco, California; the Dhillons' son, Mandeep Singh Dhillon, Mandeep's wife, Parveen Kaur, and their son, Tegh Zoraver Singh Dhillon and daughters, Hazuri Kaur Dhillon and Nivaaz Kaur Dhillon, all of whom reside in Redwood City, California.

Satinder and Daljit Caberwal's daughter, Sumeet Kaur Bal, her husband, Jugdeep Singh Bal, and their son, Hargobind Singh Bal, reside in New York City, New York. The Caberwal's daughter, Jasmeet Kaur Sidhu, and her husband, Amandeep Singh Sidhu, reside in Washington, D.C. The Caberwal's son, Sandeep Singh Caberwal and his wife, Dilpreet Kaur Caberwal, reside in Arlington , Virginia.