He has never been late to work in the past three decades; is probably the only one in the civil secretariat who dons his uniform and for all his troubles, Kewal, the main civil secretariat’s most punctual peon, is among the 32 civilians who will be awarded by the Punjab government at this year’s Independence Day celebrations.
The selected 32 represent various fields and range from the courageous to conservationists to artistes and authors. Ludhiana-based Municipal Corporation employee, Amarjit Singh Jolly, made it to the list after he helped police foil an escape bid by undertrials on September 7, 2009. Six dreaded criminals fled from police custody while they were being brought back from the Central Jail in a police bus. “The criminals threw red-chilli powder on the policemen and jumped off the bus. I nabbed one of them and later helped police arrest the rest,” Amarjit said.
Akraman Singh, a Sangrur-based advocate, saved a drowning child in the Dhuri canal. “I saw a group of children bathing in the canal. One got caught in the current and began shouting for help. Several persons gathered around and I jumped in and rescued him,” said Akraman Singh who holds a doctorate degree in human rights.
40-year-old Shital Prakash is being honoured for his efforts in turning garbage dumps into forests. He is credited with turning the Abohar canal tributary in Sudhar, Ludhiana, into a lush green forest. Gurmukh Singh Lalli, a resident of Barnala, gets the award for his unique collection of over 25,000 gramophone records. He has the 152-year-old original sound tracks and has records containing speeches of John F Kennedy, Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Among the better known on the honours list is Ninder Ghugianvi, Punjabi author and renowned columnist. Ninder, a Faridkot resident, is only a matriculate but his books are taught to MA and BA students while he himself has been the subject of research by students.
Amritsar-based handicraft artist Amritpal Singh gets the award for creating the world’s smallest chess board in a bulb and in a
bottle. He also makes wooden sculptures and has made it to the Limca book of World Records.