After paying obeisance at the Golden temple on Thursday morning, Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan reached Pingalwara at Manawala, Amritsar, where he spent time with inmates, encouraging them to be “goal-oriented”.
Sajjan, who is the first Punjab-born Sikh to hold the top defence job in a foreign land, spent time meeting and greeting the children who approached him. During his interaction with kids, some of whom called him “great” and said they wanted to be like him, he exhorted them to be great like themselves.
“Do not try and be great like me. Remember, you are already great — aim to be great like yourself,” Sajjan said.
All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society president Bibi Inderjit Kaur and team had make extensive arrangements for Sajjan and his team and accorded them a red-carpet welcome.
Down memory lane
While in the premises, Sajjan visited Bhagat Purani Singh Senior Secondary School where recalled his childhood.
“During my childhood, I used to study in a government school with my sister. I still remember the day when my teacher slapped me for not sitting in my own class — that slap was a big lesson for me and I realised the importance of being disciplined. that discipline helped me get a hold of the basics of Punjabi language.”
During the course of the visit, Sajjan was seen holding Bibi Inderjit Kaur’s hand, constantly inquiring about the Pingalwara journey. He also praised the team for creating “an empire for the homeless, destitute, orphans, physically and mentally-challenged persons.”
“I will ensure that Pingalwara always stays in chardi kalan (high spirits),” he said. There is a Pingalwara in Canada as well.
‘Here for the kids’
When mediapersons tried asking Sajjan some questions, he simple said — “Mai nayaana nu milan aya haan. ( I have come to meet the children).” Sajjan’s visit ended with him wishing luck to the authorities and inmates.
(With inputs from Surjit Singh)