Even in death, this former army officer and educationist did not fail society.
Following his wish, the family of Lt Col GP Waraich donated his body to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
On Christmas next month, Waraich would have celebrated his 83rd birthday. But Waraich died at his house here on Saturday morning and the body was handed over to the medical institute the same evening.
However, Waraichs chose to keep it a family affair and held a condolence meeting on Sunday.
It is stated to the first instance from Karnal district where an aggrieved family chose to break social taboo of not performing last rites.
He is survived by his 77-year-old widow Manjit Kaur, a daughter and a son.
The deceased’s son Navjot Singh Waraich told HT on Monday that it was not a tough choice for them as his father had a clear- cut instruction of not consigning his body to the flames.
“My father was a pure hearted person who used to follow philosophy of spiritualism. He always believed in living for society rather than being a regular visitor to a gurdwara. But he was a staunch follower of Sikh philosophy of ‘living and dying for others’. A brain stroke paralysed him and he was confined to the bed since 1999 but he did not have any other health complication,” he said.
Navjot said that his father wanted that even his mortal remains could have utility for others.
“He felt that performing last rites of a human body causes polution. So, he willed to his body to be utilized for pursuing medical research and we are happy to fulfil his wish. It was a bit emotional moment but the PGIMER authorities were informed immediately about the body donation. Doctors accepted the body as if we had donated a treasure and we were touched by their sincere and humane gesture that would help the medical students in invaluable ways,” said Navjot.
Born at Ladhewala Waraich in Gujrawala (now in Pakistan) on December 25, 1932, Waraich completed his education in Kapurthala and Karnal. He was commissioned in 1953 and was Commandant Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehra Dun.
He also remained principal of the Chennai-based Officers’ Training Academy (OTA).
After attaining four masters’ degrees, Waraich is said to be the first army officer to complete a PhD.
After quitting army in 1978, Waraich remained principal of DPS, Mathura Road and pioneered computer education in Indian schools in the early 80’s.
He founded Himalaya Public School here in 1987.
“My aunt Rajinder Kaur Waraich from Chandigarh had died last year in August and was the first in the family whose body was donated for medical research. Body donation serves a great contribution towards society and people should ponder over it seriously. Our elders have already set tradition that we would love to follow,” said Navjot.