"August 15 is a very special day for us, which our family celebrates sitting together and discussing the stories of legendary freedom fighters," says Toronto (Canada)-based NRI Baldev Singh Sidhu. He is the man behind the transformation of Chakar village in Ludhiana.
Talking to Hindustan Times over phone, Sidhu said, "We celebrate Independence Day with great zeal. We sit together and talk about the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives. I share with my children the stories related to pre-Independence era which my grandfather used to tell. We have Indian meals and watch the Independence Day parade on television."
It is worth mentioning here that two NRI brothers- Baldev Singh Sidhu and late Ajmer Singh Sindhu- have revamped the Chakar village where ponds have been converted into three big lakes. 10 community centres have come up for elders. A panchayat ghar has been built to be used during festivals and other occasions. The village has a 18-km sewer line which is funded by both the NRIs. Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy was started by them in which students are trained for boxing, football and athletics. The students have made their village proud by winning more than 200 medals at state, national and international level championships.
Efforts of other NRIs
Besides, other NRIs-Harpreet Singh and Harvant Singh-from Canada gave funds to the Government Senior Secondary School, Issewal, last year to provide transport facility to the students. Their effort made it convenient for several students to continue their studies.
Issewal school vice-principal Jagbir Kaur said, "With the help of the NRIs, who have donated Rs 1 lakh to our school, several students were able to reach the school as free transport facility was provided to them. They even paid fees of the needy students studying in Class 11 and 12 last year. Another NRI Jasveer Kaur from Kenya has donated Rs 2 lakh for the construction of science laboratory and library."