A 'wastrel' Samaritan who was ridiculed by neighbours is among eight winners of Sikh Achievers' Award

Sarabjeet Singh Bobby or 'Vela' Bobby from Himachal Pradesh, who drives a hearse van to ferry corpses free of ...

MUMBAI: A Punjabi youth who was nicknamed 'vela' or wastrel because he spent too much time helping others, and now drives a hearse without charging a penny. An elderly Sikhni who learnt driving so she could rush accident victims to hospital in her free ambulance.

An amputee who became a champion skater, and a noted Supreme Court lawyer who has fought a court battle for 34 long years in defence of the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots were among the winners of the Sikh Achievers' Awards that were distributed at Shanmukhananda Hall, King's Circle on Friday February 1.

A social organisation of the Sikh community named Sat Sri Akaal Trust felicitated eight 'Sabat Soorat' (traditional looking) Sikhs who have made a significant contribution to their local communities while preserving their ethnic appearance.

Puran Singh Banga, secretary of the trust said, "This year's winners included champion skater Chandeep Singh from Jammu & Kashmir. He has excelled in skating despite having lost both arms owing to an electric shock in his childhood. Another awardee is a youth named Sarabjeet Singh Bobby or 'Vela' Bobby from Himachal Pradesh, who drives a hearse van to ferry corpses free of cost any time of day or night."

Bobby was ridiculed by his neighbourhood as "vela", a Punjabi term for wastrel, because he spent too much time doing chores for other people or helping wherever help was required. The naysayers are silenced ever since Bobby went on to gain fame as Good Samaritan. He is now engaged in organising blood donation camps and has collected 30,000 bottles so far, which is reportedly 60% of the total collection of Himachal. The nickname persists however.

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