Family Statement on the Passing of Baba Punjab Singh

I would ask him: Are you living in chardi kala, the Sikh spirit of eternal optimism?...

Statement from Raghuvinder Singh, son of Baba Punjab Singh, on behalf of the rest of his family:

“It is with sadness, but also peace and acceptance, that we confirm the passing of my father, Baba Punjab Singh. He was a beloved husband, father, and family member to us all, and equally revered by many in our community. Baba spent his life serving as a Sikh religious teacher who travelled the country and the world delivering kathas--orations that share the lessons and history of the Sikh faith.” 

“Baba ji’s capacity for love and optimism was unchanged by the heinous attack in Oak Creek, as well as the life-altering injuries he sustained. Even when I regularly visited him in the hospital after his paralysis, I would ask him: Are you living in chardi kala, the Sikh spirit of eternal optimism? Each time, without fail, he would blink twice to say ‘yes’ His resilience embodied the greater Sikh community’s response in the wake of the Oak Creek tragedy, and it was one of the many lessons he continually taught throughout his life.”

“My father’s injuries and his passing, along with the other lives lost that day, are a reminder of the toxic hate that still plagues our country. But I want Baba ji to be remembered by the values, inspired by Sikhi, that he exemplified every day--including love, equality, humility, eternal optimism, and service to others. These values, which are critically important to our collective humanity, can bring us all closer together. Our hope is that his life serves as a reminder of an essential truth of our faith: that the number of our breaths is written by God, but it falls to us to do our best in how we use them.”

Baba Punjab Singh passed away on Monday, March 2, 2020 at the age of 72. He was injured in the deadly August 5, 2012 attack in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, when a gunman with neo-Nazi ties stormed the local gurdwara (Sikh house of worship), killing six worshippers and injuring several more. The above quotes are attributable to Raghuvinder Singh, Baba Punjab Singh’s son; the family will provide more information about memorial services and a spokesperson for interviews as soon as possible via the Sikh Coalition.

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Related article: 
Learning from Baba Punjab Singh, Oak Creek Survivor

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