He is ageless. His memory is as good as that of a supercomputer. His domain is Punjab and Sikh Affairs. Ask him any question and prompt will come his reply, supported by both documents and photograph. He is none other than Tarlochan Singh, a doyen of Indian Public Relations, who rubbed shoulders with political leaders of different hues.

Starting with Mr Gian Singh Rarewala, first non-Congress Chief Minister in the newly created State of Pepsu in early 50s, he created a name for himself as the Press Secretary to the President of Giani Zail Singh at a time when the country went through its most agonizing and painful period of assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and subsequent carnage of Sikhs not only in the Union Capital but also at several other places.

Twenty-five years later, he stood in Parliament to recall the horrifying details of the 1984 carnage seeking nations apology to a community that always remained on forefront not only in freedom struggle but also in subsequent nation building.

It was he who paved a way for the coalition between Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party before Atal Behari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister.

He brought warring political leaders together on social platforms and helped in finding solutions to many vexed problems.

Tarlochan Singh said he always believed in dialogue or negotiations. This is how he succeeded in making friends in all political parties. I never harmed anyone and always took positive and constructive approach even in the gravest situations, he said in his brief discourse.

After serving in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he was appointed Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, National Human Rights Commission, and Chairman-cum-MD of Delhi Tourism Corporation. He had also served as the Media Head for the 1982 Asian Games and the 2010 Commonwealth Games besides holding key positions in the Indian Olympic Association.

All these details have been religiously captured in the anthology book ”S. Tarlochan Singh: A Historic Journey” brought out by the Sarbat da Bhalla Trust of SPS Oberoi. The release of anthology was attended by the Who’s who of Punjab.

Union Minister Som Parkash took pleasure to introduce Mr Google of Punjab and Sikh Affairs. Bureaucrat-turned politician and BJP MP from Hoshiarpur Som Parkash recalled his long association with Mr Tarlochan Singh when he was an MP or Chairman of National Minorities Commission or even before that as Press Secretary to the President or the Union Home Minister, Dr Giani Zail Singh. 
We both served Punjab Government for a long time. I worked in the Excise and taxation Department and Mr Tarlochan Singh was looking after Public and Media Relations of Asia’s biggest cooperative, Markfed.  As I moved on in Civil Services and was appointed to Provincial Civil Service, Mr Tarlochan Singh moved to Delhi with the then Union Home Minister, Dr Giani Zail Singh, who later became the President of India.
I had great many occasions to interact and work with him in many various capacities as an officer of Punjab Government. Since I served as Deputy Commissioner of Hoshiarpur, Faridkot and Jalandhar, my interactions with Mr Tarlochan Singh were frequent, he recalled.

Other guests at the ceremony, including Punjab Assembly Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan, held that Mr Tarlochan Singh has been instrumental in raising important and pertinent issues relating not only to Sikh affairs but also to Punjab in Parliament. To be honest Mr Tarlochan Singh, as the saying goes, is a “Sagar in Gagar”. Whenever I needed any guidance, information or a backgrounder on any issue of Punjab or Sikh Affairs, I would never hesitate go back to him, as I always treated him like a fatherly figure,” said Mr Kultar Singh.

Bureaucrat Suresh Kumar recalled an episode when the former Punjab Chief Minister Partap Singh Kairon had to withdraw his earlier order at a subsequent Cabinet meeting at the instance of a bureaucrat, Mr Mangat Rai.

He is not only a master PR man but also a great author, an intellectual, a scholar, a great human being, a politician, an enthusiastic sports administrator and above all like a great elder brother,” remarked some of the other speakers, including Roppinder Singh, Professor Sarbjinder Singh and Dr Prabhleen Singh.

They held that it was not a book but “real archives of Punjab and Sikh Affairs’ that would benefit all researchers or those interested in understanding contemporary Punjab or Sikh history.

This is a great compilation of his works that will serve as a great reference material for all those researchers, scholars, and journalists interested in Punjab and Sikh Affairs. I always wonder at his capacity. Even at this age, he continues to contribute to the Society in whatever domains he can. I wish him many more years of distinguished service in public life as he remains the tallest walking encyclopedia, said Mr SPS Oberoi.

S. Tarlochan Singh
—A Historic Journey
Editor Dr Prabhleen Singh
Publication Bureau
Sunny Oberoi Vivek Sadan
Advance Institute of Social Sciences

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