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Milkha Singh : An inspiration



Tushar Sharma


Milkha Singh is known to us as 'Flying Sikh'. He is a role model for almost everyone who aspires to excel in athletics of life. It is fascinating to see how his succes inspires people from all walks of life !

We all rejoice to learn how he raced first past the winning post. I don't think we can tell even the half of tale of the hardships he suffered on his way to victory. We can only make small and short attempts here and there.


Milkha Singh was born in Pakistan before partition. He has seven siblings. When he was 15 years old, a tragedy struck his Sikh community in 1947. After the partition of India, a gang of around 5000 misled Muslims surrounded his village, threatening their lives. A Panchayat was held in village where the brave sikhs decided to fight back, despite the fact that the number favored the Muslims. The sikhs fought bravely the war of truth and justice to death.  The village was butchered except five. Milkha singh saw all the members of his family die in front of his eyes. He was the only surviving member of his family except for his brother who was in the army and his sister who was married outside the village. During that mayhem, he heard his elders say "Run Milkha Run" he followed and ran from there. He ran from there to be a flying Milkha in his life.

It is said that somehow he managed to run from there and got into the train. There he disguised as a woman to avoid the mob lynching. He reached old Delhi railway station and registered himself in a refuge camp. He faced the plight of the camp there. The refugees were starving to death, the dead bodies were lying around. The deadly diseases such as Cholera and TB  were taking toll on their lives. He kept crying and crying until his soul inspired him to action, questioned his headless lamenting. Soon he left the camp and started working at a grocessor's nearby. There he got his two square meals of Roti and onions served to him by the owner of the shop.

Working there he tried his luck in an army recruitment, but he failed. But he didn't give up. He tried 2 to 3 times before he finally got selected. It was after he joined army that he came to know that his sister was alive in Shadra.  

He got job, yet there was no stopping him. He began to participate in the army sport. He excelled therein as an athlete and represented India in many international events, set many new records and broke many old. He worked very hard in his athletic pursuit so much so that he vomited blood many times, but he never gave up.

What a hero to model our life on. Most importantly, we can learn from his story of struggle in life that we shouldn't give up doubting our potential. Instead we should try to exploit our potential to the fullest. Had Milkha Singh doubted his potential, we wouldn't have seen him defeat Abdul Khaliq in Lahore in an international running feat.

Let's take a leaf from Milkha Singh's life and have faith in our potential and aim at achieving our goal, excelling in our respective fields, living in harmony with mother Nature and it's creatures as it is the need of the hour. Disasters and doubts are the part of life though. They come to make us strong, all we need to have is faith in us. It is rightly said "doubts create mountains, faith tunnels through it".

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