Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957) was an icon on Sikh history, and rekindled in the minds of people a love for Punjabi poetry and literature. A mentor to many, he was brought up in an environment dedicated to Sikh history and tradition and was successful in revitalizing a faith that had been challenged for many years by ongoing persecution and neglect. He helped to create a love for the contribution of Sikh Gurus and Sikh leaders. He instilled an understanding of the unique essence of Sikh thought, and drew communities closer to their faith through his lyrics, his stories, his essays and his compilation of language and arts. A founding member of the Punjab Sind Bank, he set up The Khalsa Tract Society and the Khalsa Samachar that allowed people easy access to historical material and interpretations of Sikhism. His writings include, among others, Sundri, said to be the first novel written in Punjabi, Bijay Singh, Sri Guru Nanak Chamatkar, Baba Naudh Singh, Rana Surat Singh, Lahiran de Haar, Matak Hulare, and an annotation of Santokh Singh's Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. He was the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award (1955) and the Padma Bhushan award (1956).
Professor Puran Singh (1881-1931) was an eminent scientist and the founder of the chemistry of forest products in India. Dr. H.S. Virk mentions that as an Imperial Chemist at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Puran Singh published 53 research papers and made an extensive survey of Indian forests from the Himalayas to the regions of Bengal, Assam and Burma. (Professor Puran Singh: Scientist, Poet and Philosopher, Tarlochan Publishers, 2008). As a writer, poet and philosopher, Puran Singh produced over 25 books in Punjabi, English and Hindi. As a young student at Tokyo University, he mastered the Japanese language and learned German which was then the medium of instruction in his area of study. He was a prolific writer, and loved, lived, worshipped and wrote with passionate abandonment. His early meeting with Swami Rama Tirath paved the path to his later meeting with Bhai Vir Singh who created in him a love for Sikhism and the realization that whereas he is one with the cherry blossom and the Peepal tree, he is, at the same time, a child nurtured by the Sikh Gurus, and dedicated to their simple and straightforward ideology of modern humanism and the concept of Surt or conscious awareness.
Looking at the miserable plight of man, the writer, Jaswant Singh 'Khoji', belovedly called 'Bauji', an apostle of love and compassion, has taken pains to analyze and trace the cause of man's degeneration and given him the ambrosial dose, so that he can rise up and fight out with rejuvenated vigour to regain his lost empire. Bauji has unflinching faith that 'Gurbani' has descended from Divinity and he has taken up the mission of Guru Nanak for the uplift of mankind to the 'Divine Realm' by spreading the message of 'Nanak Love' to entire humanity. Some of his works can be found on this website http://www.brahmbungadodra.org/
Dr. Khudadad (d. 1954), a friend and fellow chemist, remained a pillar of strength for Professor Puran Singh and his family. He was admired for his courage and for his dedication to the family. His friend Sir Jogendra Singh writes of him: “[Puran Singh] and Dr. Khudadad, both trained chemists dreamed great dreams of economic development and worked for their realization and merely faced the agony and experience of mundane activities refreshed for the fragrance of the flower of their friendship which knew no fading. They marched together through good times and bad times as they did in the spring tide of their youth. All my heart goes to Khudadad in his loneliness. Puran had great ideas of economic development but he had no love of money, and money does not stay with those who wish to use it. The higher values spurred him on to action and he launched upon experiments which often landed him in difficulties, but his work even in physical domain lives. The lemon grass oil from his farm is now in the market and during the war their little laboratory supplied the world with Thymol. The deep unchanging Puran-Khudadad friendship may serve as a beacon light for communal understanding and its spiritual riches may invade the country and fill it with wealth which remains with us for all times as the heritage of the soul.” http://profpuransingh.blogspot.ca/2012/05/puran-singh- studies.html Basant Kumari Singh, in her Reminiscences of Puran Singh (Punjabi University, 1980) writes: “Khudadad’s devoted friendship was one of the greatest sobering influences in Puran’s life (he would call him ‘Bhapa Da’ad, meaning “my brother, the Giver’). Although there did crop up differences and disruptions, yet, he remained loyal and devoted to his friends, and to his friend’s family, right up to the very end......Before he left us, he knew the end was coming. He was calm and serene. There was not a tremor of emotion in his voice. It was as strong and magnificent as ever. He had no regrets or worries.....on the last day his strength failed him. He tried but could not walk. Then very softly and gently, eight loving arms carried him up like a child, and laid him on a bed in the verandah....About half a mile from our house in Doiwala is a tiny graveyard surrounded by green fields and wild bushes. Here they laid him to rest.....When they went there on the third day, they were filled with wonder to see something that had not been there before. They found freshly-made grave, a child’s grave, nestling close to his.”