When we write a biography about someone, most of the times such a person is either a politician or a business magnate, a sports person, a religious figure or a celebrity in the entertainment industry ... (or one of these similiar categories). Dr Harjoginder Singh Gill defies any such categorization. His extraordinariness lied in the simplicity of lifestyle that He lead and the aura of qualities that He gave to the world, a fragrance that this Foundation would like to share with the people, in celebration of the successful life that He lived on Earth.
Here we'd try to summarize the life of this extraordinary being who took birth in this world on 13th July 1946 in the house of Sardar Wadhawa Singh Gill and Sardarni Sharanjit Kaur Gill in district Lyallpur, West Punjab, what was then in British India and now in Pakistan. He was nicknamed as Jinder and the family affectionately called Him - Jinda.
Jinder was the seventh youngest of eight children of Sardar Wadhawa Singh. The family belonged to the Gill Clan of Jatts which means they owned land and were in the age old ancestral profession of farming and agriculture. In 1947, when Jinder was barely a year old, Indian subcontinent saw it's worse moments in history with the Partition of British India into Socialist Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Hundred thousands to a million lives were lost with the worst brunt of partition faced by the people of Punjab. Family legend, as is recorded and was told by Sardar Wadhawa Singh is that it all happened so suddenly that when religious riots erupted in Lyallpur in what now became Pakistan, the family had moments to decide and leave. One year old Jinder was away with His mother when rest of the family had to leave Lyallpur for good. Jinder was alone with His mother who travelled with the refugees fleeing towards East Punjab where fortunately, they were able to trace their family later on.
The family came to their ancestral village of Kakkar Gill in East Punjab from where they settled in Amritsar, Punjab. It was here in Amritsar where Jinder received His schooling from Sant Singh Sukha Singh (SSSS) Senior Secondary School.
After finishing school, it was time for Harjoginder to choose a career. And those were the simple days. He went to the College and enrolled into Engineering. Harjoginder used to tell what happened next. When He came home, He casually told His elder brother about His enrollment into Engineering. His elder brother, Dr Karamjit Singh Gill, who was also a very senior well known doctor in the city, desired that His younger brother should follow His footsteps and should join medicine. And in those times, Big Brothers were an authority in the family, the authority that only got superceded by that of the parents. That was the family hierarchy in those days. "When I tried to protest defending my decision to join Engineering, I received a tight slap from doctor brother", Harjoginder would often recall old moments proudly and with a smile on His face would then say, "And that's how I entered medicine".
'Demonstrator' becomes a GMC Legend
After studying Medicine from DAV College, Amritsar, Harjoginder entered Government Medical College (GMC) Amritsar in 1964 and completed the MBBS Degree in December 1968. During His GMC years, an incidence happened that became a well known comedy legend within the Medical College history. While working in the role of a Demonstrator in His final years of degree, an incidence happened in the Medical College where some students (unrelated to Harjoginder) went on a strike. Rampaging students started breaking college property and Medical College Administration had to call the police. When Punjab Police came to the scene, they saw the destruction that striking students had done. The Police Officer shouted, "Where are the Demonstrators?" Obviously the Police Officer was looking for Demonstrators as in Protesting Students. As a stroke of pure luck, Dr Harjoginder Singh Gill was passing by the scene at that time. When He heard the word - "Demonstrator", He thought the Police was asking for the Demonstrator, the role He was performing as a student. He promptly replied back, "Here! I AM The Demonstrator". That was it. The Punjab Police didn't do any further verification till they had finished executing all the riot control measures (on Dr Gill) that they do in their normal riot control routine. Later obviously when the *geniuses* of The Punjab Police realized differences of the term - 'Demonstrator', it became another matter but eventually the story ended up becoming a legend within the medical community in the city and is discussed with utter amusement by the doctors to this very day.
Early Career and Marriage
After completing MBBS degree, Dr Harjoginder Singh Gill completed His Diploma Chest Diseases (DCD) in June 1971 from Guru Nanak Dev University and later, on 22th January 1972, He joined government medical service and started His job career in Punjab Civil Medical Service (PCMS) as Class 1 Medical Officer. He worked in several other Senior Government Job Positions throughout His working career. In June 1980 He completed His Master of Surgery (MS) Degree with a specialization in Orthopaedics Surgery.
He got married on 28th November, 1976 and had two children.
From 1972 till 1984, Dr Gill worked as Medical Officer role in several places - Department of Physiology, Department of Orthopaedics, Department of Emergency Services within Government Medical College, Amritsar.
Verka and Ajnala Times
In 1984 Dr Gill was promoted as a Senior Medical Officer (SMO) and joined Primary Health Centre, Verka. He continued to work there in this position till 1990. He earned a noble name in the region as an administrator who turned this defuncted government hospital into a successful organization. In 1988, Dr Gill received the State Award from Government of Punjab for Performance in National Health Programme. The distinction of this Award was that Punjab topped India as the No. 1 State in National Health and Verka, under Dr Gill's Leadership topped Punjab as No. 1 town with the best National Health Programme.
In 1990 after His promotion as Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Gill joined Government Civil Hospital, Ajnala and continued to work there till 1998. In 1995, for the second time, Dr Gill received the State Award for Performance in National Health Programme.
Back in Amritsar
From 1998 till 2003 He worked as Medical Superintendent of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur (SGTB) Hospital, Amritsar. Then from November 2003 - December 2003, for a short period of time, Government apointed Him as Medical Superintendent and Zonal Deputy Director of ESI Group of Hospitals of Amritsar, Ferozpur and Gurdaspur Districts. He also worked in the position of Director - Government Institute of Mental Health (as an Additional Charge).
In December 2003 He was promoted to the rank of Civil Surgeon of Amritsar District, Punjab. He was also handed the additional rank of Deputy Director - Department of Health and Family Welfare, Amritsar. During His tenure as a Civil Surgeon, using the powers handed over to Him, Dr Gill took some drastic measures to combat certain social ills within the Indian society especially a case that comes to the mind is that of the Female Infanticide and Foeticide Issue. This practice of Female Infanticide (and foeticide) is an act of parents choosing to murder their daughters simply because they have a preference for a male child. This killing either happens before the baby girl is born (foeticide) or after the baby girl is born (infanticide). After coming down hard on hospitals misusing the CAT scan technology in aiding parents with foeticide, Dr Gill made national headlines in India when He threatened that He would resign from IMA (Indian Medical Association) if effective measures to curb foeticide are not taken. And He made sure those measures that were later approved by the government are then executed properly in controling the female foeticide and infanticide problem.
In 2004, Dr Gill was Awarded with Government of India State Award.
His other achievements include getting two of His research papers published in Indian Journal of Radiology and serving as a member for Two State Level Committes within Government of Punjab.
Dr Gill retired from the government service on 30th April, 2005. And the same year He joined Fortis and Escorts Group as Medical Director, Amritsar. In 2006, for a period of one year, He was elected as the President of Rotary Club, Amritsar. Under His leadership, the club gets the "Best Club Award". After retirement, Dr Gill continued to work in fields He was most passionate about and decided to write some books on Old Age related diseases and Religion.
These books that He was writing were in their midway when destiny had made some other decisions...
On 18th June 2011, Dr Harjoginder Singh Gill breathed His last and left for Heavenly abode...
The Legacy Continues
Dr Gill earned a reputation among the people for being an Honest Hard working professional - the man of Ethics and High Principles. He'd go out of His capacity to help people in need whenever and howsoever He could. His principles were greatly influenced by Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine and the Hippocratic Oath that He took when becoming the doctor.
He proved Himself to be a magnificent father to two of His children - not to mention a great husband, a dedicated son, a marvelous brother, a great uncle and all the worldly roles that one is supposed to perform in the worldly realm, He fulfilled them all well. Environmental activities such as Tree Plantation projects, Natural Healing, Elderly care and researching Old Age related disorders were some of the areas that Dr Gill was greatly passionate about. Consequently, to keep the aura of His individuality alive and to see that His thoughts and vision for humanity stays alive and simply does not fades away, Dr H S Gill Foundation was created on 13th July 2011 as a tribute to the successful life lead by Dr Gill while His stay on Earth.
- 13th July 1946 - Born in Lyallpur, West Punjab to Sardar Wadhawa Singh Gill (father) and Sardarni Sharanjit Kaur Gill.
- 1947 Punjab Partition - After British India disintegrates, the family moves to newly formed Republic of India after leaving their homeland of, what now becomes, Pakistan.
- 1964 - Entered Government Medical College, Amritsar to start His MBBS Degree.
- December 1968 - Finished His MBBS Degree from Government Medical College, Amritsar.
- June 1971- Completed Diploma Chest Diseases (DCD) from Guru Nanak Dev University.
- 22 January 1972 - Joined Punjab Civil Medical Service (PCMS) as Class 1 Medical Officer.
- 28th November 1976 - Marriage.
- June 1980 - Completed His MS Degree with a specialization in Orthopaedic surgery.
- 1984 - Joined Primary Health Centre, Verka as Senior Medical Officer. Continued this position till 1990.
- 1988 - Received Prestigious State Award for Performance in National Health Programme where Punjab became India's No. 1 State in implementing National Health Programme and Verka, under Dr Gill's leadership, became Punjab's No. 1 town in National Health Programme.
- 1990 - Joined Government Civil Hospital, Ajnala as CMO and continued this position till 1998.
- 1995 - Received the State Award for National Health Programme. This State Award was received for the second time.
- 1998 - Joined SGTP Hospital, Amritsar as Medical Superintendent and continued this position till 2003.
- November 2003 - December 2003 - Worked as Medical Superintendent and Zonal Deputy Director of ESI Group of Hospitals of Amritsar, Ferozpur and Gurdaspur Districts. Also worked as Director - Government Institute of Mental Health (as an Additional Charge)
- December 2003 - Promoted as Civil Surgeon of Amritsar District and given additional charge of Deputy Director - Department of Health and Family Welfare, Amritsar.
- 2004 - Awarded with Government of India - State Award.
- 30 April 2005 - Retired from Government Service.
- 2005 - Joined (Private Sector) Fortis and Escorts Group of Hospitals as Medical Director for Amritsar.
- 2006 - 2007 - Elected as President of Rotary Club, Amritsar. The Club achieves the "Best Club Award" under His leadership.
- June 18, 2011 - Dr H S Gill leaves for heavenly abode.
- July 13, 2011 - Dr H S Gill Foundation formed to continue His works and legacy.
- His works and legacy continues on through Dr H S Gill Foundation...