ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ॥ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫ਼ਤਹਿ ॥
Thank you everyone for coming to our annual Oxbridge Sikh Societies Varsity Sports Day yesterday, I hope you had fun! As we approach the half-way point of Lent, please take some time to rest and make time to spend with friends. We’ll be releasing details of our next event soon! Keep an eye out on our Facebook chat and Instagram for more details.
ਦੇਹ ਬਿਦੇਹੀ ਲੋਗ ਅਲੋਗੀ ॥੧੬॥
dheh bidhehee log alogee ||16||
Being embodied he is yet beyond the body and while living in the world he is beyond the world.
(Pannaa 24, Bhai Gurdas Ji Vaaran)
There is, rightfully so, a large emphasis on the great Sikhs saints and soldiers of our history. However, Sikhs have also excelled in fields outside of the conventional Sikh domain. The histories of many Sikhs over the last 100 years who have also had big impacts on the world in which we live in have been lost. In this bulletin, we will aim to outline some of them and try to shed light on the work of Sikhs in the wider world. We hope this may inspire you by showing you that Sikhs can be successful in all domains of society.
Narinder Singh Kapany – Father of fibre optics
Born in Moga, Panjab in 1926, he moved to England, where he received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London. He is known for his pioneering work in fibre optics and for being the first person to demonstrate that light could be transmitted through thin glass fibres, leading to the development of fibre optic communication. He also invented several devices for transmitting images through fibre optics and co-founded the first company to manufacture fibre optic cables for commercial use. Throughout his career, he received numerous awards and honours for his contributions to the field of fibre optics, including being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the United States. He passed away on December 4, 2020, but his legacy lives on through his innovations and impact on the field of communications technology.
Inderjit Kaur – Education
She has made numerous contributions in the fields of social work, education, administration, and international representation. During the Partition of India in 1947, she played a crucial role in rehabilitating over 400 refugee families through her organization. She also established the Mata Sahib Kaur Dal School in Patiala for the children of these refugees and emphasized the importance of a well-rounded education by organizing self-defence and shooting training for the women of the camps, as well as establishing a dance troop at her college. She was one of the first women to earn a master’s degree from Panjab and went on to make history by becoming the only woman on the governing council of Khalsa College, Amritsar. In 1975, she became the first female Vice-Chancellor of a Northern Indian university, serving at the Punjabi University in Patiala.
Daljit Singh – Ophthalmology
Daljit Singh was an ophthalmologist who is known for his pioneering work in the field of cataract and refractive surgery. He was born in Amritsar, Panjab in 1934. He has been awarded several honours and accolades for his contributions to the field of ophthalmology, including the Padma Shri award in 1987, one of India’s highest civilian honours. Throughout his career, he was dedicated to providing high-quality eye care to patients and has also been actively involved in the development of new surgical techniques and technologies.
Harita Kaur Deol – Air Force Pilot
Harita was born in 1971 in Chandigarh, Panjab. She was a trailblazer in the Indian Air Force. In 1993, she was one of the first seven women cadets to be inducted as a Short Service Commission (SSC) officer. She made history by becoming the first female pilot to fly solo for the Air Force. On September 2, 1994, at the age of 22, Harita made her inaugural flight. Sadly, she lost her life in an air crash near Nellore, India in 1996.
I hope we have been able to bring some of the amazing Sikhs of recent history, who have made significant contributions to various fields, to your attention. These Sikhs have not only broken barriers and challenged societal norms, but they have also helped shape our world with their innovative ideas and creative solutions.
“Narinder S. Kapany, ‘Father of Fiber Optics,’ Dies at 94”, The New York Times, (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/technology/narinder-s-kapany-dead.html)
“Madam Vice-Chancellor: Inderjit Kaur”, Sikhchic,
“Surgeon pushes limits within ophthalmic surgery, conforms technology to situation”, Healio News, (https://www.healio.com/news/ophthalmology/20120325/surgeon-pushes-limits-within-ophthalmic-surgery-conforms-technology-to-situation)
“Flt Lt Harita Kaur Deol”, Honourpoint, (https://www.honourpoint.in/profile/flt-lt-harita-kaur-deol/)