Call him an army man or call him an author, call him a runner or call him a Padma Shri Awardee. Late Milkha Singh was a marvellous personality who served various roles throughout his life. He received a Padma Shri Award for his significant excellence in sports and other achievements during his active years. He left no opportunity for India to great heights in sports and represented it in Melbourne, Tokyo, Rome, Britain, Jakarta etc. He has also been described as one of the most dynamic sports icons India could ever look for.
He was not inclined towards sports since the beginning but he found great interest when he was serving in the Indian Army. He has also been called as Flying Sikh because of varying reasons but his biggest achievement was he was the only player to secure a Gold Medal in both 400m race at Commonwealth as well as Asian Olympics.
What led to his immense popularity?
Every individual comes across a stage where he is celebrated and most talked about. The same happened with lt. Milkha Singh, he is well known for is the 400m where he stood 4th in number but it came out to be breaking several records in the history of sports like the timings to finish the race. He accounted for 45.73 seconds to finish the race and it came out to be the first Indian national record in the history of forty years.
What we should know about his early life?
He was born on 20 November 1920 in Punjab Province of British India. He witnessed his Mother, Two sisters and brother were killed by Muslims during the partition and left Singh orphaned in the Indian Territory. He lived as a refugee for some time in India as was reportedly involved in wrongdoings like stealing but his brother Malkan changed his life completely after he attempted to recruit Singh in the Indian Army. Singh used to travel 10 km each way to reach school from home and reportedly he said in an interview he never knew what was running and what the were Olympics, he got to know all about it after his engagement with the Indian Army.
Why did he not accept the Arjuna Award?
Following his success in 1958, he was honoured with the Padma Shri Award which is considered the 4th Highest civilian award in the Republic Of India. He was reportedly found turning down the offer of receiving an Arjuna award as he had a mentality that it should be kept for young aspirants and not like him who has gained considerable popularity. He also mentioned once that receiving an Arjuna award after Padma Shri was getting an SSC certificate after Masters Degree. He also felt in some part of his life that awards in India are given like Prasad in temples.
How did he die?
He has reportedly died of post coronavirus complications and his health was constantly deteriorating in a hospital in Chandigarh. He lost his wife just 5 days back on Sunday 13 June 2021 due to the same reason. Both of them suffered from coronavirus in May 2021.