Most families hope and pray for a secure job for their children. A government job is considered to be a prized possession as it brings in security, stability and a lot of respect in the community.
But there are some families whose goal is to build up the spirit of patriotism in the youth of the country. These are families who do not bat an eyelid when their son decides to give up his ‘secure’ government job and instead follow his passion, his dream to inspire the youth and make them aware of the role played by martyrs.
Meet Mr. Manjit Singh Gill of Village Ghallkalan in Moga district of Punjab, who truly believes that if the spirit of nationalism is built up in the younger generation, not only will they be successful in life but they will also strengthen the entire society. “Once the junoon of Nation building comes in the people, there will not be any corruption, the problem of drugs and other social evils will go and our State and our Nation will emerge stronger than ever,” he says confidently.
To do just that, Mr. Gill gave up his Government job (where he was a gazetted officer) and came back to his village. He now identifies Indians who have made the country proud with their sacrifices and achievements, does complete research on them, creates their life-size sculptures and displays them and their life history at a specially created Desh Bhagat Park in his village.
“Nowadays, students of various schools and colleges of the district and other districts visit the Park and learn about these martyrs. They go back from here with awe in their eyes and a motivation to excel in their chosen field. My family and I are very happy to see the change in them in just a few hours,” he adds.
Creative early years
Mr. Manjit Singh Gill was born in Ghallkalan village on September 5, 1970. His father, Sardar Karnail Singh, is a farmer while his mother, Mrs. Surinder Kaur, is a housewife.
“Right from my younger days, I liked to make toys from mud in the farm. When I joined school in the village, my teachers got very happy on seeing my creations, motivated me and helped me enhance my skills. The small toys slowly became bigger!” he says, smiling at his memories.
He completed his 10th from the school in the village and 12th from a school in Moga. He then shifted to Chandigarh and joined the Government College of Art in Sector 10, where he first did his Bachelor of Fine Arts – Sculpture and then his Masters in it.
Joining the Government
“While I was studying and a little after that I did some research projects and then I straightaway joined the Punjab Government as a Class I Officer. I was posted in the Cultural Affairs, Archeology and Museums Department. I had a multi-dimensional role in which I was responsible for all the displays in the 10 museums in the State, the Monuments in Punjab etc. I was also the Chief Vigilance Officer and I put in a lot of efforts to stem corruption. I used to educate the employees in a very simple and gentle way on how, if they indulged in corruption, they were a traitor towards their own nation. It had tremendous impact. It was a good job with a lot of responsibility.”
“However,” Mr. Gill says, “A thought kept coming repeatedly in my mind… God has given me a great artistic skill… I should leave this job for people who enjoy it even more than I do. I consulted my parents and other family members and they wholeheartedly supported my decision. I was also inspired by our great patriot, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who left his ICS job to serve the nation. I resigned from my government job, shocking everyone .”
Inspiring the youth
Mr. Manjit Singh Gill started creating the Desh Bhagat Museum in his village.”There was a very small piece of land opposite our house, which was owned by someone else. We bought that and then, as we had some money left over from our farming operations, we kept on buying small adjoining patches of land and it is now over one and quarter acres. There, we have created and displayed statues of great personalities like Kartar Singh Sarabha, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Chandrashekhar, Mahatma Gandhi and many more.”
“We also realised that there were many personalities like Milkha Singh, Neerja Bhanot etc. of whom the new generation was not aware at all and so we focused on them. If you are wondering who the ‘we’ is I keep referring to, it is my entire family. My parents, my brother, my sisters, my wife, my children – all of them help me in creating statues, doing research and making the Museum better every day,” he smiles.
“Currently, we are working on a statue of ‘the Missile Man of India’, our great leader and former President Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. We hope to install this statue soon and pay our respects and homage to this great soul.”
Mr. Manjit Singh Gill has 2 sisters and 1 brother – Harjit Kaur, Sukhjeet Kaur and Surjit Singh. He is married to Shivinder Kaur and they have two sons Sauravdeep and Gauravdeep. One of his sisters is with the Punjab Police and a state level athlete while the other is a teacher and a poetess. She has published a book of her poems which has received a lot of acclaim. His brother works on the farm and helps him in the Park every aday in his spare time. Surjit Singh is married to Kamldeep Kaur and they have a son, Prabhjot Singh and a daughter, Sagarjot Kaur.
“Love your nation,” is the message which Mr. Mandip Singh Gill repeats to the youth of the country. “Look at some of the great things people did and how they showed their love for our country. And, do not worry too much about getting rewarded for whatever you dream of doing- just follow your heart, do what you enjoy and you will always be happy and successful.”.