Thursday, July 2, 2020

Justice Sat Paul Bangarh – An Obituary

Justice Sat Paul Bangarh – An Obituary

Justice Sat Paul Bangarh, Retired Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, passed away peacefully on the night of Monday, June 29, 2020 with a massive attack at his residence in Phagwara. The sad news came as a shock when one of our friends Retired IAS Sucha Ram Ladhar informed about the demise of Justice Sahib in an WhatsApp message. Justice Sat Paul Bangarh, whatever little I know about him, was a great man both in his professional career and personal life. My senior colleague and a friend, Ambassador Bal Anand introduced me, and many more in our informal group of
retired diplomats and other senior bureaucrats, to Justice Sahib. We interacted with each other on e-mail and social media on matters of mutual concern and interest. I found Bangarh Sahib a well informed and much read intellectual with a deep philosophical and intellectual approach.  I came to know that Justice Sahib was much impressed by spiritual philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti and as such would often quote from his thought while expressing himself.  My motivation to write this piece as a tribute to Justice Bangarh also came from Ambassador Bal Anand when in an e-mail message today, July 1, he wrote to me, ‘ The sudden passing away of our great mutual friend Justice SP Bangarh is too shocking for words!.  A national level athlete, he was indeed a symbol of physical fitness - Death, however, keeps no calendar! All of us are in the Q! I spoke to SR Ladhar yesterday -he says that it was a heart attack at night. It has not been possible to contact the family / any friend in Phagwar. Kindly share more details..’. He further wrote, “I hope that a fuller profile of the distinguished deceased would be shared with all friends-with photo”. And I ventured to write this to convey my own heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and pray for peace to the departed soul.

 On reading the message my another colleague and a member of our informal group also condoled the demise of our friend and wrote, “I was saddened to know the sudden passing away of Justice (Retd.) Mr. SP Bangarh.  Age 68 in today’s time is not too ripe for an athletic and Marathoner personality. A man of spiritual and judicious disposition, I am sure he will have an appropriate position upstairs.  The Group lost a champion. May his soul Rest in Peace!” I have taken the liberty of quoting from the e-mail messages of IFS fraternity as these came.

My personal interaction with Justice Bangarh on email/WhatsApp and phone was always rewarding. It was clear to me that he was a self made man, down to earth but simple. Sometimes last year, our common friend, Ambassador Bal Anand, came to Jalandhar and honoured us by staying with us in our small flat. One of his scheduled appointments was a luncheon meeting with Justice Bangarh at Phagwara. He wanted me to join him and informed his host also. But I could not make it, unfortunately. It would have been a good opportunity to sit with a good and erudite personality. Last year in July, my book, The Bits and Pieces – Reminiscences and Reflections of a Novice, was launched at a solemn function at Jalandhar. I invited him to be with us on the occasion. He immediately agreed but again, unfortunately, this time he could not make it. It may not be out of place to mention that I was happy to know that Justice Bangar’s daughter is married to a young PCS officer, Manav, a worthy son of my old friend Santokh Virdi.
Justice Sat Paul Bangarh, apart from a keen runner, was a community activist to help the hapless have-nots of the society. He was an active social activist under an NGO called PAGAAM, an outfit to vouch for the welfare of SC and OBC communities of Punjab. Just recently, a month ago, I wrote to him about the proposal on April 14, birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, as International Day of Equality and solicited his understanding and support. I was happy to get a prompt reply assuring all support and extending much needed encouragement to carry on with the work in this regard. I did not even dream of his leaving us suddenly and on the morning of Monday, 29 June itself, I e-mailed to him my latest blog: Ambedkar on India’s China Policy. I am sure he must have responded to my blog, as usual, with his views on the subject. But that was not to be.

We will, all said and done, miss Justice Sat Paul Bangarh in the days to come. He was a Karamjogi both in his onerous duties as a Judge and personal life as a simple man with high thinking. I close here by registering my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and prayers for eternal peace to the departed soul of Right Hon’ble Justice Sat Paul Bangarh.

ना  हम थाम  सके ना पकड़ सके दामन;
बहुत करीब से उठकर चला गया कोई !

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