Kids Corner


Remembering Pritam Kaur





PRITAM KAUR (1937-1941). Born in Zaidan, Iran, to Bawa Hari Singh and Harnam Kaur.

The days have gotten shorter. The air has turned crisp. Yet, I continue with my walks.

There’s something therapeutic about walking. Is it the silence? The silence that allows poetry to flow. The silence that nurtures my very core.

In the ebb and flow of this silence, Pritam enters my consciousness. I know not why.

Pritam was born to my paternal grandparents in Zaidan, Iran in 1937.

Somewhere in my 40’s, I first learnt about her existence. Only because, I had taken it upon myself to make peace with my grandmother. She and I had been at war from the day I was born (my version).

However, in my 40’s, I felt the need to bury the hatchet. So, my weekly telephone calls to her began. Our conversations centered on Pita ji, her husband, the man I adored.

It was a safe topic.

In one of our weekly chats, she spoke about Pritam.

“I gave birth to her, but she was never mine. In my heart, I knew that she would not be on this earth for long. And I was right. She was four years old when she left. Evolved souls like her come to earth to complete their birth cycles. You know, she refused to call your grandfather ‘Pita ji‘. Her Pita ji, she said, was the ‘Wearer of the Plume’ – the Tenth Master.

Over the years, I would hear whispers about Pritam. But never felt the urge to know more.

But now I do. My need is great.

I asked my Dad about her.

“I remember the day she died,” he told me. “It was around 10 or 11 in the morning. I was in school. The bell rang and all the students had to go home because of her death. I ran all the way home.”

“Dad, what else do you remember about her?”

“She used to go the gurdwara very early in the morning, even before Pita ji. She knew all the prayers. I think your bhua (aunt), will be able to tell you more.”

I call my bhua in Delhi. She and I have a special equation. I asked her.

“Pritam was not an ordinary child,” she said. “Every morning she would take flowers from the garden to the gurdwara. Her forehead glowed. She never cried or uttered a harsh word. Everyone loved her. Whenever anyone from Zaidan *the city where they lived in Iran) went to Punjab, they would bring back beautiful clothes for her. She would wear them in the morning and by the evening, she would have given them away. She only ate after she had distributed food to the poor.

“She knew the day she was going to leave. She asked Fatima, our seamstress, to make her a pair of shorts and a shirt. She was very specific about the color. The fabric was to be blue with white dots. She wanted all her things to be burnt with her. She also said that no one was to cry at her passing. In fact, she wanted everyone to celebrate because she said she was going home.

“I remember the day she died. I was home. She came back from the gurdwara with a slight fever. She insisted on taking a bath. After her bath she wore the blue shorts and the shirt. She lay down on the verandah table and covered herself with a sheet. She then said her Father, Guru Gobind Singh ji, was standing behind the curtain and had come to get her.

“And then … she left.

“Pita ji had a very difficult time at her cremation. He would lay her down and then pick her up again and again. He wanted to have a photograph taken of her, but his friend Bhai Mathura Singh advised him not to go against Pritam’s wishes.

“You know, at that time your grandmother rarely went to the gurdwara. She was busy with house-work and the children. But Pritam insisted that her mother do kathaa (religious discourse). So she began doing kathaa with a pothi (book). And continued till the day she, your grandmother, died.”

“Bhua ji,” I interjected, “what a beautiful gift Pritam gave her mother.”

“It was a beautiful gift, given by a beautiful child. Over the years, I heard people say that she ‘chose’ to be born in Pita ji’s home because of his devotion. I too believe that. Pita ji was saintly. But Inni, why the sudden interest in Pritam?”

“I feel her presence. I hear her voice. I want to acknowledge her coming. It seems important.”

Pritam, your fragrance lingers …

January 21, 2015


Conversation about this article

1: Gurpreet Singh (Mumbai, India), January 21, 2015, 6:33 AM.

This is marvelous. It is a fact that for people who are chosen by Him have a child born in their house who teaches them a thing or two about what we are supposed to be doing during our time on this planet. Inni ji has so captured the blessed memory of Pritam Kaur so beautifully. Lovely!

2: Harman Singh (California, USA), January 21, 2015, 1:00 PM.

What a beautiful memory! Thanks for sharing. Sometimes we do tend to forget what is important in life, and spend much of our time entangled in maya.

3: Hardev Singh (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), January 21, 2015, 2:13 PM.

Beautiful story, beautifully told, as always, by Inni ji.

4: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), January 21, 2015, 3:37 PM.

Inni ji, you too are blessed to have had such enlightened souls in your family. Indeed Pritam, and then Bala Pritam himself, came to take her home to complete the last bit of her birth cycle: "Your devotees are very fortunate, their homes are filled with the wealth of Waheguru's Name. Their birth is approved and actions are fruitful ..." [GGS:748.1]

5: Ek Ong Kaar Kaur (Espanola, New Mexico, USA), January 21, 2015, 8:53 PM.

Thank you so much for writing this story. It is so important to witness such a beautiful soul and reality.

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