Kanwar Manjit Singh Ji , one of the Moghuls

Biswanath Bhattacharya

February 8, 2024, 12:14:51   

Kanwar Manjit Singh Ji , one of  the Moghuls

“What I advise you to do is, not to be unhappy before the crisis comes; since it may be that the dangers before which you paled as if they were threatening you, will never come upon you; they certainly have not yet come. Accordingly, some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating sorrow.”

I don’t know when I became a friend of Kanwar Manjit Singh – maybe through Mohinder Bil Pal Singh, the son of former Air Marshal Dilbagh Singh. 

In the arena of Facebook, I have interacted with many personalities of varied interests and with interesting perceptions of life. I can undoubtedly say that Kanwar Ji was the rarest, exclusive, limited-edition of a gem. There are only some of them! A rare gem is tough to find, and the more complex, the more limited it is in quantity, the more valuable it becomes, and  Kanwar  Manjit Singh Ji was one of them.

His schooling was done at Bishop Cotton College, Shimla, one of the best schools in India. He studied English Literature at St. Stephens, Delhi, and Finance at the University of Strathclyde.  After his college education was over, he taught Sonnets of Shakespeare at St. Stephens, Delhi. A rarest of rare gems!

He was almost King of Shimla and owned a sprawling apple orchard. He loved Shimla from the core of his heart. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Shimla is a charming hill station that offers a perfect blend of scenic beauty, colonial architecture, and rich cultural heritage. It's no wonder that Shimla has been a popular destination for tourists seeking respite from the summer heat. With its serene atmosphere, bustling bazaars, and stunning views, Shimla has something to offer for everyone. Shimla, where every step is a journey towards discovering the magic of the city and the hills. Therefore, it is all but natural of him that he would love Shimla. 

He was full of wit and humour. Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food. He that would pun would pink a pocket. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply callisthenics with words.

He is the wisest of men I have ever met. He is like Archimedes. Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum to place it, and I shall move the world.  He was full of humour, too. Famous funny guy Charlie Chaplin once said, "A day without laughter is a day wasted," and we couldn't agree more. Whether you're having a bad day or know someone who could use a little cheering up, laughter is the best medicine — plus, there are so many ways to tickle your funny bone. Telling corny jokes or watching feel-good comedies is a sure-fire way to add fun to your day, but if you need a quick fix, then he has tons of funny quotes that are guaranteed to ease the tension and create a little pocket of joy amid life's stresses.

His Mantra in his life  was : 

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words; keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour; keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habit; keep your habits positive because your habits become your values; keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. It's all in the thinking.  Some people hear a door close, and some attend to the same door opening.  That is the power of positive thinking.  If We think positively, Sound becomes music; Movement becomes dance; Smile becomes laughter; mind becomes meditation; life becomes a celebration.  He used to think positively and tried to remain blessed in his way.  

When I came into contact with him, he was incapable of moving. He couldn't move at all. He asked me to offer Pooja in the Tripureswari ( Matabari) temple at Udaipur, and I arranged it. He offered me money for the pooja and its rituals,  but I politely declined. 

I believe he was a Connoisseur of good food and wine, which caused him disaster. He became overweight and fat. He thought, “I'd rather be overweight and curvy than super thin with no curves. I'm proud of my body.”

 He had friends in every corner of the world. And all his friends were in awe and admiration of him.
He loved me very much and appreciated my writings profusely. He even asked me to publish a book, and he would bear all its expenses.

Once, he requested that I edit one of his books. He was asking a pygmy to help a mountain. A sense of sovereignty comes from life on a mountain, a perception of privacy and isolation, even of dominion. The best way to make a big mountain is to climb that mountain; the best way to shorten a long road is to travel on that road! Anything that looks big or long to you is because you didn't go to it. After all, you didn't live it. But I did not dare to climb a mountain like Kanwar Manjit Singh. 

I requested him to associate one of my best friends with this edition of the project. He politely declined. He said that in his book, there is something highly personal, barring me, no one should be privy to. I was humbled to see his trust in me.

At that time, I was required to go to Gujarat for a personal purpose ( which did not materialise at all). I asked for some time, and he thought it was a polite way to refuse. He was very much self-conscious of his prestige and his proud family heritage. He was a bit sentimental, too. Sentimentality is a form of fatigue. I think sometimes good sentimentality is fun when it's balanced. Sentimentality is a false sense of self. Earnestness can ferment into sentimentality.

He slowly disassociated me from his life, and his arrival in my life was very few and far between. 
One day, I learnt from one of my friends that he had gone to the way of all the earth, and I confirmed it with my friend Mohinder. 

 I will never know whether his book was ever published. It happened so quickly. I will request my friends to give me a copy. A voracious reader and a prolific writer as he were, it must be a gem of a book. 
I write because it gives me the greatest possible artistic pleasure to write. If my work pleases the few, I am gratified. This letter is a tribute to the late Kanwar Manjit

Om Saha Navavatu
Saha Nau Bhunaktu
Saha Viryam Karavaavahai
Tejasvi Navadhitamastu
Maa Vidvisavahai
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti