The evening was all about Philanthropy and ‘Saviour Singh’
An exclusive report by Surveshwar Sarvesh
An evening in honour of the renowned Philanthropist Dr SPS Oberoi was hosted by hotelier Kanwarjeet Singh Kochhar in the capital recently. The event saw an impressive gathering of guests from the media world and other walks of life. Among the prominent personalities who graced the glorious evening included Maninder Kaur Oberoi, Navjeet Kochhar, Dr PS Sabharwal, Pavneet Kochhar, Rana Paramjit Singh, Amitabh Shrivastav, Shikha A Sharma, Ravinder Sharma, Gopi Dilani, Sunil Gupta, Fashion Designer Usha Somani, Edna Rose, Acharya Vijaya, Niishu and Puneet Jain to name a few. The Media fraternity was represented by the likes of Neetu Singhal (Chief Editor of NavDrishti Times), eminent journalists Sushil and Sunita Vakil from Daily Samachar Post and Dayanand Vats, Editor-National Media Network.
The two hour long interaction with the esteemed guests saw Dr Oberoi share key accomplishments of ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’, an international charitable trust founded by him. “Sarbat Da Bhala” meaning “Welfare of All, has been involved in various humanitarian missions since the last three decades. The guests seemed delighted to learn about the various philanthropic activities undertaken and initiated by Dr Oberoi at different phases of his life.
The turning point that led Dr Oberoi towards Philanthropic activities in a major way was the hapless plight of the poor villagers based out of Punjab who could not afford the cost of medicines or education for their children.
Over the years, Philanthropy has become a way of life for Dr SPS Oberoi, and earned him the sobriquet “Saviour Singh” for not just Punjabis, but for anyone knocking at his door in crisis in the Middle East or West Asia. He has been instrumental in saving many lives from the gallows. Oberoi shot to fame when he gave the blood money for saving the lives of 17 Indian youths that had been handed the death sentence by a Sharjah civil court for murdering a Pakistan based man some years ago.
Albeit he had a humble beginning when he set afoot in Dubai, it was his vision and sheer hard struggle that saw him set up the Apex Group of Companies. After having launched Sarbat Da Bhala (SDB) offices in all districts of Punjab, Sarsa in Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir (Baramulla and Srinagar), 12 offices in Europe, Asia, USA and Canada, Oberoi undertook remarkable relief work in earthquake ravaged Nepal.
Dr Oberoi and ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’ Trust were recently in the news for helping bring to India the body of the deceased Amarjit Singh, a death row convict who died of a heart attack in Dubai’s Al-Aweer jail. ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’ Trust got in touch with the concerned authorities to help get Amarjit’s body back, and subsequently made arrangements for the body to be flown to his native village Bhamboi in Gurdaspur district. The Trust aided in getting the last rites performed in his native village. Since Amarjit’s father Gurcharan was unable in getting his son’s body back, the timely intervention of Dr Oberoi enabled the family to have a last glimpse of Amarjit before the last rituals. Incidentally, the SDB Trust has so far been instrumental in bringing back more than 40 bodies of Indians who died in the Gulf.
During his interaction with guests, Dr Oberoi shared, ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’ Trust has been working relentlessly for the last many years towards the rehabilitation of widows, the destitute, the orphans, the handicapped, the EWS strata of the society, the blind organizations. Besides the Trust has been lending pivotal support to the different drug de-addiction centres in Punjab, the financially deprived schools, colleges and vocational institutions through the monthly pension schemes. The Trust has also provided infrastructural support to various prisons of Punjab and installed water purifiers in many prisons in India to ensure safe drinking water for the inmates. We have also constructed a School for Special Needs Children near Patiala that caters to around 200 students. Additionally, a hostel has been constructed for 100 ‘special needs’ students besides the hostel accommodation for 300 deaf and dumb boys and girls students on the one acre land purchased by our Trust in Patiala. ‘Humanity’ has been the only bond that we share with the people in need and despair. I began my philanthropic journey with a meagre salary of Rs 350. ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’ Trust has been a ‘dream’ that I have lived, toiled for and breathed all these years.”
The host of the evening and the President of the Delhi Chapter of Sarbat Da Bhala, Kanwarjeet Singh Kochhar added, “Dr Oberoi has been our torchbearer all these years. For his exemplary contribution as a philanthropist, he was awarded the world’s first ever Causa Grand PhD in Philanthropy by the International University of Fundamental Studies (Russia). Another crowning moment came when Prince Marcello, the Prince of Consular Corps of the Principality of Seborga in an official ceremony chose Dr Oberoi as their Honorary Consul General for Republic of India. Dr Oberoi brought laurels to the nation by becoming the first Sikh to represent a European Country in India. Dr Oberoi and his team of volunteers did a remarkable job in helping rehabilitate many citizens during the massive flood catastrophe that struck J&K in 2014. Numerous health camps were organized by them wherein they distributed medicines free of cost amongst the local people as well as blankets, sweaters, jackets, groceries and many other daily household items. Under the able and dynamic leadership of Dr Oberoi, numerous road safety campaigns have been initiated in different parts of the country. The unique aspect about the campaigns being the free distribution of ‘reflector stickers’ that help in preventing accidents caused due to foggy weather conditions. Kudos to him all the way”
The guests had a gala time relishing the scrumptious Hi-Tea menu snacks and appetizers prepared exclusively by the executive chef.