Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This is our father, Shri Shanti Sarup Puri, and grandfather and great-grandfather to our children and their children. He was a forester and retired as Divisional Forest Officer, a high post responsible for the growth and conservation of forests in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. His reasonable salary was what he earned and spent, but he enriched his life with dedicated service, sincerity, honesty and being kindhearted. A story about him goes like this: during the 1947 communal riots a mob of rage-packed fanatic Hindu youth armed with swords came to his residence and demanded that he immediately handover all the Muslim women and children, whom he was protecting by giving them safe shelter. My father came out with a loaded rifle and with courage he shouted that if any one in that angry mob would move forward and tried to enter the house he would shoot and kill each one of them. Nobody dared, and all the women and their kids were saved. Besides being a daring person our father was a religious man starting his day by reading Gita, Japji-sahib, and after morning walk and bath he would go thru Guru Granth Sahib which was diligently underlined with red-blue pencil. This picture was taken in front of the bungalow in Dehra Doon's Forest Research Institution where he worked for few years after his retirement in late '50s. The place was on a sloping street where as a 10-year-old kid I used to bicycle, occasionally taking my hands and feet off from the handle and the paddle and that acrobat move once resulted in breaking my right arm. These are nostalgic memories of my childhood and my father. Happy Fathers' Day.

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