By The American Bazaar Staff
WASHINGTON, DC: Dr. Harbans Kaur Mangat (January 18, 1935 – November 16, 2013), the mother of well-known Maryland-based physician Dr. Harpal S. Mangat, died in England.
Dr. Harpal Mangat delivered the following eulogy at the South Middlesex Crematorium:
“Doctor Harbans Kaur was born in Loikaw, Burma on January 18th, 1935 to Sardar Sant Singh Chawla and Narain Devi (nee Patheja). Sant Singh had left Rawalpindi in 1906 at the age of eight. Narain Devi hailed from Srinagar, Kashmir. In her early days, mom remembered being sent apples from the orchards in Kashmir that her mamajis owned. She had to sing a shabad every night before sleeping. She was coached in Gurmukhi and the meaning of Gurbani by her mother, a noted Sikh scholar of her day. Sant Singh came from humble beginnings to become the wealthiest man in Burma. He taught mom the importance of doing “Sarbat da bhalla”, “Good to all”. Despite family traditions, he supported my mother to become a doctor. Once she graduated he found the most handsome son of Punjab for Kaur and sent both to England for postgraduate education. He supported both of them for three years in London.
“Our mother did her Diploma in Child Health from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin. She opened her practice in 1963 at 18 West End Road in Southall, England. She was an excellent physician and was always there for her patients. They were very much part of her life and she would be very happy when they brought ‘Ristas’ when I graduated.
As a mother she raised us with an understanding of gurbani, her favorite shabad was ‘Jo mange thakur apna te, soi soi deve’. ‘Whatever you want pray and believe in God almighty he will give.’
“She raised us with excellence as an everyday thing, to be humble and do ‘Sewa’. Her eyes glistened with pride as we achieved. She was proud I gained admission to a top ranked Public School (Private Boarding School) Epsom College. It was her who made me apply to the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland medical school. On admission she insisted that I buy only the newest books with the latest ideas. A value, ‘a Sanskar’ that held good as I moved to Johns Hopkins and Oxford Universities.
“She encouraged me to be everything I could be; her eyes glistened again as I became the bicentennial student union president helping to produce the award winning BBC documentary with Dublin sending back to Epsom ‘the Irish medical school prize’. She instructed me to help many from Ealing and Southall gain admission and to remain humble about it.
“She had a subtle perception with great insight into people. She did not stop talking about Harminder when she first met her and did not leave me alone till I married her. She was delighted to have grandchildren. When she came to the US, she would sit down and sing shabads with them, she was so happy to see her 6’ 4” grandson as a sardar at his dastar bandni.
“She had a mild manner, a steel resolve with a will to get things done. She had incredible strength and grace. She opened up her inner feelings to a few. She was hurt during the departure from her practice disclosing the pain to a select few. In her last few days she told me not just to be a doctor but to go out and save lives.
“Thank you for giving those core values and principles that we have raised into the next generation.”
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