Some soldiers never retire. After they give up their uniform, they fight new battles for the nation.
Meet Dr (Col.) Rajinder Singh of 85 (MBBS, DPM, MD- PSYCHIATRY). Treating drug addiction and psychiatry patients FOR 62 YEARS AND STILL COUNTING. This proud son of Punjab continues to take young and enthusiastic steps to curb drug menace. Without charging a single penny, he serves two non-profit organisations dedicated to treating drug addiction in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. In the Army, Col Rajinder served as Senior Advisor in Psychiatry. In 1991, teaming up with his wife, he opened a charitable clinic in the basement of Gurudwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadur, Sector 34, Chandigarh for the patients who cannot afford medical treatment at big private hospitals and need immediate care. He says: My motivation to serve people after I retired from the army was my wife. It was her initiative to start a charitable clinic with the name, Bhai Kanhaiya Lal Charitable Trust. Till her last days of good health, his wife remained engaged in serving the patients. The charitable trust is still functional. With a team of 31 physicians, it is the biggest in the tri-city. Dr. Rajinder Singh himself sees patients of drug addiction and psychiatry at the Gurudwara Sahib. Today, more than 100 patients are given free treatment daily in various disciplines of medicine at this charitable clinic. Dr Rajinder Singh also serves as a volunteer with The Kalgidhar Trust which runs two Drug-De-Addiction and Psychiatry centres, one in Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh and another one in Sangrur, Punjab. He is volunteering at both centres as Director, since 2004 and has seen more than 22,000 patients till now.On sharing his personal feelings for the addicts, he says: I feel very disturbed when I see patients being discriminated by the society or family. The society needs to understand that just like any other disease, addiction too is a disease and that too of brain. And it’s a chronic-relapsing disorder of the brain. The family as well as society should show empathy towards the patients and not shun them. To pursue his mission of treating more and more patients, he understands that he himself has to be physically and mentally fit. So Dr Rajinder Singh regularly practices yoga, and feels that he is blessed to be serving the society by treating patients of drug addiction, where reluctance from the healthcare practitioners is immense.
Dr Rajinder Singh is also a fighter for social causes. He fought against the government to shift the liquor vend that was opened outside his de-addiction centre in Cheema, Sangrur. It took him nearly one-year to get the vend shifted from the village. Even the central and state ministry didn’t pay any attention to his pleas. He says that with the blessings of his gurus, he won the case. He has also been able to fight against the illegal de-addiction centres around his centre in or around village, Cheema, Dist. Sangrur. A fighter, a social worker, a blessed soul, old in age but young at heart, Dr Rajinder Singh is an inspiration for the state and also the nation.
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