Joginder Kaur Luthera: 15.07.1923 to 16.09.2017
Joginder Kaur Luthera (Biji), daughter of Shahid Baba Pratap Singh (of Saaka Punja Sahib Gaddi) peacefully passed away in Auckland last morning (Saturday, September 16, 2017).
She was 94 years of age and left behind four sons and their wives, nine grandchildren and their spouses and 14 great grandchildren.
Among them are the popular Luthera family of Captain SS Luthera, Osvant Singh Luthera and Harinder Pal Singh Luthera.
Hundreds of people attended her funeral on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at the Manukau Memorial Gardens, Papatoetoe, and her Memorial Service was held on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Nanaksar Thath Isher Darbar in Manurewa.
Biji had a magnetic personality and was known for her convictions, strength and positivity.
She was very fashionable, carried herself impeccably with grace and touched many lives as she had an open and giving heart and contagious laughter.
Biji was the family’s guiding beacon, a pillar of strength for her sons and daughters-in-law and a never-ending reservoir of love for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Last link to Gurdwara Freedom Movement
Respected and revered as the daughter of Sikh Qaum, Biji was the last link to the Sikh History of Gurudwara Freedom Movement which concluded with the Martyrdom of her father in 1922. Her Father led a peaceful protest to stop the prisoners train of old pensioners (protesters of ‘Guru Ka Bagh Da Morcha) who were deprived of food and water for more than 24 hours.
Shahid Baba Pratap Singh, who was the honorary Treasurer and Secretary of Punja Sahib Gurdwara, led the Sangat with Langar towards the station and sat on the lines to stop the train, meanwhile completing the ‘Guru Ki Ardas.’
His martyrdom shook the imperial Sarkar and freedom of Sikh Gurdwaras handing over of the Golden Temple Amritsar and formation of the SGPC.
Miracle of Punja Sahib
This (SAKA) event is remembered as the Miracle of Punja Sahib.
From her early childhood, Biji was active in Sikh congregations doing Kirtan, Seva and giving lectures. On October 31 every year, until 1947, a great function was organised by the Sikh community with her at the forefront to mark the martyrdom of her father. Langar was also served to all the passengers of the trains at Punja Sahib to remind them of the Sikhs struggles and sacrifices to gain freedom of Gurudwaras and Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Biji marriage in 1937 at the age of 15, was organised by the whole Gujranwala Sikh Community and attended by prominent Sikh organisations and Saints as well as representatives from the Government and Judiciary.
After the partition of India, Biji settled in Jalandhar city, Punjab with her husband, the late Sardar Sampuran Singh, who was a military Supplies contractor for northern India trading as Kisan Brothers. Being the only child, her mother stayed with her till her death in 1982.
Move to New Delhi
Biji moved with her family to New Delhi living in her House in Greater Kailash Part II until 1987. She was active in many social work activities with Red Cross and War Widows Association and worked tirelessly throughout her life chairing many charitable organisations.
Through her work, she helped establish training centres in many Gurdwaras in Delhi between 1980 -1987 which upskilled thousands of women and destitute girls with skills such as knitting and sewing.
During the 1984 Sikh riots, she was at the forefront, establishing camps to raise funds for victims and bravely rescued many with the help of military and her own personal influence.
Life with a Mission
Biji lived with a mission to motivate others and dedicated her energy in the service and guidance to all with her positive mindset.
She was associated with charitable societies to serve many Sikhs families.
She was the Chairperson of a Trust established in the name of her father Shahid Pratap Singh Memorial Trust with Trustees Raunaq Singh, Dr Inderjit Singh and Giani Zail Singh.
Biji also financially supported many Gurdwaras and Schools in India in the name of Shahid Baba Pratap Singh.
Before settling in Auckland, New Zealand in 1990 with her sons, she travelled widely within India and around the world. Biji also spent time living in England and USA with her sons.
In Auckland, she continued to be actively involved in community work, promoting religious Gurbani amongst children.
She was a founding member of Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust.
Biji was a pillar of strength and guiding light not only for her immediate and extended family, but also for many friends and the community.
A great loss
Her family, friends and extended family from all over the world feel the loss and have been sending messages of grief and condolences and sharing their personal memories.
Biji will always be remembered in our hearts.
The Bereaving Family
Biji is survived by her four sons and daughters in law: Amarjit Singh Luthera & Harjeet Kaur Luthera (USA); Captain SS Luthera & Gurmeet Kaur Luthera (New Zealand); Osvant Singh Luthera & Satinder Kaur Luthera (New Zealand); Harinder Pal Singh Luthera & Darshi Kaur Luthera (New Zealand).
Biji had also acknowledged with great respect the love she carried for Dr Parduman Nagi & Dr Madhu Nagi as her fifth son and daughter in law.
Her grandchildren: Jasbir Singh Luthera & Navreet Kaur (USA); Harpreet Kaur & Dr Bhupinder Singh (USA); Era Kaur & Gurpal Singh (UK); Inderjit Singh Luthera & Binny Luthera (New Zealand); Gurpreet Kaur & Harvinder Singh (New Zealand); Sheeba Luthera (New Zealand); Thakurjit Singh Luthera & Preetika Luthera (New Zealand); Manpreet Kaur & Anant Singh (New Zealand); Nader Pratap Singh Luthera, named after Shahid Pratap Singh (New Zealand).
Her great grandchildren: Khushi (USA), Tajna (USA), Harman (USA), Ujjal (USA), Parmeet (UK), Tavleen (UK), Subani, Saisha, Jastej, Harmish, Jovan, Nevin, Akhand Pratap, and Tej Pratap (all from New Zealand).