INA veteran Ishwar Lall dies

The management, staff and residents of the Sree Narayana Mission (SNM) Nursing Home, family members, friends and thousands of people in Singapore and India are mourning the death of Indian National Army (INA) veteran Ishwar Lall Singh (right), who died of pneumonia on Sunday.

The 92-year-old had a fall a few weeks earlier and received treatment at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. But due to his advanced age and underlying medical conditions, he developed complications and did not recover.

"Ishwar Lall Singh will be missed because he was one of a kind," said SNM CEO S. Devendran.

"He was colourful, led a chequered life and was well-loved. He had a large circle of friends.

"He was the deputy chairman of the residents' committee and led the morning exercises. Though he was wheelchair-bound, he was very active. He contributed immensely and often came up with ideas.

"We are ever grateful for his contributions. He will be greatly missed."

India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described Mr Singh's death as "an irreparable loss".

He tweeted: "The INA veteran fought for India's independence with exceptional courage and diligence. I recall my interaction with him during my Singapore visit in November 2019. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family. Om Shanti."

The High Commission of India in Singapore also tweeted: "We deeply mourn the loss of INA veteran Ishwar Lall Singh. May his soul rest in peace."

Mr Singh, whose parents migrated to Singapore from Punjab in 1927, was just 14 when he got a job as an assistant to INA commander-in-chief Rash Behari Bose.

He met Indian nationalist icon Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who galvanised the INA members into a fighting force against the British.

"Netaji was climbing up the stairs to meet my master Rash Behari (at the INA office at 18 Mount Rosie Road in Singapore in July 1943) when I stopped him. I told him he could not go up," Mr Singh told tabla! two years ago.

"He looked at me, put his hand on my shoulder and laughed. He then asked me my name. I told him, 'Ishar Singh, son of Kajan Singh'. Netaji then told me, 'From today, you are ishwar ke lal (son of God)'.

"I immediately adopted that name, Ishwar Lall Singh. I added a second L to Lal because I wanted to be different."

Mesmerised by Netaji, Mr Singh decided to become a full-time follower after they met a few more times at Mr Rash Behari's office.

Mr Singh found a full-time job at the INA office after Netaji took control of the organisation from Mr Rash Behari on July 4, 1943.

He later joined the Balak Sena (INA boys' brigade) and received training to handle rifles and other weapons. He was given the rank of havildar major (equivalent to sergeant) in 1944.

After the INA was dissolved in August 1945 following the Japanese surrender to the British forces, Mr Singh found a job as a storeman with the British Royal Army Ordinance Corp (RAOC) and became a supervisor in 1949.

He was with the RAOC till 1956, before he joined the Singapore Volunteer Force as a recruit. Two years later, he became a sergeant and in 1962 was promoted to officer.

Mr Singh later served the Singapore Armed Forces for 22 years before retiring in 1984.

In 2014, he lost his wife Jasbir Kaur. They got married in 1958.

Mr Singh moved in with one of his three nephews - the children of his younger brother Satwant Singh who later went by the name Ishar Singh - as he did not have a child of his own to take care of him.

In 2018, he decided to move to the SNM Nursing Home after a series of falls.

"Ishwar Lall Singh will be missed because he was one of a kind. He was colourful, led a chequered life and was well-loved."

- Sree Narayana Mission CEO S. Devendran


அதற்குள்ளாகவா? இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!

இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!