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Kiwi-Indian World War II Veteran Passes Away In Auckland

The Late Bhai Sahib Tejinder Singh Ji, affectionately known as Babaji. (Supplied photo)

The Sikh community across New Zealand is mourning the demise of Kiwi-Indian World War II veteran Bhai Sahib Tejinder Singh, affectionately known as Babaji.

The 98-year-old passed away on the morning of April 1, 2024, at his home in Auckland, leaving behind a legacy that reverberates through generations.



Born on November 2, 1925, in Lyallpur, undivided India, Babaji's journey through life was marked by unwavering dedication to Sikh principles and remarkable acts of service.

As a valiant veteran of World War II, he honourably served in the Indian Air Force, retiring with the distinguished rank of Honorary Flying Officer. 

In 1947, amidst the tumult of the Partition, Babaji married Sardarni Amar Kaur and traversed the newly-drawn borders to settle in the village of Rasulpur in Punjab.

Throughout his life, Babaji bore witness to the turbulent currents of history, from the agonising events of the Partition to the harrowing massacres and the 1984 Sikh riots that scarred the collective consciousness. 

Yet, amidst the trials and tribulations, his unwavering faith and steadfast resolve served as a beacon of hope for those around him. In his later years, Babaji immigrated to New Zealand, where he continued to inspire and uplift the Sikh diaspora with his spiritual guidance and profound wisdom.

Babaji's vibrant personality and profound spirituality endeared him to countless individuals, both within and outside the Sikh community. 

Renowned for his soul-stirring kirtans and compelling religious sermons, he had the remarkable ability to touch hearts and transform lives. 

His devotion to Sikhism was exemplified by his tireless dedication to kirtan, often leading sessions that lasted for hours on end. 

Babaji's strict yet compassionate demeanor, coupled with his unyielding commitment to truth and righteousness, left an indelible impression on all who had the privilege of crossing his path.

In the wake of his passing, Babaji leaves behind a grieving family, including his beloved wife, five children, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, all of whom cherish his memory dearly. 

His son Kharag Singh, a prominent businessman who also contested the 2023 general elections on a Labour ticket from Botany, stood by his father's side as he bid farewell to this world.

Reflecting on Babaji's legacy, Kharag Singh remarked, "My father's unwavering faith and profound spirituality have been guiding lights for our family and the community at large. His teachings will continue to resonate in our hearts, inspiring us to walk the path of righteousness and compassion."

Babaji's young grandson Teghbir Singh, who works with Harcourts, exemplified the traditional Indian value system instilled in the family, taking great care of the nonagenarian till his last breath. "I had the good fortune to look after him over the past years. His unwavering ideals and value system will remain as a guiding light throughout my life," Teghbir said.

Babaji's youngest grandson, Kanwarbir Singh, says his grandfather's greatest legacy lies in the imprint he left upon those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him. "His presence was a beacon of strength, radiating warmth and wisdom in equal measure. His resilience will live on in my heart.”

As tributes pour in from around the world, the Sikh community prepares to bid farewell to their beloved Babaji. The funeral procession is scheduled to take place at Ann's Funeral in Wiri, Auckland, on Thursday, April 4, offering an opportunity for friends, family, and well-wishers to pay their final respects to a man whose life was a testament to the enduring power of faith and love.

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