Padma Shri, 'The Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh, a former track and field sprinter, was the only athlete to have won a Gold medal in the Commonwealth Games until 2010.
The most coveted athlete in Indian history, Milkha Singh is celebrating his birthday today. Although his birth records are a bit uncertain, however, according to records in Pakistan, he was born 20 November 1929 Govindpura, a village 10 kilometers from Muzaffargarh city in Punjab Province, British India (now Muzaffargarh District, Pakistan) in a Rajput Sikh family. He was one of the 15 siblings, eight of whom died before the partition of India.
After escaping from the horrors of partition, he was going towards a wrong path before he was persuaded by a brother Malkhan, who prompted him to join the Indian Army. In his fourth attempt, he managed to enter the army and this is where his journey to greatness began. He acknowledges the army's contribution to his success. In one of the interviews, he said, "I came from a remote village, I didn't know what running was, or the Olympics".
The Padma Shri awardee has won 4 Gold medals in the Asian Games, one Gold medal in 1958 Commonwealth Games and two Gold and one Silver medals in the National Games of India. Singh and his daughter, Sonia Sanwalka, co-wrote his autobiography, titled The Race of My Life (2013). The book inspired Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a 2013 biographical film of Singh's life. Singh sold the movie rights for one rupee but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople.
We wish Milkha Singh all the love and health on his birthday. May 'The Flying Sikh' keeps on flying.