By Harihar Swarup
Sardar Tarlochan Singh was very popular figure in Parliament even though he had only a short-term of three years in the Rajya Sabha. Apart from Parliament, he excelled in public relations. He was public relation man of the late President Gyani Zail Singh in Rashtrapati Bhavan and did a excellent job. He ably defended the President in all sorts of odd situations which Zail Singh often created. Tarlochan was himself very popular with the press. The reason was that he was always available to them. Some of media persons were his personal friend.
The gossip was circulated those days that Gyaniji was harbouring militants in Rashtrapati Bhavan.K K Tiwari was an ebullient minister in Rajiv Gandhi Government. He called a special press conference to announce that the president has invited terrorists to stay in the President house. The hell broke loose and the President demanded Tiwari’s immediate resignation. For some unknown reason the PMO wanted the news to be kept a secret. It was Republic or Independence Day customary get together at Rashtrapati Bhaven lawns to which large number of senior journalists are invited.
As President’s PR man Tarlochan was everywhere. He whispered in ears of mediamen that the President has asked for Tiwari’s resignation. Next day there was banner headlines in newspapers. The poor Tiwari had to go despite PMO’s efforts to save him.
Tarlochan Singh has done lot of work among Sikhs who were uprooted as a result of anti- Sikh riots. He was decorated this year with Padma Bhushan Award, India’s third civilian award.
Tarlochan also served as Chairman of National Commission for minorities. He had done tremendous work for Sikhs all over the world. He made huge efforts for the rescue and settlement of Silks from Afghanistan after civil war there. He published calendars and developed museums on Sikh history. He has travelled worldwide to educate people about teaching of Gurus.
He was born in Pakistan. The time after partition was very bad for Tarlochan and family. For some time he had to work along with studies. He went to the Punjab University, Chandigarh, to study economics and attained his Masters degree in 1955.
After completing his Master’s degree in economics, Tarlochan started in civil service as Public Relation Officer in Punjab. He served as Joint Secretary, Development. Punjab Markfed from 1972 till 1977. Markfed is the largest cooperative organisation in Asia. He then served Joint Director, Public Relation department in1977 and served in this position till 1980. He was additional director, Department of Tourism, culture, Museum and Archaeology government of Punjab, government of Punjab from 1980-1983.
During his stint as Managing Director of Delhi tourism, he developed two of Delhi’s most popular places; Delhi Haat and Hauz Khas Tourist Complex, for which he won Pacific Asia Travel Association Gold Awards. (IPA Service)