Gurnam Singh was known as an efficient Classical homeopath, a sea of knowledge. He was kind to underprivileged people. He practiced in Patiala, Punjab, India for 17 years. He wrote two books, and published a first monthly magazine on homeopathy. He was happily married to Darbar and was blessed with five beautiful children. He gave free treatment to the poor and did not refuse treatment to anyone who could not pay.
He was born on May 1st, 1936, in a small village in Punjab, India. He lost his mother at age 7 due to lack of treatment. He felt helpless and started to spend most of his days at Nanaksar, a Sikh temple close to his home. The Sikh guru there helped him recover from his loss. A couple of years later his father got remarried. He was brought to Calcutta, Bengal along with his younger brother Pyara, by his maternal uncle to get better education. Calcutta is a big city where homeopathy is prevalent. There were great classical homeopaths there, and the people there had strong faith in the science.
As a teenager, he started a small Indian restaurant in Howrah, Bengal, while he continued with his education. He was very fond of reading and would regularly visit the local library. One day, when he went in, the librarian told him that he had read all the books.
Gurnam’s family asked him to come to Punjab for an arranged marriage. He came along with Pyara. Even though Pyara was younger than Gurnam, he was intelligent, witty, and always had fine suggestions for him. Pyara suggested to bring some money back home for marriage, which they ended up giving to their parents. Gurnam got married to Darbar on October 7, 1956. They were asked to stay in their village, since his father needed some help with the business. They had a mithai (Indian sweets) shop and a commercial grinder for wheat. Gurnam and Darbar were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Jaswin on Sep 18th, 1957. Gurnam knew he had to do more with his life, and soon became interested in the health care field.
A few months later he interviewed for hospital jobs in three different cities, and chose Patiala, since he had visited there with his parents as a child. He moved there and accepted a store keeper job in the Rajindra Hospital. The job required him to work 48 hrs per week, earning him Rs 110.00 a week. He also tutored mathematics in the evenings.
Gurnam and Darbar were content with their lives until Jaswin got ill with small pox and nobody could cure her. He took her to the hospital, but they could not treat her. Finally Jaswin was taken to a homeopath who gave her two small doses of medicine. The doctor stated that she will either live, or die in piece. She died on June 26, 1958, at the age of 8.5 months. Gurnam faced death for a second time in his life, and again he began to have no desire to live. His in-laws supported him through this rough time of depression. He was convinced that homeopathy could have helped them.
Darbar got pregnant for the second time, and she began walking to a nearby Sikh temple 2:30 am every day to get blessings for their infant. They were blessed with a baby boy on February 22, 1959 and they named him Kheru. Gurnam soon mentioned to Darbar that he had a strong desire to learn about homeopathy. Darbar was raised in Lahore, Pakistan and lived very close to a homeopathic hospital. She would visit there even when she wasn’t sick, and thus, she liked the idea very much.
Financially, they were barely getting through, and Gurnam knew it was not the right time to start learning about homeopathy. Gurnam and Darbar were given a simple book on homeopathy by a family friend, and he enjoyed it so much that he soon read many more books on the subject. He decided to practice homeopathy from home. He was soon visited by several family members, neighbors and friends. One of the reasons Indian people liked to go to a homeopath was that it was affordable. He leased a small clinic and started to work regular evenings after work.
Convincing patients that homeopathy was a legitimate treatment was not an easy task, since they didn’t believe that tiny, sweet pills could relieve their ailments. He started to read about cases similar to those he had, and began handing out prescriptions to his patients. Slowly, they started to trust him, and he had a good client group. One day, an elderly person came to get treated for his eyes. He got cured, and was so impressed with Gurnam’s work that he decided to join him as his assistant. Gurnam left his storekeeper job and began practicing homeopathy full time.
Gurnam Singh soon realized he needed further education in homeopathy, but he could not go to the homeopathy school, which was thousands of miles away. Darbar soon became pregnant with their third child, and Gurnam did not wish to leave her alone. Darbar encouraged him to go, and suggested that she could live with her parents while he was away at the school. However, there was also the issue of finances. Finally, his best friend offered him Rs. 500 to fund his education, starting his journey to the homeopathic college in Patna.
The principal at the Homeopathic college in Patna told him that he was too late to join the class that year, stating that the students were going to have their exams in two months. He was eventually coerced by Gurnam Singh to get permission to sit down in the exams and use that exam as a practice for future purposes. Gurnam began studying for the exam with all of his heart, hitting the books for 18-23 hrs every single day. He would even tie his long hair to the fan so that every time he began nodding off, and his head began to fall down, it would quickly jerk up and wake him up. Finally, the exam day came, and he sat down with all the other students that had been studying the entire year for that test. When the results finally came, Gurnam Singh found out that he had passed the exam with flying colors. The principle was speechless when he found out, and he explained to the entire school that Gurnam Singh had accomplished more in two months, than they had in a year. This saved Dr. Singh an entire years worth of time, and tuition. Afterwards, Gurnam came back to watch Darbar give birth to their daughter Guro at her parents’ house. As Gurnam Singh waited for the next year to begin, he started up his practice again to keep himself busy.
When he was getting ready to go to the homeopathic college for his second year, he took along Pyara, his brother-in-law Jeet, and a female family friend, Mohan. Darbars’ parents supported the family financially, and Jeet was able to help with the house chores as the three men studied. They all studied hard and slept little, but they came home extremely successful.
When Gurnam Singh finished the college, he was awarded with a gold medal and the other three also finished with honors. They came back and started practicing in different towns in Punjab. Pyara eventually moved to London, England, where he became a renowned physician. Jeet practiced in Jullundur, and Mohan practiced in a remote village close to Patiala.
Homeopathy was flourishing in Patiala, and Gurnam Singh opened up his own college for homeopathy, naming it Ranbir Homeo Medical College. His practice was also thriving to the point that people were getting prescriptions for their pets. For example, there was a family whose cow was not able to deliver its placenta. The family did not believe that one small pill would help the cow at all, but Gurnam Singh simply said “Try it”. After taking a single dose of the medicine, the cow delivered its placenta within seconds. He also used homeopathy to help his own family. Once , when his daughter got burned in a chemistry lab, he gave her a few doses of Urtica Urens, and she was cured in just a few days, and walked away from the event unscathed.
Gurnam very quickly became popular. Patients that were not cured from modern medicine decided to use homeopathy as a last resort, and were surprised when all of their ailments were fixed. The bad part was that he was seeing hundreds of patients every single day. He frequently missed lunch, and did not eat until 5 pm. People would even come to his house at night for emergencies. The practice was having a toll on his well being.
Gurnam always wanted to do more, and decided to write a book about homeopathy. It came out in 1968 and he named the book Vigyan Kala, vigyan meaning science, and kala meaning art. Dr. Singh honestly believed homeopathy was the art of science. He was assisted by an elderly person, who was known as Baba ji, who wrote the book as Gurnam dictated it. It took him about two years to finish the book. Once he finished, he decided to dedicate the book to his mother, who had died due to lack of treatment.
Vigyan Kala is an introduction to homeopathy and it also has philosophy, information from the materia medica, and some therapeutics based on his personal experience. It is written in Punjabi, a layman’s language, since he wanted a simple man to be able to read and understand the book. He could speak and write in five languages, including English, which would have been easier to write in. Later in his life, he stated that he had believed it would have been easy to write a book for scholars, but writing a book for the everyday man was a true challenge, and was more rewarding.
He became a member of an all India homeopathic Association, and was appointed president of the Homeopathic Association of Punjab. He also started to publish a monthly homeopathic magazine, Homeopathic Samachar, the first homeopathic magazine in Punjabi. This magazine had several articles written by many renowned classical homeopaths from all over Punjab, and it even included a column on aphorisms on the Organon.
He also became very distinguished at his practice. His clinic had a large glass window and about three stairs. He could see his patients from a few yards away, and he was able to prescribe medication based on their gait, and he would tell his assistant to get the medicine ready before they even arrived. His patients would say, “Dr. Singh, I haven’t even told you my complaints, and I already have a medicine in front of me.” A week later, the patient would come back cured from his ailments. Patients started to come from other states as word about his ability spread throughout northern India. At one point, he even became Giani Jail Singh’s personal physician, who was the Chief Minister of Punjab at the time, and the president of India a few years later.
Gurnam continued with his busy clinic hours at the Ranbir Homeo Clinic, writing and managing the Homeopathic Samachar and was involved with the Red Cross, and contributions to state and national level homeopathic associations. His friends soon suggested that he should write another book. Baba ji, who was born in 1901, advised, “The daylight of my life is gone, and the evening is going down very rapidly. Let us do something valuable.” Even though he did not have the time to dedicate to his book, he started to write it right away. There were times that Darbar would tell him, “You do not care about yourself but we do.” It took so much time and effort to work on this book that he told Darbar this book has taken ten years out of his life. After five long years of sleepless nights, Gurnam finished his second book, and named it Arog Kala Homeopathy. It was filled with information about anatomy, physiology, and therapeutics in homeopathy.
His two children, Kheru and Guro, passed high school with premedical subjects, and were ready to get into a homeopathic college in Chandigarh. This was the happiest moment in Gurnam’s life. He told Darbar the kids will be done with school in four years and he will semi-retire, and take it easy afterwards. They were so excited and could not wait for the easy life.
In June 1977, he was invited to attend a national health conference attended by Allopaths, Ayurvedas, and Homeopaths. He had just printed the first edition of Arog Kala, and decided to bring it along to present it to Morarji Desai, the Prime Minister of India at the time.
Gurnam started to prepare for his visit to New Delhi, the capital of India. A young boy, Chani, a second year student at the homeopathic college in Ludhiana, came to visit him, and asked for his guidance for the exams. He advised him to study hard and meet with him in a couple of weeks after came back from Delhi.
Gurnam could not take Darbar with him due to children, and other responsibilities. However, Guro had gotten his permission to go along with him. She was so stubborn that since he agreed to take her along, she would not let him change his mind. They finally visited New Delhi via Bus. He attended this meeting along with Jeet and Hari, close relatives of his. They had an amazing three days of sharing knowledge and experience with the other doctors at the conference. He also had the opportunity to present his book to the Prime minister, Morarji Desai.
Three days later he was boating with a friend on June 26, and shared his excitement about his books, meeting with the president, having experienced a great conference, and his excitement at the fact that his children would soon also be going to a homeopathic college. That night he came to his in-laws home and complained of left sided shoulder discomfort/pain. He told them he needed to go to hospital at once. During his drive to the Wilmington hospital he was very uncomfortable due to the uneven roads.
As soon as he reached the emergency room, his family was told he was suffering from a massive heart attack. He sent Hari to bring some homeopathic medication for him, but the pharmacy was closed. He asked Jeet if he could bring Darbar, but it was not possible since she was about 200 miles away from there.
Guro witnessed some regrets on his face and clearly he wanted to apologize to Darbar. Darbar’s younger sister came to visit Gurnam and was not aware of how sick he was. He tried to tell her his important information and she refused to listen. She left after half an hour.
Gurnam was left with his mother in law and Guro, his 15 year old daughter. Within a few minutes he was out of breath, and his family was asked to leave the room. The doctor did CPR, but in vain. He was no more. All the family was in denial till now and thought he is 41 years old and will recover from it.
A well known young homeopath was gone in no time, while away from his beloved wife, Darbar. His eldest son was 18 and youngest child was 4. His two elder children became homeopaths. Gurnam is definitely missed by his family and friends. People who read his books especially admire his true dedication to homeopathy. He is still living through his books today.
i was the student of Dr. Gurnam singh and obtained m.d.h and also obtained hons in homoeopathic materia medica(the ranbir homoeopathic medical college & hospital) in year1965 by our professor Dr. Gurnam singh, i want to meet you regarding my registration
Dr. Arjun Dev Parchanda
Pls. reply as soon as possible
what a story and please email me I can help you in anyway I can?
Thanks for sharing. you should be really proud of your father.
I live in Cary,NC USA
I am also an very old student of Dr Gurnam Singh. I am registered with ontario college of Homeopaths Canada and practising clasical Homeopathy.
I want to ask that The Ranbir homoeo college ,patiala is in existence or not?
Dr. Arjun Dev
A touching and motivational story of a person whom we used to say proudly our family physician in 70’s. This story reminds me that struggling days in Patiala.