3 generations of love: How this Sikh family made Mizoram their 'home'

In 1971, Brigadier BS Gill started his military service in the village of Diltlang in Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district. On June 22, 2023, almost fifty-two years later, he returned to the village, which he has grown to call his khua or hometown. But it is not the first time he visited the village since he left in 1973. He has come back to Diltlang at least ten times, he informed EastMojo. This time, he had come to donate a Bolero Camper in memory of his late wife, Kamal Gill, who breathed her last on March 11, 2023. 

While many army personnel come and go, one might wonder what has led Gill to form a close and tight-knit connection with the people of Mizoram through all these years. 

3 generations of love: How this Sikh family made Mizoram their 'home'

The ties go back all the way to his father, Nachhatar Singh Gill, who was an A-class contractor engaged in road construction and infrastructure development work in the then Mizo Hills district from 1954 to 1959. Almost twelve years later, BS Gill walked in his father’s footsteps, but in a different sector. Gill served as an army officer from 1971 to 1973. The connection did not end there: after 29 years, BS Gill’s son Jagminder S Gill followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, serving as a young army officer with 1 Assam Rifles (Lushai Hills Bn) from 2002 to 2004. 

On April 20, 2011, the then-governor of Mizoram, MM Lakhera, presented a Roll of Honour to BS Gill in recognition and honour of the services rendered by three generations of the Gill family from 1954 to 2004 to the people of Mizoram. 

To mark the occasion, a special program was organised in Diltlang. As a part of the event, a medical camp was held, emphasising the importance of healthcare. Brigadier BS Gill generously donated an additional sum of Rs 50,000 for medicines. 

Speaking to EastMojo about his connection to Diltlang, he said, “It is my khua (hometown), I am Diltlang mi (a native of Diltlang).” 

Commenting on the purpose of their donation, he said, “We wanted to help the people of this area so we thought: what could be a better tribute than presenting an ambulance to this village? So we have presented them, we did it today and it is my wife’s birthday, she would have been 72 today. It would give her peace of mind to know we are helping the poor and suffering in the area.” 

3 generations of love: How this Sikh family made Mizoram their 'home'

In a letter, the Young Lai Association (YLA) members of Diltlang village expressed their gratitude to the Gill family, saying, “Firstly, on behalf of all Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), Village Council, Churches and the Villagers of Diltlang, I would like to thank you for your generosity and kindness for us. Actually, words cannot express our gratitude and how grateful and thankful we are for your love and support.”

While Gill initially planned to donate an ambulance, the local residents requested a Bolero camper saying it would serve a “multi-purpose” use as they could use it to carry firewood, water and vegetables while also using it as an ambulance when the need arises. 

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Apart from his dedicated military service, Brigadier BS Gill has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the people of Mizoram. He has actively supported ex-servicemen, elderly individuals, and those in need. Moreover, he has provided financial contributions to various causes, including the Mizoram Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for Covid, assistance for Champhai earthquake victims, support for veterans of World War II, and aid for the preparation of army recruitment. Additionally, he has extended his generosity to assist the sick and needy by contributing to hospitals and providing funds for medicines. During the challenging times of the pandemic, Gill proved his benevolence by assisting the Mizo people stranded in Punjab. 

It may be interesting to note that Gill served as a military officer in Mizoram during the rambuai years, often known as the darkest period in Mizo history, when the MNF fought for self-determination. Commenting on this factor, Gill told EastMojo, “It was not a good time…despite all that, I have so much love for the people. I visit them without any inhibitions. I did my duty but also I had very good relations with the people.” 

Also Read | Why Harvard-educated Roluahpuia’s book on Mizo nationalism is a must read

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