Jaswant Singh Gill Wiki, Age, Death, Wife, Family, Biography & More

Jaswant Singh Gill

Jaswant Singh Gill (1939-2019) was an Indian engineer-in-chief who risked his life to save 65 coal miners during a coal mine tragedy in Raniganj, West Bengal, in 1989. The rescue operation is considered India’s and the world’s first successful coal mine rescue operation. [1]The Tribune On 26 November 2019, he died of a cardiac arrest at his home in Amritsar, Punjab, India

Wiki/Biography

Sardar Jaswant Singh Gill [2]Pinkvilla was born on Wednesday, 22 November 1939 (age 80 years, at the time of death) in Sathiala, Amritsar, Punjab, India. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius. From class 1 to 4, he studied at an Urdu School in Amritsar, Punjab. He then completed his class 12 at Khalsa College School, Amritsar, Punjab, India. He attended Khalsa College, Amritsar, to pursue a B.Sc. (non-medical) in 1959. He then attended Panjab University, Chandigarh. From 1961 to 1965, he did graduation in Mining Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, Jharkhand. In 2018, he attended Khalsa College, Amritsar, to pursue LLB. However, he could not complete the degree as he passed away in 2019. [3]The Tribune [4]The World Sikh News

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 10″

Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper

Eye Colour: Black

Jaswant Singh Gill

Family

Jaswant Singh belonged to a Sikh family. [5]The World Sikh News

Parents & Siblings

His father, Daswandha Singh Gill, was a se­nior clerk at the postal de­partment in Am­rit­sar, Punjab. His mother’s name is Sar­darni Pree­tam Kaur Gill. He had two brothers named Kulwant Singh Gill (retd. bank manager) and Dr Harwant Singh Gill (D. Ortho, re­tired as SMO from the PCMS College). He had two sisters. His sister Narinder Kaur was a teacher, who retired as a head­mistress of a gov­ern­ment school. His second sister Dr Raminder Kaur was a pathologist and former HOD at Rajindra Medical College, Patiala, and GMC, Amritsar. Jaswant Singh was the fourth child of his parents.

Wife & Children

On 19 October 1969, he got married to Nirdosh Kaur. The couple had two sons and two daughters. One of his sons Sarpreet Singh Gill is a cardiologist who works at Johns Hopkins University in the USA, and one of his daughters’ names is Poonam Gill.

Jaswant Singh Gill and his wife

Jaswant Singh Gill and his wife

Jaswant Singh Gill with his son Dr Sarpreet Singh Gill

Jaswant Singh Gill with his son Dr Sarpreet Singh Gill

Jaswant Singh Gill's daughter Poonam Gill

Jaswant Singh Gill’s daughter Poonam Gill

Career

After completing his graduation in mining engineering, he got a job offer from the coal firm Chand Thapar & Bros (coal Sales) Ltd. After working there for a few years, Jaswant resigned from his job, and in 1972, he started working at Coal India Limited as an engineer. After a few years, he was promoted to Sub-Divisional Engineer and then Executive Engineer at Coal India Limited. Later, he was promoted to Chief General Manager ED (Safety & Rescue) at Coal India Limited, Raniganj, West Bengal.

Coal Mine Rescue Operation 1989

In 1989, Jaswant was working as a Chief General Manager ED (Safety & Rescue) at Coal India Limited, Raniganj, West Bengal. On 13 November 1989, while 220 coal miners were working at a coal mine in Raniganj, West Bengal, during a series of blasts to break the coal mine, someone accidentally touched the upper seam of the mine, due to which water started flooding the mine. In the ruckus, out of 220 miners, 71 miners were left trapped in the borewell and others were evacuated from the mine immediately. Soon, the shafts started flooding with water in which 6 coal miners drowned, and 65 coal miners were left trapped.

Jaswant Singh at the site of the coal mine tragedy in Raniganj (1989)

Jaswant Singh at the site of the coal mine tragedy in Raniganj (1989)

When Jaswant Singh arrived at the site, he decided to save the lives of 65 miners at any cost. He then came up with the idea of making a steel capsule which would help in evacuating one person at a time. Immediately, a borehole of 22 inches in diameter was drilled through which the capsule could travel. After a day-night effort of 2 days, the capsule was ready. Jaswant Singh had briefed the rescue process to two rescue men, but at the last moment, they ran away. Jaswant Singh then decided that he would himself carry out the rescue process. He then sought the chairman’s permission to go into the steel capsule. However, the chairman was not ready to risk Jaswant’s life. Later, Jaswant somehow convinced the chairman, who said,

The man who rescues these miners, his name will be writ­ten in golden let­ters in the his­tory of min­ing.”

On 16 November 1989, at 2:30 am, Jaswant entered the capsule and went down into the borewell to save the trapped miners. In an interview, Jaswant’s son, while sharing the whole incident, said,

At 2:30 am, on the night of 16 No­vem­ber 1989, my fa­ther en­tered the Cap­sule to go down into a cer­tain death trap. Al­most a hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple who had by now gath­ered at the site shouted slo­gans to en­cour­age him. As the Cap­sule be­gan its de­scent, the torque in the new steel rope started re­liev­ing and made the Cap­sule spin at a high speed in a clock­wise mo­tion and then in an an­ti­clock­wise mo­tion. It was a nerve-wrack­ing en­deav­our, yet my fa­ther con­quered his fear with sheer de­ter­mi­na­tion and con­cen­tra­tion. In about 15 min­utes he reached the pit bot­tom as a man­ual winch was be­ing used to lower the Cap­sule.”

 

His son further shared how Jaswant Singh saved the miners one by one. He said,

As soon as he opened the front hatch of the Cap­sule, he saw 65 scared faces in front of him with the fear of im­pend­ing death writ large on their faces. He caught hold of the near­est worker, put him into the Cap­sule and sig­nalled with a ham­mer he was car­ry­ing for the Cap­sule to be hoisted up. He then turned to the re­main­ing min­ers and asked if any of them was in­jured or sick. The first 9 to­kens were given to those who had in­juries and those who had a fever. He then asked for the hi­er­ar­chy of the work­ers and gave out to­kens from the ju­nior most to the se­nior-most work­ers and told them that he would va­cate the mine last af­ter send­ing all of them out one by one.”

Jaswant Singh Gill with the capsule used in coal mine tragedy

Jaswant Singh Gill with the capsule used in coal mine tragedy

After evacuating all the miners, Jaswant Singh came out from the borewell in the last. The whole process took around 6 hours. Later, he assisted in another rescue operation of 14 miners trapped in the coal mine at East Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya. Jaswant Singh retired from his services at Coal India Lt. in 1998, and in 2008, he was appointed by the Disaster Management Committee, Amritsar, Punjab, India, as one of its members. On 26 April 2018, he started working as the President of Rotary International.

Awards, Honours, Achievements

  • 1991: Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak by the then President Ramaswamy Venkataraman
    Jaswant Singh Gill holding Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak

    Jaswant Singh Gill holding Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak

    Jaswant Singh Gill's Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak by the then President Ramaswamy Venkataraman

    Jaswant Singh Gill’s Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak by the then President Ramaswamy Venkataraman

  • 2005: Limca Book of Record as the national record holder for the most successful & largest rescue operation in mining history [6]The Tribune
  • 29 November 2009: Lifetime Achievement Award for Mining by the Indian School of Mines Alumni Association (ISMAA), Delhi
  • 1 November 2013: Lifetime Achievement Award and Rs 1 lakh by the then Union Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal
  • 2013: Swami Vivekanand Award of Excellence

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving Swami Vivekanand Award of Excellence

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving Swami Vivekanand Award of Excellence

  • 24 December 2014: Outstanding Services to Humanity Award from Harman Educational & Social Welfare Society, Amritsar
  • 7 June 2018: World Book of Record, London, UK, for Largest Coal Mine Rescue operation

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving a certificate from the World Book of Records

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving a certificate from the World Book of Records

  • 2018: Indian Iconic Award by Real Flavours Media Group

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving Indian Iconic Award

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving Indian Iconic Award

  • 2019: Pride of the Nation Award, Delhi

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving Pride of the Nation Award

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving Pride of the Nation Award

  • 12 May 2019: Honorary Doctorate (PhD) by Universal Achievers University, Tamil Nadu

    Jaswant Singh Gill's awards

    Jaswant Singh Gill’s awards

Other Award(s)

  • Vijay Rath National Award from IICM, Ranchi

    Jaswant Singh Gill's Vijay Rath Award

    Jaswant Singh Gill’s Vijay Rath Award

  • Excellence in Safety Award from Coal India Ltd, Calcutta
  • Bhagat Puran Singh Award from Guru Arjun Dev Mandal, Patiala
  • Farishta-E-Kaum Award from Sache Patshah Magazine, New Delhi

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving an award

    Jaswant Singh Gill receiving an award

Death

On 26 November 2019, he suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Amritsar, Punjab, India. [7]The World Sikh News His antim ardaas (last rites) was performed at Gurudwara Chhevin Patshahi, A/B Block, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Facts/Trivia

  • In India, 16 November is marked as ‘Rescue Day’ to commemorate the rescue operation carried on by Jaswant Singh in 1989.
  • In 2019, he was invited to the talk show ‘Josh Talks’ (Punjabi), as a guest speaker.

    Jaswant Singh Gill in Josh Talks

    Jaswant Singh Gill in Josh Talks

  • In memory of Jaswant Singh Gill, an award Jaswant Singh Gill Memorial Industrial Safety Excellence Award was started with award money of Rs 50,000.
  • A chowk on Majitha Road in Amritsar, Punjab, India, is also named after him.

    The chowk on Majitha Road which is named after Er Jaswant Singh Gill

    The chowk on Majitha Road which is named after Er Jaswant Singh Gill

  • In his remembrance, a memorial gate at Kunustoria Area, Eastern Coalfield Limited, and a garden in ECL West Bengal are constructed. A bulletin is also released in his memory.
    A memorial gate made in remembrance of Jaswant Singh Gill at Kunustoria Area, Eastern Coalfields Limited

    A memorial gate made in remembrance of Jaswant Singh Gill at Kunustoria Area, Eastern Coalfields Limited

    A garden named in remembrance of Jaswant Singh Gill

    A garden named in remembrance of Jaswant Singh Gill

  • On 11 April 2022, his portrait was unveiled at the Sikh Museum in the Holy Golden Temple. The event was attended by his family members.

    Jaswant Singh Gill's family members at an event where his portrait was unveiled at the Sikh Museum at the premises of the Holy Golden Temple

    Jaswant Singh Gill’s family members at an event where his portrait was unveiled at the Sikh Museum at the premises of the Holy Golden Temple

  • During an interview, while talking about making a biopic on Jaswant Singh Gill, his son said,

    In 2017, he (Jaswant) was ap­proached by Tinu De­sai from Mum­bai, who had di­rected the Bol­ly­wood movie Rus­tom with ac­tor Ak­shay Ku­mar and of­fered to make a Hindi movie on the res­cue. Un­for­tu­nately, my fa­ther passed away on 26 No­vem­ber 2019, fol­low­ing a mas­sive car­diac ar­rest.”

  • In November 2022, the first look of the biopic on Jaswant Singh Gill was shared in the media. The film is directed by the Indian director Vashu Bhagnani. The Indian actor Akshay Kumar was roped in to portray Jaswant Singh in the film. In a tweet, while talking about the film, Akshay Kumar wrote,

    Grateful to you @JoshiPralhad ji, for recalling India’s first coal mine rescue mission – this day 33yrs ago. मेरा सौभाग्य है कि मैं #SardarJaswantSinghGill जी का किरदार अपनी फ़िल्म में निभा रहा हूँ. It’s a story like no [email protected]

    Akshay Kumar's look as Jaswant Singh Gill

    Akshay Kumar’s look as Jaswant Singh Gill

    The director of the film Vashu Bhagnani tweeted,

    Remembering Late #SardarJaswantSinghGill on this day, who rescued the lives of miners who were stuck in the coal mines of Raniganj under very difficult circumstances. It is indeed an honour and privilege to showcase his heroic act in our next film.”

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