The scion of the famous polo family of Patiala passes away

Sardar Avtar Singh Dhillon belonging to one of the illustrious families of Patiala passed away on 16th July 2020 at Patiala.  He was 84. A great lover of photographs and memoirs of rich historical interests, Avtar Singh Dhillon zealously preserved valuable records depicting rich legacy of Patiala Polo and his Grandfather General Chanda Singh.

In the game of Polo, Patiala had the world’s best Polo Back, General Chanda Singh. Being a proud grandson of Sardar Bahadur General Chanda Singh, OBE, ADC, the greatest Polo Back in the world, Avtar Singh Dhillon all through his life kept all the records of historical accounts intact in his house. With his death Patiala  has lost a great lover of valuable  and cherished memories of  Polo. Besides representing Patiala, his Grandfather  General Chanda Singh ( then a Colonel)   playing in the Polo Championship of Spain at the behest of His Majesty King Alphonso of Spain was  instrumental in the King’s team winning the  Championship. So impressed was the King that he requested him to bring his family and settle in Spain and that he would be pleased  to grant  him a noble  rank with enough  provision  for him and his family. General  Chanda Singh thanked the  King  for  his  generosity, but politely  declined his offer  since he was  already  in the service  of the  Maharaja  of Patiala and  through  whose  patronage he was in Europe. This speaks volumes of the love and loyalty’ of the General, for his princely hometown Patiala, a rare quality in today’s world. He also played in England and France, winning championships in Polo. His forefather, Sardar Bahadur Singh used to finance the Sikh Army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who bestowed upon the title of ” SHAH” by which the members of his family are known to this day.

The scion of the famous polo family of Patiala passes away

Avtar Singh Dhillon ‘s late father Brigadier Fateh Singh, a well known figure of Patiala was also a keen Polo player.  Avtar Singh Dhillon  served as the President of Rotary Club ( Main) Patiala  and was a long time Free Mason  with numerous ranks and degrees to his credit. Lodge Phulkian Number 94, Patiala and Lodge Charity Number 8, Ambala Cantonment and various other lodges of Northern India have mourned the sad demise of  Avtar Singh Dhillon.  His wife who had pre-deceased him in the year 2017 also had served actively in the Red Cross Society  for many years. To his family, relatives and friends, Mr Dhillon will always be remembered as an epitome of goodwill, youth and cheerfulness. Condolences have been pouring in from all quarters.  Brij Bhupinder Singh, Ex- Home  Minister, Punjab regrets his brother-in-law’s sad demise as he will surely miss his warm companionship.

Lt General Dhillon ( retd) formerly GoC XV Corps , also  his brother-in-law, remarked ” In Avtar’s passing away, he had lost a venerable elder brother”. Commodore Shergill ( Retd), Indian Navy said ” My father-in-law’s  dynamic personality, immaculate  attire , knowledge  on ‘matters military’ particularly, apart

from numerous other fields and  forthrightness  was akin to a typical ‘military officer’.  Dr Ashok Gupta has expressed his grief by saying that ”  Dhillon  Sahib was the ‘glory’ of the Lodge”. Dhillon ‘s cousin sister, Mrs Barnala, wife of late Surjit Singh Barnala, former CM Punjab  bas also expressed her grief at his death.

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