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Turbaned Tornado

Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year: 2012
ISBN-13: 9788129118424
Page: 113
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Product Code: ESE151
Availability: In Stock
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Foreword Of The Book 'Turbaned Tornado' By Khushwant Singh

I first had the opportunity to meet Sardar Fauja Singh in December 2004 when we invited him back to Punjab to lead commemorative marathon run from Chamkaur Sahib to Fatehgarh Sahib on the Martyrdom Tercentenary of Guru Gobind Singhji's brave Sahibzadas.

This legend of a man, who has only recently celebrated an entire century of the seemingly impossible on earth, surprised all of us with his quiet simplicity, purposefulness and single- minded commitment to his chosen sport and way of life.

Fauja Singh's unprecedented achievements mark a never before triumph of the human spirit and it makes me more than proud that I share with him a common heritage - one that is rooted in the fertile Punjabi hinterland and infused with a zeal that never gives in.

This biography, written by my young friend Khushwant, chronicles perhaps only a part of Fauja Singh's sporting brilliance. But it significantly constitutes the priceless impressions of a man who has witnessed an entire century, spanning two world wars, India's struggle for Independence and the often tumultuous blossoming and maturing of Indian Democracy all the way up to this exciting new age of computers and information.

Fauja Singh witnessed history as it happened. And being the man that he has shown himself to be as also perhaps keeping pace with our fast changing times, he chose to quite literally run his way across the last 15 years!

But for me this great marathon man's biggest accomplishment is in the immeasurable inspiration and motivation his life and the way he continues to live it, brings for generations of young people in Punjab, India and the whole world.

In what no one could possibly rightly refer to as 'the twilight of his life', Fauja Singhji happily runs races to inspire young and not- so-young Punjabis to forsake drugs and instead turn to sport.

I applaud his spirit, thank him and wish him good health and many more marathons. I also congratulate the author for giving us such a rare and close glimpse of a living legend.


Capt. Amarinder Singh

Moti Bagh Palace, Patiala



Preface Of The Book 'Turbaned Tornado' By Khushwant Singh

The first time I met the world's oldest half marathon runner Fauja Singh was in 2005, when I was working on my first book, Sikhs Unlimited. It was one of those meetings that leave a lasting impression and become an important milestone in one's life.

Fauja Singh, 94 years old then, was wearing a blue suit with a tie which had images of marathon runners printed on it. He was in his sports shoes which had his name 'Fauja' and 'Singh' printed on them.

In the first few minutes of our introduction itself, Fauja had made it dear that he was an illiterate, and I should not expect any words of wisdom from him. He in the same breath had also announced the day's itinerary, which included a ten mile walkathon.

My second meeting with Fauja was in May 2010, after his coach Harmander Singh asked me if I could write Fauja Singh's biography to commemorate hundred years of the living legend. His reason for asking me to write was because he had felt that my write-up on Fauja Singh in Sikhs Unlimited was the most authentic till then. However, Harmander had only one condition - that I don't exploit his trainee!

With a promise to use the royalties towards a good cause, I had set off on my journey to the UK to meet the great Fauja once again. The journey was no less than a pilgrimage.

Fauja had not changed. Though he could not place me, as so many writers and journalists have interviewed him over the years, the consistency in his talk, behaviour, eating habits and value system amazed me as we repeated the same journey we undertook five years ago.

Turbaned Tornado is the result of spending endless hours with the runner, his family, coach and others who have been int1uenced by Fauja's life. It traces the runner's roots and tries to capture his life's journey and understand the impact of Fauja on the world around him.

In short, it is a humble attempt to confine in words the life of a man whose spirit is indomitable.

If I have been able to capture even an iota of Fauja Singh's invincible spirit in this book, I think, I have achieved my goal then.


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