The shadow of ill-health can test the patience and will power of even the most determined person in life. For when the body starts showing signs of falling apart, there isn’t much one can do, except pray to the almighty or make regular visits to the hospital. Faced with multiple health issues, a lesser person would have given up eventually, but Sardar Hari Har Singh chose to pull up his socks and hit the road running.
A retired Additional Superintendent of Police (Vigilance and Enforcement) in the city unit, Hari Har Singh is a man whose inspirational story has the power to change even non-believers into believing that with a positive attitude, one can overcome any obstacle life throws our way.
The 70-year-old jogs kilometre after kilometre with his strong and lithe legs along the stretches of Tank Bund, NTR Marg and Sanjeevaiah Park and never misses his physical exercise on any day. So far, he has jogged a distance of over 36,000 km in the last 10 years. Such is the importance he gives to his routine, that he carries a pair of running shoes in his bag, wherever he goes.
It all started in 2000 when he faced several health complications and underwent different surgeries till 2005. From then on, he never turned back and started to wake up at 3:30 am daily to maintain his health by regularly jogging for one-and-a-half hour followed by 90 minutes of Pranayam.
“Even though I underwent several surgeries in my life, I could still be fit by taking up physical activities in my daily routine. I was so hale and hearty that I did not suffer from even minor things like fever, cough, cold or any other ailments for the last three years,” says Hari Har Singh.
To prove that age is not a barrier and surgeries are not a hindrance, he started to take part in marathons after his retirement from the Police Department in 2007 and managed to complete numerous 10K runs under the super veteran category.
“Authorities of LIMCA book of records have collected my data and informed me that I was the only person from the Sikh community in Telangana who underwent and overcame major health issues,” he adds.
He suffered cancer in the stomach in 2003 due to which 80 per cent of his stomach was removed in surgery and he survived with the remaining 20 per cent of his stomach.
An open heart bypass surgery with five grafts in 2004, a urinary tract stone procedure and a brain stroke, apart from paralysis in the right hand and leg, left him weakened and unable to walk. The stroke also caused speech impairment. He also had diabetes which affected his eyesight. However, there was no use for spectacles as he used to wash his eyes early in the morning every day.
When Hari Har Singh started his service in the police department in 1974, he was the only Sikh officer working as a traffic inspector and was named Best Traffic Inspector in Hyderabad in 1999.
During his police service, Hari Har Singh protected civilians from communal clashes in Old City and happened to be the first person to use firing in Patancheru police station in 1979 during attacks on the station. Between 1988 and 89, he was on duty after a curfew was imposed in Dabeerpura for three months.
He also fought against the then AP government in the High Court and, subsequently, won the case and got a favourable court judgement to retain Hyderabad as a part of the sixth zone and not a free zone. His work appeared as a question in the section ‘Telangana Movement and State Formation’ in the entrance examinations of civil services and police officers.
Man of the marathons
- Completed Hyderabad 10K run in 1 hour 45 minutes in 2011
- Completed Airtel Hyderabad relay run net time in 1 hour 27 minutes in 2012
- Finished Hyderabad 10K run in 1 hour 10 minutes in 2013
- In 2015, he completed Hyderabad 10K run in 1 hour 46 minutes
- In 2016, he finished the Airtel 10K run in 1 hour 46 minutes and in the same year, he completed another 10K run in 1 hour 57 minutes
- In 2017, he completed Airtel Hyderabad 10K run in 1 hour 46 minutes and later took part in another 10K run in 1 hour 50 minutes
- In 2018, he completed Hyderabad 10K run in 1 hour 5 minutes