FORMER BA TOWNCLERK SALUTES FORMER BA MAYOR
Guest Writer - Rajendra Prasad
PROLOGUE BY THAKUR RANJIT SINGH
We Ba people are sad to lose another icon of Ba, Dick Singh, coming after recent loss of Daniel Elisha. The second generation Girmitiya and Rotary Boys of Ba are moving towards twilight of life, but they leave big achievements and memories, so they never really die. Same is true for Dijendra Singh, fondly know to all as Dick Singh.
The photos here are by courtesy of FIJI PUNDIT, Thakur Ranjit Singh who last visited Dick Singh at his Clipcott, Yalalevu, Ba, Fiji home on 21 July 2019 after DAV College, Ba Fiji Reunion in Ba.
Thakur was accompanied by Sada Sivan Naicker, another former DAV Student, and National President of TISI Sangam in Fiji.
|Salute to DIJENDRA (DICK) SINGH, father of Ba Sports Stadium and initiator of IDC in Fiji|
The author / writer of this tribute, Rajendra Prasad is also a former DAV College, Ba student. Dick, apart from all his civic and community work, was also a stalwart of Arya Samaj in Ba, which initiated and ran Arya Samaj Schools in Fiji, including DAV. He can rightfully be recognized as Father of Ba Sports Stadium -Govind Park, and initiator of IDC in Fiji over five decades ago.
|Courtesy visit by two former DAV Students. Thakur Ranjit Singh (right) and Sada Sivan Naicker, National President of TISI Sangam, and former DAV Student visited Dick Singh (left) in July, 2019 after DAV Reunion in Ba.|
I, with former Ba residents, Fiji Indian Diaspora and former students of Arya Samaj Schools salute him.
Shat Shat Naman, Om Satgati, Bare Thakurji…you are gone….but not forgotten by Ba where you left your mark…………
|Author Rajendra Prasad, former Ba Town Clerk pays a hearty tribute to one of his former mayors of Ba, Dijendra Singh.|
TRIBUTE BY RAJENDRA PRASAD
It is difficult to find words to pay my heartfelt tribute to my friend Dijendra (Dick) Singh who passed away on Thursday 17 June 2021. Two weeks ago, he lost his beloved wife Prem and he himself had not been well for some time.
My association with this great man went back several decades and I feel privileged that I had the benefit of his wisdom, knowledge, and guidance to raise the profile of Ba as a premier sporting district. Dick was a man of vision and enterprise who delighted in taking big challenges and Govind Park stadium, constructed in 1976, was his crowning glory.
He was the Mayor of Ba and when he conceptualized the mammoth stadium project, others demurred but a few, like me, caught inextricably in the swirl, stood by him. Doubters, detractors, and saboteurs comprised the majority but with Dick in command, few had the courage to confront or dissuade him.
|Portrait of Dick Singh's late father, DEO NANDAN SINGH, at his residence in Ba|
He was physically domineering, mentally agile and a strategic thinker beyond the ordinary. In 1976, he negotiated and bought exclusive rights for the Council to organize the 1976 IDC tournament for $29,500. It was a resounding success, beyond and above anyone’s imagination. The gross income exceeded $160,000, which covered a substantial part of the loan raised to construct the stadium. What more, the Fiji Football Association then realized the potential for earning income and adopted Dick’s strategies to organize future IDC tournaments.
I served Ba as Town Clerk under several mayors, but Dick was different. His restive spirit meant operating at a heightened pace and I liked the challenge. He was not driven by public opinion but by public need, which meant his public perceptions differed from time to time.
Whenever I returned to Ba, since immigrating to New Zealand in 1987, visiting him and his wife was always high on the agenda. In the last few years, Dick’s body was failing but his restive mind defied the crumbling body, as he spouted on the unfinished projects!
Rest in peace great soul!
[About the Author: Rajendra Prasad is former Town Clerk of Ba, a founding Trustee of Fiji Girmit Foundation NZ and is author of two blockbuster books about Fiji’s untold history, told from the heart of the author: TEARS IN PARADISE and ENSLAVED IN PARADISE]