By Rashmi Talwar
His Multiple interests have made Dr Amarjit Singh Tanda stand tall in Australia ——
Mealybugs, weak stocks and wilted leaves irked him no end, as he looked with wonderment at the vast expanse of green fields and thus his passion for seeing ‘unspotted’ green leaves and a rich harvest of crops in his ancestral farms in village Dherian, Nakodar , in the food bowl of India (Punjab) ,shaped his destiny .
It drove him to Entomology- a subject dealing with pest and insect study. And so emerged Dr Amarjit Singh Tanda as the Managing Director of One of the largest independently-owned pest control companies in Sydney, Australia- ‘Tanda Pest Control’- making this decrepit village proud of its son .
With it, he also added the business of ‘Real estate’ finding opportunities galore to explore lands from Down-Under.
However his success did not rob him of his sensitivities, rather it reinforced him to pursue his other desire manifold to consolidate his roots.
Riding high on his commercial success, he grew equally passionate to give back to his motherland in ample measure -through community services, writings, poetry.
He thus won over his fellow Punjabis in faraway lands as well as in the country of his birth — organizing platforms and connecting them across the seven seas with the incomparable flavors of their rich language and culture.
His motherland too took pride in one of its own –Dr Amarjit Tanda as ‘founder’ President of Indian Overseas Congress Australia (IOCA) (established in 2004 by him ), was recently conferred the “Hind Rattan Award 2010” by the Advisory Board of NRI Welfare Society of India, on the eve of Republic Day in New Delhi. For outstanding services, achievements and contributions for keeping the Flag of India high.
In his long service to the community Dr Tanda as IOCA President was nominated as an Independent from Commonwealth Electoral Division of Greenway (New South Wales, Australia ) and has contested three times in the Federal Elections in NSW.
The Punjabi who has distinguished himself as an Entomologist, a Congressman, Poet and Social worker of Indian and Punjabi community has also managed to warm the hearts of fellow Punjabis in Australia and India with his unique style of penning poetry. Having written five collections of Punjabi Poetry -‘Hvavan De Rukh’, ‘Likhtum Neelee Bansri’, ‘Kore Kagaj Te Neele Dastkha’, ‘Diva Safian Da’ and ‘Sulgade Harf’ –his natural pride is in the winning of 11-Firsts and one second prize in poetry competitions and that indisputably remain his most prized possession .
Similarly he has left no stone unturned with his contributions in filmmaking too, with Production of 3 Punjabi Feature films by ‘Tanda Brothers Productions’ –‘Vairi, Dhee Jat D’i, ‘Pehla Pehla Pyar’ and a Hindi Feature Film-‘Smuggler’.
His original research work in the field of Entomology has been recognized by ‘American Biographical Institute, Raleigh, USA’ and his name was included in the 5000 Eminent personalities of the world. He was also awarded with honorary degree in Biology by the ‘Institute of Biology, UK’ as a Charted Biologist.
Dr Tanda often travels to India and touches his Alma Mater – Punjab Agriculture University- PAU Ludhiana , enriching them with useful tips, sharing his vast repertoire of New practices in this field to sustain bumper crops including bee pollination, bio-control of crop insect & pests.
PAU –is where he did his MSc degree in 1976 and PhD degree in 1983 after which he served the university for 15 years in teaching and research in the Department of Entomology and was also In charge of Young Writers’ Association, of the Varsity.
He has authored four books on the ‘Biology & Control of Cockroaches, Biology and Control of Rats and Mice and Management of Termites in Australia’.
The ‘Sikh Society of Australia, Melbourne’ recognized his work for the welfare of the Indian community and conferred him with the ‘International Volunteer for the year 2001’ award.
Dr Tanda is also the Founder President, Punjabi Sahit Academy Sydney and Punjabi Welfare & Cultural Association, Australia.
Speaking to TOI from Sydney, Dr Tanda says – ‘I was a topper in school throughout and poetry is my first love from school days.’
A peek into his poetry gives away his monumental struggle and his never-say-die spirit in true Punjabi style.
The urge to succeed are laid raw in the lines —-
’Agg jadon vi chhaati vich baldi hai
Parbat vi uchche nahin lagde..’(Whenever fire rages in the chest, the mountains do not appear to be too high).
Dr Tanda has worked relentlessly to bring Punjabis together on several platforms including organizing many cultural and welfare programs that has encouraged the community to retain its distinct identity with prizes for children for Bhangra -Gidha performances , Punjabi Dress and Punjabi Singing competitions, besides religious Programs on the ‘Shabad Goshti’ and ‘Aassa Di Vaar’ that saw participation by Intellectuals of Punjabi community and Sikh Scholars .
His joys are in Editing a literary Magazine in Punjabi namely ‘Kaleere’ and Painting. He has to his credit portraits he painted of Gurus, – star crossed lovers of Punjabi lore – Sassi Punnu and a series of paintings related to Punjabi Culture called ‘ Reetee Rivaz’ .