Milkha Singh popularly known as The Flying Sikh passed away aged 91 due to COVID-19 on 18 June 2021. He was a track racer and gave India its first gold medal in the commonwealth games.
His dedication and what he has achieved despite witnessing many tragic incidents in his life have inspired millions, from sportsmen to the common man.
Let’s look at some of his inspiring quotes which he left behind to motivate us.
1. “Life as a sportsperson is hard, and there will certainly be times when you might be tempted to quit, or take shortcuts—but remember there are no shortcuts to success. At such times you should try and derive inspiration from this Urdu couplet: Mita de apni hasti ko agar koi martaba chahe, ki dana khak may mil kar gul-e-gulzar hota hai Destroy your entire existence if you want to reach the zenith, ‘Cos a seed has to become one with the dust to sprout and blossom into a flower.” – Milkha Singh
A page from The Race of My Life(source)
2. “You can achieve anything in life. It just depends on how desperate you are to achieve it.” – Milkha Singh
3. “I was moved to tears by the thought that from being nobody the night before, I had become somebody.” – Milkha Singh
4. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Milkha Singh
5. “The lines on our palms do not decide our future, kambhakt, we, too, have a say in it.” – Milkha Singh
6. “When I reflect upon my life, I can clearly see how my passion for running has dominated my life. The images that flash through my mind are those running….running…running…” – Milkha Singh
7. “History resulted in partition of India and Pakistan but I am Milkha Singh. Whose childhood was spent in Pakistan and youth was spent in India. Childhood taught me to fight poverty and youth taught me how to win. Wherever I ran,India and Pakistan both ran with me.” – Milkha Singh
8. “I would not stop till I had filled up a bucket with my sweat. I would push myself so much that in the end I would collapse and I would have to be admitted to hospital, I would pray to God to save me, promise that I would be more careful in future. And then I would do it all over again.” – Milkha Singh
9. “I was moved to tears by the thought that from being nobody the night before, I had become somebody.” – Milkha Singh
10. “Sprinting from one shady patch to another to escape the blistering heat of the sun on my journey to school Felling the massacre on that fearsome night when most of my family was slaughtered racing trains for fun outrunning the police when I was caught stealing in Shahdra leaving everyone behind in my first race as an army jawan so that I could get an extra glass of milk surging past my competitors in Tokyo when I was declared Asia’s best athlete Running in Pakistan and being hailed as “The Flying Sikh.” – Milkha Singh
11. “Discipline, hard work, will power…. My experience made me so hard that I wasn’t even scared of death.” – Milkha Singh
12. “„The track, to me, was like an open book, in which I could read the meaning and purpose of life. I revered it like I would the sanctum sanctorum in a temple, where the deity resided and before whom I would humbly prostrate myself as a devotee. To keep myself steadfast to my goal, I renounced all pleasures and distractions, to keep myself fit and healthy, and dedicated my life to the ground where I could practice and run. Running had thus become my God, my religion and my beloved.” – Milkha Singh
13. “Hardwork, willpower and dedication, jis insaan mein yeh cheezein hai woh zameen se uth ke aasmaan ko chhu sakta hai.” – Milkha Singh
14. “Don’t be afraid of moving slowly, be afraid of standing still.” – Milkha Singh
15. “Talent must be nurtured from a very young age for it to grow and flourish.” – Milkha Singh
16. “My perseverance and tenacity were relentless. Besides, I firmly believed that if a person works hard and sincerely, his efforts would be rewarded.” – Milkha Singh
17. “In my experience, the relationship between a coach and a trainee has to be based on extreme trust. He is your guide, your mentor, and also your sternest critic. A coach should be a hard taskmaster as well and discipline you if the need arises; after all, it is he who controls your career as an athlete. All the coaches who have trained me, including Gurdev Singh, Baldev Singh, Ranbir Singh, and Dr. Howard, have been sources of great inspiration and motivation for me.” – Milkha Singh
18. “I started believing that I could be the best. Another constant motivation was a burning desire to do well for the country—I was well aware that my good performance would lead to the glory of India.” – Milkha Singh
19. ” My struggles and perseverance had finally heaped huge rewards, not only for me but for my country as well.” – Milkha Singh
20. “Life has given me much more than I hoped for, however, I have one remaining desire: to see an Indian runner win back the Olympic medal that slipped away from my hand on that fateful day in Rome.” – Milkha Singh
India will never forget Milkha Singh because he was and will remain the flying Sikh of India always.