Indian athletics legend Milkha Singh, affectionately known as ‘The Flying Sikh’ passed away on Friday after a month-long battle with COVID-19. Singh breathed his last Friday night two days after he was shifted out of the Covid intensive care unit at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.
People across India mourned the death of the Olympic racer and paid their own tributes as India awoke to a gloomy Saturday, overcast with a hurting heart. From sportspersons to politicians, to Bollywood stars everyone condoled the death of one of independent India’s biggest sporting icons.
Now, remembering Milkha Singh, India’s largest public broadcasting agency Prasar Bharati paid homage by going back in time to its archives, a treasure trove of memories, and produced a multi-part radio autobiography that Singh had recorded for the agency.
Shashi Shekhar, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the public broadcasting agency, took to his official Twitter handle to remember Milkha Singh and share the multi-part radio autobiography.
“Saddened by the demise of legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh. The flying Sikh was kind enough to record a multi-part Radio Autobiography with @AkashvaniAIR sharing his life story," he tweeted.
Saddened by the demise of legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh. The flying Sikh was kind enough to record a multi-part Radio Autobiography with @AkashvaniAIR sharing his life story https://t.co/i6Ms8LDK9V— Shashi S शशि शेखर (@shashidigital) June 19, 2021
“I’m happy that you’ve come here to Chandigarh to take my interview…", Singh’s voice rings out over the radio as he begins his story in front of a rapt audience.
The autobiography, titled ‘The Flying Sikh,’ is broken into three parts and has been released on the Prasar Bharati archives’ official YouTube page.
In the radio interview, Singh goes on to narrate his career as a former track and field sprinter, remembering his experiences at the Asian Games, the ’56 Melbourne Summer Olympics, the ’60 Summer Olympics in Rome, and the ’64 Tokyo Olympics, among others.
The first part of the entire interview can be accessed here. Listeners are advised to browse the linked playlist for the second and third parts of the radio autobiography.
Singh had developed complications, including fever and dropping of oxygen saturation level. The 91-year-old, who contracted COVID-19 last month, had tested negative for the virus on Wednesday. Milkha’s 85-year-old wife Nirmal Kaur, who had also been infected by the virus, passed away at a private hospital in Mohali on Sunday.
The legendary athlete is a four-time Asian Games gold medallist and 1958 Commonwealth Games champion but his greatest performance remains the fourth-place finish in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics. He also represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics and was bestowed the Padma Shri in 1959.