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Wisdom Stories Ep.4: Mr. Gurpreet Singh Bindra

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Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

I completed my schooling at St. Joseph’s College, Nainital and studied Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. The Irish Christian Brothers in my school, gave me a strong foundation of values while at IIT, I learnt the importance of analytical rigour.

Mr. Gurpreet Singh on Wisdom Stories
Mr. Gurpreet Singh Bindra

After working for some years with Union Carbide, I joined my family’s construction business, where I built numerous thermal power stations, ordnance factories and industrial structures. This decision turned my life around from a mundane corporate existence to a career with purpose. I used my skills to execute meaningful nation-wide building projects.

I learnt a lot from my uncle, Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora. His conduct of the 1971 war is still fresh in my memory. No matter what the situation, he handled it. I learnt meticulous planning and execution from him. I was deeply influenced by one of my teachers, who said, “The main goal in life is never to panic”. My uncle embodied it. My school motto, “Certa Bonum Certamen” has also been a big inspiration for me. Translated to English, it means “Fight The Good Fight” – Give everything your best shot, but do it cleanly, honestly and fairly.

I am restless and cannot stay idle. After retiring from active construction, I took on various consulting projects. However, finding that I wanted to contribute more and with a desire to give back to society, I got involved in the community affairs at Vasant Vihar colony in New Delhi. In 2018, I was elected President of Vasant Vihar Welfare Association, a position I hold till date. During COVID-19, my team led multiple initiatives around food and medical supplies distribution as well as emergency support. Our efforts were lauded by national media as well as the Washington Post. We are implementing a project related to rainwater harvesting, designing and installing a 24×7 water supply system, and increasing green cover by planting a 955 tree Miyawaki forest. I am currently spear-heading a waste management project to make Vasant Vihar a zero-waste colony.

Problem-solving with his team at the Resident Welfare office

The work I do is meaningful and keeps me engaged. I feel that this is important because it keeps my mental faculties active. Retirement is not an ‘end of life’ phenomenon. I would say that it is the beginning of a new phase where you have the freedom to decide what you want to do, be it work, travel, indulge in your favourite activities, or anything else. It is, however, important to ensure that you do not lead a sedentary life.

Mr. Gurpreet Singh Bindra – President, Vasant Vihar Welfare Association

Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

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