Dubai: Sardar Gurvinder Singh, a Dubai restaurateur, also known as the “man with a golden heart”, has passed away, his family confirmed. He was 67.
The owner of a popular Indian gourmet house – Sind Punjab restaurant – is also known to many as “Pappi Singh”.
Singh fell ill over a month ago and passed away on Wednesday, leaving a loving family, friends and loyal customers behind.
Singh’s son – Parvinder Singh Arneja (aka Rimpy), owner of Patiala House restaurant chain – confirmed to Gulf News his father’s demise in Dubai.
“My father was a great soul. He was a kind man and generous to the fault. He wore a pleasant smile always and was popularly called a man with the golden heart by friends, family and by his loyal customers,” recalled Rimpy.
Singh’s cremation is set to take place today, Thursday, June 8, at 4 pm, at the Jebel Ali Crematorium.
Singh leaves behind his mother Davinder Kaur, wife, Harninder Kaur (fondly called Pinky), son Rimpy, daughter Gini, son-in-law Jaspreet Singh Gandhi and grandson Aarin.
Leaving a legacy
Ask any old timer in the UAE and they would have dined at Sind Punjab. Such is the popularity of the restaurant. This reporter had earlier done an in-depth story on the Singh and how he started the Sind Punjab restaurant.
Sind Punjab was started in July 1977. It was during the Holy month of Ramadan that Singh opened the first restaurant. He secured special permission from the Dubai government to serve food inside the restaurant after drawing the curtains.”
Need of the hour
Singh, in an interview with Gulf News back in 2019, recalled how during the 70s there was an influx of blue collar workers in Dubai.
“The Dubai World Trade Centre was being constructed and there were many workers mostly Indians coming to work here,” recalled Singh.
He then decided to start the restaurant serving tasty Punjabi food at reasonable rates. The restaurant even today stands tall and has withstood the test of time.
In 1985, the restaurant opened another branch in Karama and later in Dubai Internet City (DIC). The Bur Dubai location remains in the same location all these years. In an earlier interview with Gulf News the late Singh recalled a bowl of daal (yellow lentil gravy) cost Dh3, chole bature (a dish made with friend bread and chick peas) cost Dh5 and a plate of butter chicken around Dh10. “Now it is three to four times the cost,” said Singh during an interview to Gulf News in 2019.
Sind Punjab and Bollywood
Singh’s pleasant personality and the restaurant’s good food ensured every Bollywood star to make a stop at the restaurant and enjoy a Punjabi cuisine. The likes of the great Raj Kapoor his wife Krishna, Shammi Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai among others have dined at his restaurant.
Meanwhile Rimpy said the family has been receiving condolence messages since yesterday. “Following the cremation today, we are having a Bhog and Kirtan Ardaas at the Jebel Ali Gurudwara on June 11 from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm. This will be followed by tea. All are welcome to attend,” said Rimpy.
Textile businessman Vasu Shroff, who is also President of the Hindu temple mourned the death of Singh. “He was a very spiritual and generous man. Everyday he would come and clean the stairs of the temple, donate food and help the needy. And he did it with a smile on his face. He was a very friendly man, loving and giving. We miss him very much,” said Shroff.