|Name earned||Jathedar Tota Singh The Indian Express|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Party||Shiromani Akali Dal
|Date of Birth||2 March 1941 (Sunday)|
|Birthplace||Didar Singh Wala, Moga, Punjab, British Raj (now India)|
|Date of Death||21 May 2022|
|Place of Death||Mohali, Punjab|
|Age (at the time of death)||81 Years|
|Death Cause||Prolonged Illness Outlook India|
|Hometown||Didar Singh Wala, Moga, Punjab, British Raj (now India)|
|College/University||DM College, Moga|
|Educational Qualification||Degree in Fine Arts from DM College, Moga My Neta|
|Address||Jathedar Tota Singh Residence Moga - 142001|
|Controversies||• During his tenure as the education minister of Punjab, from 1999 to 2000, Jathedar Tota Singh is credited for making English a compulsory subject from Class 1 in state government schools in Punjab. He also advocated the modernisation of the education sector in Punjab by introducing computer literacy in government schools. Meanwhile, Tota Singh was blamed for illegally recruiting 134 clerks in the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB). However, later, he was acquitted in the case and was given a clean chit by the court. Hindustan Times
• During his tenure as the agriculture minister of Punjab, in May 2012, Jathedar Tota Singh was sentenced by a Mohali court for misusing his position by using a vehicle of the Punjab School Education Board. Soon after he was sentenced in the case, Tota Singh resigned from the cabinet and moved to the High Court. The court in its verdict stated that Tota Singh was sentenced to a year in jail and rupees thirty thousand as a penalty. However, his sentence was stayed by Punjab and Haryana High Court.
• In 2015, the whitefly and the distribution of spurious pesticides ruined a massive cotton crop in Punjab during Jathedar Tota Singh's tenure as agriculture minister. Consequently, the leaders of the opposition demanded his resignation.
• The name of his son, Barjinder Singh alias Makhan Brar, who is also an Akali leader, hit the headlines when his name cropped up in the Moga sex scandal in 2012. The other senior Punjab Police officials of Moga also came into the limelight after this scandal. They were all accused of allegedly blackmailing the rich.
|Relationships & More|
|Marital Status (at the time of death)||Married|
• Balwinder Singh (deputy secretary with Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB)
• Barjinder Singh Makhan Brar (SAD leader)
• Dr Jaswinder Singh (a dentist in Calgary)
Daughter- Dr Paramjit Kaur Dhillon (a medical practitioner in the UK)
|Parents||Father- Babu Singh
Mother- Name Not Known
|Assets/Properties My Neta||Movable Assets
• Cash: Rs. 40,000
• Deposits in Banks: Rs. 16,09,525
• Agricultural Land: Rs. 8,75,00,000
• Non Agricultural Land: Rs. 6,50,00,000
• Commercial Buildings: Rs. 1,27,50,000
• Residential Buildings: Rs. 2,50,00,000
• Loans from Banks/FIs: Rs. 3,31,70,000
• Any other Liability: Rs. 3,00,000
|Net Worth (approx.) (as of 2012)||Rs. 15.84 Crores My Neta|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Tota Singh
- Tota Singh was a former Indian minister and senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader. In 2012, he was appointed as the Minister for Agriculture & NRI Affairs in the Shiromani Akali Dal led Punjab Government. He served as the Senior Vice President, a Member of the High Power Committee of Shiromani Akali Dal, and a Member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
- In 1969, Tota Singh was appointed as the party’s district president of the Ferozepur district, which then used to be the largest district of Punjab and included the Faridkot and Moga districts in it.
- In 1985, Tota Singh was appointed as the Chairman Punjab Mandi Board under the ministry of Surjit Singh Barnala. He served the position till 1987.
- Tota Singh earned the title ‘Jathedar’ for being one of the senior-most Shiromani Akali Dal leaders in Punjab.
- In 1997, Tota Singh was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly from the Moga constituency on the ticket of Shiromani Akali Dal. In 1997, he was appointed as the Education Minister in the Third Badal ministry, and he served the position till 2002. In 2002, he again contested the Punjab Legislative Assembly elections from the Moga constituency and won.
- In 1997, when Tota Singh was appointed as the education minister of Punjab by the SAD government, the opposition targeted the SAD-BJP government for appointing Tota Singh to the post as he was an undergraduate.
- In 2012, Tota Singh contested the Punjab Legislative Assembly elections from the Dharamkot constituency and won. He was appointed as a cabinet minister and held the portfolio of Agriculture & NRI Affairs.
- In 2017, Tota Singh lost the assembly election from the Dharamkot constituency. He was defeated by Sukhjit Singh, who became the MLA from Dharamkot on the ticket of the Indian National Congress.
- The SAD party president Sukhbir Singh Badal once said in one of his interviews with a media house that Tota Singh was a ‘father figure’ for him.
- In September 2021, Tota Singh was announced as a candidate from Dharamkot and his son Barjinder Singh Brar alias Makhan was announced as a candidate from Moga by SAD president Sukhbir Badal.
- Soon after the decline of Surjit Singh Barnala’s ministry in Punjab, Badal’s Shiromani Akali Dal led the Punjab government, and Tota Singh reclined faith in the emerging party of Punjab by joining it.
- Apart from being a politician, Tota Singh was also an avid writer. In 2020, he published a book titled ‘Gatha Purkeyan di.’
- Once, in one of his speeches, Tota Singh suggested all the politicians in Punjab a dope test when the drug abuse became a major issue in Punjab. He gave this statement during his campaigns before filing the nomination papers to contest in the Punjab elections.
- Tota Singh died on 21 May 2022. He was cremated on 24 May 2022. His granddaughters volunteered to participate equally in all rituals after his death. His granddaughters, Tapreet and Japreet, gave shoulders to his body, organised wood on the pyre, and put saamagri for the last rites. Tota Singh’s other two granddaughters Harjus Kaur Dhillon (23) and Jasleen Kaur Brar (20) were also present at the funeral. Japreet Kaur, the younger daughter of Barjinder Singh Makhan Brar, said during a conversation with a media house that her grandfather did not differentiate between a girl and a boy. She said,
No one in our family has ever differentiated between a boy and a girl. If we had a brother, he too would have done the same. So why can’t we bid farewell to our grandfather the way we want? We did not think for a second what society would say or if anyone would object. For us he was our baaji who always loved us more than the sons in the family.”
Barjinder Singh said during the same conversation that he was proud of his daughters. He said,
When my daughters told me that they want to participate in the rituals, I was very proud and told them that it was their right to do so. Sikhism has always taught us about great women warriors such as Mai Bhago who had fought the Mughals. If a women can fight the Mughals, then performing these rituals is nothing.”