LOCATED ON BATHINDA KOTKAPURA ROAD, GURU KI DHAB IS DEVELOPED AS A MODEL VILLAGE WITH THE PERSONAL FUNDS SHARED BY PARKASH SINGH BADAL’S OLD CLASSMATE AMARJIT SINGH MARWAH, A RENOWNED DENTIST OF THE USA.
American village in Punjab and that too in Malwa region! It is may surprise you. But yes, it is a fact. Travel on Bathinda-Kotkapura road via Jaitu, you will find huge signboards welcoming you in ‘American village’. It is, in fact, Guru Ki Dhab village, where the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, is said to have spent a few days. To convert this historically important village into a ‘model’ village, an NRI doctor Amarjit Singh Marwah had taken the responsibility under the under the Village Improvement Plan (VIP) about a decade ago. Under the VIP scheme, the Punjab government had contributed 75 percent of the total funds required for a project, while the remainder was borne by Marwah, a classmate of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at Sikh National College, Lahore. In the project, Marwah’s wife Kuljit Kaur had also shared her personal funds. And finally, the village got the ‘VIP village’ status. With an integrated development and modernisation programme, the village got concrete roads laid all around, the piped supply of drinking water, covered sewerage channels, a spacious meeting hall for village elders, an Internet-enabled computer centre for youngsters and also some solar streetlights, besides green parks and a library. With these facilities, Guru Ki Dhab started getting fame across the region and taking pride of it, the villagers then unanimously decided to name it ‘American village’.
Not only for Marwah belonging to America, but the facilities, which the village got with his efforts also made them have a feel of living in the suburbs of USA. Though the innocent villagers are unable to count each and every achievement of Marwah, they know him as a co-founder of the Bank of Punjab, and founder of the first LA gurdwara. The KK Marwah Girls College in Faridkot, in the name of his wife Kuljit Kaur, is also his contribution to society that they can tell you. Some of them also call Marwah a “pioneer of basketball” in the Malwa region for his support to the sport. But most of them don’t know that he was the dentist of Hollywood film legend Elizabeth Taylor, who died at the age of 79. “He has three daughters and the whole of his family is settled overseas. He is a very simple man. He comes to the village twice a year and spends time with us, sitting at a commonplace. He inspects the village and feels happy if we keep it clean and green. So, finding it our basic duty, we try to stand up to his expectations,” said Gurjit Singh and Balwant Singh. They were joined by Sandhura Singh and Raja Singh, who recalled how he selected the village. “He belonged to Kotkapura but this village being on the main road and having historical importance in Sikh records, he selected it and finally made it a VIP village. Taking it a step ahead, we named it “American village’ and we are happy to mention that this village has all basic facilities which one can expect to live in,” they added. The village has an odd-1000 population and as the villagers claim, they rarely had a major dispute, not even in political elections.