Shri Kunj Behari Panwar was born in Jaipur, on August 15, 1948. A patriot, loyal to both India and America, he was especially proud that he was born on India’s Independence Day. Rather than elaborate on the biographical details of his life, it seems appropriate for a man that was a role model to so many, to talk about his many wonderful and unmatched qualities.
First and foremost, he was the quintessential gentleman, who always took the high road when the rest of us chose to entangle ourselves in life’s sordid squabbles. He always saw the brightest side of every human being, no matter what the circumstance. He said sorry easily, and without warrant. He overlooked our many flaws. And he always made that telephone call, without keeping score. Second, he loved life. I have seen few men with his joie de vivre. He loved ghazals, old Hindi movies, and both Hindi and Urdu literature. He could invoke just the right Hindi muhaavara, or hearty joke, to frame any situation with his disarming folksy humor. He loved to travel – his big trip to Europe was a source of more than a few anecdotes and many lasting friendships. And he loved a drink, by our third glass one of us was invariably attempting to sing “Aaj jaane ki zid naa karo…”, and he thoroughly enjoyed every out-of-tune rendition.
Finally, he loved his family – his wife, his brothers and sisters (making little distinction between brothers and cousins), and his children. My, how he loved his children! He devoted his entire life tending to his two daughters and his son. He was proud of their achievements and was happiest in their company. And they loved him equally.
Warren Buffet said that “you should measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.” And by that yardstick, I don’t know anybody who lived a more successful life than Shri Kunj Behari Panwar.
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