History and posterity will always remember Arjun Atwal, the international golfer from India who now lives in Orlando. Not many know he is the son of Rupinder and Harminder Atwal. Arjun’s father Harminder, popularly known to his friends as “Bindi” passed away on July 27, 2022 after a battle with cancer.
Bindi had a big hand in creating the golfer that Arjun is today. We all know Bindi himself was a winner and he certainly knew how to create one from his own stable !!
In 1957, three Atwal boys joined BCS. There was Bindi and his cousin, Bhupinder. The third, Premjit, was the younger brother of Bhupinder who left BCS at the end of 1959. Bhupinder, the elder guy finished from BCS in 1960.
So, we distinguished between these three Atwal boys by labelling Bindi as “Fatty” Atwal. Physical forms were easily identifiable and of the three he was the most affable, the most pleasant and the most warm. He was also the most easy going with not a care in the world. I recall, vividly, his emerging from the evening showers, wiped and clean but the towel was never draped around his waist. He slung it over his shoulder and nonchalantly ambled past the first entry door (closest to the main staircase leading to the dorms on the right side) to the dormitory at the beginning of a long passage all the way to the cubicles at the end of the corridor. The cubicles were the privileged accommodation for the VIth Form guys. In an all-male environment this brief walk was enough raise a few eyebrows. However, when you look back here was a man who was open, honest and, yes, even naked about anything that he did. Bindi was honest, likeable and easy going.
The Atwal boys travelled every year to School at the beginning of term by train from Calcutta. The family, certainly wealthy, came from the coal mining town of Asansol in West Bengal. Those were the days when parents sent their children from distant cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Nairobi, Singapore and Bangkok because the schools in Simla carried the most favourable reputations for imparting the best all round education. These schools in the hills were the educational establishments of choice for a parent willing to invest in the best education for his child. So that is what motivated the Atwal Family to send Bindi and his brothers to BCS.
Boys from his school days will also remember he possessed a strong arm and was a great shot putter and discus thrower. He finished with the Class of 1961 and was Lefroy House Captain that year.
Bindi was exceptional as a person who fostered and developed lifelong friendships. He was dependable. When bailing out a friend in trouble he would stand by until the crisis had passed. He never walked away.
While, Bindi was born to wealth he was not a man without initiative, drive and possessed a desire to succeed in his own right. He was hard working, had an uncanny knack to develop business and that is what landed him huge road construction contracts in Gaddafi’s Libya. He was discreet, humble and always willing to take on a challenge. He did that with great panache and flair. He celebrated his success and his friends testify to his generosity as a host. Finally, let us not forget his charitable instincts. He was truly a Giver.
A fitting tribute from his classmates, Year of 1961. “ You were an amazing guy and we adored you. Good bye, Bindi “
Photographs of Bindi accompany this note from his exceptional days at BCS
God bless Bindi.
May he rest in peace.
Condolences to the entire family.
1953 – 1958
I had been very close to Bindi and then I met his young son and I was delighted to meet him and got all Bindi´s contact numbers . We have met several times but due to the pandemic we could not come to India . I did keep a close contact with him and That day Badal Called me to say that he is no more . I found a very nice photo of Bindi and Ricky and Badal as usual with his knowledge of Editing a lovely black and white of Bndia . That same day was Rickys birthday .
A great person who fought a very hard battle -and was always positive . I shall always miss him .
Anyone who can give me Arjun´s contact details do let me have it .
All the Best Bindi as I am sure you are in heaven . I am not deleting your number as maybe one day we see a miracle and you call .
Cheers and Our condolences to the whole family .
Bota [Sudhir Kashyp]
As reported at Sify News
Atwal scripts history – first Indian to win on PGA Tour
2010-08-23 13:10:00 Aug 23 (IANS)
Four weeks after he lost his card, Arjun Atwal stormed back into the elite PGA Tour circle with a victory that not many would have given him a chance to achieve at the start of the week of the Wyndham Championships.
In fact, the week started rather early for Atwal as he found his way into the tournament through the Monday qualifier. Players who do not get a direct entry are required to play a qualifying round Monday to try and find a berth into the event – and he created history by becoming the first such player in 24 years to win the tournament after coming through the gruelling Monday test. Fred Wadsworth was the last to do it at the 1986 Southern Open.
Atwal sank a crunch birdie on the 72nd hole to finish the day at three-under 67 and the tournament at 20-under 260 to become the first Indian to win on the PGA Tour. Atwal took home $918,000, the highest ever in his career.
Atwal’s compatriot Jeev Milkha Singh also signed off on a positive note, carding a four-under 66 for a share of the 18th spot with a total of 14-under 266. The Chandigarh golfer’s card was studded with six birdies against a lone double bogey. It was the first time that two Indians figured in the top-20 of a PGA Tour event.
‘I don’t know if it has sunk in yet, seriously. Obviously it was a long-time dream but until it happens you just keep doubting yourself. I had my doubts despite a three-shot lead. I am so glad, I was very nervous, the most nervous I have been in all my life,’ said the 37-year-old Atwal, who was Asia No. 1 in 2003, and has won title on the Asian, European and the Nationwide Tours.
‘I have no words to describe it,’ said Atwal, who has battled a serious shoulder injury the last year. ‘I really grinded it today. I was so nervous over that putt.’
The victory at Sedgefield Country Club earned Atwal his status on the PGA Tour for the rest of this year and the next two years as well. He also gets into many of the invitational events next year, as also the Masters.
Atwal, who was the first Indian to qualify for the PGA Tour in 2004, was also the first Indian to win on the European Tour in 2002 Singapore Masters.
Daniel Chopra, whose mother is Swedish and holds a Swedish passport and is a good friend of Atwal, has twice won on the PGA Tour, but Atwal is the first Indian-born player to do so.
Left stranded in the waiting room at 19-under was seasoned David Toms, who earlier charged up the leaderboard to take the clubhouse lead.
Yet despite the win, Atwal will not be in the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup beginning next week because his temporary Tour membership from a minor medical extension expired after he failed to earn enough money at the end of the Canadian Open. But now with this win he gets an exemption on the Tour for next two years. Locking up a TOUR card for the next couple of years will more than make up for it, though.
Atwal, who held at least part of the lead on each of the first three days – he held outright lead on first and third days and shared after the second – started the day with a three-shot lead.
The leaderboard itself kept changing and Atwal admitted to having a look at it more than once. At one point very briefly, though, seven guys shared the top spot on the leaderboard Sunday. Atwal, though, made just one bogey Sunday and two over his final two rounds.
A close friend of Tiger Woods, who kept texting him through the week, indicated that 21-under could be the winning score, Atwal said, ‘My swing wasn’t feeling great but I just grinded it out and got it done somehow.’
Atwal picked up shots on the third and fourth holes to be two-under at the turn. On his way back, he added another two birdies on the 14th and 16th but a bogey on the 12th prevented him from going 21-under.
‘My goal was to get it to 21-under today. I came up one short. Actually that’s the number my friend Tiger Woods also told me to get to last night,’ he said. ‘It’s all text, we never talk. He’s busy I guess,’ Atwal quipped.
So sound was Atwal’s play through the week that he was also in the top three in the field in driving and putting for the week. He needed just 28 putts on Sunday.
Normally, very cool, Atwal admitted to nerves. ‘The leaderboard just kept changing. Everybody was tied for the lead at certain point. I knew the guys were going to shoot low today. My heart rate was over 150 at the last hole but my caddie told me to relax. I just calmed myself down,’ he said.
‘My mind is a little scrambled right now. The only thing I remember about the week is that after the Monday qualifiers,
I told my caddie that we have got nothing to lose. I don’t have a card anymore,’ he recalled.
‘Guys are going to be out there trying to secure their FedExCup spots or whatever. We’ve got nothing. I don’t have a card. I don’t have anything. Just go out there and free-wheel it, and that’s what I did this week,’ he added.
The turnaround comes after a lost card, which followed shoulder injuries caused by lifting weights in the gym. But on Sunday, all he lifted was his game and the trophy that went with the winner’s cheque.