The first planned township of PUNJAB
Preet Nagar, the first planned rural socio-cultural township of Punjab, emerged from the drawing board in 1936. Following the purchase of land lying between Lahore and Amritsar in 1937, the township began to be populated, with the first instance of inhabitation taking place on June 7, 1938, years before the Partition. The township grew with its popularity and became home to a number of personalities, mostly proponents of Punjabi language, literature and culture.
With equality being the idea behind its foundation, the place was characterized by a community kitchen, a common dairy, a common multifarious grocery store, common restaurant for providing pure eatables and mechanized farming for producing commonly needed agricultural products. The invention of novel pure clean toilets here aimed at dispensing with the services of scavengers.
An activity school, successfully run here in 1940, was another novel feature of the township. Every child attending the institution was imparted education as per his or her intellectual abilities. The students were encouraged to opt for extra-curricular activities as per their aptitudes.
Besides the social and economic activities, the place was a hub for activities related to literature, art, theatre, music and culture. The Annual Preet Milnis were one of the most important events that marked the yearly calendar of events held here. These were attended by prominent personalities like Norah Richards (the English great grandmother of Punjabi theatre) and many other renowned Punjabi and Urdu writers.
Once situated in the heart of the larger Punjab, Preet Nagar was relegated to a remote corner of the downsized version of the state on the Indian side, after the partition of 1947. The severe blow thus posed and the fear that marked the turbulent times caused many of its inhabitants to vacate the township and move elsewhere. In the wake of the uncongenial situation thus created and further aggravated by militancy, concerted efforts were made to rejuvenate the place by reintroducing a wide range of social and cultural activities, which encouraged visits by distinguished personalities from India and abroad.
With a view to eternizing the works of Gurbakhsh Singh and Nanak Singh, the Gurbakhsh Singh Nanak Singh Foundation, was established in Preet Nagar on April 16, 1999. A complex titled Preet Bhawan, the mansion of love, marks the existence of the Foundation. Thakur Uday Singh, representing Namdhari Guru Maharaj Jagjit Singh, laid the foundation stone of the Bhawan, artistically designed by renowned architect Mohinderjit Singh, on October 7, 2001. Exactly five years after its establishment on April 16, 1999, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO Mr Madanjit Singh inaugurated the Preet Bhawan on April 16, 2004, thus affording the strayed soul of Preet Nagar an eternal nest.
A decade after the multifarious activities carried out by Gurbakhsh Singh Nanak Singh Foundation, Preet Nagaris has once again embarked on its journey to glory, which had been its legacy since its establishment way back in 1938.
In consonance with its concept of promoting a culture of peace, literacy and Punjabiat and all that pertains to Punjab including its language and literature, the high lanes and by-lanes of the utopian village Preet Nagar, became home to the headquarters of Gurbakhsh Singh Nanak Singh Foundation, on April 16, 1999, when the Foundation devoted to the preservation and promotion of the legacy of stalwart Punjabi litterateurs Gurbakhsh Singh and Nanak Singh, was instituted.
Amidst all the talk of literacy, love, harmony, peace, culture and Punjabiat, it would be unfair to omit the mention of Preet Bhawan, the mansion of love, situated in the heart of the headquarters of Gurbakhsh Singh Nanak Singh Foundation at Preet Nagar, which promulgates the concept of love. The Preet Bhawan plays a key role in propagating love, the sublime emotion that forms the very basis of Preet Nagar, in myriad ways, some of which have been listed here.