Gopa (Brijinder Dargan) was born on February 13, 1946 in a simple religious Sikh family of Patiala, Panjab, a princely state of India. She was eldest of five siblings (two brothers and three sisters). She got her early education from Patiala and later completed her post-graduation in Botany (M.Sc Honours) specialising in Plant Cytogenetics from Panjab University Chandigarh. During this time she met her prospective husband, as her class mate Joginder Singh Dargan ( Dr J.S.Dargan ), a farmer’s son, who was pursuing his doctorate degree in Mycology and Plant Pathology in the same department, whom she married in 1972. After completing their respective degrees, Gopa joined as a Professor of Botany at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College in Chandigarh and her husband joined Punjabi University Patiala as Professor of Botany. They had two children, a daughter Gaganjot, a dentist settled in Jaipur and a son Ramandeep (Tony Dargan), a psychiatrist in the UK.
Gopa was a rare combination of rural and urban upbringing. She was very fond of simple life and was happy to spend her time, whenever available, with poor and needy people at her in-laws’ village along with her growing -up children. At Chandigarh, she was very social with a groups of friends in the ‘College’ and in the local community, where they would meet regularly and discuss ways and means to uplift children from disadvantaged background. While at home she had adopted a family from a village in the Himalayas. She provided opportunities for ‘the couple’ and their children and always strived hard to make them self reliant. In the ‘College’ she was a popular teacher with students and colleagues alike. After more than 35 years of service, she retired in 2006. A spiritual lady and a firm believer of God, she used to start her day with her daily prayers. She enjoyed a good health and followed a daily fitness routine.
In April 2011 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She accepted the will of God and remained determined to fight against the disease. She was always positive even when she underwent treatment.
With her family and children, she travelled many countries of the Europe and Asia, always choosing life over physical or mental pain and not submitting to the side-effects of the cancer drugs. She participated in all social engagements with an ever smiling face. Many a time, during this period, she had health concerns but overcame with great will and determination.
After fighting for about nine long years, finally she bade farewell to this world after a very brief illness on May 5, 2020.
She will always be remembered for her courage and her kindness.