Manjit Bawa was born in Dhuri, British India, and studied fine arts from College of Art, New Delhi between 1958 and 1963, where his professors included Somnath Hore, Rakesh Mehra, Dhanaraj Bhagat, and B.C. Sanyal. In 1964-71 Bawa moved to British where explored silkscreen painting. After returning to India in 1971 he joined College of Art, Delhi as a faculty and began exploring his own artistic journey. His work was highly influenced by Indian mythology and Sufi philosophy.
An artist par excellence, Manjit Bawa was awarded at the first Bharat Bhavan Biennale, Bhopal, in 1986, and received the Lalit Kala Akademi National Award in 1980 and the Dayawati Modi Annual Award in 2000.