Singh Sabha Movement

What is Singh Sabha?

  • Singh Sabha Movement

During the third quarter of the 19th century, the Sikhs ultimately came to the bitter conclusion that they cannot oust the British Power from their homeland, the Punjab, since neither the Hindus nor the Muslims would joint them in doing so and the Sikhs, there fore, turned their face towards the roots of their religious faith. It was in this background that they invited a Hindu demagogue from Maharashtra, Swami Daya Nand, to preach against idolatry amongst Hindus. Swami Daya Nand, who had faild to strike roots in any other part of India readily, accepted this invitation and he was warmly welcomed and aided by the Sikhs to establish Arya Samaj Societies in Punjab with the object of purifying Hindu Society of idolatry and other superstitions so that it may regain its pristine spiritual vigour and thus become a natural and ultimate ally of Sikhism.

As it happened, however the Arya Samaj Organisation and Swami Daya Nand, both passed into the hands of an element of Hindu whose primary motivation was the hatred and opposition to Sikhism and not reversion to the original roots of Hinduism. In this manner the Arya Samaj movement became primarily a virulently anti-Sikh movement obliging its Sikh founders and office holders to quit it. Thus a positive Sikh religious reform movement came into existence; called the Singh Sabha movement. The originators and founders of Singh Sabha movement were precisely theose Sikhs who had invited Swami Daya Nand to Punjab and who fostered the Arya Samaj Societies to begin with. In the year 1873, the first central Singh Sabha organisation was established at Amritsar under the chairmanship of Sardar Thakur Singh Sandhawalia, with Giani Gian Singh, the famous Sikh scholar as its secretary. In the year 1879, a rival Singh Sabha Central Organisation was established at Lahore with Professor Gurmukh Singh of the Oriental College as its secretary and in the year1880 both these central organisations merged into one. The clarion call of Singh Sabha movement was ‘back to the original purity of Sikhism’ and to achieve this objective, a large number of social and religious reforms were affected.

The Singh Sabha Movement remained vigorous for about half a century when under the impact of political upheaval in the rest of country, the Sikh ethos was transformed into political yearnings. This change in Sikh attitude became reflected in the Akali Movement with the twin object of purifying Sikh practices and of ousting the foreign political power form India Currently, an influential committee has been set up by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to celebrate the Centenary of the Singh Sabha Movement as well as to revive the pristine purity of Sikh practices.

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