Singh Sabha Movement
The Singh Sabha Movement was a Sikh movement begun in the late 19th century in reaction to the proselytising activities of Brahmo Samajis and Christians. The movement's aims were the revival of the Sikh Gurus' teachings, the production of religious literature in the Punjabi language using the Gurmukhi script, and a campaign to increase literacy.
After the annexation of the Sikh Empire by the British East India Company in 1849, Christian missionaries increased proselytising activities in central Punjab. In 1853, Maharajah Dalip Singh, the last Sikh ruler, was controversially converted to Christianity. The British Government decided in 1886 against his return to India or his re-embracing Sikhism. Despite protests from the India Office, he set sail for "home" on 30 March 1886. He was intercepted and arrested in Aden, where the writ of the Governor-General of India began. He could not be stopped from an informal re-conversion ceremony in Aden, far less grand and symbolic than it would have been in India, done by emissaries. He therefore returned to Sikhism.
The Sri Guru Singh Sabha at Amritsar was formed at a meeting on 1 October 1873. This was attended by several elite Sikhs including some Gianis, priests, and granthis. The following were selected as office-bearers : Thakar Singh Sandhanwalia President, Giani Gian Singh Amritsar Secretary, Amar Singh Deputy Secretary, and, Dharam Singh was Treasurer. The organization decided to work to “re-establish the real Sikh values”.
Singh Sabha at Lahore was formed by the Sikh elite in Lahore on 2 November 1879. The Lahore Singh Sabha launched weekly Gurmukhi Akhbar, in Punjabi, on 10 November 1880; Professor Gurmukh Singh (of Oriental College Lahore) was its first editor. This was followed by formation of Singh sabhas all over Punjab and beyond in Karachi. To achieve better cooperation between the different Sabhas, an umbrella organization called Khalsa Diwan was formed in 1883. The majority of sabhas were members of the Khalsa Diwan.
- "Singh Sabha (Sikhism) Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, SIKH HISTORY IN 10 VOLUMES, Sikh University Press, Belgium, published in 2012; vol 4, pp 49-69
- Singh, Mohinder, ed. History and culture of Panjab. Atlantic Publishers & Distri, 1988, page 95.