AMAR SIṄGH (1888-1948), of the Sher-i-Punjab, journalist, scholar and a prominent figure in Sikh politics, was born on 27 May 1888 at Piṇḍī Gheb in Attock district of the Punjab, now in Pakistan. His grandfather, Gauhar Siṅgh, had held a civil appointment under Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. He spent his childhood and received education in Urdu and Persian in Jammū and Kashmīr where his father, Gulāb Siṅgh, was an employee of the ruler, Mahārājā Pratāp Siṅgh. After his father's death, the family settled in Rāwalpiṇḍī where Amar Siṅgh ran a shop for some time before he adopted journalism as his profession. He launched the Lyall Gazette, a weekly in Urdu, under the patronage of the Chief Khālsā Dīwān whose point of view on political, religious and social issues he supported and discussed in his writings. He gradually turned away from the moderate policies of the Dīwān, and identified himself with the more radical politics of Bābā Khaṛak Siṅgh. In 1921, he renamed his paper Sher-i-Punjab ("Lion of the Punjab") which title became an epithet popularly added to his name. The paper still continues to be issued under this name, since the partition of the Punjab, from Delhi.
Besides journalism, Amar Siṅgh was active in civic and political affairs. He was a member of the municipal committee, Lahore, for 16 years. He was virtually a permanent president of Siṅgh Sabhā, Lahore, and of the managing board of the local historical Sikh shrines. In 1921, he was made a member of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee and, during the Jaito morchā or agitation, he was arrested (7 January 1924) and sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment. He was elected to the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act in 1926 and 1930. During subsequent elections in 1933, 1936 and 1939 (the last in the series till after Independence), he came in as a co-opted member. When in 1934 Bābā Khaṛak Siṅgh dissociated himself from the Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal and set up his own Central Akālī Dal, Amar Siṅgh was chosen to be the senior vice-president of the new party. In 1947, Amar Siṅgh migrated to Delhi. He died at Kasaulī on 9 July 1948.
Amar Siṅgh wielded a powerful pen. He was an acknowledged master of Urdu prose, and he employed the talent to devastating effect in political and religious polemics. His humorous column Argaṛā, written under a pseudonym, "Risāldār Major, " mixing anecdote, wit and satire, was very popular in contemporary Urdu journalism. Amar Siṅgh also composed verse in Punjabi, Urdu and Persian. He translated Omar Khayām's Rubāiyāt into Punjabi verse. He also wrote two novels and several short stories in Urdu. He was as accomplished a speaker as he was a writer, and frequently addressed Sikh assemblies on religious and political issues.
Jaṅg Bahādur Siṅgh