AMĪR SIṄGH, GIĀNĪ (1870-1954), a widely revered Sikh schoolman, was born in 1870 at the village of Dargāhī Shāh in Jhaṅg district, now in Pakistan. His parents, Prem Siṅgh and Ṭhākarī Devī, a religious minded couple of modest means, admitted him at the age of 15 to Mahant Jawāhar Siṅgh Sevāpanthī's ḍerā or monastery, in Sattovālī Galī in Amritsar, to learn Sikh sacred music and scriptures. After the death, in 1888, of Mahant Jawāhar Siṅgh, Amīr Siṅgh had his further education and religious training under Mahant Uttam Siṅgh, the new head of the ḍerā, and later from Giānī Bhagvān Siṅgh and Giānī Bakhshīsh Siṅgh, both noted men of letters of their time. Soon Giānī Amīr Siṅgh's scholarship came to be acknowledged. Mahant Uttam Siṅgh, head of the ḍerā, chose him his successor during his own lifetime. For over 60 years, Giānī Amīr Siṅgh taught Sikh scriptural texts to hundreds of scholars at his ḍerā in Sattovālī Galī, which became a well known school of Sikh learning. In expounding the holy Gurū Granth Sāhib and other texts such as the Dasam Granth and Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth, he had few rivals.
Giānī Amīr Siṅgh, who remained celibate all his life, dressed himself in a white toga. In 1945, he was chosen president of the Rāgamālā Maṇḍan Committee formed to counteract the movement for the expunction from the Gurū Granth Sāhib of the last composition, Rāgamālā, recounting in verse some of the rāgasor musical measures employed in the Holy Book.
Giānī Amīr Siṅgh died at Amritsar on 17 October 1954 at the ripe age of 84 and was succeeded by Sant Kirpāl Siṅgh as head of the ḍerā.
Sarmukh Siṅgh Amole