BASANT SIṄGH, PAṆḌIT (1868-1941), eminent Nirmalā scholar which status is betokened by the prefix Paṇḍit (meaning a man of surpassing learning) added to his name, was born on 26 June 1868, the son of Bhāī Kālā Siṅgh of a Jaṭṭ Sikh family of Ḍhiṅgarīāṅ village, 3 km north of Ādampur in Jalandhar district of the Punjab. Having served his apprenticeship with the head of the village ḍerā or monastery, Basant Siṅgh left home at the age of 16 and went to Nirmal Pañchāyatī Akhāṛā, premier institution of the Nirmalās, at Kankhal, near Haridvār in Uttar Pradesh, where he learnt Sanskrit and studied classical religious literature under Paṇḍit Dīvān Siṅgh. Two other centres of learning where he studied were Amritsar and Vārāṇasī. Ordained a missionary sādhū of the Nirmalā sect, he joined the ḍerā at Thīkarīvālā, in present-day Saṅgrūr district of the Punjab. After the death of Paṇḍit Dīvān Siṅgh in 1893, Basant Siṅgh became the head of the Ṭhīkarīvālā Ḍerā at the comparatively young age of 25. Among his students at the seminary was the well-known Paṇḍit Kartār Siṅgh of Dākhā. He also wrote commentaries on Gurū Granth Sāhib and the Dasam Granth which have remained unpublished. In 1901, he was appointed to impart religious instruction to the young Mahārājā of Paṭiālā, Bhūpinder Siṅgh. He continued to hold that position of royal tutor for a long time and taught many a young prince of the family, including its future ruler, Yādavinder Siṅgh. After his retirement from the state service he raised several new buildings for Nirmalā monasteries, among them the Ṭhīkarīvālā Ḍerā, Sukdev Kuṭī at Kankhal and Nirmal Anand Bhavan Nivās at Rishīkesh.
Paṇḍit Basant Siṅgh died at Kankhal on 28 June 1941.
Giānī Balwant Siṅgh