GIĀN SIṄGH RĀṚEVĀLĀ (1901-1979), administrator and politician, was born on 16 December 1901 at his mother's village Bhaṛī in Ludhiāṇā district. His own ancestral village was Rāṛā, also in Ludhiāṇā district, where his father Ratan Siṅgh was a bisvedār (fief-holder) of the former princely state of Paṭiālā. Giān Siṅgh having received his early education at Bhaṛī, Samrālā and Ludhiāṇā, passed his matriculation examination from Model High School, Paṭiālā, and Bachelor of Arts examination from Mohindrā College, Paṭiālā, in 1925. He then entered the Paṭiālā state service as a nāib nāzim (assistant deputy commissioner) and after a year's training at Paṭiālā he was posted to Sunām. He later served in different positions as under-secretary in the state's foreign office; as district magistrate at Nārnaul; as revenue commissioner of the state of Paṭiālā where he simultaneously functioned as president of the municipal committee of Paṭiālā as excise commissioner; as judge of the state's high court; and as revenue and agriculture minister. After the formation of Paṭiālā and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) in 1948, Sardār Giān Siṅgh Rāṛevālā was appointed its prime minister, and later became the first elected chief minister of PEPSU at the head of a non-Congress coalition ministry formed on 20 April 1952. In this capacity his major achievements were integration of the services of different constituent states of PEPSU and rehabilitation of Hindu and Sikh refugees from West Pakistan. He made a sterling contribution towards the development of the Punjabi language. Already during the prime ministership of Sardār Hardit Siṅgh Malik (1944-47), he had persuaded the Paṭiālā state government to establish a Punjabi cell in the department of education. During his own prime-ministership of PEPSU, he upgraded this cell into a full-fledged Punjabi department and made the knowledge of Punjabi compulsory for all government servants. The Rāṛevālā ministry was, however, short-lived. As a result of an adverse judgement on an election petition moved against him, the ministry was dismissed and the state placed under President's rule on 5 March 1953. Sardār Raṛevālā sympathized with and worked for the Punjabi Sūbā agitation in 1955. He was personally not in favour of the Regional Formula scheme, although in the general body meeting of the Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal held on 11 March 1956 it was he who commended the plan to the house. The general body approved it after a prolonged discussion. Consequently, PEPSU merged with the Punjab on 1 November 1956, and many Akālīs including Rāṛevālā joined the Congress party.
He was sworn in as minister for irrigation and power in the Kairoṅ ministry on 3 April 1957 after the second general election. He was re-elected to the Punjab Assembly in 1962 and 1967 on Congress nomination. On 31 August 1965 he convened a meeting of all Sikh legislators. The meeting asked the government to accept the Punjabi Sūbā demand in principle. The demand was later accepted and Punjab was reorganized on linguistic basis into two states, Haryāṇā and Punjab, with effect from 1 November 1966. During the Akālī ministeries that were subsequently formed, Giān Siṅgh Rāṛevālā functioned as leader of the Opposition.
Sardār Giān Siṅgh Rāṛevālā left active politics in 1969. He died at Delhi on 31 December 1979 after a prolonged illness. His body was cremated at Rāṛā on 2 January 1980.
Ajmer Siṅgh; Lohgaṛh