GURDIĀL SIṄGH, JATHEDĀR (1886-1958), also known as Giānī Gurdiāl Siṅgh or Sant Gurdiāl Siṅgh Bhiṇḍrāṅvāle, was born in 1886 at Ādampur, near Mogā, now in Farīdkoṭ district of the Punjab. He studied up to matriculation. He enjoyed the patronage of Ṭikkā (later Mahārājā) Ripudaman Siṅgh of Nābhā, whom he accompanied to England in 1910. On return from abroad in 1912, he joined the seminary at Bhiṇḍar Kalāṅ run by Sant Sundar Siṅgh where he studied Sikh theological and historical texts. When the first Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee was formed in November 1920, Gurdiāl Siṅgh was nominated a member. He was one of those who persuaded the Committee to take up the question of the forced abdication and dethronement of the Nābhā ruler, Mahārājā Ripudaman Siṅgh, in July 1923. Consequent upon the launching of what is known as the Jaito morchā or agitation to protest against the government's action, the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee was outlawed and its members put behind the bars. Sant Gurdiāl Siṅgh was arrested on 7 January 1924 and imprisoned in Multān Central Jail. While under detention he used to give discourses on gurbāṇī for the benefit of his jail-mates. On release in 1926, he went back to Sant Sundar Siṅgh, who appointed him jathedār in charge of a newly established gurdwārā and missionary centre at Bopā Rāi, a village in Ludhiāṇā district. He was elected to the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee in 1945. Besides teaching regular students at the seminary, Sant Gurdiāl Siṅgh delivered a serialized discourse on the entire Gurū Granth Sāhib spread over a whole year. He had given 23 such annual series before he died at Bopā Rāi Kalāṅ on 28 March 1958.
Harjinder Siṅgh Dilgeer