GURMUKH SIṄGH, SANT (1896-1984), Sikh saint and preacher, was born on 6 January 1896 in a land-owning family of tailors in the village of Dalelsiṅghvālā, now in Baṭhiṇḍā district of the Punjab. His father's name was Kālū. His own name, Bābū, was changed to Gurmukh Siṅgh when he converted a Sikh and received the rites of initiation at the hands of Sant Atar Siṅgh of Mastūāṇā in 1913. In 1914 he enlisted in the army where, because of his knowledge of Sikh scripture and tenet, he was entrusted with the duties of a regimental granthī or priest. He had himself released in 1919 from the army to make preaching his vocation. He took part in the Shahīdī Samāgam of 1921 to honour the memory of Nankāṇā Sāhib martyrs which launched him into Akālī agitation for the reformation of Sikh shrines. He preached the reformed creed of the Siṅgh Sabhā and the Akālī movement and was listened to with eagerness at dīvāns, especially in the countryside. For a speech he delivered at Mānsā Maṇḍī, in the then Princely state of Paṭiālā, he was arrested and spent an year and a half in jail. In 1935-36, he entered Ḍerā Bābā Jassā Siṅgh at Paṭiālā, then the seat of Sant Nand Siṅgh. The Ḍerā remained Gurmukh Siṅgh's headquarters for the next half-century. His sanctity and rustic humour and eloquence shed their influence on audiences in far-flung places, and he was constantly in demand at Sikh dīvāns in India and abroad. In 1913, he was nominated a member of the Siṅgh Sabhā Centenary Committee. For his lifelong devotion to spreading the message of the Gurūs, he was honoured at a special ceremony at the Akāl Takht at Amritsar on 16 September 1975. Sant Gurmukh Siṅgh was on one of his tours abroad when he suddenly died in New York on 19 June 1984.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)