KHĀLSĀ DARBĀR, an organization representing different Sikh parties established on 27 September 1932 at Lahore to resist the operation of what had come to be known as the Communal Award announced by the British Government on 16 August 1932. Earlier, anticipating these proposals, an all-party Sikh conference convened on 28 July 1932 under the presidentship of Giānī Sher Siṅgh, vice-president of Central Sikh League, had rejected the Award for having ensured the Muslims a permanent majority in the Punjab Legislature without providing any effective safeguards for the Sikhs. The Conference had nominated a 17-member Council of Action, which included such men as Master Tārā Siṅgh, Giānī Sher Siṅgh, Giānī Kartār Siṅgh, Ujjal Siṅgh, Sir Sundar Siṅgh and Bābā Khaṛak Siṅgh, to raise a Shahīdī Jathā of one lakh to fight for the interests and honour of the Sikh community. At its meeting on 26-27 September 1932, the Council which was presided over by Amar Siṅgh, editor of the Sher-i-Punjab, resolved to establish Khālsā Darbār, with a maximum membership of 250 of whom 200 were to be elected by Sikhs within the Punjab and the remaining by those residing in other parts of India. It was in response to the resolution of this Council that Ujjal Siṅgh and Sampūran Siṅgh Lyāllpurī resigned from the consultative committee of the Round Table Conference. The Council also called upon Sikh members of the central and provincial legislatures to send in their resignations to the Khālsā Darbār which was authorized to forward them to the government whenever it thought fit.
The Khālsā Darbār, representing a variety of opinion, soon became subject to internal dissensions. Eventually the Central Sikh League, which was one of its main constituents, proposed the merging of the Khālsā Darbār with it because both of them, it claimed, had identical aims. This merger was not liked by other groups which opposed it on the ground that the League was purely a political party in close alignment with Indian National Congress for the attainment of a political objective whereas the Khālsā Darbār was an organization established with the primary object of combating the Communal Award. A joint conference of the various Sikh parties then came out with the claim that the Khālsā Darbār was the premier political organization of the Sikhs and that any decision regarding the political rights of the Sikhs and the future constitution of India would not be acceptable to them unless endorsed by it. This transformed the basic concept of the Darbār. Its membership was thrown open to every Sikhs and its branches were established all over the country. But notwithstanding this support, it could never become a strong and united political party of the Sikhs. After a somewhat effete role in the Punjab politics, it became defunct in 1947.
K. C. Gulāṭī