LAKSHMAṆ SIṄGH, BHAGAT (1863-1944), educationist and writer, was born of Hindu parents, Bhagat Kāhan Chand and Bhagatanī Gurdittī (the prefix "Bhagat" came down to the family from an ancestor who was a reputed Vaishnava bhagat or devotee), on 8 June 1863 at Rāwalpiṇḍī, now in Pakistan, receiving the Sikh rites in 1895 at the hands of Bābā Khem Siṅgh Bedī in direct line of descent from Gurū Nānak. After his early schooling at Rāwalpiṇḍī Presbyterian Mission High School, Lakshmaṇ Siṅgh went to Lahore where he joined in 1881 the Municipal Board High School. Not a very brilliant student, he took five years to clear the Matriculation examination and three to obtain his (one-year) Teachership certificate. He went through a variety of employments thereafter, serving in the district court as clerk, postal department as cashier and Municipal Board Middle School at Harīpur in Hazārā district as headmaster. From May 1894 to October 1898, he taught at the Gordon Mission School, Rāwalpiṇḍī. During this period he was, as he records in his autobiography, offered by Dyāl Siṅgh Majīṭhīā, at the instance of Lālā Harkishan Lāl, editorship of The Tribune, which he declined.
On 5 January 1899 he however launched his own weekly paper The Khalsa --- the first-ever English-language Sikh journal to make its appearance. Through its columns, he vigorously espoused the cause of the Siṅgh Sabhā, but the paper had to be closed down in April 1901 owing to financial difficulties. Lakshmaṇ Siṅgh entered government service as Assistant Inspector of Schools, Fīrozpur, in 1903, becoming District Inspector of Schools, Jehlum, in 1906. He served as second master at Government High School, Rāwalpiṇḍī, from June 1910 to March 1914, and as headmaster of Government High School, Fīrozpur, from 1916 to 1918. Retiring from government service in 1922, he took over as manager of Bhūpindrā Khālsā High School, Mogā, which position he quit in February 1927. In 1929, he restarted The Khalsa, and continued with his characteristic verve the campaign in behalf of Siṅgh Sabhā reform. Besides editing his own paper, Lakshmaṇ Siṅgh contributed articles to The Tribune and other journals. He also published two books, A Short Sketch of the Life and Work of Gurū Gobind Singh (Lahore, 1909) and the Sikh Martyrs (Madras, 1929), both written in energetic English style. A book of memoirs, Bhagat Lakshman Singh : Autobiography, was published (Calcutta, 1965) posthumously by his lifelong friend and admirer Dr Gaṇḍā Siṅgh.
Bhagat Lakshmaṇ Siṅgh died on 27 December 1944 at his residence on the Asghar Mall in Rāwalpiṇḍī.
Sardār Siṅgh Bhāṭīā