AKĀLĪ, THE, a Punjabi daily newspaper which became the central organ of the Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal, then engaged in a fierce struggle for the reformation of the management of the Sikh gurdwārās and a vehicle for the expression of nationalist political opinion in the Punjab in the wake of the massacre of Jalliāṅvālā Bāgh in Amritsar (1919), followed by the annual session of the Indian National Congress. The first issue of the paper was brought out from Lahore on 21 May 1920 to honour the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Fifth Gurū of the Sikhs, Gurū Arjan. The paper was the brain-child of Master Sundar Siṅgh of Lyallpur who had fanatically pleaded the need for a periodical in Punjabi dedicated to the patriotic cause. Borrowing the paltry sum of Rs. 500 from a friend, he launched the newspaper under the masthead "Akālī". He had the support of Sardār Harchand Siṅgh of Lyallpur, Tejā Siṅgh Samundarī, Master Tārā Siṅgh, Professor Nirañjan Siṅgh, Sardūl Siṅgh Caveeshar and Bhāī Dalīp Siṅgh who later fell a martyr at Nankāṇā Sāhib in the massacre of Akālī agitators in 1921. Sundar Siṅgh persuaded Giānī Hīrā Siṅgh Dard to take over as editor of the Akālī. Three months later Maṅgal Siṅgh, a University graduate, then serving as a tahsildār in the revenue department of the government, resigned his post to join hands with Giānī Hīrā Siṅgh. They between them made the Akālī very popular - Hīrā Siṅgh by his resounding patriotic verse and Maṅgal Siṅgh by his enlightened and penetrating comment. A series of incidents such as the Nankāṇā massacre, Gurū kā Bāgh brutality and the deposition by the British of the Sikh ruler of the princely state of Nābhā further radicalized Sikh opinion. The Akālī came into conflict with the government on several occasions and suffered forfeiture and suppression. Once it had to seek asylum under a baker's roof from where it was published clandestinely every morning. Passing through many vicissitudes and changing its name several times, it has survived to this day. In October 1922, it was merged with the Pradesī Khālsā, a daily run by Master Tārā Siṅgh at Amritsar. The Pradesī Khālsā was launched with funds provided by Sikhs settled in foreign countries, hence the name Pradesī (foreign). The Akālī merging with this paper shifted to Amritsar and assumed the new name Akālī te Pradesī. For a time, the Akālī was published from Amritsar in Urdu, Persian script, simultaneously with the Akālī te Pradesī (Punjabi). The Akālī te Pradesī too went through a succession of suspensions and prosecutions by government. Yet it kept re emerging every time with renewed vigour and with a sharper militant message. In 1930 when it was banned under the Press Act, it was registered under the new name, Akālī Patrikā. It continued publication under this name from Lahore until 1939 when it reverted to the old name Akālī. After the Partition of the Punjab in 1947, it shifted back to Amritsar. These days it is being published from Jalandhar the under name of Akālī Patrīkā.


  1. Sūbā Siṅgh, Paňjābī Pattarkārī dā Itihās. Chandigarh, 1978
  2. Nirañjan Siṅgh, Jīvan Vikās. Delhi, 1970
  3. Harbans Singh, Aspects of Punjabi Literature. Fīrozpur, 1961
  4. Barrier, N. Gerald, The Sikhs and Their Literature. Delhi, 1970

Sardār Siṅgh Bhāṭīā