ARJAN SIṄGH, BHĀYEE (1875-1946), of Bāgaṛīāṅ, titled chief much honoured in Sikh piety, was a descendant of Bhāī Rūp Chand, a devoted disciple of Gurū Hargobind, who had bestowed on him the title ' Bhāī ' (also written as Bhāyee) or holy brother. Rūp Chand belonged to the village of Vaḍḍā Ghar, in Amritsar district, but upon receiving Gurū Hargobind's blessing he founded (1631) a village in the Mālvā region of the Punjab which he named Bhāī Rūpā. Rūp Chand's sons, Bhāī Param Siṅgh and Bhāī Dharam Siṅgh, received the rites of Khālsā baptism at the hands of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. They accompanied the Gurū to Nāndeḍ in the South. Param Siṅgh is said to have died there while Dharam Siṅgh was sent back to the Punjab by the Gurū with many gifts, including a guṭkā or breviary and a sword which are still preserved by the descendants as sacred relics.

        Born in 1875 the son of Bhāī Kishan Siṅgh at Bāgaṛīāṅ, a village now in Saṅgrūr district, to which the family had shifted, Arjan Siṅgh had his early education under his uncle Bhāī Narāiṇ Siṅgh who was a reputed man of letters and who taught him several modern Indian and classical languages. Arjan Siṅgh succeeded to his estate when he was very young. Besides his position as a landed aristocrat, he was acknowledged by the Sikh ruling chiefs of Paṭiālā, Nābhā, Jīnd, Farīdkoṭ, Kapūrthalā and Kalsīā as a religious mentor - a status the Bhāīs of Bāgaṛīāṅ had always enjoyed in view of the family having been blessed by the Gurūs themselves. They presided over the religious and social ceremonies in the Sikh princely families. Bhāī Arjan Siṅgh himself administered the rites of initiation to Mahārājā Bhūpinder Siṅgh of Paṭiālā and Mahārājā Ripudaman Siṅgh of Nābhā, and installed the latter on the throne after the death in 1911 of his father, Mahārājā Sir Hīrā Siṅgh.

         Bhāī Arjan Siṅgh was widely respected in the Sikh community. He was chosen to be the first president of the Chief Khālsā Dīwān established on 30 October 1902, serving in that capacity for nearly 15 years. In 1934, he presided over the Sarab Hind Sikh Samparadāi Conference at Bhaiṇī Sāhib and in 1938 over the 27th Sikh Educational Conference at Amritsar. He was awarded by the British government the title of Sardār Bahādur in 1916, and, in June 1919, the Order of the British Empire was conferred upon him. He also served as president of the Khālsā Pratinidh Dīwān, Ludhiāṇā, and as a member of the Amritsar Khālsā College Managing Committee as well as of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee.


        Bhāī Arjan Siṅgh died at Bāgaṛīāṅ on 8 November 1946.


  1. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Itihās Riyāsat Bāgaṛīāṅ. Patiala, 1917
  2. Caveeshar, Sardul Singh, House of Bagrian. Lahore, 1939
  3. Griffin, Lepel and C. F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1940

Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok