BASANT SIṄGH, BHĀĪ (d. 1900), one of the founder-members of Srī Gurū Siṅgh Sabhā, Lahore, established on 2 November 1879, worked as its accountant and later became its vice-president. Differences between Bhāī Basant Siṅgh and other leaders of the Khālsā Dīwān, Lahore, originating in the expulsion in April 1886 of Bāvā Nihāl Siṅgh and Dīwān Būṭā Siṅgh in April 1886 for their advocacy of the restoration of Mahārājā Duleep Siṅgh to the throne of the Punjab, came to a head when, on 31 October 1887, the Nānak Panth Prakāsh Sabhā, celebrating its seventh anniversary at Gurdwārā Janam Asthān, Lahore, displayed a garlanded portrait of the Mahārājā by the side of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Bhāī Jawāhir Siṅgh, secretary of Srī Gurū Siṅgh Sabhā, took exception to what he said was an act of sacrilege as well as an act against the pro-government policy of the Khālsā Dīwān of Lahore. He particularly criticized Bhāī Basant Siṅgh, who also bore an office in the Nānak Panth Prakāsh Sabhā. Bhāī Basant Siṅgh retaliated a few months later by passing strictures against Bhāī Jawāhir Siṅgh in the audit report (AD 1888) on the accounts of the Srī Gurū Siṅgh Sabhā of which he was the secretary. He and his colleagues were charged with misusing the Sabhā funds spent on defending Giānī Ditt Siṅgh, editor of the Khālsā Akhbār , facing a defamation suit in a civil court for publishing in his newspaper a portion of his Svapan Nāṭak ("Dream Play”), a thinly-veiled satire on the leading figures of the Amritsar Khālsā Dīwān.

         In September 1888, Bhāī Basant Siṅgh, who was vice-president of the Srī Gurū Siṅgh Sabhā, Lahore, and Bhāī Sant Siṅgh who was its president, broke away from it and formed a parallel association named Srī Gurū Hitkārnī Siṅgh Sabhā. The new Sabhā enjoyed the backing of Dīwān Būṭā Siṅgh, the proprietor of the paper and press named Āftāb-i-Punjab, and Mehar Siṅgh Chāwlā, a rich merchant of Lahore who also became secretary of the Hitkārni Sabhā, with Sant Siṅgh as president and Basant Siṅgh as vice-president. The Khālsā Dīwān of Amritsar also supported it for its own factional reasons. Bhāī Basant Siṅgh supported the Shuddhī or proselytization movement started by Dr Jai Siṅgh although the Amritsar Khālsā Dīwān was opposed to it, but on the question of the location of the proposed Khālsā College, he sided with it preferring Amritsar to Lahore which was the choice of the Lahore Khālsā Dīwān as the seat for the new college. Again, unlike the Srī Gurū Siṅgh Sabhā and the Khālsā Dīwān of Lahore, he applauded the enterprise of Rājā Bikram Siṅgh of Farīdkoṭ to have a commentary on the Gurū Granth Sāhib prepared by a synod of scholars. He in fact joined the Amritsar Khālsā Dīwān deputation that called on the ailing Rājā on 10 February 1894 at Farīdkoṭ to ask after his health and offer their good wishes for his recovery. But in 1895, Bhāī Basant Siṅgh joined hands with Bhāī Mayyā Siṅgh, secretary of the Lahore Siṅgh Sabhā, and merged his Hitkārni Sabhā with that body of which he once again became an active member. He also took over editorship of the Khālsā Gazette on which he continued to work until his death in Lahore on 13 August 1900.


  1. Pratāp Siṅgh, Giānī, Gurdwārā Sudhār arthāt Akālī Lahir [Reprint]. Amritsar, 1975
  2. Jagjīt Siṅgh, Siṅgh Sabhā Lahir. Ludhiana, 1974

Jagjīt Siṅgh