CHELLĀRĀM, BHĀĪ (1904-1964), a well-known Sahajdhārī Sikh of modern times who sang and preached gurbāṇī, the Guru's inspired word, with a rare love and devotion, was born in a Sindhī family of Hyderābād (Sindh) on 3 May 1904, the son of Dr Ṭekchand Rāchūmal Mansukhānī and Chetībaī. Chellarām's parents died while he was still in his infancy and his only sister not long afterwards. Successive deaths in the family left him a lonely youth, with a rather pensive mind '. He took his degree in Law and set up practice as a lawyer, but his heart was not in the profession. He joined civil service which left him ample time for the study of religious books. Sikh Scripture, the Gurū Granth Sāhib, took hold of his mind and he started reciting Sikh hymns in the Gurdwārā at Karāchī. He also taught children to recite kīrtan, i. e. hymn - singing. Soon a group of devotees formed around him dedicated to nām-simran, i. e. repetition of God's name. His growing popularity earned him the epithet of dādā, the equivalent of bābā in Punjabi (lit. grandfather), a term of respect for elderly or holy men. He was invited to perform kīrtan at Sikh dīvāns on special occasions in gurdwārās in the Punjab including those at Nankāṇā Sāhib and Amritsar. In 1938, Dādā Chellārām Āshram was established in Karāchī.

         After the partition of the country in 1947, Dādā Chellārām joined service in the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi and continued to reside there. In 1958, he established a religious centre Nij Thāṅu (lit. His own place). It is an eclectic institution where recitations from the Bible, the Gītā, and the Qur'ān are made side by side with those from the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Another institution in Delhi which owes its origin to Dādā Chellārām is Nirguṇa Bālak Satsaṅg Maṇḍal. It has branches at Bombay, Puṇe and Saproon, near Solan in Himāchal Pradesh.

        Dādā Chellārām died at Delhi on 7 March 1964.

Lachman Chellārām