DARSHAN SIṄGH PHERŪMĀN (1885-1969), political leader and martyr, was born at the village of Pherūmān, in present-day Amritsar district, on 1 August 1885. His father's name was Chandā Siṅgh and his mother's Rāj Kaur. After passing his high school examination, he joined in 1912 the Indian army as a sepoy. Two years later, he resigned from the army and set up as a contractor at Hissar. He was doing well as a contractor, when a taunt from his mother, who was deeply religious, led him to give up his business and plunge into the Akālī movement for the reform of Gurdwārā management. In 1921, he was arrested in the morchā launched by Sikhs for recovering from the British deputy commissioner of Amritsar keys of the Golden Temple treasury he had seized, and was imprisoned for one year. In December 1924, he led the 14th Shahīdī jathā to Jaito, and was jailed for ten months. He also took part in the non-cooperation movement launched by the Indian National Congress, serving a 14-month term in jail. In 1926, he visited Malaya where he was detained by the British on the basis of his political record in India. While in jail, he went on a fast in protest against the orders forbidding the wearing of kachhā or drawers, one of the five symbols of Khālsā discipline. He continued the fast for 21 days, ending it only when he had won his point.

         Returning home, Darshan Siṅgh joined the Civil Disobedience movement and courted imprisonment thrice. He took part in the Quit India campaign during the Second World War. For a number of years, he was a member of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee and its general secretary for two terms. He was elected a member of the Rajyā Sabhā as a nominee of the Indian National Congress and retained his seat up to 1964. In 1959, he severed his connection with the Congress and joined the Swatantra Party of which he was one of the founders.

         In August 1969, Darshan Siṅgh resolved to lay down his life to atone for what he termed as resilement on the part of some of the Sikh leaders from the solemn pledges they had taken at Srī Akāl Takht and to have their default in not being able to secure the inclusion of Chaṇḍīgaṛh and some other areas in the newly - demarcated Punjab redeemed. So determined, he went on a fast unto death inside the Central Jail at Amritsar on 15 August. He stuck to his vow and stubbornly refused to have any nourishment until his demand for the amalgamation with the Punjab of the Punjabi-speaking areas kept out of the new Punjab was conceded. On 27 October 1969, which was the 74th day of his fasting, he died. For the supreme sacrifice he thus made to rewrite the sanctity of a Sikh's plighted word, his name is honoured among the martyrs of the Sikh faith.


  1. Pratāp Siṅgh, Giānī, Amar Shahīd Darshan Siṅgh Pherūmān. Amritsar, n. d.
  2. Fauja Singh, Eminent Freedom Fighters of the Punjab. Patiala, 1972
  3. Sarhadi, Ajit Singh, Punjabi Suba. Delhi, 1970

Mubārak Siṅgh