DHANNĀ SIṄGH, BHĀĪ (d. 1935), an indefatigable Sikh pilgrim, was born about 1893, the son of Sundar Siṅgh, a Chāhal Jaṭṭ of the village Ghanaurī in Saṅgrūr district of the Punjab. His original name was Lāl Siṅgh. His father died when he was barely ten years old, and he and his younger brother were brought up in the Rajendra-Devā Yatīmkhānā, an orphange in the princely city of Paṭiālā. As he grew up, he trained as a driver and was employed in the state garage of Mahārājā Bhūpinder Siṅgh (1891-1938). Religious instruction had formed part of Lāl Siṅgh's education at the orphanage; the influence now of a senior colleague, Jīvā Siṅgh, a pious Sikh and a driver in the same garage, proved decisive. Lāl Siṅgh proceeded on a pilgrimage to Srī Abichalnagar Hazūr Sāhib at Nāndeḍ, sacred to Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. There he received the rites of Khālsā initiation, and was renamed Dhannā Siṅgh. During his stay at Srī Hazūr Sāhib, he was deeply impressed by the piety of Sant Nidhān Siṅgh (1882-194'7). Dhannā Siṅgh obtained his release from state service and set out on a pilgrimage of Sikh shrines on a bicycle. He visited historical gurdwārā in Uttar Pradesh, Bihār, Bengal and Assam, returning to Paṭiālā after three years. Some of the information about the gurdwārās he had visited was published in the Sikh newspapers. Dhannā Siṅgh, thereafter, purchased a camera, learnt photography, and resumed his travels with a view to visiting Sikh shrines in other parts of India and taking photographs and preparing notes. The project as well as his life was, however, cut short by an accident. During his travels in the North-West Frontier Province in 1935, he stayed one night in a village, Hasokhel, near Mīr 'Alī, in Bannū district. It was a common practice for the people in that disturbed area to keep their weapons loaded at night. Next morning, on 2 March 1923, as the host was unloading his gun, it went off, killing Dhannā Siṅgh on the spot.

         Dhannā Siṅgh's travel notes are said to be intact in the custody of one Sevā Siṅgh, son of the late Mistrī Gurbakhsh Singh of Paṭiālā.

Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)