DHARAM ARTH BOARD, a body representing different sections of the Sikh community constituted in May 1949 by Mahārājā Yādavinder Siṅgh, Rājpramukh of the Paṭiālā and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), to manage the major Sikh shrines within the new state which had come into being in consequence of the amalgamation of the eight princely territories in the Punjab. Before merger some of these states had their own boards or committees for the purpose. Paṭiālā state had, for instance, its Interim Gurdwārā Board formed on 8 November 1946; Kapūrthalā its General Gurdwārā Committee; and Jīnd its Gurdwārā Committee. The gurdwārās in the Punjab were controlled by the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee under the Gurdwārā Act of 1925, the jurisdiction of which statute did not extend to the princely states. After the formation of PEPSU, a notification (No. 2, dated 20 May 1949) was issued by Sardār Sāhib Deoḍhī Mu'allā, constituting the Dharam Arth Board for the state. The Board comprised twenty-five members to which number ten more were added through a later notification. At the first meeting of the 25 member committee convened in the Paṭiālā Secretariat on 27 June 1949, Jathedār Balwant Siṅgh Chanārthal, an Akālī leader, was unanimously elected president and a sub-committee was nominated to draft rules and regulations which were finally approved by the Board at its meeting on 26 August 1949. The Board had about two hundred Gurdwārās under its control. Prominent among the twenty-five under its direct management were gurdwārā Srī Dūkh Nivāran Sāhib at Paṭiālā, the shrines at Fatehgarh Sāhib, Gurdwārā Srī Ber Sāhib at Sultānpur Lodhī, Gurdwārā Srī Gurū Tegh Bahādur Sāhib at Jīnd, Gurdwārā Gurū Tegh Bahādur Sāhib at Dhamtān and the state gurdwārā at Kapūrthalā. For gurdwārās not directly managed by the Board there were local committees under its supervision. Owing to acute factionalism that arose within its ranks the Dharam Arth Board was superseded under a government notification, dated 4 May 1954, by a 13-member Interim Gurdwārā Board, with Balwant Siṅgh Chanārthal as its president.

         As PEPSU became part of the Punjab in 1956, the new state government by a notification dated 10 January 1958, allowed the Interim Gurdwārā Board to continue functioning until it was merged with the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee on 8 January 1959.

Mohinder Siṅgh Gill