GULĀB SIṄGH GHOLĪĀ, SANT (1853-1936), Sikh saint and scholar, was born in 1853 to Bhāī Dal Siṅgh and Dharam Kaur of Bhaṭṭīvālā, a village 6 km south of Bhavānīgaṛh, in the present Saṅgrūr district of the Punjab. He received his early education in the village dharamsālā, and then spent five years at the ḍerā of Bhāī Rām Siṅgh, at Māṇūke, in Farīdkoṭ district, learning kīrtan and studying the Sikh texts. Realizing that, to properly comprehend and interpret certain theological terms used in the Scripture, knowledge of Sanskrit was essential, he shifted, in 1873, to the village of Ḍhapālī (now in Saṅgrūr district), where he apprenticed himself to Giānī Anokh Siṅgh. He studied Sanskrit and Vedānta with him for ten long years. But his thirst for knowledge was still unquenched, and he went to Rishīkesh to read further in the classics under Paṇḍit Nihāl Siṅgh and Paṇḍit Advaitānand. He also acquired knowledge of Indian medicine. The Siṅgh Sabhā reform was already under way and there was great enthusiasm among the Sikhs to spread the correct Sikh doctrine and practice. Sant Gulāb Siṅgh decided to devote himself to preaching the Gurū's word. He travelled extensively in pursuit of his mission. Once, in 1890, Mahārājā Hīrā Siṅgh, ruler of the princely state of Nābhā, met him at Prayāg (Allāhābād) and invited him to settle down in his state, but he declined the offer. Likewise, he declined to take over the ḍerā at Māṇūke, after the death of Bhāī Rām Siṅgh. He eventually moved to Gholīā Khurd, 5 km north of Māṇūke, where, in 1907, he established a gurdwārā which henceforth became the centre of his activities. His active participation in the Gurdwārā Reform movement commenced in 1914 with the Gurdwārā Rikābgañj agitation. Later, he was elected, unopposed, a member of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee and was nominated to its religious sub-committee. He was one of the Pañj Piāre who inaugurated kār-sevā at the Amritsar pool on 4 Hāṛ 1980 Bk/17 June 1923.

         In his old age, Gulāb Siṅgh Gholiā built a gurdwārā, Anand Bhavan, at Mogā where he died on 3 July 1936.


    Visākhā Siṅgh, Sant-Sipāhī, Mālvā Itihās, vol. II. Kishanpura Kalan (Firozpur), n.d.

Jagjīt Siṅgh