GURPRAṆĀLĪ, a distinct genre in Punjabi historical writing, providing in prose or in verse chronological information about the lives of the Gurūs and of the members of their families. The genre records in the main dates of their birth, marriage and death. Occasionally, the dates of some major events are also mentioned. The genre gained vogue in Sikh times in the first half of the nineteenth century and has continued to claim adherents in the twentieth. For the history of early Sikhism, the gurpraṇālīs along with janam sākhīs constitute serviceable source material. Most of the earlier gurpraṇālīs remained unpublished during the lifetime of their authors. It was only recently that Bhāī Raṇdhīr Siṅgh compiled an anthology of gurpraṇālīs published by the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee in 1951 under the title Gurpraṇālīāṅ. With the discovery of some more manuscripts, a new edition comprising fourteen gurpraṇālīs was brought out in 1964. Among the nineteenth century gurpraṇālīs which are included in Gurpraṇālīāṅ (1964) are those of Saundha's Gur Baṅsāvalī, Kesar Siṅgh Chhibbar's Gurpraṇālī and Gurpraṇālī attributed to Sevā Dās Udāsī, besides a few anonymous ones. Among the gurpraṇālīs of the late nineteenth and twentieth century are those by Gulāb Siṅgh, Sant Naraiṇ Siṅgh Giānī Giān Siṅgh and Giānī Sardūl Siṅgh.

         The editor, Bhāī Randhīr Siṅgh, also worked out his own gurpraṇālī which he appended to the volume. The Chief Khālsā Dīwān published in 1934 a gurpraṇālī of its own under the title Gurvaṅs Darpaṇ Pattar. Unpublished manuscripts turn up now and again. To mention two instances: Gurpraṇālī (anonymous) in the Pañjāb University Library, Chaṇḍīgaṛh, and Gurpraṇālī (anonymous) in the Motībāgh Palace, Paṭiālā. Dates given in the different gurpraṇālīs are more often than not contradictory, yet this source will continue to be of interest to historiographers.


    Raṇdhīr Siṅgh, Bhāī, Gurpraṇālīāṅ. Amritsar, 1951

Dharam Siṅgh