HARCHAND SIṄGH RA'ĪS (1887-1954), philanthropist and Sikh reformist, was born the only son of Arjan Siṅgh a police sub-inspector, in 1887 at the village of Sursiṅgh, in Amritsar district of the Punjab. He learnt Urdu and Punjabi at home and did not have any formal education. At the turn of the century, the family shifted to Lyallpur where Arjan Siṅgh had been granted by government land in the newly developed canal colony. Harchand Siṅgh grew up a rich landlord, and started taking interest in public affairs. When the outer wall of Gurdwārā Rikābgañj in Delhi was demolished by the government in 1913 to secure symmetry in their construction plans for the main buildings of New Delhi such as the Viceroy's house and the secretariat, Harchand Siṅgh spearheaded a movement for the restoration of the masonry. To carry on his campaign, he launched from Lahore in 1914 an Urdu weekly, the Khālsā Akhbār. Among his coworkers were Master Tārā Siṅgh, Tejā Siṅgh Samundrī and Master Sundar Siṅgh Lyallpurī. This group, popularly known as the Lyallpur group, took a pioneer role in the Gurdwārā Reform movement in early twenties of the century. Harchand Siṅgh also helped Master Sundar Siṅgh Lyallpurī in sponsoring the Akālī (Punjabi) in 1920. In 1921, he officiated as president of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee during Bābā Khaṛak Siṅgh's absence in jail. He represented Lyallpur (rural) constituency in the Punjab Legislative Council from 1923 to 1926.

        Harchand Siṅgh died on 20 February 1954 at Koṭā in Rājasthān.


  1. Piār Siṅgh, Tejā Siṅgh Samundrī. Amritsar, 1975
  2. Nirañjan Siṅgh, Principal, Jīvan Yātrā Master Tārā Siṅgh. Amritsar, 1968
  3. Pratāp Siṅgh, Giānī, Gurdwārā Sudhār arthāt Akālī Lahir. Amritsar, 1975
  4. Mohinder Singh, The Akali Movement. Delhi, 1978

Nirañjan Siṅgh