KAUR SIṄGH NIHAṄG, AKĀLĪ (1886-1953), scholar and religious preacher, was the eldest son of Bhāī Mahāṅ Siṅgh and Māī Karam Kaur of Paddhar, a small village near Chakār in that part of Jammū and Kashmīr which is now under Pakistan's occupation. The family traced its descent from one Trilokī Nāth, who was among the group of Kashmīrī Brāhmaṇs who had travelled to Chakk Nānakī (Anandpur) in 1675 to tell Gurū Tegh Bahādur how they suffered persecution at the hands of the Mughal satrap. Trilokī Nāth's son, Amolak Nāth, who was Akālī Kaur Siṅgh's great-grandfather, received the rites of Khālsā baptism and became Amolak Siṅgh. Kaur Siṅgh, whose original name was Pūran Siṅgh, was born on 28 June 1886. He studied Sikh scriptural texts, Sanskrit, Braj and Indian system of medicine under Bāvā Mahāṅ Siṅgh Bedī of Dupaṭṭā village in his native state. In 1904, he came in contact with Giānī Bāgh Siṅgh, a well known scholar of Peshāwar, whom he accepted as his teacher. Pūran Siṅgh became a skilled speaker and took part in debates espousing the Sikh faith in the odium theologium launched by Ārya Samāj spokesmen. In 1906 he went on a pilgrimage to Takht Srī Hazūr Sāhib Abchalnagar, Nāndeḍ, where he took the rites of the double-edged sword and became a Nihaṅg renamed Kaur Siṅgh. He started signing himself as Akālī Kaur Siṅgh Nihaṅg. Then followed a long period of travels throughout the length and breadth of India and Afghanistan preaching the message of the Gurūs. In 1907, he started work on a line-wise alphabetical index of the entire text of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Completed in 1920, it was published in March 1923 under the title Guru Shabad Ratan Prakāsh popularly known as Tuk-tatkarā.

         Some time after 1920, Akālī Kaur Siṅgh returned to his native Kashmīr where he became very popular as a deeply religious man and social reformer. In June 1928, he established at Chakār an institution named Gurū Nānak Āshram, with a residential school for imparting general as well as religious education. He also set up a library and published a school bulletin called Āshram Samāchār, later, redesignated Kashmīr Sikh Samāchār. He also opened a chain of schools in small villages around Chakār. After the attack of tribal invaders from Pakistan in 1947, Akālī Kaur Siṅgh devoted himself to the task of resettling the Kashmīrī refugees.

         Besides the Guru Shabad Ratan Prakāsh (1923), Akālī Kaur Siṅgh published in 1929 an index of Bhāī Gurdās's works. Among his other publications were Kavī Saināpati's Srī Gur Sobhā (1925) and a standard breviary or missal of daily Sikh prayers, Guṭkā Prāmanik Nitnem (1927). His Buddhībāridh Hitopadesh Ratnākar was a Gurmukhī transcript of Pañchtantra, a Sanskrit classic. His original works include Sukh Sāgar arthāt Ghar dā Vaid, a treatise on Ayurvedic system of medicine and Istrī Saṅkaṭ Mochan, a forceful plea for the social uplift of women (1925).

         At Paṭiālā in 1952 (28 November), Akālī Kaur Siṅgh suffered a stroke as he was travelling from Delhi to Saṅgrūr, the site of a Kashmīrī refugee camp, and was admitted to the Rājindra Hospital. He died there on the evening of 23 January 1953.


  1. Atar Siṅgh, Jīvan Britānt Akālī Kaur Siṅgh Nihaṅg. Chandigarh, 1971
  2. Himmat Siṅgh, Akālī Kaur Siṅgh. Patiala, 1979

Gurdev Siṅgh