SĀHIB SIṄGH MRIGIND, BHĀĪ (c. 1804-1876), poet and author, served in the princely court of Jīnd under Rājā Sarūp Siṅgh (d. 1864) and Rājā Raghbīr Siṅgh (1834-1887). His father, Dīvān Siṅgh, was a granthī in the employ of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. He was a Kamboj by caste and belonged to Jagmāl village in Hoshiārpur district of the Punjab. His output is voluminous, but he has not left many details about his personal life. However, on the basis of scattered references in his works it can be made out that he went for higher learning to Kāshī (Vārāṇasī) where he spent ten years studying śāstras, earning the popular title of Khaṭśāstrī, or master of the six śāstrās. He returned to Lahore but had soon to leave under the displeasure of Mahārāṇī Jind Kaur, widow of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. His Rāṇī Rājindramatī Charitra which presents a somewhat distorted portraiit of Mahārāṇī Jind Kaur is perhaps the result of his anger against the queen. He went to Kurukshetra where the ruler of Kaithal gave him refuge and from where Rājā Sarūp Siṅgh brought him to Saṅgrūr, the capital of Jīnd state, and gave him appointment as a court poet. Sāhib Siṅgh wrote, translated and edited books on a variety of subjects. The language of all of his works is Braj, written in Gurmukhī script. Among the nearly nineteen works credited to him are Śabda Kumud Kalānidhi (1821), a translation of Varad Rāj's Laghu Siddhānt Kaumudī which deals with verbal forms; Rās Maṇḍal Līlā (1846), a free rendering of the tenth skandh (chapter) of the Bhāgvata Purāṇa covering the life of Lord Kṛṣṇa; Aṣṭ Mahal (1846), a poetical note on political ethics; Rāṇī Rājindramatī Charitra (1851); Bājī Brind Bodh Granth (1855) which has ethics of love for its theme; Jog Jas Prakāś (1858), an exposition of the yogic philosophy based on the famous Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā Kabit Kusum Bāṭikā Granth (1859), an anthology of Kabits of poets like Senāpati, Srīpat, Gwāl, Padmākar, et. al.; Suman Sañjīvan (1860) which deals with the ethics of matrimonial love; Srī Guru Dasam Pañchāsikā Tarak Prakāśh Nyāya (1863), a gist of Nyāya Sūtra; Bārāmāhā (1864), a traditional poem about the love of Rādhā for Lord Kṛṣṇa; Srī Bhagatī Bhāv Prabhākar (1869), a song of devotion depicting the colourful show or līlā of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Phūl Baṅs Prakāś (1873), history of the Phūlkīāṅ states; Nij Kartūtāṅ Natījā Granth (1881) which book was begun by the author but was completed by his son and which advises man to desist from evil and do good; Mūrakh Śatak, a poem depicting folly in its 100 forms; and Mrigind Gurmukhī Mārg. Besides being a poet and scholar, Sāhib Siṅgh was a great lover of music and painting. Though most of the specimens of paintings he had collected or himself painted are lost, those few preserved by his descendants are of great value. These include portraits of the Gurūs, of Kabīr and Farīd made in the Guler and Basohli style.

        Bhāī Sāhib Siṅgh died at Saṅgrūr in 1876.


    Kohlī, Surindar Siṅgh, ed., Pañjabī Sāhitya Kosh, Part I. Chandigarh, 1972

Gurdev Siṅgh