SARMUKH SIṄGH (1893-1952), the middle one of the trio of the Jhabāl brothers and the first president of the Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal, was born in 1893 at Jhabāl, in Amritsar district of the Punjab. He received his education at Khālsā College, Amritsar, and started taking interest in social and religious reform while still very young. In 1918, he became a member of the Central Mājhā Khālsā Dīwān. As the Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal was formed on 14 December 1920 to be a kind of volunteer corps of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee for the reformation of gurdwārā management, he was elected its president. In this capacity, he toured extensively in the Punjab and organized Akālī jathās in the districts. He was arrested on 24 November 1921 in connection with a morchā launched for reclaiming from the British keys of the Golden Temple toshākhānā. He was arrested again on 26 August 1922 in the Gurū kā Bāgh agitation. When in April 1923, there occurred Hindu-Muslim riots in Amritsar, Sarmukh Siṅgh placed Akālī volunteers at the disposal of the government to help smooth the tempers.

        On 13 October 1923, the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee as well as the Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal was declared an unlawful body. The office-bearers were taken into custody and prosecuted in the well-known Lahore Akālī case. After the Sikh Gurdwārā Act was passed in 1925, the Akālī leaders who gave the court assurance that they would be willing to work by the provisions of the act were released on 25 January 1926. Those who refused to give any such undertaking continued in jail. Sarmukh Siṅgh was among the latter. After his release on 27 September 1926, he gradually veered over to the Indian National Congress. He courted arrest during the Civil Disobedience movement in 1930 and again in the Quit India movement in 1942. After the partition of the Punjab in 1947, he shifted his residence from his lands in the Lyallpur district to Jalandhar where he died on 16 April 1952.


  1. Pratāp Siṅgh, Giānī, Gurdwārā Sudhār arthāt Akālī Lahir. Amritsar, 1975
  2. Akāli Lahir de Mahān Netā. Amritsar, 1976
  3. Josh, Sohan Siṅgh, Akālī Morchiāṅ dā Itihās. Delhi, 1972
  4. Ashok, Shamsher Siṅgh, Shromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee dā Pañjāh Sālā Itihās. Amritsar, 1982
  5. Gandā Siṅgh, ed., Some Confidential Papers of the Akali Movement. Amritsar, 1965

Jagjīt Siṅgh