SHĀM SIṄGH, SANT (1803-1926) , holy man who was also an accomplished musician, was born in1803 to Bhāī Darbārī and Krishan Kaur, a couple of humble means belonging to the Sevāpanthī sect of the Sikhs and inhabitants of Shāhpur, in Sargodhā district of Pakistan. His father died when he was barely five year old. Sant Rām Siṅgh, a Sevāpanthī preacher originally belonging to Mīrpur, in Jammū and Kashmīr region, took him under his care and moved, along with his young ward, to Amritsar where he stayed at Dharamsālā of Aḍḍaṇshāhīs -- another name for Sevāpanthīs. After his preliminary training in scripture reading, Shām Siṅgh studied Sikh theology and history successively under the guidance of Paṇḍit Ātmā Siṅgh and the Nirmalā scholar, Ṭhākur Dayāl Siṅgh. Having an ear for music and a good singing voice, he learnt Sikh devotional music from Bābā Naudh Siṅgh and became an eminent performer of kīrtan specializing in playing sarandā. He would daily sing Āsā kī Vār in the morning in Harimandar, the Golden Temple, and Sodar in the evening at the Akāl Takht where he attracted large audiences.

        Sant Shām Siṅgh led a simple life of self-effacement and service, and came to command great esteem and reverence. Bhāī Vīr Siṅgh (1872-1957) and Sardār Sundar Siṅgh Majīthīā (1872-1941) are said to have taken khaṇḍe dī pāhul at his hands. It was he who inspired Sant Gurmukh Siṅgh of Paṭiālā (1849-1947) to take up kār-sevā (cleaning, construction and reconstruction projects at Sikh shrines with free voluntary labour) as his life's mission.

        As Sant Shām Siṅgh grew too old to go to Harimandar, his devotees built in 1911 a gurdwārā for him in the Āṭā Maṇḍī sector of Amritsar. They called it Dharamsālā Sant Shām Siṅgh, but he changed the name to Dharamsālā Srī Gurū Nānak Dev jī -- Dāsan Dās Shām Siṅgh (dāsan--dās literally meaning slave of slaves).

        He died of pneumonia on 23 April 1926 at the great age of 123.


  1. Prem Siṅgh, Major, Jīvan Sant Bābā Shām Siṅgh. Amritsar, n.d
  2. Balwant Siṅgh, Giānī, Agam Agādh Purakh Shrīmān Pūjya Sant Atar Siṅgh Jī Mahārāj Mastuāṇe Vālīāṅ dā Sampūran Jīvan Charittar. Mastuana, 1983

Partāp Siṅgh Giānī