SIṄGH SĀGAR, by Vīr Siṅgh Bal, is a versified account of the life of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. The author, not many details of whose career are known, was born to Bhāī Bakht Siṅgh towards the end of eighteenth century. He was a poet at the court of Mahārājā Karam Siṅgh (1797-1845) of Paṭiālā and wrote several books, including Kissā Hīr Rāñjhā, Bārā Māhā, Gur Kīrat Prakāś, Gopī Chand Vairāg Shatak, Sudhā Sindhu Rāmāyaṇa. The Siṅgh Sāgar was written in 1884 Bk/AD 1827 at Paṭiālā. The work, two manuscript copies of which are extant---one preserved in the Motībāgh Palace at --Paṭiālā has since-- been published (1986) by the Punjabi University. The book, a sequel to the author's Gur Kīrat Prakāś that deals with the lives of the first nine of the Sikh Gurūs, is primarily based on Bachitra Nāṭak, Srī Gur Sobhā and Sukhā Siṅgh's Gurbilās Dāsvīṅ Pātshāhī. It is divided into fourteen cantos called taraṅgs, each treating of a particular episode from the Gurū's life. The first taraṅg deals with the birth of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh and the following two narrate his journey through Lakhnaur (2) and Mākhovāl (3). The martyrdom of Gurū Tegh Bahādur is dealt with in the fourth taraṅg, followed by a description of the splendour of the Gurū's court (5), chastisement of the masands (6), Gurū's arrival at Pāoṇṭā Sāhib (7) and his return to Anandpur (8). The following five cantos deal with different battles such as that of Nadauṇ (9), Husainī (10), Chamkaur Sāhib (11-12) and Muktsar (13). The concluding taraṅg narrates the Gurū's departure to the South and his arrival at Nāndeḍ. While selecting the episodes the poet has omitted many important ones, his major concern being with bringing out the Gurū's martial prowess and heroism. The dominant mood of the poem is thus chivalry (vīr rasa), with several subordinate ones to support it ; dohā and chaupaī are the metres used more frequently, some other metres employed being Rasāval, Bhujaṅg, Bhujaṅg-Prayāt, Pādhaṛī, Aṛill, Svaiyyā, Soraṭhā, Jhūlaṇā, Ravāl, Saṅkh-nārī, Madhubhār, Vijayā, Manohar, Toṭak, Kabitt, and Tilkā. The language is Braj, with an admixture of Punjabi vocabulary. Arabic and Persian words appear in the original, too. Figures of speech borrowed generally from everyday life embellish the verse.

Rattan Siṅgh Jaggī