SOHAN SIṄGH, SANT (1902-1972), born Ude Siṅgh was the youngest of the four children of Pañjāb Siṅgh and Prem Kaur who lived at the village of Phūl in the former princely state of Nābhā. The family moved to Chaṭṭhevālā, near Damdamā Sāhib (Talvaṇḍī Sābo), during the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. Ude Siṅgh was a good-looking youth and was for this reason named Sohaṇā, i.e. handsome. His original name was soon forgotten and he came to be known as Sohan Siṅgh. He studied the Sikh sacred texts with Sant Harī Siṅgh at the village of Jioṇ Siṅghvālā, in present-day Baṭhiṇḍā district. Young Sohan Siṅgh tried his hand at versifying as well and got up a kavīsharī troupe (singers of ballads and odes) which recited heroic poetry at religious congregations. In 1925 he was arrested at Ludhiāṇā as he, with his troupe, was reciting an inflammatory poem inciting people to join in the Gurdwārā reform agitation. After his release, he proceeded to Malaya where he became, in November 1927, a granthī or Scripture-reader at the Malacca gurdwārā. In November 1932, he returned to the Punjab to train under Paṇḍit Kartār Siṅgh of Dākhā at Gurmat Upadeshak College, Damdamā Sāhib. He studied logic and philosophy and mastered Sikh religious lore, obtaining the title of Mahā (Senior) Giānī. Returning to Malacca in June 1934, he dedicated himself completely to the propagation of Sikh faith and became a leading figure in Sikh religious and social circles. He was associated with a large number of institutions including the Malayan Granthī Prachārak Sabhā, Malayan Naujavān Sabhā and Singapore Khālsā Association. During World War II, he organized volunteers to look after the destitutes and war widows.

        During one of his tours, Sohan Siṅgh fell ill and died in the General Hospital at I poh on 24 May 1972. To perpetuate his memory, a Vidyālā commemorating his name has been established close to the Malacca gurdwārā to train Sikh missionaries and granthīs.

Mehervān Siṅgh Singapore