TAKHT SIṄGH, BHĀĪ (1870-1937), a pioneer of women's education, was born at Fīrozpur around 1870. His father, Devā Siṅgh Nihaṅg, is said to have fought in both of the Anglo-Sikh wars (1845-46 and 1848-49). Takht Siṅgh passed the High Proficiency (Vidvān) examination in 1887 from the Oriental College at Lahore, where two of his teachers, Bhāī Gurmukh Siṅgh and Giānī Ditt Siṅgh, both leading figures in the Siṅgh Sabhā reform movement, deeply influenced him. Takht Siṅgh returned from Lahore resolved to dedicate himself to the cause of women's education among Sikhs. To a modest open--air school he had established at Fīrozpur, he added in 1904 a boarding house which marked the beginning of the Sikh Kanyā Mahāvidayālā. The institution, the first of its kind, gave a fillip to education among Sikh women and became a centre of cultural and literary activity. In running this school, Bhāī Takht Siṅgh received great support from his wife, Bībī Harnām Kaur. Upon her decease in 1906 he married, on 17 September 1910, Bībī Āgyā Kaur, who also proved a worthy helpmate. Bhāī Takht Siṅgh travelled to distant places, such as Rangoon, Malaya and Singapore to raise funds for the Mahāvidayālā. In 1907 was begun the erection of the main building of the school. The same year was launched a literary and social magazine, the Pañjābī Bhaiṇ (Punjabi Sister). At the Sikh Kanyā Mahāvidayālā, Bhāī Takht Siṅgh started assembling books, manuscripts, journals and newspapers, mainly in Punjabi. This was the beginning of what in course of time grew into a prestigious collection, named Bhāī Ditt Siṅgh Library in honour of his teacher of Oriental College days. The collection came to the Punjabi University at Paṭiālā in 1983. Bhāī Takht Siṅgh remained actively associated with the Sikh Educational Conference and was, as a rule, called upon to say ardās, supplication prayer, at its annual sessions. Such was the quality of his dedication to his work that his colleagues affectionately called him Zinda Shahīd, the Living Martyr.

        Bhāī Takht Siṅgh died on 18 December 1937.


  1. Ganda Singh ed., Bhagat Lakshman Siṅgh : Autobiography. Calcutta, 1965
  2. Lāl Siṅgh, Giānī, Gurū Baṅsāvalī. Singapore, 1939
  3. Karam Singh, Jīvan Bībī Harnām Kaur. Fīrozpur, 1907

Gursharan Siṅgh