TEJĀ SIṄGH SAMUNDRĪ (1882-1926), a leading figure in the Gurdwārā reform movement, was born the son of Devā Siṅgh and Nand Kaur at Rāi kā Burj in Tarn Tāran tahsīl of Amritsar district, on 20 February 1882. On land being assigned to Devā Siṅgh in the Sāndal Bār tract of tahsīl Samundrī of Lyāllpur district, he shifted with his family to the newly developed colony. Tejā Siṅgh's formal education did not go beyond the primary stage, but he was well-equipped in the Sikh religious and historical texts.

        Following in his father's footsteps, he joined the army as a Dafādār in 22 Cavalry. But his army career lasted only three and a half years. He returned to his village, Chak 140 GB, to devote himself to the promotion of religious and social reform in the panth. He became a member of the Chief Khālsā Dīwān and helped to establish the Khālsā Dīwān Samundrī. Later this and other similar societies working in that area were through his initiative knit into a bigger organization called the Khālsā Dīwān Bār. For the education of children, he established two schools Khālsā Middle School in his village and Srī Gurū Gobind Siṅgh Khālsā High School at Sarhalī in Amritsar district. Some more schools were opened under the auspices of the Khālsā Dīwān Bār.

        Tejā Siṅgh started taking interest in the Akālī movement. He was one of the founders of the Sikh daily newspaper, the Akālī. He organized public meetings to protest against the demolition by the government of one of the walls of Gurdwārā Rikābgañj at Delhi and was one of the100 Sikhs who had volunteered to lay down their lives in a bid to have it restored. He was nominated a member of the committee appointed to administer the Nankāṇā Sāhib Gurdwārā after the tragic happenings of 1921.

        He was among the founder members of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā. Parbandhak Committee of which he later became Vice-president. He was also Vice-president of the Punjab Congress Committee. From November 1921 to January 1922, he suffered imprisonment for his part in the agitation concerning the keys of the Golden Temple treasury, which had been taken into possession by the government. On 13 October 1923, he was arrested in connection with the Jaito morchā. He was among those Akālī leaders who refused to secure their release by giving government the assurance that they would work by the Sikh Gurdwārā Act passed on 9 July 1925. Sardār Tejā Siṅgh died in custody on 17 July 1926 following a heart attack. Among his contemporaries, he was widely esteemed for his qualities of character and dedication and for his talent for organization. The handsome Tejā Siṅgh Samundrī Hall in Amritsar, which houses the offices of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee, today honours his memory.


  1. Dard, Hīrā Siṅgh Merīāṅ Kujh Itihāsak Yādāṅ. Jalandhar, 1960
  2. Nirañjan Siṅgh, Jīvan-Yātrā Master Tārā Siṅgh. Amritsar, 1968
  3. Piār Siṅgh, Tejā Siṅgh Samundrī. Amritsar, 1975
  4. Sahni, Ruchi Ram, Struggle for Reform in Sikh Shrines. Amritsar, n.d.

Piār Siṅgh