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Akali Baba Santa Singh Ji

Jathedar Akali Baba Santa Singh Ji

When considering the notable Sikhs of recent times, Akali Baba Santa Singh Ji Nihang stands out as one of the most revered individuals. Born as Pashaura Singh in 1928 in the holy town of Gujranwala, he hailed from the same place where esteemed Sikhs like Hari Singh Nalwa and Maharaja Ranjit Singh were born. With the divine blessings of Mahakaal, young Pashaura Singh underwent the sacred initiation ceremony of Khande de Pahul and became a member of the Budha Dal on Diwali in 1935, under the guidance of Akali Baba Sahib Singh Ji Nihang.

From that day onward, Baba Ji devoted himself entirely to the service of the Akali Panth. He took on responsibilities such as maintaining the Langar (community kitchen) and preparing Sukhnidaan (blessed food) for the Nihang Singhs at the base camp. Recognizing his dedication, the senior Nihangs realized his potential and entrusted him with the important task of conducting the annual Amrit Sarchar (initiation ceremony) at Hola Mohalla, a position reserved for those with steadfast resolve. To fulfill this duty, Baba Ji received instruction from Head Granthi Baba Sukhdev Singh Nihang of Budha Dal. He not only excelled in studying Gurbani (Sikh scriptures) and ancient granths (sacred texts), but also proved himself as a skilled warrior. He showcased his prowess in various combat techniques, including hand-to-hand combat, weapon-based combat, and firearms proficiency during weapon festivals. Additionally, he impressed the crowds with his remarkable equestrian skills and horse riding displays at Hola Mohalla.

In May 1969, following the demise of Akali Baba Chet Singh Ji Nihang, Akali Baba Santa Singh Ji ascended to the throne, becoming the 15th Jathedar of Budha Dal, leaving a lasting mark in history. Baba Ji wasted no time in spreading the message of Sikh heritage and established Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) and schools throughout Punjab and India. He diligently conducted daily kathas (scripture discourses) on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and Sri Sarbloh Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Additionally, he initiated the publication of a Nihang newspaper to keep the Sikh community updated on efforts to promote Gurbani (Sikh scriptures). Baba Ji also imparted santhiya (religious instruction) on the three Guru Granths and authored the first-ever translation of the complete Sri Sarbloh Guru Granth Sahib Ji into modern-day Punjabi.

Furthermore, Baba Ji established a weapons factory operated by Nihang blacksmiths to fulfill the requirements of the Khalsa in terms of armaments and to provide employment opportunities for local Sikhs. During the tragic events of the 1984 Sikh genocide, Baba Ji instructed his Nihang associates to disguise themselves as ordinary Sikhs and tie their turbans in a specific fashion called 'Nok' to protect themselves from the Indian army, as Nihang Singhs were easily recognizable and targeted. In the aftermath of the genocide, Baba Ji compelled the Indian government to rebuild the Akaal Takht, which had been destroyed. However, mainstream Sikhs accused Baba Ji of collaborating with the government, leading to his unjust excommunication.

Baba Ji passed away on May 8, 2008, the same day he received the Jathedari (leadership position). Despite his lifelong efforts to promote true Sikhism and guide the Khalsa towards a better future, his contributions were taken for granted, and he was not given the recognition he deserved. Akali Baba

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