Charan Singh \’Shahid\’ (1891 – 1935) was a Punjabi poet, novelist, essayist and journalist. His father Suba Singh was a deeply religious man whose personality made strong impact on Charan Singh. Hazara Singh Giani introduced young Charan Singh into the domain of literature. After matriculation, in about 1906 Charan Singh joined the staff of Khalsa Samachar weekly and came under the influence of Bhai Vir Singh. Like Dhani Ram \’Chatrik\’. In 1907, he published his maiden work, a novel, entitled Sham Sundar.

Then he joined the staff of another paper Bir and after sometime became its Chief Editor. In 1911, he started a new Punjabi daily named Shahid. He served for some time in the princely states of Nabha and Patiala. Here he came in contact with eminent litterateurs like Bhai Kahn Singh and Giani Gian Singh. In 1922, he started his short-lived paper Jathedar. His real worth as journalist revealed itself in Mauji, a weekly started by him in 1926. He also started a short-lived monthly magazine named Hans.

In 1931 he became the president of the newly established Central Punjabi Sabha.He will also be remembered for his humorous writings both in poetry and fiction. His collections of poetry include Badshahia (Kingdoms), Beparwahian, Shehanshahian (Empires), Arehi Kingre (Celestial Fimges), Rajsi Hulare (Political Swans), and Ishq-Mushk (Love and lust). His humorous short stories are contained in his collection entitled Hasde Hanjoo. His novels include Sham Sundari, Chanchal Murti, Daler Kaur (two parts); Ranjit Kaur and Do Vohtian (Two wives).

His humorous essays present a novel character named Baba Waryama in the style of Sir Roger de Coverley of Addison and Steele. Through his multi-sided contribution his bent of mind as a religious and social reformer becomes apparent.There are about two dozen other minor works to his credit including works of translation, fiction, ethics and other such topic. Besides pen names of \’Shahid\’ and \’Charan\’, he also used \’Suthra\’ after the popular poet of the same name, who flourished in the time of the sixth Sikh Guru and composed humorous verses.

References :

1. Kohli, S.S., Punjabi Sahit da Itihas, Ludhiana, 1955
2. Mohan Singh, A History of Punjabi Literature, Amritsar 1956.
3. Ramdev, Jaginder Singh (ed.), Punjabi Likhari Kosh, Jullundur, 1964.
4. Sekhon, S.S., A History of Punjabi Literature, Patiala, 1993.