SATBIR SINGH (1932 – 1994)
Satbir Singh, eminent scholar, was born on 1st March 1932 at Jehlum (now in Pakistan), Father: Bhai Hamam Singh, mother: Ranjit Kaur. Professor Satbir Singh\’s tally of more than 70 titles covering a life span of 62 years makes a formidable catalogue. Among it are works of minute research, textual commentary, history and narrative. Apart from his natural gift for productivity, the principal secret of Satbir Singh\’s massive output was his regularity of habit.
He arose very early in the morning. While many another person would still be rubbing his sleep-laden eyes, Satbir Singh would have put behind him by them a good day\’s work. And then he was free to indulge his daily programme of lectures, and other public activity. He handled with much enthusiasm and special expertise many-sided Panthie responsibilities. He had time for everything.
He made his time go a long way. Another very special custom of his was to spend part of his summer vacation in a hill-town. Besides refreshing his body and soul, this change helped him to catch up with any arrears of work. He stuck to this routine and never let up on it even in the worst of circumstances. Satbir Singh was a very friendly soul.
He had goodwill for all and wished to be of help to others and bore no malice towards anyone. He listened to everyone\’s problems with sympathy and tried to help as far as he could. Friends sat around him, seeking the advise and help on a variety of matters. He took delight in sharing with friends their problems. To be of help to others was the passion of his life. Much of the responsibility of the activities of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee fell to the shoulders of Satbir Singh.
One of his main duties was to assess the quality of literature which came to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee from various sources. He went through it meticulously and announced his judgment. He always stood up for the welfare and betterment of the Khalsa schools and colleges. He sat on the Syndicate of the Punjabi University and expressed his opinion without fear and favour. He enjoyed the trust of the government as well and advised it on many matters.
He always felt very happy to see his friends nourish. He carried no ill will against anyone in his heart. He never forgot his old friends. For Sarup Singh of the Sikh Students Federation, he had a feeling of deep reverence. He acknowledged him as his closest friend and benefactor and always said with pride that whatever he was, it was all owed to Sardar Sarup Singh. Likewise, he was never chary of giving credit to old Federation friends such as Dr Jaswant Singh Neki, Dr Bhai Harbans Lal, Jasdev Singh Sandhu and Dilbir Singh.
Writing was the main attraction of his life. 74 books carried his signatures. To be able to present the ten lives of the Gurus at the portals of the Darbar Sahib was his ambition. It was for him a matter of much celebration when he finally achieved this. He had the set covered in gold leaf for presentation.
They carried such unusual and fresh titles as Balio Chirag, Kudarti Nur, Parbat Merdnu, Purl Hoi Kardmdti, Partakh Harl, Gur Bhdri, Nirbhau Nirvairu, Ashtam Balbird, Iti Jini Kari and Purukh Bhagvant. Likewise, he prepared Punjabi versions of the classics by Bute Shah and Malcolm. Another significant series was his Sri Guru Granth Sahib Da Sar Visthar, part-I, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Da Sar Visthar, part-II and III, and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Da Sar Visthar, part-IV. Among his other publications were: Anadi Andhit, Sada Itihds-I, Sada Itihds-Il, Sou Saval, Sikh Jarnail, Purdtan Itihdsik Jivanidn, Sikh Ajdib Ghar Album, Kino Bado Kalil Mai Sdkd, Bir Parampard Da Vikds and Ms Dithid Sabh Dukh Jdi. Satbir Singh died at Patiala on 18 August 1994.
1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihas ”Qissa kal, Amritsar, 1981.
2. Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, 6 Vols., Delhi 1995.
3. Kohli, S.S., Punjabi Sahit da Itihas, Ludhiana, 1955.
4. Mohan Singh, A History of Punjabi Literature, Amritsar 1956.
5. Ramdev, Jaginder Singh (ed.), Punjabi Likhari Kosh, Jullunder, 1964.
6. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.